January 2019 Reflection
“Then, we could just step through the clouds… and into Heaven.”
Mattie J.T. Stepanek
In this season of endings and beginnings, we have the celebration of Epiphany to remind us that what we seek is certainly more than we imagine. The wise men had the courage to set out on a journey that they could not possibly have understood or envisioned. We realize that we are unlikely to have an epiphany of our own, unless we show similar courage to advance into the unknown. Mattie Stepanek lived and wrote about that kind of courage, and what it yields.
In one of his earlier collections of poetry, Journey through Heartsongs, we find a poetic and spiritual imagination of the inner voyage that is required when one asks the great questions of life, written from the beautiful perspective of a child. One poem in particular seems very fitting for this season, where so much is dying around us as we move through winter and celebrate a holy birth. The hope in this poem, which Mattie titled, “Climbing to Heaven,” makes me believe that I may indeed be so, so, so close. Such hope gives me the courage to take another step, and another and another, on my own spiritual journey. And perhaps it will do the same for others as well.
I encourage readers to share the inspiration of Mattie’s message and courage as we journey forward in time and life, with choices that can help us realize just how close we are to Heaven, and just how close God is to us. Please visit the Guild’s website for our January theme message and poem on “moving forthward,” and a “Reflect, Respond, and Reach Out” activity suggestion page.
Director, The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Guild
Download the PDF version of the
January Guild Reflection here…
Members of the Mattie Guild,
Greetings and blessings during this season Christmas, New Year, and Epiphany celebrations!
Please join us in praying an intercessory prayer to Saint Brother Andre Bessette, whose feast day is Monday, January 7.
The novena to him begins Monday, December 31.
The prayer is below this message,
or CLICK HERE to download a PDF version
of this message and the prayer.
Brother Andre is a kind of unofficial patron saint for Mattie’s Cause, as Mattie prayed to Brother Andre in 2001, so that he could leave the hospital and share his message of hope and peace with the world. Mattie said that this message came to him from God, and was to be shared with the world, and he needed more time on earth to fulfill his mission. Despite medical predictions, Mattie survived another three years, and he believed that Brother Andre’s prayers of intercession gave him the time he needed to fulfill his life’s purpose.
This prayer is offered by St. Joseph’s Oratory and the Congregation of the Holy Cross, Brother Andre’s order. Please pray for a fruitful year of work for the Guild.
A reminder will be sent on Monday.
Peace of Christmas,
Director, Mattie J.T. Stepanek Guild
PRAYER TO OBTAIN A SPECIAL FAVOUR
THROUGH THE INTERCESSION OF
SAINT BROTHER ANDRÉ
Saint Brother André,
we celebrate your presence among us.
Your loving friendship with
Jesus, Mary and Joseph makes you
another son in the eyes of the Father.
Compassion carries your words
straight to God’s heart,
and your prayers are answered
with comfort and healing
from our lips to God’s ear,
our supplications are heard…
We ask to be made
a part of God’s work
in a spirit of prayer,
compassion and humility.
Saint Brother André, pray for us.
December 2018 Reflection
“Not about us without us!”This motto is a rallying cry that many in the Disability Community use to express their desire for voice as well as intention.It represents the yearning to choose one’s own destiny, rather than having it imposed by others. This is a great expression that serves as a reminder to all of us – that we are called to fully include the “voiceless” members of society in choices – especially those, who by virtue of their situation, often are not consulted regarding their opinions and ideas, even in matters that directly involve them.
One group that is sometimes voiceless is children. We are accustomed to expecting parents to speak on behalf of their children; certainly, this is right and proper, but this is correctly identified as the voice of parents, not children. As children age, it becomes the duty of every parent and teacher to help each child find his or her voice, and to gain skills to express that voice clearly and respectfully. One gift for this process is to support children in achieving skills in self-expression – spoken and written word, and also other forms of communication. Another gift is to nurture children in developing the ability to think clearly and deeply about important topics. These abilities usually take many years to acquire, however, and so most children have at least a period of time in their lives when they are, in fact, voiceless.
Mattie Stepanek was that rare gifted child who found his voice early, and who had the skills and encouragement to share his clarion voice with others. I have learned more about this young man as a Director for Mattie’s Guild. As a Catholic and a person of faith, I believe that Mattie’s voice was inspired by his close relationship with God. I love so much about what Mattie had to say, but foundationally, I love that he said it himself, as a child. My teacher heart tells me that other children will respond beautifully to Mattie’s work as they begin their journey to find their own voice.
This month, I encourage all readers to share Mattie’s voice with children, and to encourage them to think about and then speak about important and timeless topics such as this month’s theme, peace. Please visit the Guild’s website for our December theme message and poem on peace, and a “Reflect, Respond, and Reach Out” activity suggestion page.
Director, The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Guild