We must do more than pray. We must meditate on being faithful. And we must share our faithfulness with others.” – Mattie J.T. Stepanek
Reflections for Holy Week “Ponder, Praise, and Prayer”
Excerpts from the 1999 Lenten meditation booklet offered by Mattie J.T. Stepanek 1990 – 2004
What you are about to read are the private reflections of a boy, age 7 and 8, speaking to God as a friend.
Mattie’s life had many challenges – constant health issues, daily struggles with his rare form of muscular dystrophy, financial burdens and more – but his Catholic faith, nurtured by his mother, Jeni, and enriched at Holy Rosary Church in Rosaryville, Maryland, kept him rooted in the Lord.
He accomplished a great deal in his “almost 14 years” on earth. He published six bestselling books of poetry and one bestselling book on peacemaking. During his many television, radio, and print media interviews, Mattie spoke with authority and conviction, championing what he learned as a Catholic.
Through his writings and speeches and his everyday conversations and interactions, Mattie reminded youth and adults, and families and leaders, that hope is real, peace is possible, life is worthy, and prayer is powerful.
Mattie’s lasting gift to us is his belief that we all have what he called a Heartsong – a special purpose and “reason for being” given to us by God. His life especially inspires children and teens to accept their personal challenges as they uncover their own Heartsong in their daily walk with God.
After Christmas, we sometimes think of January as a lull month, but what a faith-filled month we see!
We have World Day of Peace and Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God on January 1. Both offer so much meaning to Mattie and to us.
January 6 gave us the Feast Day of André Bessette. Mattie had a very special connection to St. André, praying to him to “finish my reason for being.” Mattie’s prayers were answered and a dangerous medical crisis came to an end, giving us several more years of Mattie on earth.
Next week we celebrate Catholic Schools Week. We look to Mattie who demonstrated that young people can move mountains and do matter.
This week we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and also witness to the right to life. Below in the next section are some thoughts from Mattie’s Mom, Jeni Stepanek, on Mattie and Martin Luther King, Jr.
In advance of this week’s March for Life, we ask “What is a life worth?” Mattie had quite a life and left his mark. But before he was born, Mattie was in danger, like others diagnosed with a disability in the womb. What the world would have missed if Mattie had never been born.
“Mattie was not an accident. He was not a mistake. He was a spirit meant to be,” said Jeni.
In 2001, when Mattie was 11, he spoke to young teens in Southern Maryland at a prolife rally, explaining that the building blocks of life were hope, peace, courage, forgiveness and kindness. These building blocks, he explained, lead to the understanding that life is a gift, not a choice.
Please join us:
Offer prayers – for Mattie and for all children, for Mattie’s mission of peace and for the Guild as we begin the most active year we have endeavored