Founder’s Day 2021 – Reflection from Provincial Father Liam McClarey SCA

‘Wherever I shall be, I intend to imagine myself to be together with all the creatures in the Cenacle in Jerusalem where the Apostles received the Holy Spirit.’ This is, arguably the most well-known extract from our Founder’s writings contained in his Complete Works. We as Pallottines find it in our Pallottine Community Prayers, starting Reflection B for Saturday Midday Prayer, with the theme of Mary, Queen of Apostles.

As we approach this Founder’s Day on January 22nd, 2021 many of our communities cannot come together to celebrate as they would normally do. Hopefully, this will be a once-off occurrence. We will miss others’ company, their particular interpretation of local, national and international events. Even if we are in contact with them by whatever means we shall miss their presence, and their reactions.  We may well ‘imagine ourselves’ being together again or remember past meetings.

There is of course the danger that I can hark back to ‘the good old days.’  There is the contrary danger that I can ‘imagine’ a better future according to my interpretation or worse just ‘day-dream.’ However, as many spiritual writers tell us we are living in the NOW and God IS present with us in this time.

Pallotti uses this same expression- ‘I intend to be’ at least once more in his Complete Works. I do not know whether or not he uses the expression in his Letters.  We do not give this the same- if any- prominence but maybe it is worth considering this year.

‘I intend to be always in profound adoration of the Blessed Trinity, of Jesus in the sacrament adoring him in all the places where he is found, in the highest veneration to the most beloved Mother Mary, and to be pleasing to the Angels, the Saints and those souls which are agreeable before the eyes of God’- (OOCC, X,526)

Why this is not as well-known is unclear. But certainly, it contains worthwhile thoughts for consideration, meditation or prayer. Indeed, sometimes after returning from Lourdes, I would use –

‘(Wherever I shall be) I intend to imagine myself in the Grotto at Lourdes.’ There is a link there that all who have been on pilgrimage appreciate and understand.

There is a sign at the back of the Dundrum Parish Church which reads: Stay Safe- Pray Safe. The order is striking. Perhaps this Founder’s Day my prayer is: ‘Wherever I shall be I intend to imagine myself- putting on the mind of Christ.’

1 Corinthians: 2:16- ‘As Scripture says: Who can know the mind of the Lord, so who can teach him? But we are those who have the mind of Christ.’

So, while our travelling may be restricted where we find ourselves this Founder’s Day we can still hopefully remain safe and find time to pray for and remember our Province, our members- past and present-; those who we work with and for; our UAC members, collaborators and our benefactors, families and friends.