Tag: Sr. Ann Shields

‘Whoever Follows Me . . . Will Have the Light of Life’

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At Renewal Ministries’ 2017 Gathering, Sr. Ann Shields discussed the need for “our faith to grow” and “our roots to go deep.”

“There’s a way it’s easier to live in faith when the world supports you,” she said. “But that’s not the case right now. Ask God every day: ‘Increase my faith.’”

Sr. Ann’s recommendation for deepening faith include reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Scripture, going to Reconciliation, and receiving the Eucharist.

Sr. Ann explained that following Jesus and His Word allows His light to shine in us. She shared almost a dozen Scripture verses that supported the theme of doing the Father’s will, which can be viewed here.

She shared a quote from Sr. Ruth Burrows on faith, which describes it as “a sustained decision to take God with utter seriousness as the God of my life. . . . (and) a decision to shift the center of our lives from ourselves to Him, to forgo self-interest and to make His interest, His will our sole concern.”

Sr. Ann asked, “Is our life filled with adoration and worship of God? Or is it kept to something we think we can handle?”

She continued, “The Lord says, ‘Open your heart to me, because I have so much to give you. But it has to be what He wants, how He wants—‘not my will, but yours be done.’”

“His will—that’s what brings life out of darkness,” concluded Sr. Ann. “When we’re able to say, ‘Lord, I give You my children, my marriage, my godchildren, my friends—be it done unto me according to Your word. It’s a hard prayer to pray, but my call is to surrender, and then He will use me, and then the light will shine in the darkness.”

‘Yielding to the Power of God’

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“The seed on good ground are those who hear the word in a spirit of openness, retail it, and bear fruit through perseverance” (Lk 8:11-15). Image credit.

Sr. Ann Shields’ booklet Yielding to the Power of God: The Importance of Surrender, Abandonment, and Obedience to God’s Will is now available on Renewal Ministries’ website as a free download. You can access the booklet here.

Sr. Ann wrote Yielding to the Power of God in response to a talk she gave at Steubenville in September 1981 that convicted and changed the lives of many people. She writes, “People were on their knees, weeping and repenting of sin. It was a night of God’s power, and all I could do was stand back dumbfounded and watch God act.”

This booklet answers the questions: Who is this God who wants us to deliver ourselves fully into His hands? Is He really the God of love, mercy, and justice we declare Him to be?

By sharing stories from her own journey, Sr. Ann reminds us us of God’s intimate and personal love for each of us and challenges us to surrender all doubt of that. The reward for doing so, she explains, will be greater holiness, joy, and power than we have yet known.

As she states at the booklet’s opening, “One of the most exciting promises in Scripture is, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes down on you” (Acts 1:8). Many of us believe this word in faith; this book is for those of us who desire to live out the reality of this Word in our relationships, our service, and our personal lives.”

Prayer Prepares Our Hearts for Pentecost

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Sr. Ann Shields originally wrote this article for Faith, the magazine for the Catholic diocese of Lansing, Michigan.

“Fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth.”

One of the most ancient prayers of the Church, Come Holy Spirit, is a beautiful sequence sung in the liturgy for Pentecost Sunday.

It is a prayer we should make our own. Why? Jesus told us: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” (Jn 14:15-17)

Jesus knew the difficulties we would face in life. He knew the help and the strength and the wisdom and courage that would be needed so as to not fall into severe discouragement or even despair. When you were baptized, the Holy Spirit was given you to lead you into the fullness of Truth itself. He was given you to accompany you through the struggles and the joys that life on this earth would bring. It is not a pious idea; it is not a metaphor. God chose to share with you his very own Spirit. When you became his sons and daughters in baptism, you genuinely were brought into the family of God. He desires to accompany you through all your daily activities and relationships. He wants to impart his priorities, equip you with all you need to live his will which is guaranteed to bring you to eternal life.

Continue reading here.

Sr. Ann Shields: The Light of Faith

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Sr. Ann Shields at the 2017 Lift Jesus Higher Rally in Toronto, Ontario.

At the 2017 Lift Jesus Higher Rally, Sr. Ann Shields stressed the importance of prayer in difficult situations—and the importance of persevering in prayer, even if things only seem to get worse. She explained, “That means the enemy and God have actively engaged.”

“If any of you are feeling discouraged by something in your family, keep praying,” she said. “The light shines in the darkness, and your prayers and mine, by the grace of God, will be allowed to have an effect.”

Sr. Ann explained that those who have Christ’s light are called to bear “that light to others.”

She encouraged people to pray with confidence, and to trust that even when they don’t know what the Lord is doing, they can say to Him, “I know who You are.”

“I want you to have hope and a growing faith,” she said. “We need to be a channel of God’s light by daily prayer—crying out to God. We need to pray for ourselves and our families. Keep praying, even when you see things going in the opposite direction.

“I think one of the greatest graces God wants to give us an increase of faith. Whatever our level of faith is, God wants to increase it. God wants us to be light in the darkness. Our lives need to more clearly reflect Him . . . which we can do by honest admission of sin and frequent reconciliation.”

Faith: It’s a Decision

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This post originally appeared in Renewal Ministries’ May 2017 newsletter. You can view it here.

Scripture tells us much about faith and growing in faith. I urge you to open a concordance and look up the word “faith.” See how often the word is used, the gift that it is, and the means by which we can genuinely grow in our faith. Let faith become, in a certain sense, part of our oxygen and blood supply.

One Scriptural definition is this: “Faith is confident assurance concerning what we hope for and conviction about the things we do not see” (Heb 11:1). Let me repeat a short, true story that reveals this kind of faith:

A number of years ago, there was a woman in Minnesota. She and her husband developed a very successful frozen pizza business before such places were popular. But the beginning was not easy. No matter what she and her husband tried to do to make the business a success, it failed. One desperate day, she was out driving and praying that God would help them, when she heard a minister on the radio speaking about faith. He told people to bring everything to God—family, business, relationships, finances, etc: Bring everything to God and ask God what He wants to do. Seek His will for the situation you are bringing to Him. Don’t try to figure it out and then ask God to bless it; rather, bring it to Him first and ask Him to lead and guide you.

The woman actually pulled off to the side of the road, got out of the car, knelt down in a grassy space, and gave the business to God right then and there: “You do with it, Lord, what you think is right.”

A little while later, she drove home and found a letter saying that the government was giving them a loan available to new businesses. That was marvelous, but what was more marvelous was that they had gotten a letter the previous week saying their request had been turned down! This woman and her husband, from that point on, dedicated everything in their family and in their business to the Lord. Their faith had grown; they knew God was with them and was blessing their willingness to turn to Him in every decision they made. The business was very successful.

Fast forward to many years later: This woman was dying in a hospital, her heart was failing, and her family was around her. She saw what she described as a great light in the corner of the hospital room and asked her children if they also saw the light. That interchange went on for several days. By this time, doctors and nurses were actually kneeling in her room, because they said that the peace they experienced in taking care of her was profound.

As the end neared, she called out to her daughters again, “Don’t you see the light?” “No,” they replied. Then she looked at all of them and said, “Well, next one up bring my sunglasses!” And she died. Her faith was living, it was real, and it was applied even at the moment of death. God wants the faith of each of us to be living and active.

Why do I address the issue of faith now? The Church is literally hemorrhaging . . . people are leaving the Church all across the country. Yes, we are trying in many parishes to evangelize; we are spending ourselves to offer programs to strengthen us spiritually and bring people back to the faith of their childhood or young adulthood. All this is very, very good and necessary. But if we don’t personally grow in our faith—feeding it daily with a healthy diet—we too could drift away, as well as more of our family and friends.

In the story I just told, notice how the woman listened to the program and then did something. She got out of the car, knelt down, and dedicated everything she and her husband hoped to accomplish to Him, for His honor and glory. And God heard. He took her seriously, and their business bore fruit—not just for their family, but for the local community and the Church as well. Each of us needs to make and remake decisions to bring Him into every aspect of our lives—every aspect!

About a year ago, I was reading a book on prayer by Sister Ruth Burrows. The book contains several paragraphs that gave me food to meditate on for several weeks. Below is one of those paragraphs for your own reflection on growing in faith—a living faith!

Faith is not a thing of the mind; it is not an intellectual certainty or a felt conviction of the heart. It is a sustained decision to take God with utter seriousness as the God of my life. It is to live out each hour in a practical, concrete affirmation that God is Father and that He is “in heaven.” It is a decision to shift the center of our lives from ourselves to Him, to forgo self interest and to make his interests, his will our sole concern. Each of us has the choice either to live by faith or to live by flesh. To live by “flesh” is to live within the limits of our own perception, our own understanding, according to how things seem and feel, according to our natural experience. It is instinctive for us to live thus, taking for granted that our conscious experience is to be trusted, that it is the way things are, the way we are, the way God is—that this is our life. We want to remain on this level because it is within our grasp; it is “ours” and affords a sort of security and assurance. This is so natural to us . . . that we are unaware of how much our life is lived from self and not on faith in the Son of Man. We cannot rid ourselves of this deeply rooted pride and self-possession by our own strength. Only the Holy Spirit of the Crucified and Risen One can effect it and this He is always trying to do. But we must recognize His work, and respond “Amen.” [Sister Ruth Burrows, Essence of Prayer (Mahwah, NJ: Hidden Spring, 2006), 2].

As we, in our various parishes, seek to bring the Good News to those who have never heard it or who have left the Church for whatever reason, let’s seek to make sure that our own faith is being fed and strengthened daily—so that we may be instruments, servants, disciples of His will. Doing His will yields fruit that will be abundant beyond our hopes. May God’s Spirit inspire and lead us all to yield to His will daily.