Friday, October 31, 2014

Pause for Prayer: ALL SAINTS DAY 11/1


Today is All Saints Day,
   a day to remember all those faithful men and women
      who don't have their own day on the church calendar
         but who are with God in heaven...

Who are the saints?

Saints are simply people who pay attention:
   who pay attention to the presence of God in their hearts
      and to God's presence in the lives of others
         at home, at school, at work, in the neighborhood,
            and the poor and vulnerable around the world...

Saints are people who pay attention,
   their whole attention, with their mind and heart and soul...

Saints are people who pay attention to being honest and faithful,
   fair and just, loyal and trustworthy, pure and compassionate...

Saints are people who pay attention to their own faults,
   who make amends for their sins and who forgive others...

Saints are people who pay attention to the consequences
   of their habits, choices, decisions, spending and politics...

Saints are people who pay attention to the needs of others
   before taking care of their own...

Saint are people who know the difference between paying attention
   and not paying attention...

Saints are people who pay attention
   even when no one else does...

Lord, help me pay attention
   and help me be a saint this day...


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Costumes and masks

Image source

It's All Hallows' Eve, a night for costumes and masks
and, like every evening, a night to pray...

help me not worry 
about my everyday costumes:
clothes don't make the man
and clothes don't make the woman...

It's how our hearts are dressed 
that makes us who we are...

Help me take off all the masks I wear
that hide from others (and myself)
the person you created me to be...

Help me find the goodness you see, Lord, 
behind our costumes and our masks:
help me find us as you've made us
and love what I might find...



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Litany of the Saints for All Saints Day

Image source

In anticipation of All Saints Day tomorrow, here are four versions of the Litany of the Saints.  The first is the popular John Becker version; the second is composed by Matt Maher; the third is the traditional chant litany sung in Latin and the last is prayerfully tongue-in-cheek, from Gilbert and Sullivan via SaintCast.


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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Word for the Weekend: ALL SOULS DAY 11/2

Image by Ira Thomas

On the liturgical calendar, this Sunday, November 2, is the Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls Day).

The lectionary allows for any of the scriptures from the Masses for the Dead to be used on All Souls Day so the readings proclaimed may vary from parish to parish.  It's likely, however, that many parishes will choose the three suggested on the USCCB website and linked here, along with brief commentary on the texts.  Bringing kids to church with you? Here are some hints for helping them prepare to the word this Sunday.


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 10/31


I wonder how many times,
I lost myself in foolishness
and missed you at my side...

I wonder how many times,
I didn't hear the word you spoke
just for me to hear...

I wonder how many times,
I didn't see your hand reach out
to take my hand in yours...

I wonder how many times,
I turned away
when you were showing me the way...

I wonder how many times,
I missed your company
when I felt all alone...

I wonder how many times,
I told a lie
when your truth was in my heart...

I wonder how many times,
I chose myself
before tending others' needs...

I wonder how many times,
I was too much in a hurry
to speak to you in prayer...

I wonder how many times,
I missed the simplest signs
of your presence all around...

How many times, Lord?

Too many times, I fear
and so I pray that unlike yesterday
I'll see you, hear you,
take your hand,
follow you and find you,
live your truth and care for you
in caring for my neighbor...

I ask you for your help
to pace my step, to pause in prayer
and find you in the simple ways
you show your face to me...



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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 10/30

I watch a leaf, falling from its branch,
   skittering here and there,
      dancing down the street
         at the wind's own whim and will...

I walk and I begin to follow that one leaf:
   it dawdles and it pokes along, then of a sudden,
      with surprising lift, it leaps - a jeté -
         sprung of spirit my soul longs and thirsts for...

I am that leaf, Lord, 
   often stalled or stilled upon the grassy path
      and sometimes skipping all about 
         as if I held a secret I just couldn't wait to share...
I am that leaf, Lord, 
   and your Spirit's the wind beneath my wings 
      to give me flight and
         gently set me down to rest...

I am that leaf, Lord:
   without your breath I'd have no life, no power
      to rise above what keeps me down,
         to fly beyond what holds me back...
I am that leaf, Lord:
   I call for you to lift me up,
      to raise me out of sorrow's depths
         to joy I know is found in you alone...

When your wind begins to give me flight
   let nothing weigh so heavy on my heart
      that I should fail and fall
         and miss your Spirit's wing...

I am that leaf, Lord, and you're the wind I need
   to breathe, to dance, to run, to play, 
      to live and make my way with grace
         along this path of mine...

In the quiet of my prayer 
   and in the power of your Spirit,
      lift me up and carry me along
         to where you guide my soul to fly this day...

In the stillness, Lord, help me recall
   the days and ways you've carried me 
      when I've not guessed or known 
         the source of all my strength...

In my prayer, Lord, help me see
   your Spirit's been my breath, my life, 
      and most of all my hope when I have been
         that lonely leaf, falling from its branch...


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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 10/28

Source: Thundafunda

For your divine imagination
I thank you, Lord,
for your playful wisdom shaping earth,
the seasons and their beauty...

It's a grace to know your plan
for shorter days and autumn chill
to sap the summer's chlorophyll
from leafy, shady boughs...

A gift of longer nights,
these hidden hues reveal
your hand in every branch,
waving blessings on the breeze...

And fall's light filtered now
through leaves aglow as if
you burned within them,
afire with your Spirit's warmth...

I see revealed in summer's loss,
in each tree's seasoned change,
your glory: gold and russet
purple patched and crimson crowned...

When my hope fades, Lord,
paint my soul in autumn hues,
illumined with that light
whose only source is you...

I offer you my thanks today
for every leaf that sighs
and falls and pads the path
I wander in your grace...


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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Monday Morning Offering: 10/27

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

Today my heart is filled with joy,
more joy than Monday morning usually brings!

For the joy of faith in you,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy your Spirit brings,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of your peoples' love,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of trusting your word,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of rest in your arms,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of faithful friends,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of simple things,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of a day well spent,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of your grace in my life,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of promises kept,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy your mercy offers,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of starting again,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of living a day at a time,
I praise you, Lord!

For the joy of giving you thanks,
I praise you, Lord!

For joy that calms my fears,
for joy that eases worries,
for joy that heals old wounds,
for joy that mends my heart,
for joy that feeds my faith,
for joy that brings me peace,
for the joy that trusts all shall be well,
I praise and thank you, Lord!

And for joy that has no words
I thank you, Lord,
and offer you this joyful song of praise:

Praise His Holy Name by The Delphian Chorale on Grooveshark

Praise His Holy Name
Keith Hampton (b.1957)

Sing till the power of the Lord come down.
Shout Hallelujah! Praise His Holy name!

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see.
Jesus, Jesus, how I love Thee! Shout Hallelujah!
Praise his Holy name!

Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free?
No, there's a cross for ev'ryone and there's a cross for me.
Jesus, Jesus, how I love Thee! Shout Hallelujah!
Praise His Holy Name!

Holy Jesus, praise his name!
Hallelujah! Praise His Holy Name!
Let us Praise His Name, Hallelujah, Lord!
Praise His Holy Name! Hallelujah Oh, oh-
Praise High Holy Name!
Praise Him!


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Homily for October 26

Photo by CP

Homily for the Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time 
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

Ten years ago this weekend while all of Boston was still celebrating
the Red Sox winning the World Series for the first time in 86 years,
the Catholic community of Concord was gathering in this church
to celebrate its first Masses as Holy Family Parish.

The people of Our Lady Help of Christians Parish in West Concord
and the people St. Bernard Parish in Concord center
came together to celebrate the Supper Jesus left us
on the night before he died.

The first scripture reading that weekend was taken from Ezekiel:
a passage in which the Lord tells the prophet to take two sticks
and to write on one the name of Judah and all the Israelites of his tribe
and on the other the name of Joseph and all those of his tribe.
The Lord then instructed Ezekiel 
to hold the sticks together and told him,
I will take the stick of Joseph and join it to the stick of Judah
and they shall be one in my hand.
They shall live by my statutes, carefully observing my decrees,
and I will make a covenant of peace with them.
My dwelling place shall be with them:
I will be their God and they shall be my people.

So, in my homily that weekend, ten years ago,
I took these two sticks and labeled them:
one, for the tribe of Our Lady Parish;
the other for the tribe of St. Bernard Parish.

And I tied them together and placed them over the baptismal font,
a reminder of the waters that welcomed each of us
as members of the one tribe of Jesus, of his Body, the Church.

And as the pastor of Holy Family Parish I called us, in the Lord’s name,
to become one people, one parish, in Christ.

Ten years later, the Lord drops by, in the scriptures,  
to see how his Concord tribe is doing on their anniversary.

He won’t be looking at our two sticks to see if they’re still tied together
but rather, as in the words from the Book of Exodus today,
he'll inquire about how we have welcomed one another
and how we’ve welcomed new comers over a decade
and especially, how have we welcomed and reached out to those in need.

He'll inquire about our generosity in giving to others
and our compassion for those in need.

We can report that our Special Events Committee
and our Service and Justice Committee 
and St. Vincent de Paul Society have been very active
in welcoming and serving others. 

But the Lord looks closely and he will likely find that many of us
hold back and still have more than we need,
that we hold on to our surplus even as others go without.
The Lord hears the cry of the poor:
do we?

But it’s in the gospel, the Lord asks the really tough questions
in our 10 year review.
And again, the inquiry here isn’t about sticks or structures
but rather, it’s about our hearts.

In the gospel Jesus reminds us that it all comes down to two things:
loving God – with everything we have (heart, soul and mind)
and loving our neighbor – as much as we love ourselves.
Everything, he says, all laws depend on these two commandments.

How watchful and wary we should be, then, of love’s enemies
and not be misled into thinking that love’s greatest enemy is hate.
If only it were that simple:  hate is so easy to spot.

But the real enemies of love are less obvious
and more subtle than hate.

Love’s greatest enemies are realities in our daily lives.
Realities such as envy and jealousy,  apathy and spite,   
prejudice and pride, stubbornness and contempt,
suspicion and mistrust,
anger stewing, and resentments closely held.

These enemies of love live in our hearts, in our relationships,
in our families, in our neighborhoods
and in our tribe, in our parish, too.

And these have no legitimate place in the lives of us
who belong to the tribe of Christ’s Body, the Church, in Concord.

So the symbolic joining together of the two sticks, held in one hand,
is simply that: symbolic.
• What counts is what lives in our hearts.
• What counts is our outreach to those in need.
• What counts is how we welcome all who come
seeking Jesus and the gospel.
•What counts is how we love God and how we love our neighbor,
remembering that everything else,
all rules and regulations and structures
depend on these two commandments as given by Jesus
and handed down to us through millennia of wise teaching.

So, there is very little room here this day for self-congratulation.

The symbol of the two sticks joined is only as strong
as how generously our parish serves those in need.

The joining of the two sticks is only as meaningful
as the ways we invite one another and newcomers
to share and join in the life we have.

The holding of those two sticks in one hand, the Lord’s hand
is what makes of us a tribe of Christ’s Body, his Church.

And the beauty of the symbol of the two sticks joined
is only as deep as the love we have for God and for one another.

There’s another image here,
in God’s dwelling place, this church,   
another image of two sticks joined - and that is the Cross.
And what but the very Body of Christ brings unity
to the two beams that make the Cross.

And so it is with us.

In the love offered us in the suffering and death of Christ
we find the life we seek in faith.
From the wood of the Cross to the wood of this altar
comes the life that is ours in Jesus.

So pray with me on this tenth anniversary of Holy Family Parish.

Pray that Christ hold the sticks of our lives in his hand
and free us more and more every day
to be his tribe, to be his people,
and to grow in our love of God – and one another.


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