Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 9/1

Lake Quannapowitt: photo by Steve Pressley

Before the end of day, Lord,
help me make the time
and lead me to a place
where you might still the waters of my life,
calm my fears
and give me rest

in the peace that's only yours to give...

Be the still point of my spinning world,
the center of my heart,
the place wherein I find that peace
where I find you and know

that you've found me...

In chaos and in calm,
in rage and in relief,
in turmoil and tranquility:
make your dwelling place within me,
your home within my heart

at the center of my being...

Help me make the time
and lead me to a place
where I might swim the waters of your mercy,
refreshed by peace in mind and heart,

restored by your good grace...

Today, Lord, gently touch

the troubled waters of my life
and still them with a calm
that settles deep within my soul...



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Monday Morning Offering: 8/31

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza

(Labor Day, still a week away, is neither the end of warm days nor the actual beginning of fall.  Still, in American culture, so many things begin to change as August ends and a new school year begins. Thus, today's Pause for Prayer...)

Good morning, good God!

As the sun sets a little sooner every evening,
Labor Day's horizon eclipsing these august days,
I'm wondering, Lord:
why must good times come to an end?

Good times come too seldom
(or so it often seems)
and when they do they're here but briefly
- and then too quickly gone...

And as wonderful as memories are,
they are memories,
nothing less - but nothing more...

Why, Lord, must good times
have an end?
Why are memories not enough?
Why is promise of the fall's leaf-filtered beauty
not enough today to surrender
summer’s warmth and pace and peace?

Of seasons there are four, they say,
but I know a hundred seasons more,
just in my life alone:
seasons of peace, seasons of pain;
seasons of sadness, seasons of gain;
seasons of sunlight, seasons of rain;
seasons of comfort, seasons of strain;
seasons of planting, seasons of grain;
seasons of waiting for a season to come
to break the seasons’ chain…

So many seasons, Lord…

And letting go of summer is not easy…

I know I should be grateful for the fall:
your gentle preparation
of everyone and everything
for the dying
winter always brings...

Still, letting go of summer is not easy...

You know the seasons better than I, Lord,
and no season changes,
around me or within me,
but that you know first 
how those very changes 
will change me...

Be with me, Lord,
in all the seasons of my life
and be with me in between
when moving from one season to the next
is itself another season to abide...

Help me let go the summer's passing on,
slipping from the calendar,
slipping from my nights and days...

Take my offered heart
and open me to all the changes
in the weeks and months ahead…

Make me gentle with the season's change
and with the hearts of those around me,
those whose paths cross mine today...

I offer you my seasoned heart:
you are the source of all the strength I need
to live this day and every day this week
edging now towards Labor Day,
a season's new beginning...

Be my guide, O Lord, 
and walk me from the summer into fall,
walk me through this season’s change…



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Stephen Colbert

Well, this is a first: I'm inviting you to link to GQ!

Joel Lovell's cover story on Stephen Colbert is what I want to share with you.

It's a lengthy article and although the most compelling portion is toward the end, you'll need to read the whole piece to truly appreciate the conclusion.  I hope you'll take the time.  I doubt that you'll be disappointed.


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Homily for August 30

Image source

Homily for the Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

I can’t help but think that if James were writing to us today
that instead of saying,
 “Be doers of the word and not hearers only.”
that he would have written instead,
 “Be doers of the word and not posters only.”

If you’re on FaceBook or Pinterest or Twitter, or read a blog or two,
you know how often people post scripture verses
and religious and spiritual quotes.
But just as it’s not sufficient simply to hear the word, to listen to it,
neither is it enough to post it online.

What we’re called to is doing the Word of God.
And “doing the word” is almost always much more difficult
than hearing it or reading it – or posting it online.

• The word of the Lord tells us to “Love one another”
– beautiful words to hear
but we who gather in the shadow of the crucified Jesus,
we know the depth of love we owe one another,
especially those we’ve hurt or offended,
-and- those against whom we hold a grudge.

• We’re often encouraged to  “Practice random acts of kindness”
but the word of the Lord calls us far beyond random generosity
to be ready to lay down our lives for others
in serving our neighbor.

• The word of the law doesn’t just call us to “Avoid conflict.”
but rather calls us to be make peace: reconciling with one another,
forgiving those who have hurt us,
and reconciling with God when we’ve sinned.

• The word of the Lord asks more of us than, “Play fair.”
God’s word calls us to do what is just,  and to confront injustice
especially when it shackles the poor and the marginalized.

• The word of the Lord calls us to choose life
– but not only to choose it
but to reverence life and to respect, protect and defend life
in all its shapes and forms, wherever we find it.

Be doers of the word and not hearers only… 
We can be sure we’ve heard the word the Lord
when that word confronts us and challenges us;
when it upsets life as we know it and demands more of us
than we may be ready to willingly give.
And once we’ve heard the word of the Lord
we responsible for bringing it to bear on all aspects of our lives.           

• How do I “do” the word of the Lord in my family life?
in my marriage? in raising my children? in respecting my parents?
How do I do the word of the Lord as a pastor in my parish?
How do I do  the word of the Lord where I work?
in business?  at school? 
in my relationships in my neighborhood and social circles?

• How do I “do” the word of the Lord in forming my conscience
In my personal choices and decisions?
In my finances? in my charitable giving?
In how I share my gifts and talents?

• How do I “do” the word of the Lord in my free time?  
in my dreams and fantasy? in the entertainment I choose?

• How do I “do” the word of the Lord in my politics?
in the voting booth?

• How do I “do” the word of the Lord in my own prayer,
as I stand before God who gives me his word, his law,
as a gift of his wisdom to save me
from my own selfishness and foolishness?

James, and Jesus in the gospel today, remind us
that each of us can be defiled     by what comes out of us,
what comes from our hearts,
that from within us might come
evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed,
malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance and folly.

That’s quite a list!
Not something you want to mention in polite company!
But all of us, in our human frailty, to greater or lesser degrees,
all of us have the potential for just these things –
in thought, if not in deeds
What will preserve us from them is precisely what James counsels:
doing the word of the Lord – and not just hearing it.

To help examine ourselves in this regard,
each of us might look back at the week just past and ask ourselves,
 “How, last week, did I do more than hear the word of the Lord?
How, last week, did I do the word of the Lord.
How, last week, did doing the word of the Lord
make a difference in my life
and in the lives of those around me?”

That’s last week.
And it’s not too early to begin thinking about the week ahead…

Every time we gather to celebrate Mass, in a very concrete fashion,
we DO what the word of the Lord,
we do what the Lord asked of us.
We come together in faith and prayer.
We listen to his word in scripture.
We take bread and wine, we bless, break and share these gifts,
remembering that Jesus asked us to do just this
on the night before he gave his life for us on the Cross.

May the nourishment of Christ’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist,
may the sacrifice of praise we offer at this altar,
make of us all doers of the word – and not hearers only.


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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 8/30

Get right in my face today, Lord,
   and look me in the eye!

Be obvious - not subtle.
Block my path - don't let me miss you.
Speak out loud and not in whispers.

Let me clearly hear your voice
   so I won't miss a word you say...
Grab me by my shoulder
   and point me where you know I need to go...

Give me all the guts and grit I need
   to take the step I need to take,
   to do the next right thing
    - and not look back in doubt and fear...

If I slow down, Lord, or fuss or stall
   then kick me in the butt
   and get me moving once again...

Make a difference in my day, Lord,
   and help me make a difference
      in the lives of those around me.



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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 8/29

Photo by John McGinty

My friend John McGinty blogs at BothSidesNow (see the blogroll on my sidebar) and offers there a powerful reflection on his experience of just a few days ago, arriving at his home on Job's Pond in Portland, CT.  Here's a brief excerpt from John's reflection, followed by my Pause for Prayer:
Forty minutes ago I arrived at Job’s Pond. I got out of the car and just breathed. Blue cloud-marked sky. Green grass. Quiet waters of the pond. Absolute silence. Just the kind of moment I love. Just the kind of moment I need much of the time.

But tonight it is different...  Everything felt different. What was it?

Ah! Obviously. It is the first time this year that I have felt the summer slipping away, pulling away from the dock and beginning the trek to wherever summers spend their winters. That must be somewhere deep in the heart of God...

I grieve these hints of summer's end
stirring in my heart of hearts,
long before the leaves begin to turn...

Summer is slipping away...

And there's nothing I can do to stop her!
Nothing I can do to slow her pace,
her journey to wherever summers go
to spend the wintertime...

I can't hold summer back
but I do know where she's going:
heading home to rest
where she was born,
deep in the heart of God...

My journey is no different, Lord:
I'm always heading home,
home to where sweet summer goes,
the place where I was born,
deep in the heart of God...

So, give me peace, I pray, Lord,
as seasons change and I reach out
to hold what can't be held
until I'm home again 
and you hold me forever
in that season of your love
when summer never slips away...



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Back to School this week?

Many students and their teachers have already returned to school but some will be heading back to the classroom this coming week - as is the case in my own parish.

Here's a collection of prayers for students, parents of students, teachers and empty-nesters!


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 8/28

The Outer Banks: photo by Fran O'Brien


Whatever happens around me today,
whatever goes on inside me:
may your light dawn soft upon my heart
and your Spirit calm my troubled soul...
Let a silence, a stillness within
run deep and keep me strong
whatever my fears may be...

Let your light come to pierce
any cloudy darkness that lies
in the day and night ahead...

Let peace find its home in my heart:
the peace, O Lord,
that's only yours to give...
Whatever may happen around me,
whatever the turmoil within me,
may your light dawn soft upon my heart
and your Spirit calm my troubled soul...



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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 8/27

Sometimes, Lord...

Sometimes I find I worry
   for nothing,
for nothing is all that worry can do...

Sometimes I find that yesterday's fears
   were tamed
while I slept through the night...

Sometimes I find I've somehow
last week's unsolvable problems...

Sometimes I find I've forgotten, Lord,
   that all shall be well,  yes, all shall be well,
that all manner of things shall be well...

Sometimes I find I forget that you're with me
   so, please, Lord,
help me remember...



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