Pause for Prayer: 8/1/15

The first day of August - already?  

Too soon!

Summertime's slipping away 
   and August's debut 
      rudely intrudes on a season 
         I love so much...

Still, this is the day the Lord has made:
   August 1, 2015...

And this day's unique 
   in the whole of my life,
   in the lives of my friends,
   in humankind's history
   and, indeed, unique 
      in the mind of God...

This day has never dawned before
   - and it will never come again:
August 1, 2015
   a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

What would you have me make of this day, Lord?
What would you have me do - or not do?
What would you have me embrace - or set free? 
Where would you have me go - or not go?
How would you have me spend this day,
   August 1, 2015?

How might I make this a better day
   for all the people whose paths cross mine?
How might I mend in the day at hand
   the mistakes I made just a day ago?
What might I do today, Lord,
   to prepare for a peaceful tomorrow?

And, Lord -
   what will you do in my life, today: 
      August 1, 2015?

Open me up to all the ways  
   your Spirit will move within me this day:
      in my mind, in my conscience, 
      in my heart, in my soul,
      and in all of my words and my deeds.
Open me, Lord, to all the ways
   you'll move in my life today...

This is the day you've made, O Lord,
   August 1, 2015:
      help me rejoice and be glad in this day,
      help me spend this day in your peace
      - and come to its end in your grace...



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Not in some or many things, but in all things!

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius (1491-1556).  A key concept in Ignatian spirituality is the work of discernment, of finding God in all things.

Four centuries later this would be echoed in the work and writing of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955), a Jesuit paleontologist:

It's sometimes easier to find God
in a rain drop or in a beautiful sunset
than in one another. 

It may be easier to find God
in things and people we like
than in things and people we don't like. 

The task is to find God
in all of our brothers and sisters
and in all of creation. 

Where have I found God today?
In whom, in what,
have I had a hard time finding God today?

Will I gather with others this Sunday to find God
in his people? 
in his Word?
in the Bread and Cup of the Lord's Table?

Find God in all things...


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On the feast of St. Ignatius: a prayer in song...

Art by Maria Laughlin

Today is the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyala, the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). "Take Lord, Receive" is John Foley's musical setting of one of St. Ignatius' most well known texts.


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 7/31

Saw some of these signs on the highway today
and I wondered, Lord,
if you wouldn't mind placing some signs like these
on the sides of my life's path...

There will always be bumps
- some big, some small -
but if only you'd give me a warning, a hint,
a clue of what lies ahead...

A sign to caution me,
warn and advise me
that trouble's ahead,
a bump in the road,
all set to upset
the smooth ride I'm on...

Just a sign to slow
my pace and my hurry,
my waste-making haste,
my rushing and speeding
and failing to see
the bumps ahead on my path...

And sometimes it's you, Lord,
who put the bumps there,
speed bumps for slowing me down
and giving me:
   time to rest
     and renew my strength;
   time to be mindful
      of those around me;
   time to be faithful
      to you in prayer;
   time to rest
      and ponder with care
      the journey I'm on
      and why I'm rushing,
      and tripping and falling
      on bumps in the road
      - getting nowhere fast...

So, just slow me down, Lord:
big bumps or small,
I know there will always be some...

Just slow me down
to make the time
to be mindful of you,
my neighbor, myself
and the road I'm traveling
home to you...


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Word for the Weekend: August 2

Image source

This first weekend in August brings us to the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

(Recall that in this stretch of the Sunday scriptures in Year B, the lectionary sets aside Mark for five weeks and offers us passages from the "Bread of Life Discourse" in John's gospel.)

"Bread from heaven" is the image that connects the story of manna in the desert (in today's first lesson from Exodus) with Jesus naming himself as the bread of life in the gospel pericope from John.

The second reading is from Ephesians and invites us to put away our old selves and our former ways of life and to put on a new person, created in God's grace. Wouldn't that be great to be able to "take off" our old selves and bad habits as if we were taking off a coat and putting on a new coat of goodness and truth? That's Ephesians' invitation this week.

Check here for the scripture texts and background material on them and here for tips to help children prepare to hear the Word this weekend.


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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 7/29

Image source

Like Butter

The morning sun pours
through open windows,
warming my legs
and loosening my limbs...

Your golden mercy softens me
like butter set for baking:
your recipe to make of me
much more than I have been...

As butter into batter,
fold me deep
in your embrace:
in the heat of midday sun,
melt and soften me
and fold me in your arms,
sweet Jesus man!

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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 7/29

At Holy Family Parish in Concord,
a seat has been reserved for you:
this Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
and on Sunday at 8:00 and 10:30 a.m.

In all other areas: check your local listings!


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 7/28

Yarmouth - photo by Mark Penta

This summer, Lord, one night,
let me linger on the beach at dusk
to moonbathe while the sky's still blue,
before the stars come out to play...

Let me hear the tide's soft wash
when all the children have gone home
and put away their pails and shovels
for another sunny day...

Let my toes enjoy the moist cool kiss
of sand beneath my step
and leave a trail of twilight dreams
to mark the path of summer's grace...

Let a warm breeze brush my face
to let me know how near you are:
how softly falls your touch
upon my heart and in my soul...

Let the moonlight shine
on frothy waves
tracing lacy fans upon the shore
and teasing me to step a little closer...

Just once this summer, Lord,
let me linger on the beach at dusk
to moonbathe while the sky's still blue,
before the stars come out to play...


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Monday Morning Offering: JULY 27

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

Today I come to offer you my faults, for healing,
 and to pray you'll challenge me to grow...

   I offer you all my lame excuses, Lord:
      challenge me to honesty with others and myself...

   I offer you my selfishness:
      challenge me to watch for and respond to others' needs...

   I offer you my jealousy:
      challenge me to gratitude for what's already mine...

   I offer you my laziness:
      challenge me and kick-start me to finally get a move on...

   I offer you my wastefulness:
      challenge me to prudently conserve and not misuse...

   I offer you my greed for much more than I need:
      challenge me to sacrifice, restraint and moderation...

   I offer you my lustful heart:
      challenge me to center on what's clean and pure and true...

   I offer you my prejudice:
      challenge me to fairness and to just, impartial insight...
   I offer you my self-pity:
      challenge me to mindfulness and honest self-acceptance... 

   I offer you my vanity and pride:
      challenge me to modesty, self-knowledge and humility...

   And I offer you my angry, hasty words and thoughtless deeds:
      challenge me to patience, discretion and serenity...

I offer you my faults, Lord, and pray you'll challenge me
   with truth, with grace, with wisdom
      and with your healing, saving word...



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Homily for July 26

The Feeding of the 5,000 by Daniel Bonnell

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

Audio for homily

I think all of us, at least from time to time,
like to “get away from it all,”
and this is just one more way that Jesus reveals to us
how much his humanity is like our own.
He’s been busy performing “signs” on the sick,
and he wants to get away
so he gathers a few friends together, crosses the Sea of Galilee
and then hikes up a mountain.

But when he sits down to rest and enjoy the view,
he sees a large crowd making their way up the slope
- and they’re coming to see him!

Well, like a good host, his first thought is:
 “What can we give them to eat? How we going to feed them all?”
Of course, back then there was no BJ’s around the corner
and that’s about what you’d need to supply so many people.
So, Jesus takes the 5 barley loaves and 2 fish at hand
and performs another “sign” and feeds them all.

Unfortunately, the gospel doesn’t give us any more details
about how this took place, or what it looked like,
or what the people did or didn’t see happening.
But what we can’t loose sight of here is what we do know:
we do know that all these people hiked up a mountain
because they were hungry for JESUS.
They had no idea that lunch was going to be served.
Their hunger for Jesus and his message was so great
they were willing to follow him to a place
where they had no reason to think
any food would be available or provided for them.

The people’s hunger for Jesus
is what we need to pay attention to here.
And his feeding all these people is just what the gospel tells us it is:
a sign, a sign of something else, a sign of the Lord’s desire
to satisfy the hungers of the human heart.

Our coming here today, to this Mass,
is our “going up the mountain.”
As we go up the mountain towards Jesus,
do we know what it is for which we hunger most deeply:
the “hunger pains” we feel in our hearts when we’re alone,
when we’re hurt, estranged, discouraged, grieving, lost…
When we’re wondering “What’s life all about, anyway?”

Do we believe, do we have even a hunch, an intuition – a hope –
that it’s Jesus who’s the only one
who can satisfy our hungry hearts?

Do we believe that even today,
2,000 years after the scene in the gospel,
that even today Jesus is waiting for us, watching us approach,
and that he desires to feed us, to nourish us,
to satisfy our hungry longing and slake our thirst for peace?

Do we believe that Jesus is with us here, today, among us:
speaking to us in his word, praying with us in our prayer,
offering himself for us on this altar
– as he did once on the Cross;
feeding us at his table
- as once he fed so many on the mountain?

Did we bring our hearts’ deepest hungers with us today?
Do we believe, do we want to believe, do we hope
that Jesus and his Word might satisfy, can satisfy, will satisfy
what no one and nothing else seems able to fill in our lives?
I believe we DO believe these things:
that we come here every Sunday
looking for more than the eye can see
and leaving here strengthened in faith,
comforted and challenged, healed and fed - by Jesus.

(On the audio widget above, 
you can hear us singing this song)
1) In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus...
    Give me Jesus, give me Jesus:
        you can have all this world, give me Jesus.
2) And when I am alone, give me Jesus...
3) Oh, and when I come to die, give me Jesus...


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