Friday, October 24, 2014

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 10/25



From the stupid things I often do,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my lack of thought and care,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my rash and headstrong judgments,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my impetuous quick temper,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my selfishness and greed,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my ego and my pride,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my foolishness and folly,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my delusions and my fantasies,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my wasting time and effort,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my stewing in self-pity,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my indifference and my apathy,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my jealousy and envy,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From my grudges and resentments,
   deliver me, O Lord...

From all my faults deliver me
and so deliver those whose hearts and lives
are hurt and harmed by mine, Lord...

Deliver me from all my faults
and in their place give me the grace
to be 
prudent
caring
understanding
peaceable
generous
selfless
wise
truthful
earnest
grateful
compassionate
accepting
and forgiving...

Deliver me, Lord, from all my faults
and in their place give me the grace
to be faithful 
to your love...

Amen.


 

     
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 10/24

Source unknown

A Prayer For Freedom In My Heart *

Give me freedom in my heart, Lord,
when I'm feeling all locked up...

Give me freedom in my heart
when I'm walled in by my loneliness...

Give me freedom in my heart
when I'm imprisoned by my past...

Give me freedom in my heart
when anxious feelings jail my hope...

Give me freedom in my heart
when bars of fear lock down my soul...

Give me freedom in my heart
when I feel sentenced to a day,
to a night that has no end... 

Give me freedom in my heart
when I'm the one who locked my cell
and  holds the key in my own pocket...

Give me freedom in my heart
to accept your word of pardon,
your mercy and forgiveness...

Give me freedom in my heart
to become, at last, the person
you created me to be...

Receive my thanks and praise
for all the freedom that is mine, Lord,
the freedom that I find in you alone...

Amen.

* Still reflecting on what Pope Francis called for this week, I'm sharing today a new version of a prayer I wrote nearly 15 years ago when I volunteered monthly at the Essex County House of Correction. One needn't live behind bars to pray these words: we all have prisons, sometimes of our own making; we all have a jailer, sometimes ourselves...



 

   
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Pope: Abolish death penalty, life sentences


The pope who asks us to be open to God's surprises has no end of surprises for us himself!

Speaking yesterday to representatives of the International Association of Penal Law, Francis called for abolishing the death penalty and life imprisonment.


Image source



 

     
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 10/23

Image source

Getting from here to there, Lord -
that's how I need your help today:
getting from here to there...

Here is, well, you know, Lord:
here is now,
this day, this hour, this moment;
my present circumstances,
my current problems, worries and concerns;
here is this day's burdens and fears,
this hour's anxious waiting,
this moment's aching loneliness...

And there?
You know where there is, too, Lord:
there's that place that seems so far away,
a week's, a month's, a lifetime's journey
down the road,
yet there's as near
as my accepting the reality of
here,
with all its troubles,
right where I am...

There's that time and place
not years away,
not then but here and now,
if only I'd begin to live
not in all my yesterdays
or some imagined future
but in the present moment:
where I am,
where you're with me
and where with you
I've all I need
to get from here to there
for here and there 
are now in you
and in you, Lord,
is all my peace
today...

In you, Lord, 
here and now,
is all my peace,
today...

Amen.



 

     
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Word for the Weekend: OCTOBER 26



Time to ponder the scriptures we'll hear proclaimed at Mass this weekend for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Click on this link for the weekend's scripture passages and background material on them

Got kids? Then another click will take you to hints for helping children prepare to hear the Word at Mass this weekend.

The Wisdom text may be sound economically primitive in our own day but the heart of its message is as true today as it was when it was written.  The passage from Thessalonians is a continuation of that letter's salutation (the beginning of which we heard last week) and it's a gracious compliment from Paul about his readers' reputation in the faith. (Would that our faith today stood out so boldly for the world around us.) The gospel from Matthew gives us the "two great commandments," words we all know, perhaps by heart. We need to be careful lest our familiarity with them lead us to pay them insufficient attention.  To ponder these words over and over again is a virtue, not a waste of time.


 

   
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 10/22




A few of my friends are sick, Lord:
give them (and me) the grace
to accept what illness brings
even as we pray for healing...

Give us the courage we need
to live through these uncertain days...

Give us the strength we need
to take it all, one day at a time...

Give us the love we need
to trust you're with us night and day...

Some friends of mine are sick, Lord:
   hear our prayers for healing,
   for courage and for strength,
   and for love to share, day by day,
   in caring for each other...

Amen.


 

     
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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 10/21

Image source

Sometimes when I want to pray
I picture sitting with you, Lord,
on a park bench, on a fine October day:
the falling leaves, a carpet on the ground...

Sometimes we just sit there, Lord, 

just the two of us,
in a moment made holy
by the quiet...

Or I pour out my heart to you

and share my cares and worries
while you listen 
and gently wipe away my tears...

Sometimes I savor memories 

of joyful, peaceful times,
held deep within my heart,
stored up for harder days...

Sometimes I wait and listen, 

oh, how I listen,
for a word that you might whisper
from your heart to my own...

And sometimes when I listen I hear nothing 
save the silence of your presence
and often, though not always, Lord, 
that's word enough for me...

And sometimes we just sit, 

just you and me together, Lord, 
and sitting by your side
is just enough, just what I need...

I never have to wait for you:
you're always at our bench,
waiting patiently for me
and all that my heart holds...

You're never in a hurry, Lord,

you're always pleased to stay 
and pass the time for just as long
as I may like or need...

And you listen, Lord,
mid the crunch of autumn leaves,
you listen oh-so- closely, even when my silence
is the only prayer I make...

You listen close with all your heart
to every prayer that's mine:
you hear my words, my silence, Lord
and that makes all the difference...

Sometimes when I want to pray
I picture sitting with you, Lord,
on a park bench, on a fine October day:
the falling leaves, a carpet on the ground...
Find a park bench today
down the street, in a park,
in your heart, in your prayer...

The Lord is waiting there,
waiting for you to come and join him
in the quiet, in the silence, in your prayer...
He's waiting to listen 
with all his heart
for all you have to say, to pray,
and that makes all the difference...



 

   
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Monday Morning Offering: 10/20


Image: George Mendoza


Good morning, good God!

So I'm wondering, Lord,
what will I offer you today
in my Monday morning prayer...

Shall I offer you my heart
with all its ragged imperfections
and pray you do some healing
of its rough and tumble edges?

Shall I offer you my mind
and all my idle, wasteful musings
and pray your light of wisdom
illumine all my thoughts?

Shall I offer you my dreams
and all my fantasies and schemes,
and pray you bring sharp focus
to my vision and my plans?

Shall I offer you my grudges,
my resentments and my anger
and pray you mend and heal
the hurt and pain to which I cling?

Shall I offer you my envy,
my jealousy of others,
and pray you show me clearly
all the gifts I truly have?

Shall I offer you my lust,
my cravings and my greed
and pray you cleanse and purify
my longings and desires?

Shall I offer you my apathy,
my lethargy and dullness
and pray your Spirit's fire
burn afresh deep in my soul?

Shall I offer you my joy,
my contentment, all my peace
and pray I come to understand:
without you I have none?

Shall I offer you my faith
with my uncertainty and doubt
and pray for greater, deeper trust
in all that I believe?

Shall I offer you my hope 
although I haven't much to spare
and pray you give me confidence
in all you've pledged and promised?

Shall I offer you this prayer then
as another week begins
and ask that in my stumbling words
you hear what my heart speaks?

Yes, I'll offer you this litany, Lord,
my Monday morning offering
of needs and pleas and trust you'll walk
this day, this week with me... 

Amen.


 

     
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Homily for October 19


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

Audio for homily


Few are those who enjoy filling out their annual tax forms
and fewer still are those who enjoy paying taxes.
But even Jesus says that if we owe something to Caesar,
we have to pay it.
Jesus, however, doesn’t send us any forms to help us figure out
what belongs to God and how much we owe him.
Of course not.

If we ask the question, “What belongs to God?”
- the right answer is everything.
If we ask, “What do we owe God” the answer is
– well, at least a lot more than we probably want to give back!

Can you think of one thing in the universe, one thing on earth,
one thing in your home, among your possessions,
one thing in your life that truly belongs to you – and not to God?
Is there anything you and I have that, should God ask us for it,
we could legitimately say,
 “Sorry, Lord – that’s mine – you’ll have to get your own.”

Every good in our lives is a gift
- and every good gift comes from God.
Every gift from God is, if you will, on loan to us:
something for us to be grateful for, to reverence,
to use well, to share - or to give away.

And if you’re still sitting there trying to come up with
something you think of as yours
that doesn’t fit this category,
then keep in mind that even life  (your life, my life)
is a gift of God on loan to us: a gift to be grateful for,
to reverence, to use well, to share - or to give away.

So I don’t need a W-2 or a 1099 or a 1040 to figure out
what belongs to God,  what I owe God.
Everything I have, all my stuff, belongs to God 
- and I owe God - for the whole of it.

When we borrow something from a neighbor
(a rake, a special pan, a video, a tool, a book, a bike)
we can expect the neighbor to come calling
to collect what was loaned to us.
Imagine if we saw the Lord walking up our driveway,
coming by to pick up of some of the gifts he’s loaned us…
Would we turn off the lights, shush the kids,
stay away from the windows
and hope he’d think we weren’t home?
And if he knocked on the door and surprised us
would we graciously open up
and hand over what he came to claim?
Would we be embarrassed by how much of his stuff we have?
How freely would we let it go?
Would what he’d loaned us still be in good shape?
Or might it be broken, abused or lost?

Of course, we don’t have to imagine such scenes
because the Lord is always calling on us
to gratefully care for and respect, use well and share
- or to give away to others - what’s on loan to us from him.
And this is especially true for us who, as we pray every week,
 “have more than we need.”

There’s the hard part. 
Most of us do, indeed, have more than we need.
So if the Lord comes to claim some of what he gave us,
we’re still left with an abundance of goods.

It’s our tightly held sense of ownership
that keeps us from freely sharing
and giving away to others - even from our surplus.
It’s ownership that leads us to become collectors, even hoarders
of “stuff” – even when we’ve got more “stuff” than we truly need.

We’re only about two months away from Christmas.
Over the next 60 days we’ll spend a lot of our money
 (which, itself, is a gift on loan to us from God)
we’ll spend hundreds and thousands of dollars
buying more stuff for people who already have too much stuff
and who may not really want (and often don’t need) - any more stuff.
And in return, those same folks will give us more stuff
to add to the stuff we already have too much of.

What belongs to God?  Everything belongs to God.
Everything I have, everything you have,
belongs to God and is on loan to us:
all gifts to be grateful for, to reverence, to use well,
to share - or to give away.

When the Pharisees handed Jesus that Roman coin, he asked them,
“Whose image is on this and whose inscription?”
And they answered, “Caesar’s.”

Jesus might well ask you or me
to hand him something, anything we have
and ask us, “Whose image is on this and whose inscription?”
And whether it’s marked or not, we could truthfully reply,
 “Everything I have bears your image, Lord,
because everything I have is your gift to me.
And everything I have bears your inscription, Lord,
because it’s all on loan to me.”

For weal or for woe, even the dollar bills in my pocket
bear the inscription, “In God We Trust.”

No one understood this divine economy better than Jesus
who considered everything he had, including his life
- a gift to be shared.
In the Eucharist, his Body is broken for us in Bread,
his Blood poured for us from the Cup.
In the sacrament of the altar he is shared,
given away again and again, for others, for all, for you and for me.

Jesus didn’t sit down with some forms
to figure out how much of himself he was going to give us.
He owed us nothing but he gave his all for us,
withholding nothing, though we deserved not a thing.

When the Lord comes to claim even some
of all he has given us on loan,
may we freely and gratefully hand back to him
all that is his.


 

     
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 10/19

Image: Turkey Feathers
This poem has a simple peace to calm the harried heart 
and wisdom to slow and pace the hurried step...


The Patience of Ordinary Things
by Pat Schneider

It is a kind of love, is it not?
How the cup holds the tea,
How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,
How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes
Or toes. How soles of feet know
Where they're supposed to be.
I've been thinking about the patience
Of ordinary things, how clothes
Wait respectfully in closets
And soap dries quietly in the dish,
And towels drink the wet
From the skin of the back.
And the lovely repetition of stairs.
And what is more generous than a window?

"The Patience of Ordinary Things" by Pat Schneider
  in Another River: New and Selected Poems.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

For today's Pause for Prayer, spend some time with Pat Schneider's poem and then just look around you to find and be grateful to God for the patience of ordinary things...  Here are some ordinary things for whose patience I'm grateful... 

For the patience of time healing my wounds,
for the patience of tears bathing my pain,
for the patience of mercy forgiving old sins,

I give you praise and thanks, Lord...

For the patience of days keeping me going,

for the patience of growth when I'm dragging my foot,
for the patience of time biding my hurry,
I give you thanks and praise, Lord...

For the patience of morning waiting my rising,
for the patience of night to end my long day,
for the patience of sleep awaiting my rest,
I give you praise and thanks, Lord...

For the patience of others bruised by my faults,
for the patience of those who wait for my care,
for the patience of any whom I have offended,
I give you thanks and praise, Lord...

For the patience of those who forgive and forget,
for the patience of friends who put up with my quirks,
for the patience of those with whom I'm impatient,
I give you praise and thanks, Lord...

For the patience that's yours when I put off my prayer,
for the patience you show as you wait on my words,
for the gift of your grace ever patient with me,
I give you thanks and praise, Lord...

Amen.





     
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