6/25/17

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 6/25

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You know all my working parts, Lord,
you're familiar with each one:
you know all my moving parts,
you're the master of them all...

You know all my broken parts,
the tired, worn out pieces,
the parts of my life waiting
for retooling and repairing...

You know the parts I haven't nurtured,
the ones I haven't tended,
the parts in need of mending,
the ones that ache for healing...

You know the parts I just ignore,
and the ones I don't acknowledge,
the parts I won't embrace
but need to work on and accept...

You know the cheap parts I've installed,
poor replacements for the real,
not equal to the genuine
that only you can give...

You know the parts that work quite well
(the ones I often take for granted)
the parts you made for me alone,
for which I owe you all the praise...

You know all my working parts, Lord,
you're familiar with each one:
the hardware and the software
of what makes me who I am...

Tune the parts that make me
who you first made me to be
and restore, rebuild, replace the parts
in need of your repair...

Be merciful and gentle
when you touch my hidden parts:
the broken ones within my heart
and deep within my soul...

With my broken, rusty parts, Lord,
I always need your help:
your work on me is never done,
there's always more to do...

So with all the parts that make me
who I am and want to be,
make me patient with each one of them
as you, Lord, are with me...

Amen.


 

     
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6/24/17

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 6/24


Photo by Jen Schiller in SC

When the sun sets on this day, Lord,
when your glory paints the ocean silver blue,
when the clouds begin to wisp away before the darkness settles in,
when evening breezes stir and bend tall grass along the shore
     - what kind of day will I have left behind, Lord?

What words of mine will echo in the hearts of friends and foes?
What help will I have given, freely, to someone deep in need?
What smiles will I have shared
   with those who quietly weep for hope?'
What truth will I have spoken
    in healing, grace and mercy?
What peace will I have made
   in my family's broken circle?
What price will I have paid
   in keeping true to my beliefs?
What love will then be mine
   because I've walked this day with you?

When the sun sets on this day, Lord,
when your glory paints the ocean silver blue,
when the clouds begin to wisp away before the darkness settles in,
when evening breezes stir and bend tall grass along the shore
     - what kind of day will I have left behind, Lord,
           what kind of day?

 

   
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6/23/17

Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 6/23

Photo by CP

Approaching the bridge on my morning walk
you surprised me, Lord,
with a fragrance I hadn't noticed yesterday
or the day before...

For a moment I thought:
you saved this for today!

But the fragrance came from lilac trees
whose branches now for two days past
had given shade and shelter
to my pausing here and to my prayer,
to my encounter with your presence
in the waters rushing by...

I want to breathe you in, Lord,
until your scent, your breath,
become my own...

I'd heard you in the rapids' rush,
I'd seen you in the foamy flow,
now I've inhaled you:
the scent of sanctity, thick upon the air,
near the corner of 8th and Taos
in Georgetown, Colorado....

Amen.

Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children,
and walk in love, just as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering...
- Ephesians 5:2


 

     
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6/21/17

Pause for Prayer: THANKFUL THURSDAY

 

I'm visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Georgetown Colorado.
A morning walk takes me across a small bridge over these rapids,
runoff from winter's snow in higher elevations...
"Springs of water, bless the Lord!"  (Daniel 3:77)

Thank you, Lord, for rushing streams
alive, your Spirit's power
flowing free in whitecapped glee,
rolling, tumbling, spilling over
seeking deeper waters,
downstream, far away...

Thank you, Lord, for melting snow,
the last of winter's frost and freeze
vanishing in spring's warm thaw
and giving up the ghost, a holy end,
a gift for all who cross this bridge
and stop to say a prayer...

Thank you, Lord, for time to walk,
to pause and ponder all your gifts,
for time to talk with you
and bare my soul,
to listen for your voice in waters
running swift with grace and joy...

Amen.




 

   
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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 6/21

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Here's a little easy listenin' music
for catchin' up with the Lord this summer...




Texting with God
 

     
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6/20/17

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 6/20

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In my part of the world, school is out and kids are beginning their summer vacation. I remember childhood summers that seemed to have no horizon: a time and place as close to heaven as any young heart might ever dream.  A child’s summer joy comes, I'm sure, a gift from God: a taste of timelessness, a promise of perpetual play, a season of sun and unending  joy. Only God might offer such a gift! Oh, but where have those childhood summers gone? Have I lost my hope in summer's promise? If I don't believe in summer, how will I believe in heaven where summer's joy must surely never end, where summer's timeless stillness calms with peace all other seasons' grief?

Let’s pause and pray…

Come summer with me, Lord,

come summer deep down in my soul…   
Restore my faith in summer’s time, 
in rest, in joy, in play, in you...
Summer in my heart, Lord, 
and dwell there as if the summertime would never end, 
as if all time were a child’s time, 
eternal time, 
when school is always out and joy is ever in...

Come summer with me, Lord,
come summer deep down in my soul…  
In these long-awaited days, Lord, 
slow me down and give me time 
for nothing to do but to be with you 
and to know again that you're with me.   
Help me put the brakes 
to my merry-go-round-go-nowhere pace... 
Slow me down… 
Let any summer doldrums lull, calm and call me 
to a place of peace, of prayer, of meeting you again 
-- as if bumping into an old friend, 
on the streets of my vacation...

Come summer with me, Lord,
come summer deep down in my soul…  
Help me relax, Lord, 
and find a peaceful pace and place 
where I can meet you face to face.   
Remind me of the times you took your own rest, Lord: 
leaving the city and crowds behind, 
going out into the desert, up the mountain, 
across to the opposite shore and off by yourself 
- or away with just a few friends, 
to pray...

Come summer with me, Lord,

come summer deep down in my soul…   
Slow me down, Lord, 
and let the busyness that runs me 
and the work that runs me down 
settle to a pace and peace that lets me be, 
just be with you, 
in a quiet shade where my heart speaks to yours 
and yours to mine 
and I can hear your word. 

Come summer with me, Lord,
come summer deep down in my soul…      
Even if my summer time is crowded with work and things to do, 
even if vacation time is short or not at all in sight, 
even if responsibilities burden as the summer's heat - even then...  
Come summer with me, Lord, 
come summer deep down in my soul every day:
as the sun comes up at morning and disappears at night... 
As the stars shine bright by the moon light 
and soft rains fall upon me - 
come summer with me, Lord, 
come summer deep down in my soul...
Amen.






   
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6/18/17

Monday Morning Offering: 6/19

Image: George Mendoza



Good morning, good God!

I offer you my praise and thanks, Lord:
for the universe and all it holds;
for the planets - for Earth, my home in your vast world;
for the continent on which I live and the nation I call home;
for this Bay State where I was born, and for those who gave me life;
for the Church of Boston which I serve and my parish which I love;
for my friends who keep me going and the gift of faith within my heart
where my mind and soul and life and loves are met 
and all made one
in you... 

From the impenetrable reaches of the universe,
to the depths of my heart your grace courses 
through my veins and through my nights and days 
giving life to who I am and all I do:
and for this I give you thanks and praise...

All I have, all I am and all I hope to be 
is pure gift: 
shaped by your hand, crafted in your wisdom
and offered for the taking...

My thoughts come and go but not one passes
without your knowing it...

My most secret desires are deeply hidden, yet every one of them
is laid bare in the light of your eyes...

No pain, no hurt has ever touched my heart without touching, too,
your heart's love for me...

No burden has ever weighed upon my shoulders
that you've not reached to lift and help me carry...

No grief has ever pierced my soul 
without your gentle hand reaching 
to dress and close a wound I feared might never heal... 

I offer you my thanks and praise, 
Lord of the universe, my God,
for you bend low and tend to me
as a mother nurses the child in her arms,
as a father fends for his family,
as the lover gives ear to the needs of the beloved...

I offer you my thanks that your love and grace
have brought me safe thus far:
through times and troubles I thought I'd not survive,
through difficulties I thought would never be resolved,
through pain I thought I could not long endure, but did...

I praise you for the times when, with your help,
I've done what I thought I couldn't do,
when I've survived what I thought to be
impassible and impossible...

Only by your grace, Lord, am I here today, 
in the place where I am,
trusting that this day's problems, too, 
are on your mind, in your heart and in your care... 

I praise you for this mystery, Lord:
that you, eternal God, 
have time and love to spare and care for me,
to share in my heart's struggles
as if they were your own...

Make me mindful, Lord, of others 
whose paths cross mine today:
if you have time for each then certainly I have time
to care for those whose needs, like mine, 
rest in your heart and hands... 

Receive my morning offering, Lord,
God of the universe:
hear my prayer today, tonight
and through all the week ahead...

Amen.


 

   
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Homily for June 18

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Homily for the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily

 
“You are what you eat.”   
At least that’s what people say.

In fact, they’ve been saying that since 1826 when a Frenchman,

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, wrote,
"Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are."
Dis-moi ce que tu manges et je te dirai ce que tu es.
 (Everything always sounds better in French!)

The feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

celebrates the sacramental reality of Christ’s presence
in the gifts of bread and wine we offer every time we celebrate Mass.

While this feast lifts up what the Sacrament is for us,

it also tells us something about our identity, who we are,
as those who celebrate and consume the Eucharist.
It tells us that we are what we eat.

Christ is truly present at Mass in three ways..

• He’s present in our very gathering, our coming together to pray.
As we were coming into church this morning, taking our places,
he was already present among us- in our very gathering together,
He himself told  us:
 “Wherever two or three are gathered in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”     (Matthew 18:20)

• Christ is also present in his Word, in the readings,
since it is the Lord himself who speaks
when the scriptures are read in the Church.”
   (CSL no. 7)

Chris, Cara and I read the scriptures,
you all heard our voices,
but it was the Lord himself speaking to us.

• And most important of all
Christ is present in the sacramental supper of this table
where we are nourished by the sacrifice he offered
on the altar of the Cross:
Christ is truly present in the bread and cup of the Eucharist…


But what do we mean when we say that?
What do we mean when we say the bread and wine
become the Body and Blood of Christ?

Back in the 4th century, people were asking the same question
and St. Augustine gave them this answer.  He wrote:

“What you see is the bread and the chalice;

that is what your own eyes report to you.
But what your faith obliges you to accept is that
the bread is the Body of Christ  

and the chalice the Blood of Christ...
How is the bread his Body?
And that which is in the chalice - how is it his Blood?
Those elements, brothers and sisters, are called sacraments,
because in them one thing is seen - but another is understood.
What is seen is the corporeal species (bread and wine)

but what is understood is the spiritual fruit
(Christ’s Body and Blood).
You yourselves are the Body of Christ and his members.
If you are the Body of Christ and his members,
it is your own mystery that is presented at the table of the Lord,
you receive your mystery.
To that which you are -- you answer: "Amen..."
For you hear: "The Body of Christ!" and you answer: "Amen!"
You hear: "The Blood of Christ!" and you answer: "Amen!"
Be a member of Christ's Body, then,
            so that your "Amen" may be the truth.


That’s Augustine’s way of saying,
 “Indeed, we are what we eat and drink…”
We are the Body of Christ.
We. Are. The mystery.

In St. Augustine’s effort  
to help us understand the comfort that’s ours
in believing that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist,
there comes a challenge to believe
not only that the bread and wine become
the body and blood of Christ,
but also to believe that, indeed,
we are to become what we eat and drink:
we are to become the true presence of Christ:
breaking ourselves open like bread
to nourish our neighbor;
pouring ourselves out like wine,
to slake the thirst of those in need.

Like a coin, a host as two sides:
we receive a mystery that we already are
and we are challenged to become that mystery more deeply.

• In receiving the mystery of Christ in Communion
we are challenged to  grow in that mystery ourselves.

• And like a glass, a chalice may be half empty or half full:

and so we are called to empty ourselves out for one another
so that we might know the fullness of God’s grace within us.

We are what we eat and drink...

And all of this in a morsel of bread, in a sip from a cup:

but this bread is the Bread of Life,
and this cup is the Cup of Salvation.

And that’s why  we approach the altar with reverence

at Communion time,
attentive reverence for what, for whom we are about to receive.

• That’s why we hold our hands prayerfully

as we come forward at Communion time
and why we don’t greet others along the way
while coming to the altar.

• That’s why we return to our places after having received,
singing the Communion song,
praising and thanking God for such a gift.

• That’s why we’d never think of receiving Communion
and then walking right out of church to beat the crowd.
It’s never polite to eat and run,
and that’s especially true at the Lord’s Table.

On this feast of the Body and Blood of Christ we remember that
 “we are what we eat - and drink”
and that our Supper here is but a taste
of the feast promised and prepared for us in heaven.

Pray with me that with every celebration of the Eucharist

we will more deeply reverence the real presence of Christ
in the sacrament we receive
and become, more and more,
the mystery we receive,
the mystery we are,
the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ.



 

     
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6/17/17

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 6/18

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46 years ago when I was in the seminary, a good friend asked me what I believed about the Eucharist. I knew he wasn't looking for text book answers but rather for what was in my heart. I wrote the following in response to his question. I know that writing this helped me and I believe it helped my friend, too. As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, perhaps you'll find these words helpful as you pause for prayer today...


BREAD

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...

You have to listen with all of you
to hear the white-green shoot
pushing, rubbing, scraping up through
cool, moist earth: wheat being born.

It's a comforting sound when, finally,
you hear it and you know the growing sound
isn't out there, in the field
but in your frailty, your brokenness,
in you...

Then fear comes over you:
you will be torn inside, again, until it hurts
and this may be the time
when growing leaves behind
the one you think you are,
harvesting the one 

you were made to be...


Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...

You don't have to listen so closely
to hear the wind shuffle its way
through fields of wheat
so
you have to look very carefully
to see it's not the wind after all, but simply
wheat brushing against wheat,
wheat supporting wheat,
wheat enjoying wheat,
wheat embracing wheat.

The rustling becomes a symphony
of meeting, knowing, touching, growing:
wheat reaching out to wheat
not with fear, not with flushed face,

but only with the need to touch.
And the sound of reaching
is strong, enveloping, alive!



Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...


Grinding grains of wheat: harsh,
breaking, crushing sounds,
a not soft noise - hard.
And now you don't want to hear
wheat
being crushed:
it just doesn't look like wheat anymore
and maybe the explosion in you
wasn't a matter of life but...

water is cool
and now it is all around you:
bubbling and swirling
in flour ground of wheat
and now you're not surprised to know
you're listening to blood filling your veins,
flowing all through you - life.

And just before the fire consumed us, too,
we found bread: one beautiful brown loaf
of wheat, wind and water
all rising to life in bread.

Then came One

who broke himself like a loaf
and we heard

in the cracking and tearing of the crust
the Word of life grown, ground and given

for all who share
in the breaking of the bread.


Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...




CC2013



     
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Fathers Day




(I also posted this a few days ago in anticipation of Fathers Day. Holidays are often bittersweet times: bitter for some, sweet for others: Fathers Day can be one of those times...)

My own father was a good man, a loving, hard-working, faithful provider and protector of his family, a man of faith.  Still, as I observe dads with their sons today, I see a kind of relationship I wish my father and I might have shared, a closeness that seemed to escape us in spite of the love I know he had for me and I for him. Times have changed and parenting is different today than what I remember growing up - and so much of what I see is good, so very good, indeed.

What Fathers Day means to each of us depends so much on our relationship with our dad and his with us.

So, on this Father's Day weekend, here is a litany of prayers for dads of all kinds.  And following the litany, a little fatherly advice from someone whom many call "Father" though he has no children of his own...

Let us pray…

For all our fathers,
            let us pray to the Lord…


For fathers who had no opportunity 
   to know their own dad,
         let us pray to the Lord…

For our fathers who have died,
      let us pray to the Lord…


For fathers who grieve 
   the loss of their dad,
         let us pray to the Lord…

For fathers who are chronically 
   or terminally ill,
         let us pray to the Lord…

For fathers expecting 
   the birth of a child,
         let us pray to the Lord…

For fathers awaiting the arrival 
   of an adopted child,
      let us pray to the Lord…

For men who desire to be fathers,
   let us pray to the Lord...



For fathers who see the sun rise and set
    in the eyes and smiles of their children,
       let us pray to the Lord...

For fathers in good relationships
   with their children and for those who aren't,
        let us pray to the Lord…
For fathers who grew up without a dad,
   let us pray to the Lord…

For fathers who have failed their children
   and who are trying again,
      let us pray to the Lord…


For fathers whose hearts break
   over the troubles their children face,
      let us pray to the Lord... 


For fathers of children
   who won't forgive their dad,
      let us pray to the Lord...


For fathers 
   who won't forgive their children,
      let us pray to the Lord... 
For fathers who will be forgotten
   or ignored on this Fathers Day,
      let us pray to the Lord..
For fathers who work multiple jobs 
   to provide for their families,
      let us pray to the Lord…

For unemployed fathers,
   desperately looking for work,
      let us pray to the Lord...


For fathers whose sacrifices
   are unknown to their families,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For fathers unable to provide 
   what they want their children to have,
      let us pray to the Lord…

For every father mourning the loss 
   of a child he loved,
         let us pray to the Lord…

For fathers who are single parents,
      let us pray to the Lord…

For divorced and separated fathers
   who miss their children,
      let us pray to the Lord...

For fathers estranged from or barred
   from seeing their children,
      let us pray to the Lord...


For fathers away in the military
   and for all those who serve in harm's way,
      let us pray to the Lord...


For fathers of sons and daughters 
   lost in war,
      let us pray to the Lord…


For fathers who are in prison,
   let us pray to the Lord...
For fathers of children who've been abused 
   or gone missing,
      let us pray to the Lord…

For grand- and great-grandfathers 
   who care for their children's children,
      let us pray to the Lord...
            
For teachers and coaches and mentors
   who've been "father" to many young people,
      let us pray to the Lord...
For priests, men we call “Father” 
   who have no children of their own,
      let us pray to the Lord…

For all fathers in need of our prayers,
   let us pray to the Lord...



God our Father,
   in your wisdom and love you made all things.
Bless our fathers, living and deceased.
Let the example of their faith and love shine forth.
Grant that we, their families,
   may love and honor them always
   with a spirit of profound respect.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless our father. Let the example of his faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, his family, may honor him always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen. - See more at: http://www.imagecatholicbooks.com/fathers-day-prayer-from-catholic-household-blessings-and-prayers/#sthash.7GW9evfb.dpuf
God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless our father. Let the example of his faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, his family, may honor him always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen. - See more at: http://www.imagecatholicbooks.com/fathers-day-prayer-from-catholic-household-blessings-and-prayers/#sthash.7GW9evfb.dpuf

God our Father, in your wisdom and love you made all things. Bless our father. Let the example of his faith and love shine forth. Grant that we, his family, may honor him always with a spirit of profound respect. Grant this through Christ our Lord. R/. Amen. - See more at: http://www.imagecatholicbooks.com/fathers-day-prayer-from-catholic-household-blessings-and-prayers/#sthash.7GW9evfb.dpuf
                   And a little fatherly advice for Fathers Day... 

Dads, you can't too often tell your children 
     how much you love them…

You can't too many times hug your children tight 
      and kiss them good night…

There's no limit on how many times
      you can take each of your children, individually,
         for a walk, a talk, a ride or an ice cream cone…

Call your children by name
      and have special names for each of them…

Be a father whose thoughts, words and deeds
      set a standard for his children who will be parents…

If you have a boy, be sure he hears you call him son 
      in a way that lets him know how happy and proud you are 
         to be his father…

Every son, without even knowing it, looks for his father's blessing 
      on who he is and who he will become:
         find a thousand ways to give your son your blessing…

A daughter learns how a man loves a woman
      through how her father loves his wife and his girls:
         be the best of loving teachers for the women in your life...

Make sure your children know that you're a man of faith
      who believes in the God whom Jesus calls his Father…

Pray with your children at home: at table, at night before bed,
      when times are hard and when times are great…

Pray with your children at church every Sunday
      so they'll know the place God holds in your heart…

A father's relationship with his children
      is a great and untapped natural and spiritual resource:
         wisely conserve and generously share the resource you are…

Too many dads come to the end of their lives 
      wishing they'd done "more of this and less of that"
         with and for their children:
            take stock of all this now, before the time's too short…

You can be sure that your children, in their heart of hearts,
      want you to be the dad that you, in your heart of hearts, 
         want to be for them:
       never be afraid to be the father all your hearts desire...

Happy Father's Day!


 

   
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