1/25/20

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 1/26

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Today, a guest writer for Pause for Prayer: Pope Francis! 
(Francis wrote this prayer two years ago this weekend.)

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. 

Help us to recognize the evil latent in a communication

     that does not build communion. 

Help us to remove the venom from our judgments. 


Help us to speak about others as our brothers and sisters. 


You are faithful and trustworthy;

     may our words be seeds of goodness for the world.

Where there is shouting, let us practice listening;
where there is confusion, let us inspire harmony;
where there is ambiguity, let us bring clarity;
where there is exclusion, let us offer solidarity;
where there is sensationalism, let us use sobriety; 
where there is superficiality, let us raise real questions; 
where there is prejudice, let us awaken trust;
where there is hostility, let us bring respect;
where there is falsehood, let us bring truth.
 

Amen.

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 1/25


In one week there are 7 days,
168 hours,
10,080 minutes
and 604,800 seconds...

Not even for a second, Lord,
do you ever turn your gaze
from my heart's cares,
its troubles and trials...

You're with me every minute
of every day and every night:
whether I'm awake or I'm asleep,
you're always by my side...

Not an hour of my life has passed
that you didn't spend with me:
beside me, before me, behind me,
above me and within me...

No day fades to yesterday
without your having blessed it:
the good days and the bad days
and all days in between...

No day waits ahead of me, Lord
when you won't be there at its dawning
to welcome and to ready me,
to see me through
whatever tomorrow may bring...

In every week, Lord,
there's one day you claim as yours
but choose to share with me,
the first day, Lord:  Sunday...

And on that day you ask
but 1 hour of my time, Lord:
60 minutes,
3,600 seconds

in return for your having been with me
through all the week just past
and with the pledge you'll be with me again,
each day,
in the week that lies before me...

You ask, Lord, for an hour of my time:
to gather with your people
to pray, to hear your Word,
to be nourished at your Table...

Open my heart this weekend, Lord,
to return an hour of my time,
along with my thanks and praise,
for all the time you give and spend with me
every minute,
of every hour,
of every day...

Amen.


 

     
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1/23/20

Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 1/24



I'm grateful, Lord,
so very grateful for your gift of time...

I'm grateful
   for morning and a new day just begun;
   for noon time and a welcome break for lunch;
   for the evening and for rest and sleep and dreams...

I'm grateful, Lord
   for time to work - and for having work to do;
   for vacation time with carefree nights and days
   and for weekends and the sabbath call to prayer...

I'm grateful, Lord, for all kinds of time:
   for down time and for extra time;
   for ordinary time and special times;
   for old times and the pledge of time to come...

I'm grateful, Lord,
   for time to dream
      and times when dreams come true...

I'm grateful, Lord, for time to hope and pray
      and times when prayers are answered;
for time to seek and time to find,
   for time to ask and time to understand...

I'm grateful, Lord,
   for time to roam and wander,
for time to find my way
   and for time to find my place...

I'm grateful, Lord,
   for time to share and time alone;
   for time to spare and time to spend,
   for time to rest and time to grow...

I'm grateful, Lord,
   for time to worry and time to be consoled,
   for time to grieve and for time to heal,
   for time to fall and for time to rise...

I'm grateful for all kinds of time, Lord:
   time to tear down and time to build up;
   time to plant and time to reap;
   time to scatter and time to gather in;
   time to be silent and time to speak;
   time to rend and time to sew;
   time to laugh and time to cry;
   time to repent and time to be pardoned;
   time to mourn and time to dance;
   time to be born and time to die,
   time to die and time to be born again...*

I'm grateful for the gift of time, Lord,
   a gift from you,  the timeless One,
you who always were, always are
   and ever more shall be...

I'm especially grateful, Lord,
   for the time I spend with you
and for all the time you spend with me:
   you never leave my heart, my soul, my side...

Let me waste not a minute of the time that's mine, Lord,
   and give me the grace to spend and share my time
wisely, generously, freely and fruitfully
   with all I meet and know...

Amen.

Judy Collins sings "Turn, Turn, Turn"
                                                   


* Ecclesiastes 3


 

     
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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 1/23




Today's Pause for Prayer is a little different: it begins with a reflection on Snowflakes and Love and ends with a very brief prayer.  I hope the combination will help you pause for prayer today...

The complexities of the human heart are so many and multifaceted.

As it's true of snowflakes, so of human hearts: no two are identical - each one is unique.

Each heart has its own story and each story has been shaped and molded by different people, unique circumstances and the mystery of God's individual and singular touch upon every heart he's created.

Consider this:  God relates to me in ways uniquely and significantly different from the ways in which he relates to any other man or woman on the face of the earth or in the history of humankind.  And this is so because God knows me as I am and I am a unique creation of his hand.

With what great care, then, must we approach, accept and appreciate one another!

With what great openness and reverence must we honor one another, recognizing that God loves us in our differences as much as or even more than in our similarities.

With what great patience, then, must we wait on how others grow, change and respond to us and to the life and world around us.

Unfortunately, in the Christian life we often speak and act and judge and moralize as if "one size fits all."  In many important ways that's true but not in every way.  What does fit all of us is the command: to love and forgive one another as God loves and forgives us; to do what is just, to love what is good and to walk humbly with God...

Pause for Prayer

Help us care for one another, Lord,
with the love, patience and compassion
with which you care for each of us...

Help us do for one another, Lord,
with the kindness and gentleness
with which you care for each of us...

And give us, Lord,
the mercy, the kindness and the peace
you extend and share with each of us...

Amen.



 

   
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1/21/20

Texting with God: 1/22



 

   
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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 1/21

Photo by CP
Back in June I spent two wonderful weeks with my sister and brother-in-law in Georgetown, Colorado.  You might remember my finding some holy ground there, the path around Georgetown Lake, where I walked and prayed every day (see here and here).  Well, I'm back in Georgetown for a few days - in a different season. Snow and ice on the path preclude my circling the whole lake but just walking to and from this holy place is a grace in itself.  And thus, today's Pause for Prayer...

I wasn't expecting it, Lord - I was only going for a walk
- but as soon as I walked outdoors
I felt the sun's warmth wash across my face
as I breathed in deeply of your Spirit's grace,
your pure and peaceful presence
filling my lungs, my heart and my soul...

And as I started down the street I've walked
so many times before,
I found myself on holy ground,  on pilgrimage,
bound for a holy place, a natural cathedral,
a tabernacle of your presence
alive in the beauty of Georgetown Lake...

With a sweeping rush you filled me, Lord,
filled me with wonder and awe,
with memories of my June in Georgetown...

You filled me with deep, tearful gratitude
for all the ways you lie in wait for me,
looking to take me by surprise,
to fall in by my side and, just as a good friend would,
to walk with me as I make my way
to the place we met last summer
and spent so many peaceful days...

Amen.


 

     
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1/20/20

Dr. King's work is yet to be completed...

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Since Dr. King's work is yet to be completed,
there's still a need for all of us to listen 
to James Taylor's great song, Shed A Little Light... 





Shed A Little Light 
Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood

We are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong

We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound, we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest 

(chorus) 
Shed a little light, oh Lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh Lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh Lord

Can't get no light from the dollar bill
Don't give me no light from a tv screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(do you know what I mean? ) 

(chorus) 

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest
Oh, let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood


 

   
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Monday Morning Offering: MLK Day 2020

Morning Coffee: George Mendoza

A song for this holiday
and for today's Pause for Prayer...



From the depths of your heart, Lord,
   help me overcome my prejudice,
   my narrow-minded thinking,
   my  bias, bigotry and rash judgments
-- and help me overcome the temptation to think
   that none of these faults are mine... 

With the grace of your mercy, Lord,
   help me overcome my selfishness,
   my jealousy and greed,
   my pride and self-importance,
   my careless disregard of others' needs
-- and help me overcome the thought
   that I'm above such things... 

With the power of your Spirit, Lord,
   help me overcome my laziness,
   my lustful thoughts and longings,
   my apathy and envy
   and my ungoverned appetites
-- and help me overcome the self-evaluation
   in which none of this applies to me... 

With the justice of your word, Lord,
   help me overcome my tendencies:
   to stretch the truth, to cheat and lie,
   to take what isn't mine,
   to deny what's due to others
-- and help me overcome the notion
   that I'd never succomb to any of the above...
  
With the power of your love, Lord,
   help me overcome my fears,
   my worries and anxieties,
   my doubts and my uncertainties,
   my lack of trust in you and others
-- and deliver me from thinking
   that I'll never be strong in spirit... 

With the strength of your arm, Lord, 
   help me overcome what keeps me down,
   what holds me back,
   what slows me up,
   what locks me in...
-- and help me overcome the inertia
   that holds me captive in all these ways...

With all the grace that's yours to give, Lord
   help me overcome whatever keeps me
   from your presence and your power,
   your mercy and compassion,
   your love, healing, peace and joy...

Amen.




     
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1/19/20

Homily for January 19

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Homily for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass



 
When I was a child I was always taught that it’s “impolite to point.”

As with many things, back in the day, no explanation was offered -

just the caution that it was impolite to point.

It seems, then, at least in this regard, that John the Baptist

may not be a particularly good role model for us

since the gospel clearly indicates his pointing to Jesus and saying:

 “Behold!  Look!  Over there! That One!  He’s the One!

He’s the Lamb of God of God who takes away the sin of the world!”



John does a lot of pointing here - pointing at Jesus!



In our own times, of course,

whether pointing your finger at someone is impolite or not,

it’s generally considered politically impolite

to point to Jesus in any social settings

much less to offer the personal testimony, as did John, that:

 “Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”



You also might want to think twice before using that

as a pick-up line at a bar

or a conversation starter at a business meeting or cocktail party.

But that’s just what John the Baptist did.

Right out there in public, he pointed and said:

Look! the Lamb of God…  who takes away the sin…  of the world…



Well… if Jesus takes away the sin of the world,

how come there’s so much sin left in the world?

If, on the Cross, Jesus, the Lamb of God, the sacrificial lamb

-if in his suffering and death he took on himself and took away

the sins of all time

- how come there’s so much sin in the world today?



I’m afraid the answer to that question is an uncomfortable one.

Jesus did, indeed, bear on his shoulders the sin of the world.

But, in a kind of spiritual tug-of-war with Jesus:

we’re very good at holding on to the sin of the world;

we’re experts at holding on to our own sins.

We’re practiced in clinging, tenaciously,

to our many faults and failings --

rather than let Jesus take away the sin that burdens us,

that separates us from God, from one another

- and even separates us from our better selves.



On his shoulders, on his scarred back, on his thorn-crowned head,

Jesus carried, took away, the very sins we cling to and hold on to.



• Yet, still - nations depend on destructive, sinful, violence

as a solution to its geo-political disagreements.



• Still, we persist in the sinful scandal

of the millions of people around the world who are starving

while we waste what’s in our kitchen cupboards

and on the plates at our tables.



• Still we cling to petty grudges,

preferring resentment to reconciliation.



• In our entertainment we embrace the cheap, the tawdry and the lusty

as if what’s beautiful and true and pure

were somehow beyond our reach.



• By our silence and our failure to act

we perpetuate the injustices that so many suffer.



• We tolerate divisions among us

in favor of our pride and ego.



• Still we greedily collect and hoard more and more

of what we already have in great store,

of so many things we really don’t even need

while others around us (and around the world) want

for even the most basic of human necessities.



• Still we hang on to our own sins

for the fleeting pleasure they afford us,

for the momentary comfort we find in them,

for the ways they shield us from the challenge of change and growth.



I know: I paint an unhappy picture, a nasty scenario.



But, look!  Behold!  Over there!

And here - and there, too!

There he is!  he’s the One! Jesus!

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world

- and takes away our own sins, too.



And no matter how tenaciously we cling to our faults and failings,

no matter in how many ways we cling to our sins,

no matter how deep our pride,

Jesus never fails in reaching out - from the arms of the Cross  -

reaching out to take away the sins of the world.



And perhaps that’s why we’re slow, so very slow,

to even mention the name of Jesus in polite company.



Perhaps that’s why we’re so reticent

to offer personal testimony of our faith in Jesus:

because we know we’re holding back precisely

what he wants to take away from us.

John the Baptist pointed to Jesus

because he knew how much we need him.



Each of us needs, every day, every morning,

to point to Jesus ourselves,

to recognize him as the Lamb of God

who takes away not only the sin of the world,

but our own sins as well.



We need Jesus in our lives!



Every morning,

every day, you and I need to pray: O God: give me Jesus!



1) In the morning when I rise…

2) Oh, and when I am alone…

3) Oh, and when I come to die…




 

   
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1/18/20

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 1/19


Don't let the weather get you down!
In the cold and snow of winter there's a spring that waits to be...




Hymn of Promise 
- by Natalie Allyn Wakeley Sleeth
In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;
In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!
In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;
There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.
From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;
In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,
In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,
Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.


 

   
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