NIGHT PRAYER: Monday 4/15

This morning, Lord, 
as I opened my windows,
your Spirit breezed in and filled my room:
    the soft, sweet scent of springtime
    brushing my sleepy face
    with a kiss I've long been waiting
    to rouse and stir and wake me 
    from winter's hold and  spell...

On leaving the house 
I felt your touch, warm upon my arms, 
guiding me, step by step 
to a promise kept,
a hope fulfilled, 
a dream come true:
    your faithfulness now blossoming
    on dogwood trees in flower
    with your beauty and your grace...

Then I saw Forsythia reach out 
and stretch her arms to catch the sun
- and so she did:
    her golden flowers choired
    in a chant of praise and glory,
    in harmony with you
    and with the whole of your creation...
For the blessing of this day's
warm embrace of my whole being,
I lift my heart in gratitude
and add my voice to nature's:
    praising you, my Lord and God,
    for the splendor of your springtime 
    and your gift of healing peace...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...

Tonight's music might be more appropriate for a morning Pause for Prayer post but this Night Prayer began with my morning - so here it is!

All Things Bright and Beautiful  by John Rutter

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All things bright and beautiful,All creatures great and small,All things wise and wonderful,The Lord God made them all.
Each little flower that opens,Each little bird that sings,He made their glowing colours,He made their tiny wings.
The purple-headed mountain,The river running by,The sunset and the morning,That brightens up the sky;
The cold wind in the winter,The pleasant summer sun,The ripe fruits in the garden,He made them every one;
He gave us eyes to see them,And lips that we might tellHow great is God Almighty,Who has made all things well.




Monday Morning Offering: 4/15

        Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

My eyes are wide open, Lord,
searching for hints of spring along my way,
for greening branches, too long brown 
but leafy now with beauty set
to soothe a wintered soul... 

I pray my heart will open wide,
hungering for hope to sprout within
from seeds of promise, planted deep
by your hand, Lord, and watered fresh
with tears from my soul's spring...

Turn, till and tend with care 
the soil of my heart and soul
and nurture all you've planted, Lord:
bring to bloom those shoots of hope 
that reach for summer's warmth...

Receive my morning offering, Lord,
my prayer for springtime's awesome grace
and grow in me the gifts I need 
to bring to bud and blossom
a harvest of your goodness planted
deep within my soul...






NIGHT PRAYER: Sunday 4/14

On Sundays, Night Prayer will focus on an element from the day's celebration of Mass. Today's scriptures didn't immediately suggest a particular direction  for prayer but the gospel includes the two disciples to whom Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus.  This is the closest to that story we'll come on a Sunday in this year's course of Easter readings.  The previous link brings you to today's gospel, this post includes the text of the Emmaus story.

That very day, the first day of the week,
two of Jesus' disciples were going to a village called Emmaus,
seven miles from Jerusalem...
Like the two disciples, Lord,
my every day and every  week,
the course of my whole life,
is one long series of
comings and goings,
tos and fros,
from here to there and back again,
all the time searching
for a quiet, gentle time and place
to stop and take a breath,
to pause, to rest
and be at peace
with you...

And they were conversing 
about all the things that had occurred.
And it happened that while they were conversing and debating,
Jesus himself drew near and walked with them,
but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

Oh, how often, Lord, do I miss you?
How often am I too busy to look for you?
How often do I miss your presence at my side?
How often do I ignore you
or even pretend you're not there
even though I know
you're living in my heart?

He asked them,
"What are you discussing as you walk along?"
They stopped, looking downcast.
One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply,
"Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem
who does not know of the things
that have taken place there in these days?"
How often, Lord,
do you in your compassion and kindness
ask what's on my mind and in my heart
though you know so much better than I 
everything that passes through thoughts
and through my soul,
listening patiently while I, like a child,
pour out my sorrows and my hurt,
seeking healing and comfort
from you who know my story
so fully and so well...

As they approached the village to which they were going,
Jesus gave the impression that he was going on farther.
But they urged him, "Stay with us,
for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over."
So he went in to stay with them.
Even when I fear you've drifted off, Lord,
even when I search but cannot find you,
even and especially then
do you stay right by my side
and make your home within my heart
through the heat of day to sunset
and then all through the night...

And it happened that, 
while he was with them at table,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them.
With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him,
but he vanished from their sight.
Then they said to each other,
"Were not our hearts burning within us
while he spoke to us on the way?"
When I cannot find you,
when you've vanished from my sight,
then open the eyes of my faith, Lord,
and open my heart and soul,
my mind and my thoughts,
my spirit and my imagination!
Open the whole of me
to the whole of you
in all the ways you join me
on the many paths I walk.
Let your Spirit's wisdom burn
in your every whispered word
as you feed my deepest hunger  
in the breaking of your bread...

Then the two recounted
what had taken place on the way
and how he was made known to them 
in the breaking of bread.
I'm at the end of my day, Lord,
it's time to find a quiet place
to rest and find some peace,
to remember that you're right by my side
and to listen for your gentle voice
and hear the healing word you speak
from your heart to my own...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...
On the Journey to Emmaus by Marty Haugen

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On the journey to Emmaus with our hearts cold as stone-
the One who would save us had left us alone.
Then a stranger walks with us and, to our surprise,
he opens our stories and he opens our eyes.

And our hearts burned within us as we talked on the way,
how all that was promised was ours on that day.
So we begged him, 'Stay with us and grant us your word.'
We welcomed the stranger and we welcomed the Lord.

And that evening at the table as he blessed and broke bread,
we saw it was Jesus aris'n from the dead;
Though he vanished before us we knew he was near -
the life in our dying and the hope in our fear.

On the journey to Emmaus, in our stories and feast,
with Jesus we claim that the greatest is least:
and his words burn within us - let none be ignored -
who welcomes the stranger shall welcome the Lord.




4/14 Homily: The Importance of Baked Fish

Here's the audio of my homily for the Third Sunday of Easter
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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 4/14

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Here are some things I need to remember, Lord 
    - but don't! 
(Why, oh why, do I keep forgetting all this?)
1) No matter how tough things get, Lord,
       you're there for me with your love and your help.

2) The tougher my life becomes,
       the closer you stay by my side...

3) The more often I stop to pray,
        the more I trust in your presence...

4) Yesterday's gone, tomorrow's not here,
        today is all that I have...
          5) All shall be well in the end, 
                if all's not well, it's not yet the end... 
5)  Today's the day that you made, Lord:
         help me remember and not forget!


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NIGHT PRAYER: Saturday 4/13

I'm grateful, Lord,
    that you never tire of listening to me
        -  at least I hope you don't!

What an earful you get from me - 24/7!
You listen to every word I pray
which means you listen to 
   my good intentions and my promises,
   my whining and my complaining,
   my problems and troubles,
   my hopes and dreams,
   my moans and groans,
   my sins and my contrition,
   my self-pity and my pettiness, 
   my resolve and determination, 
   my  prejudice and bias,
   my resentments and my grudges,
   my pleading and interceding, 
   my impatience and annoyance,
   my lies and my half-truths,
   my fantasies and pipe dreams,
   my anger and short temper,
   my faith and trust in you,
   my fears and my anxieties, 
   my anticipation and excitement,
   my envy and my pride,
   my sadness and my sorrow,
   my thoughts and my secrets,
   my confusion and delusion,
   my joys and my delights,
   my disappointment and my heartbreak,
   my desire and my passion,
   my praise and my thanksgiving,
   my silence, awe and wonder...
I'm grateful, Lord, and trust you hear 
    my every thought and prayer, 
    my grunts and cries and groans,
    my inklings and my whispers,
and all that echoes silently 
    in my heart, night and day...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me when I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...
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To you, O Lord, I lift up, 
I lift up my soul, my God.

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me;
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth, for you are my God,
and for you I will wait.
Good and upright is the Lord;
he shows us the way.
He guides the meek to justice
he teaches the humble to follow his ways.
Your way, O Lord,
is kindness to those who are true.
Your friendship is with those who love you;
your reveal to them your Word. 





Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 4/13

Keep me on track today, Lord,
just keep me on track
    - that's what I need, that's what I pray...

Keep me focused on what's important
   - less mindful of all the trivia...

Keep my eyes on the prize
    - doing what's just and loving what's good...

Be the light on my path
    - keep my steps sure and steady...

Stay by my side, all day and all night:
    be my helper, my guard and my guide...

Be my strength when I'm tempted to fall,
    my wisdom when lost in confusion,
my joy when my spirits are low,
    my help when I want to give up...

Keep me on track today, Lord,
just keep me on track
    - that's all I need, that's all I pray...





NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 4/12

My usual custom is to write a Night Prayer - and then search for music to accompany it.  Once in a while, the order is reversed and  I'll come across a song which  inspires the Night Prayer I write.  Once in a very great while, like this evening, I come across a song which is so complete in itself that no further text is necessary.  So, here's our Night Prayer - which is Evening Prayer composed by Joel McCausland of the Church of Latter-day Saints.

Evening Prayer by Joel McCausland

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As I kneel to pray at the close of the day
keep me safe until the morning
As I bow my head see that I am led
by the light of a new dawning

From my home above keep me in thy love
attend me through the night
As I kneel to pray at the close of the day
keep me safe until the morning

With a life so blessed gratitude expressed
must go farther than words alone
Through a life of love serving thee above
is as easy as serving my own

Oh what joy I'll find if with heart and mind
I’ll try to help them home
As I kneel to pray at the close of the day
keep them safe until the morning

Give me strength I pray as I face each day
all the challenges life can give
In humility help my eyes to see
a more perfect way to live

As the day draws near when the Lord appears
prepare a place for me
As I kneel to pray at the close of the day
give me strength from above
hold me close in thy love
keep me safe until the morning

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...






Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 4/12

Imagine, Lord, if for just a day,
    my eyes would open fully
    to help me see more clearly
    through my worries, fears and troubles...

Imagine, Lord, if I could see
    how close you are beside me,
    how swift you are to lift me up,
    how quick you are to hear me,
    how often you forgive me...
Imagine, Lord, if I discerned
    how faithfully you seek me,
    how gently you direct me,
    how tenderly you heal me,
how much you truly love me,
how many are your blessings...

Of course, Lord,
    you don't need to imagine any of this
    for this is how you are with me,
    how you've always been with me
    and  how you'll always be with me
`  every day and every night, always, without fail...

But just this one day, Lord, 
    open my eyes wide and help me to imagine, 
    help me see more clearly,
    through my worries, fears and troubles,
    just how much you truly love me
    just how blessed and graced I am...






NIGHT PRAYER: Thursday 4/11

Lord, let your face shine upon us...
When we lose our way and need your light,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us...

When worry and fear cloud our hope and trust,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us...

When confusion eclipses our view of the truth,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us... 

When we shut out the light and hide in our pain,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us...

When troubles and worries darken our path,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us...
When a river of grief overflows in our tears,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us...

When the shadows of doubt blind the eyes of our faith,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us...

When we walk in the dark, in the shadow of death,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us... 
When the sun goes down and evening falls,
    Lord, let your face shine upon us...

As sunrise each morning awakens new hope,
   Lord, let your face shine upon us...
Let your face shine upon us, be gracious, O Lord,
    look kindly upon us and grant us your peace...

Protect us, Lord while we're awake
    and watch over us while we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...


Lord, Let Your Face Shine Upon Us  by Marty Haugen

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Lord, let your face shine upon us,
let your face shine upon us,
let your face shine upon us.
Listen to my song
hear me when I call, O Lord, my God,
be gracious, hear my prayer.

You have called my name,
set your seal upon my heart,
you hear me when I call.

Fill me with your joy,
grant to me your peaceful rest
to dwell in safety with my Lord.