Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 10/21

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sometimes I get my priorities mixed up
so I'm asking for your help in knowing
what I most need to do...

Help me know, Lord,
   - who most needs my time today?
   - who most needs my help today?
   - who most needs to hear from me today?
   - who most needs my compassion today?
   - who most needs my forgiveness today?
   - who most needs a smile from me today?
   - who most needs my prayers today?

And, Lord, while we're at it:
   - how do I most need time with you today?
   - how do I most need your help today?
   - how do I most need to listen for your word today?
   - how do I most need your compassion today?
   - how do I most need your mercy today?
   - how do I most need the smile of your grace today?
   - for what do I most need to pray today?

Help me know, Lord,
   - what I need to do for others today
   - what how I need you to do for me...



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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 10/20

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I offer you my thanks
for your divine imagination,
your playful wisdom shaping earth,
her seasons and their beauty

Who first knew your plan, O Lord,
for shorter days and autumn chill
to sap the summer's chlorophyll
from leafy, shady boughs?

I see revealed in summer's loss,
in each tree's seasoned death
your glory: gold and russet,
purple patched and crimson crowned

A gift of longer nights,
these hidden hues now bared
expose on every branch your hand
bestowing blessings on the breeze

Fall's light now filters softly
through leaves aglow within:
it's all so simple, your artistry,
delightful and divine

When my hope's green has faded
paint my soul in autumn hues,
illumined with that holy light
whose only source is you...

I offer you my thanks, Lord
for leaves that sigh and fall
and pad the path I walk,
the way I wander in your grace...


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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 10/19

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I need your help with this, Lord...

Help me know what's most important
and give me the will and strength,
the grace and the guts,
to do what I need to do,
to say what I need to say,
to go where I need to go
to begin to accomplish
what I've put off for so long...

And then there's everything else, Lord!
Help me with this, too...

Help me use my time wisely today...

Give me wisdom to see and to know:
- what can wait for tomorrow or the next day
- what I can and should let go of;
- and what I need to place in your hands,
praying you take care of what's beyond my reach...

Finally, Lord,
rescue me from the weeds of the small stuff,
the minor, foolish, inconsequential things,
that waste my time
- while what's important goes undone...

Lead me and guide me today, Lord,
because if you lead me, I know I won't stray:
Lord, let me walk this day with you,
lead me, O Lord, lead me...



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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 10/18

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 just a day at a time...

Give us the faith 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...


Texting with God

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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY Oct 17

I've been watching squirrels scurry,
storing up for winter what summer left behind:
their wisdom tipping me to do the same,
to gather summer memories,
to keep me through the months ahead...

My thanks and praise to you, Lord,
for summer's souvenirs
still fresh enough to savor one more time,
sweet enough to keep for times when 
summer's memories fade 
and I will seek the hope 
that only spring can bring...

As hurried, harried days become the norm,
remind me, Lord, of summer's lazy spell
and the freedom of time to do what I wanted, 
when I wanted to do it
- or not...

When my house is shut,
closed to keep out wind and chill,
remind me then of open windows and curtains
waving morning breezes 'cross my bed...

When hats and coats and scarves and gloves
become my daily wear,
remind me, Lord, of sandals, shorts
and summer's warmth upon my face...

When the sun sets oh-too-early 
and naked branches trace a leafless pattern
'cross dark autumn skies,
remind me, Lord, of lush, green growth and
shade, beautiful shade, shielding me 
from sun and heat I'll soon be longing for...

As chilled October days keep me from my porch,
my place of rest and peace,
draw me to my prayer room -
its warmth a quiet holy place
for spending time with you... 

Fill my heart, Lord, with summer's heat
as fall gives way to frost and frost to cold
and winter snows me in...

Be my warmth in the weeks and months ahead
and squirrel me away in a corner of your heart:
keep me, as you always do, Lord,
held and warm in your strong arms...


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Monday Morning Offering: 10/16

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

A few days ago
I was driving into Boston when,
through my windshield, 
you aimed the sun
into my eyes, my mind, my soul...

Your brilliance pushed me back, 
my eyes squinting, 
focusing intently on the road ahead:
with the sun, a floodlight in your hand,
you snapped me to attention!

And with the light came the heat of you,
warming my flesh and whispering,

And you did.  
You had me!
For a few minutes on 95 South
you had me in the palm of your hand
and I wondered aloud, 
"What are you doing?"

But I knew exactly what you were doing...

You were in my face, in my eyes,
to dazzle and remind 
that even as the leaves fall and winter waits, 
you warm me inside out:
my flesh, my mind, my heart and soul...

How often (so turned inside myself)
do I miss the moments 
when you flash the sun in my path 
and warm my heart with light 
no darkness can douse?
Lord, have mercy!

How often (so chilled in grief)
do I shrug off the warmth of your embrace
reaching out to blanket me 
in love that never fails?
Christ, have mercy!

How often (dazzled by your beauty glimpsed)
do I shut my eyes closed tight
and blind my soul to hope
and choose, instead, a path of tears?
Lord, have mercy!

Lord, have mercy!
Christ, have mercy!
Lord, have mercy!

Before all leaves have fallen
and winter chills what warmth is left:
open up my heart, Lord:
to see what you would have me see;
to know your furnaced heart's embrace;
to catch a glimpse of hope 
as seasons change...

I offer you my prayer, 
this Monday morning, Lord,
for all the times 
I've missed the light, the warmth, the hope 
I found on 95,
the light, the warmth, the hope
that waits for me 
today, tonight and through the week ahead...


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Homily for October 15

Homily for the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass

Audio for homily

Against the backdrop of hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires
and mass shootings,
I mentioned in my homily last week that some folks are asking,
“Where is God in all of this?
Why doesn’t God do something about all this bad news?”

Since then, I’ve been reminded that some believe
that God is right in the middle of these disasters and calamities,
that God visits disasters upon us
as punishment for the mess we’ve made of the world,
for our being unfaithful to his word and commandments.

That’s a tempting proposition - to blame God for these tragedies,
both the natural and the man-made.

Even the gospel today might lead us to wonder if God,
like the king who gave the wedding feast,
if God picks and chooses who gets into the banquet
and who is banished to the darkness outside;
if God charts the paths of hurricanes
and the fault lines of earthquakes we view
from the safety of our living rooms;
if God chooses to spare hundreds - but not all -
from a sniper’s deadly aim;
if God, with a great huffing and puffing, blows the winds
that feed the fires that ravage forests and neighborhoods?

Is this how we see our God?

Generally speaking - and in better times - we do image God
as powerful - and yet benevolent,
as almighty - and yet merciful,
as high above us - and yet intimately close.
It’s on the bad days, in the hard times,
when no logic can lessen or explain our pain and confusion
it’s then that we’re tempted to make of God an angry disciplinarian,
if not a downright disappointing and heartless bad guy.

And that’s a point many of us might reach more quickly and personally
at the bedside of a loved one in an Intensive Care Unit
than watching the footage of the latest disaster
on television or on YouTube.

Because we believe that God is all-powerful,
that nothing is beyond God’s reach and control,
we find it difficult to understand
why God wouldn’t choose to control everything
- in our favor, for our benefit, and at all times.
If God could do this -- then why is it that God doesn’t do this?

And if you’re thinking that I’m about to tell you
why God doesn’t so intervene in nature and in our lives,
if you’re hoping that you’re about to hear me solve
the mystery and problem of pain and evil in the world -
I’m afraid I’m going to have to leave you disappointed.

I can only tell you what I know and it is this:
• that all creation and life are God’s handiwork;
• that we human beings are the masterpieces of God’s artistry;
• that God graciously and inexplicably desires a relationship with us;
• that since the beginning of time we have chosen, with free will,
to sometimes accept and sometimes turn away from
invitation to friendship;
• and that somehow that rupture between God and us
is the fault line that quakes through all of nature
and in the heart and mind, the body and soul of human suffering.

Should we be at all surprised to discover, more and more,
the connections between our greedy, careless,
selfish, wasteful life styles
and the disintegration and depletion
of the world’s natural resources?

It’s from such vantage point that Christians approach
the problem of evil and the mystery of suffering
in a world made by a perfect God.
God doesn’t visit suffering and death upon us
but  God does allow, God permits,
the rupture of our relationship with the Divine
to play itself out in our suffering
and in the brokenness of creation and its elements.

Yet, God has not left us alone in all of this.
Rather, God has and does visit us in the person of Jesus.
In Christ, God took as his own all that is human:
our body and soul, our pain and loss, our suffering and joy.
Jesus is like us in all things - except in the brokenness of our sins.
And yet, he took our sins upon his own shoulders
and in the brokenness of his body on the Cross
repaired the rupture between God and creation,
between God and all of us.

Jesus, alone, is the answer to the problem of pain,
Jesus, alone, is the solution to the mystery of suffering.
Jesus, alone is our hope, even in our despair.

O God, in our suffering and pain, give us Jesus.
O God, in our doubt and confusion, give us Jesus.
O God, in our brokenness and sorrow, give us Jesus.

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world but give me Jesus.

And when I am alone, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world but give me Jesus.

And when I come to die, give me Jesus.
Give me Jesus.
You can have all this world but give me Jesus.


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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 10/15

Photo by John Arena

watch over my path today
and guard my every step...

Keep me straight and true,
single minded, following the way
you've called me to walk...

May I find time today
to be alone with you
with no one else in sight...

Help me leave my mark gently
lest I disturb any others
who pass this way today...

Should cloudy skies shade my steps,
let your light shine through
to give me all the hope I need...

And at days end, when I look back,
may I be proud of progress made
and grateful for your help...



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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 10/14

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We all ask others to pray for us
and promise in return to remember
those who ask us to pray for them...

I'll be praying today for folks who've asked me
to lift up their names to the Lord
- and I'm sure you'll be doing the same...

I'll be praying for many people, for many reasons,
and I take comfort in knowing
that the Lord knows our every need
even before we speak...

Like you, I'll pray for family and friends
and for neighbors and parishioners
who've asked for prayers...

And like you, I'll pray for people I've never met,
for whom others have asked me to pray...

For some we'll pray
   for help, hope and healing...
for others we'll intercede
   for patience, forgiveness and reconciliation,
for many we'll ask
   for guidance, counsel and understanding...
for others we'll pray
   for relief, comfort and consolation...
and for all we'll ask
   for serenity, harmony and peace...

We'll pray for all whose lives have been upended
by natural and man-made disasters:
for those whose lives have been devastated
by hurricanes and earthquakes and fires;
and for those who were the victims
of a sniper's deadly aim...

We'll pray for the healing of the sick,
for the consolation of the dying
and for those who care for them, day by day...

We'll pray for those who need work
and we'll pray for those who need rest...

We'll pray for those who are burdened
with anxiety, worry and fear...

We'll pray for those in prison,
for freedom in their minds and hearts...

We'll pray for children waiting to be born
and for the mothers who carry them;
we'll pray for children waiting adoption
and for the families who'll receive them...

We'll pray for an end to violence
in peoples' homes, in their streets
and between nations...

We'll pray for the people
whose lives, homes and churches
are threatened by death and destruction...

We'll pray for the healing of the abused and betrayed,
and for the recovery of the addicted...

We'll pray for the victory of justice
and we'll pray for a harvest of peace...

We'll pray for counsel and wisdom
in the work and decisions of those who govern us...

We'll pray for reconciliation and unity
in our deeply divided nation...

We'll pray for all who serve and protect us:
for those in harm's way
at home and 'round the world...

We'll pray, as Jesus taught us,
for our enemies
and for those who persecute us...

We'll pray for the many needs
of so very many people
with confidence that God does hear
our every prayer...

And we'll pray with grateful hearts for those today
who'll find peace and healing, happiness and joy...

For whom, for what will you be praying today?
I promise to keep in my prayers
everyone and every good thing you pray for
and I ask in return
that you remember me
and those for whom I'll pray to day...


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 10/13

I've reached the point in my life
when I have to write myself Post-it notes
so I won't forget to do
what I need to do
and do it when it needs to be done!

Of course there are things "I forget" to do
not because I really forget them
but because I put them off
or really don't want to remember them...

Maybe I need Post-it notes
like these:

And, Lord,
if you want to leave a Post-it note
reminding me of what YOU think
I shouldn't forget -
feel free to write it
and post it in my heart...



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