3/21/17

The view from my window

Photo by CP

I'm visiting my sister and brother-in-law for a few days this week in Georgetown, Colorado.  This was the view from my bedroom window this morning.

I lift up my eyes to the mountain,
from whence shall come my help... 
my help shall come from the Lord
who made heaven and earth...

Psalm 121

 

     
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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 3/21

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Lord, I hope and pray this Lent
that you'll fashion 
a new, fresh, clean, pure heart within me:
create in me
a heart for a new beginning...

Your mercy's still a mystery, Lord: 
how you love me even in my sins;
how you never fail to find what's good in me;
how you always find something in me to love...

Create in me a clean heart, O God... 


You're mercy's a mystery to me, Lord:
how you never cease to reach out, gently,
to keep me from my selfish ways,
to bring me home to your embrace,
to mend my brokenness,
to heal what's sick within my soul,
to forgive what's sinful in my heart...

Create in me a clean heart, O God... 


Your mercy's a mystery, Lord,
and though I don't understand it
I'm always grateful for its depths
and how you never withhold from me
its sweet and saving power...

Create in me a clean heart, O God...

I come to you, Lord,
with the heart I sometimes try to hide
when I've marred your image
mirrored in my soul...

Create in me a clean heart, O God...

So great is your love for me,
so exquisite the delight you take in me,
that even when I forget, 
when I tarnish,
when I deny your beauty within me,
you call me back to your grace
and offer me your mercy... 

Create in me a clean heart, O God... 


Help me remember 
that you always meet me
just where I need you:
where I'm rough-edged,
   you come to smooth me;
where I'm broken,
   you come to mend me;
where I'm weak,
   you come to strengthen me;
where I'm sick,
   you come to heal me;
where I've sinned,
   you come to pardon me...
Create in me a clean heart, O God...

Forgive my sins, Lord,
and nurture what's good within me:
be gentle in receiving the heart I offer you,
a broken and contrite heart...

Help me forgive those who've hurt me, Lord,
and to see the good within them,
to see what you find to love in them:
let me be gentle in welcoming them
into my own contrite heart...

Create in me a clean heart, O God... 


Help me to trust 
in the mystery of your mercy, Lord,
in the mystery of your mercifully patient heart...

Your mercy's a mystery to me, Lord,
and the greatest gift you have to offer me...

Create in me a clean heart, O God... 


In the quiet of my prayer this Lent,
help me see where I need your pardon, Lord;
help me confess my sins and failings;
help me humbly open up my heart;
to let your mercy in to heal my soul...

Create in me a clean heart, O God...



 
 
   
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3/20/17

Flying west on Spring's first day!


Yesterday's 5:00 Mass featured sunlight,
pouring through stained glass windows -
and I needed that, Lord!

It's the vernal equinox and I'm flying west
for springtime in the Rockies -
and I need this, Lord!

Lent's near half-way gone
with Easter just ahead -
and I need that, Lord!

Winter's chill gives way again,
at last, to spring's rebirth -
and I need that, Lord!

Thaw my heart with grace
and warm my soul with peace -
because I need you, Lord!


 

     
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Monday Morning Offering: 3/20


Coffee in the Morning by George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

I'm still pondering yesterday's gospel story
about the woman at the well...

She was amazed that Jesus could tell her
everything she'd ever done and, clearly,
she had plenty of history to be told...

Lord, I know how well you know me:
you know my history, the whole of it,
better than anyone else,
better than I know it myself;
you know more of me than I do,
and for sure, Lord,
you know everything I've ever done...

And yet you offer me your mercy...

You know my missteps and mistakes,
my blunders and my foolishness,
my bad choices and decisions,
my false moves
and all my selfish ways...

And still you offer me your kindness...

You know my unkind thoughts and words,
my prejudice and bias,
my lies and my gossip,
my mess-ups and offenses,
my failures and my faults,
my jealousy and envy,
my lust and pride and greed...

And yet you offer me forgiveness...

You know my vices and bad habits,
my transgressions and wrongdoing,
my anger and my grudges,
my unjust words and deeds
and all my infidelities...

You know my sins, Lord...

You know every way I've failed
and everything I've failed to do...

You know all the things I meant to do,
wanted to do,
and ought to have done -
but didn't do...

You know all the things I forgot to do
because I put them off so often,
for so long...

And still you offer me your pardon...

O Lord, you know my sins...

You know the truth of who I am, Lord,
the whole truth:
you know everything I try to hide
from you,
from others,
and even from myself...

You know and you can tell me
everything I've ever done -
and yet
and still
and even so:
you offer me forgiveness,
you tender me your mercy,
you propose a new beginning,
you give a second chance -
and a third, a fourth, a fifth
and many, many more...

You know my sins, Lord,
and yet you call me for your blessing...

Lent is my time, Lord,
to meet you at the well:
the deep well of your kindness
and the sweet waters of your mercy;
the well where saving waters wait
to wash me clean of all my sins,
heal me of my faults
and slake my thirst for what's good
and true and whole and pure and just...

You wait by the well, Lord,
you wait for me, Lord...

Call me by name, Lord,
and draw me near
and as I draw near
then draw from the well of your grace
the water that refreshes
the thirst of my soul...

Help me face and own the truth of who I am
and lean on you for pardon and for mercy,
for a second chance, a new beginning,
a new birth in your grace...

Help me confess my sins
and my deep need for you
and for your love...

Let me drink deeply of the waters
of your mercy...

I offer you the truth of who I am, Lord,
and pray that you forgive me
and restore me to the peace
that only you can give...

Amen.


 

     
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3/19/17

Homily for March 19

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Homily for the Third Sunday of Lent
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily



So, over 2,000 years ago, a thirsty Jewish man who was a preacher,
encountered a Samaritan woman who couldn’t keep a husband
and my job is to help us see how this ancient story
has anything at all to do with our lives, yours and mine.
Let’s take a look at how this woman
 (and let’s give her a name - we’ll call her Rachel)
let’s see how Rachel responds to Jesus.

• Jesus asks her for a drink of water and her first response is:
 “So, you want something from me?”
There are times in the lives of us all when we respond just that way
when the Lord is asking something of you and me.
We’re usually quicker to call on God to give us something
and slower to return the favor
when he comes knocking on our door.
What the Lord asks of us is usually pretty simple, even if not always easy.
The Lord asks for our attention, he asks for some of our time,
he asks for the truth, he asks for a place in our hearts
where he might be at home;
and he asks for the use of our arms and hands
to reach out to those in need.
Just as Jesus was thirsty for a drink of water at Jacob’s well,
he’s still thirsty - but now he thirsts for us,
he thirsts for you and he thirsts for me.

• When Jesus suggests that he might have water to give to Rachel,
her response comes quickly:
 “Dude, you don’t even have a bucket to draw from the well!
How are you going to give me something to drink?”
Sometimes we’re just like Rachel here, not expecting anything from Jesus.
Too often, Jesus is the last one we turn to:
maybe because we think he doesn’t understand us;
maybe because we just never pray;
or maybe because we think we can take care of ourselves,
that we don’t really need help.
Most folks won’t admit to thinking they don’t need the Lord’s help
even if that’s exactly how they live their lives.
And sometimes I might think that even if Jesus came up with a bucket,
it wouldn’t be big enough to take care of all my worries and troubles.

• But then Jesus makes Rachel an offer she can’t refuse.
He offers her living water, a drink of which, he says,
will satisfy her thirst forever.
Now that gets her attention!
If she gets a swig of this living water she’ll never have to come again,
in the heat of noon day sun, to draw water from the well
and carry it home in a jar on her shoulders.
And again, we’re often just like Rachel.

We love what God promises, we want what God promises -
but we’re not so keen on what God’s promises ask of us.
We want the gain - without the pain.

• And it’s just at this point when Jesus jumps smack-dab
into the middle of Rachel’s life
asking her to go home and get her husband
and bring him back with her to the well.
Rachel then does something we all do:
she tries to hide something from Jesus:  
she tells him she has no husband -
when, indeed, she’s had FIVE husbands
and she’s not married to the guy she’s with now.
Like Rachel, we all try to hide things from Jesus,
especially things that embarrass us, shame us,
the things we’re least proud of
the things we hide from others - and even try to hide from ourselves.

But this is the turning point in the story - something happens to Rachel.
She sees that Jesus knows everything about her,
even what she tried to hide from him
AND she sees that he doesn’t condemn her, doesn’t leave her,
doesn’t send her away.
He stays right there by her side and in that she finds peace,
peace in knowing that someone who knows everything she’s done
accepts her nonetheless and loves her nonetheless.
And such acceptance, such love,
is what Rachel is really thirsting for.

• And then, finally, Rachel does something that many of us are slow to do,
reticent to do, afraid to do:
she goes home and tells other people that she has met Jesus.

Rachel’s story reminds us of what Lent is all about.

- Lent is a time to think not so much about what we want from Jesus
but more about what Jesus asks of us.

- Lent is a time to remember that Jesus’ promises are freely given
but at the same time, make demands on us.
It’s not always easy to follow Jesus - it costs us to do so.  No pain, no gain.

- Lent is a time to be honest with Jesus, and with others -
and with ourselves.
It’s a time to remember that lies hold us back
and only the truth will make us free.

- Lent is a time to remember that no matter what we’ve done,
Jesus loves us and stands ready to forgive us.

- And finally, Lent is a time to share our faith with others,
a time to find ways to let others know that Jesus is part of our lives.

Jesus met Rachel at Jacob’s well.  He meets you and me in many places.
And certainly he meets us here at the altar
where he who knows everything we’ve ever done or failed to do
still welcomes us to sit as his table
so that he can nourish us with his Body and Blood,
given once, for all, on the Cross
and give again and again, even this day,
in the sacrament we’re about to receive.

If you hunger and thirst
for such love and acceptance,
come to the Lord's table
and be filled with his promise,
his peace and his life.


 

   
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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 3/19

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I need to remember this, Lord:
   just to sit in your presence, in silence,
      is a prayer...

To find a quiet place,
   to remember you are near:
      this is a prayer...

To sit in the stillness,
   to ponder the mystery:
      this is a prayer...

To take a deep breath,
   to inhale your peace:
      this is a prayer...

To hear my heart beat,
   the pulse of your presence:
      this is a prayer...

To close my eyes to the world around,
   to open my heart to you within,
      this is a prayer...

To open my hands, let go my worry
   and wait to be filled:
      this is a prayer...

Though my heart find no words,
   you hear my silent prayer,
      in the stillness, close by your side...

When I struggle to find even one word to say
   you know before I
      what my soul wants to pray...

When my prayer spills out all jumbled,
   you know precisely
      what my heart intends...
      
When I can't hear your voice
   I trust that your silence
      begins to answer my prayer...

You read my mind and all of my thoughts;
   you search my heart, its sorrows and joys;
      you know my plea before I pray...

I need to remember this, Lord:
   just to sit in your presence, in silence,
      is a prayer...



 

     
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3/17/17

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 3/18

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Lent is a time to review my life
with its all its failings and blessings,
a time to take a personal inventory
of how I have loved or failed to love God
and all those whose paths cross my mine...

Sometimes I forget that the people along my path
are as fragile or even more fragile than I am...

If I look to my past
I may remember those I've hurt, saddened
and even betrayed
by my haste, my selfishness,
my carelessness...

More often than not,
I truly didn't intend any harm
but nonetheless my self-interest and neglect
bruised and burdened others...
Lord, if there are ways for me to make amends, 
show me how and give me courage
to say what I need to say
and do what I need to do,
sooner than later...


If the time and circumstances for making amends 
have long since passed me by,
hear my prayer for those I've hurt…

Open my eyes and ears, my mind and heart
to those around me now, Lord:
wake me to their presence and their needs
and keep gentle all the ways my life touches theirs...

Nudge me to take the first step towards making peace
in my family, my neighborhood, at work and at school...

Give me a merciful and forgiving heart...

Help me remember
how much,
how often,
how fully
and how freely 
you have forgiven me...

And forgive me my trespasses
as I forgive those who trespass against me...
Amen.




     
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3/16/17

Pause for Prayer: St. Patrick's Day


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today's Pause for Prayer, written in the 5th century and attributed to St. Patrick (387-461 A.D.) goes by two titles: The Lorica (Breastplate or Shield) of St. Patrick and The Deer's Cry.  Here are four versions (3 musical) for our prayer today:

1) The first is Shaun Davey's setting of much of the prayer's text, sung by Rita Connolly, along with graphics.

2) Up second is my personal favorite: Arvo Part's haunting choral setting of the section, "Christ with me..." 

3) Next is John Rutter's choral setting, "A Prayer of St. Patrick."  (I confess to loving all of John Rutter's work!)

4) And finally, a longer selection from the complete text of the Lorica itself.





 

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I arise,
Christ when I sit down, 
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me, 
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me. 
Christ with me.




Christ be with me
Christ within me
Christ behind me
Christ before me
Christ beside me
Christ to win me
Christ to comfort and restore me
Christ above me
Christ beneath me
Christ in quiet
Christ in danger
Christ in hearts of all that love me
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

The Lorica of St. Patrick
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation,
I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and his baptism,
Through the strength of his crucifixion and his burial,
Through the strength of his resurrection and his ascension...

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of angels...
In the hope of the resurrection,
In the prayers of ancestors in the faith,
In the preaching of the apostles,
In the faith of martyrs
In the innocence and purity of the deeds of the righteous.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power
that opposes my body and soul,
Against false prophets, false laws and idolatry...

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every one who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every one who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me. 

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.




     
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