3/19/19

Pocket Prayer for TUESDAY 3/19


If you'd like one of these pocket Crosses for your own, check here.  Each day this Lent I'll offer a brief thought here (Pocket Prayers) about how Jesus might touch our lives in this holy season.  I hope this will help all of us to be more faithful on our Lenten journey to Easter.

Pocket Prayer for TUESDAY of the Second Week of Lent *

Lord, I repent of my worry:
help me make my way back to you...

Heal my heart of my dependence on worry, Lord:
help me throw away the worry
I use as a crutch...

Help me lean on your cross, Lord,
and rely solely on you
for my strength, my courage and my hope...

Lord Jesus, touch my life today
and free me of the worry
that holds me back and keeps me down...

Amen.

*Today's Pocket Prayer is an expansion of a unattributed quote I found on a refrigerator door.


 

     
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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 3/19



In the middle of a busy day, Lord,
I left the parish office and drove to West Concord
to pick up my black suit at the cleaners
so I could change into it
before going to a wake later this afternoon...

On the way to the cleaners
I thought of all the other things I might have done
with the 25 minutes this round-trip stole from my day...

And I also thought about all the other things I do,
simple, practical reasonable things,
that also steal precious time from my days,
time that might be better spent on any number of
tasks, responsibilities and relationships
that mean so much more
than driving to West Concord
to pick up my suit at the cleaners...

Clean, pressed suits have their place, Lord
but they aren't nearly as important
as hundreds of other things
that have a claim on my time, my energy,
my work, my love, my faith...

Especially this Lent, Lord,
help me sort out the important
from the less important
from the unimportant -
and help me plan and use my time
according to your word and will...

Amen.



 

   
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3/17/19

Pocket Prayer for MONDAY 3/18


If you'd like one of these pocket Crosses for your own, check here.  Each day this Lent I'll offer a brief thought here (Pocket Prayers) about how Jesus might touch our lives in this holy season.  I hope this will help all of us to be more faithful on our Lenten journey to Easter.

Pocket Prayer for MONDAY of the Second Week of Lent

I mentioned on Friday, Lord,
how I know there are times
when I hide from, run from,
shield myself from the very touch
I'm praying for today...

Sometimes it's because
I know your touch might heal
a wound I'd prefer to nurse...

Sometimes it's because
I fear your touch might disturb
an already painful place...

Or perhaps I'm afraid
that in return for your blessing,
you might ask or want more from me
than I'm just now ready to offer...

Whatever the reason, Lord,
today I pray you'll touch my life
in just the place I need your touch the most,
in just the place where I back off
and turn from your outstretched hand...

I believe, Lord, and I know
that your touch is always healing,
always reconciling and consoling,
always filled with your gentle mercy...

So, touch my life today, Lord,
in just that place
where I need your touch the most
and give me the strength, courage and grace I need
to open myself to you in trust...

Amen.


 

     
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Monday Morning Offering 3/18

Coffee in the Morning: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

Every Sunday my parish prays:
For a spirit of generosity in the hearts of us
who have more than we need...
 


Well, I have so much more than I need, Lord!

I have too much stuff...

I have too many things...

I have things I've forgotten I have...

I have things I can't find
because they're buried under
all the things I have! 

I have too many old things
and too many new things... 

I collect things I don't need...

I have too many clothes
(too many that fit
and too many that don't)...

I have too much money...

Ah! The money thing helps me define this, Lord:
it's not so much that I have a lot of money - I don't -
but when I look around at the rest of the world, 
I know I have more money than I need...

In fact, when I look around,
I see that I have more than I need 
of just about everything I have...

That's the hard question, Lord:

how much of anything do I really need...?

When I'm honest about that
I know I have more than I need...

I'm not going to offer you all my stuff, Lord,
all of my things
because I know you don't need them or want them!

But this Lent I ask you to help me give up:
my desire to have more and more...
my desire to have more than I need...
my desire for collecting things
- for the sake of collecting them...
my desire to have more for the sake of having more...
my desire to have more than others have...
my desire to buy, to have and to own
the biggest, the smallest, the fastest, the newest,
the sleekest, the priciest - whatever!

I offer for your mercy and healing my desire to have:
full shelves, full closets, full bank accounts,
a full tank, a full stomach
and boxes full of whatever I want
or might want
or think I want
or have been told that I should want...

I offer for your mercy and healing my tendency 
to stuff and clutter my mind and heart,
to load my imagination with junk, with filler, with crap,
with so much less than my heart deserves,
so much less than my mind  deserves,
and with so much less than you deserve, Lord,
you who make your home in my heart...

I offer for your mercy and healing my complicity
in filling my heart with anything other
than the grace, peace, truth and beauty, 
the lasting treasures,
for which my heart was made...

Help me to simplify my life this Lent, Lord...

Help me to give up, give away,
clean out, cast off, go without,
do without, strip away,
and just generally lighten the load:
to empty my heart of anything
that doesn't fill it as it deserves to be filled,
as it longs to be filled,
as you would fill it...

And make me generous, Lord,
in sharing and giving to others whatever I have
and for which they have a much greater need...

Such is my heart's offering this morning, Lord
and through these holy days and nights of Lent...

Amen.



 

   
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Homily for March 17


Image source

Homily for the Second Sunday of Lent
Scriptures for today's Mass




The problem with mountain-top experiences,
like the one in the scripture we just heard,
is that most of us don’t live on top of a mountain!

So if we make it to the mountain’s top,
once we get there,
we inevitably have to come down, and once we descend,
we tend to lose the exhilaration
of what we experienced up above.

Of course, the point of going to the top of the mountain
is  to meet, to encounter,  to experience something
we don’t ordinarily find in the day-to-day.

That’s what happened for Peter, John and James.
They met, encountered and experienced Jesus
as they never had before.
Jesus transfigured in brilliant light right before their very eyes!
The unexpected appearance of Moses and Elijah
and the sound of God’s voice!
These all connect, unite and identify Jesus
with everything Peter, John and James know of God and faith.

It’s clear now, without a doubt, that this Jesus from Nazareth
whom they’ve been hanging out with,
this carpenter’s son is one with the eternal God,
and one with the belief and history of God’s chosen people, Israel,
evidenced in the appearance of Moses and Elijah
(the law and the prophets).

That was the experience Peter wanted to capture, to contain,
by building three tents to harness this mountain top experience.

But what does all this mean for us? 
We’re not on top of the mountain.
We’re down here in the deep, dark purple canyon of Lent.

Well, Lent is a time for climbing the Lord’s mountain.
And you don’t have to budge from your recliner or sofa to do that.
The Lenten journey up the mountain is an interior journey
and our purpose in making this trek is the same as it was
for Peter, John and James.
We need to find out again, who Jesus is in our lives.
We need to find ways to leave the day-to-day behind for a bit
and refresh our experience - or even find out for the first time -
who Jesus is in our lives.

A few days ago online, I came across some words
from one of today’s finest theologians, Stanley Hauerwas.
Here’s what he wrote:
“That which makes the church "radical" and forever "new" is not
that the church tends to lean toward the left on most social issues,
but rather -- that the church knows Jesus 
-- whereas the world does not.
In the church's view, the political left
is not noticeably more interesting than the political right
because both sides tend towards solutions
that act as if the world did not begin and will not end
- in Jesus. “
(in Resident Aliens: Life in the Christian Colony)

The world beginning and ending in Jesus,
in Jesus, the eternal Word of God,
 “through whom all things were made.”

Now there’s a question for you and me to grapple with this Lent:
“Where, in whom, does your world and mine begin and end.”

For the Christian,
there’s only one correct answer to that question:
if the whole world began in Christ,
(the Word of God through whom all things were made)
- and if the whole world will end in Christ,
 (who will come to judge the living and the dead)
then your life and mine began in and will end in - Jesus.

But we often set much more narrow limits
on the origin and culmination of the world and our lives.
For instance:
• life doesn’t begin or end according to the length of the term
of which administration may be in office at any given moment.
• life doesn’t begin or end with finding a job or retiring.
• life doesn’t begin or end in any relationship I might have -
except for my relationship with God.
• life doesn’t begin or end with graduation,
or becoming engaged,
or getting married or getting divorced,
or winning the World Series or a Super Bowl,
or buying a new home or car.
• life doesn’t begin or end with my being right or wrong -
even about something very important.
• life doesn’t begin or end
with things going the way I want them to -
or things going in exactly the opposite direction.
• life doesn’t begin or end with the bottom lines
of my savings and checking accounts.

In fact, for the Christian,
life does not begin with our conception or birth,
nor will it end with our death.
Since before all time we have been in the mind and heart of God
and long after we die, we will live forever,
hopefully, at peace with the Lord.

When you die, when I die,
each of us will stand before the Lord naked, our hands empty,
our hearts exposed and our souls bared.
It will be just Jesus and you.
It will be just Jesus and me.
It will be the greatest and highest of all mountain-top experiences.

And, you and I hope and pray that when that time comes
we will know Jesus and know him to be the one
in whom the world began and in whom the world will end;
to know him to be the one in whom each of our lives began,
and the one in whom each of our lives will end.

Lent is a time for climbing the mountain to find Jesus,
and for leaving behind the notion that Jesus is someone
“added to,” “pinned on,” or merely “associated with” my life -
but that, indeed, the whole of my life
since before its beginning and eternally forever after my death,
is a life to be lived in Christ.

Does that exclude my loved ones, my friends, my work,
my sorrows, my joys, my worries?
Of course not!

In fact, the message of this gospel reminds us that each of us
has a place - no not a place but a person - a person to whom we go
with all that life brings us
and the person is Jesus, our beginning and our end:

- Jesus, through whom all things were made, and in whom
all things in our lives will find their completion and fulfillment:

- Jesus, who climbed a mountain, the hill of Calvary
and who, on the Cross, revealed
the depths of his love for each of us;

- Jesus, who on the night before he died,
left at our table, this altar, the gift of his Body and Blood,
to strengthen us, to nourish us, to feed us with himself,
transfigured in the Eucharist as our Savior and Brother,
our Friend and Redeemer, the Word of God,
through whom all things were made.



 

     
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3/16/19

Pocket Prayer for SUNDAY 3/17


If you'd like one of these pocket Crosses for your own, check here.  Each day this Lent I'll offer a brief thought here (Pocket Prayers) about how Jesus might touch our lives in this holy season.  I hope this will help all of us to be more faithful on our Lenten journey to Easter.

Pocket Prayer for SUNDAY of the Second Week of Lent
     (and Saint Patrick's Day!)

It's Saint Patrick's Day, Lord,
and as I hold my pocket Cross this morning
I'm reminded of all the ways your gentle touch
is felt in an old Irish blessing:

May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and until we meet again
may the Lord hold you
in the palm of his hand...

Meet me with your touch today, Lord,
and let me feel the rush of your wind
upon my shoulders...

Let the light of your face warm mine, Lord,
and hold me, hold me in your arms, in your heart
and in the hallowed hollowed palm
of your hand...

Jesus,
touch my life
today!

Amen.


 

     
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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 3/17


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today, and for the past two days, I've been featuring different musical settings of a  prayer attributed to St. Patrick (387-461 A.D.), titled The Lorica (breastplate) of St. Patrick.

Today's setting is by composer John Rutter, directing the Cambridge Singers - a finer combination of conductor and chorus would be hard to find!  This presentation is prayerfully gentle.  The lyrics of Rutter's composition follow the video and below that you'll find a longer version of Patrick's inspirational prayer.





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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