Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 8/18

Image source

Sometimes, Lord, I'm lost in the woods,
in a dense, dark forest
where I can't find my way
and I"m not sure where to turn next...

And, Lord, it's lonely in those woods...

So I'm grateful, oh so grateful
when I stumble upon,
when you draw me to,
a small clearing in the forest:
a carpet of soft green grass
where I can  rest and lay my head;
a cathedral ceiling rising high,
opening up to sunlight pouring down
on this oasis of peace,
a sanctuary of your presence,
a chapel of your grace...

I'm grateful, Lord,
not just for this place
but even more for your bringing me here
when I'm lost and alone...

I'm grateful, Lord,
that you should lead me here
where you draw near
that we might meet
and I might lean upon your chest
and hear your heart
beating one with mine...

I cannot stay here long,
I must make my way out of these woods.                                                                          
So come with me, Lord:
lead, guide and shepherd me
from darkness into light,
from this dense and lonely thicket
into your loving arms' embrace...



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Statement: US Conference of Catholic Bishops

Here is the most recent statement of the USCCB on its plan of action in response to the stories regarding Archbishop McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report.


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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 8/17

Image source

You know so well, Lord, how there's often a great gap
between the things I need and the things I want:
help me see and know the difference
and change my heart accordingly...

Give me what I need, Lord,
and help me let go my desire
for things I really don't need...

And when you reach out to fill my needs
open my mind and heart to what you offer, Lord,
and help me let go my yearning for the bright and shiny,
for what fades and passes,
for anything less than what brings me real peace...

Teach me to seek the things I truly need, Lord:
help me see, above all, how very much I need you
and help me want but what I need...



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Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 8/16

Lake Quannapowitt: photo by Steve Pressley

Before the end of day, Lord,
help me make the time
and lead me to a place
where you might still the waters of my life,
calm my fears
and give me rest

in the peace that's only yours to give...

Be the still point of my spinning world,
the center of my heart,
the place wherein I find that peace
where I find you and know

that you've found me...

In chaos and in calm,
in rage and in relief,
in turmoil and tranquility:
make your dwelling place within me,
your home within my heart

at the center of my being...

Help me make the time
and lead me to a place
where I might swim the waters of your mercy,
refreshed by peace in mind and heart,

restored by your good grace...

Today, Lord, gently touch

the troubled waters of my life
and still them with a calm
that settles deep within my soul...



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Assumption Day 2018

The Assumption of Bertha Huber by Marcia Sandmeyer Wilson

My annual nod to Bertha Huber - on the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, August 15.   

(The readings for the day can be found here.)

I post this delightful painting not out of any irreverence or even playfulness but rather because the feast of the real Assumption is upon us and, as on all feasts of the Blessed Virgin, we need to discover how what happened in her life and love for God relates to our own. From the website of the painter, Marcia Sandmeyer Wilson:
"This 16x20 oil painting is called The Assumption of Bertha Huber. It is the third version I have done of this theme. Miss Huber was godmother to my three children. She died at age 87 in August, 1975 and I told the children I would paint what it 'really' looked like.
"Miss Huber was from Munich so I know she was expecting nice blond angels waiting for her in heaven...
"At the bottom of the painting is supposed to be me and the three children weeping for her at the nursing home where she had expired just moments before our arrival. It was a very good nursing home, by the way, named Calvary, in the Bronx."
Painting in the folk art style, Wilson has given us a folk art appreciation of the Assumption. The word comes from the Latin assumere which means to take to one's self. Assumption celebrates the Lord's taking to himself his beloved Mother, the Mother of us all, who, the Church has taught from early times, was assumed into heaven body and soul lest the body which bore the Christ into the world should undergo any corruption.

We pray that one day the Lord will take us to himself at the time of our passing from this life to life forever with God: one day the hands reaching down in Wilson's painting will reach out for you and me. No, we will not be assumed body and soul: this mortal coil of ours will undergo the inevitable corruption of nature. Yet one day, we pray and hope, the Lord will waken each of us to glory and our souls will be reunited with our bodies in a glorified state, the beauty of which we cannot yet imagine. 

I remember being called, a few years ago, to visit and pray with a woman who was dying. Margaret was only a few weeks shy of her 103rd birthday! I saw her only hours before her death and yet she was as sharp as a tack, greeting me by name, thanking me for coming to see her, and joining wholeheartedly in the prayers I offered with her and for her.

But there were moments during my visit when Margaret seemed distracted from our conversation, straining to see something above her that I couldn't see. And several times she turned her head, as if to listen more closely to a voice I could not hear...   I don't know, but I would not be surprised if this beautiful woman was attending to the faces and the voices of angels, or perhaps of the Lord himself, as he prepared to take her to himself...

The words of the former preface from the Mass for the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary say well what we celebrate on this day:

Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Today the virgin Mother of God was taken up into heaven
to be the beginning and the pattern of the Church in its perfection,
and a sign of hope and comfort for your people on their pilgrim way.
You would not allow decay to touch her body,
for she had given birth to your Son, the Lord of all life,
in the glory of the incarnation.

In our joy we sing to your glory
with all the choirs of angels: 

Holy, holy, holy...  

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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 8/15


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 8/14

Photo by CP

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the last two weeks:
for time away, for rest and peace;
for quiet time to pause and pray;
for time with friends and time alone,
for time with you
and for your beauty
all 'round me...

Let me take nothing for granted, Lord,
but make my heart gratefully aware of all your gifts:
on vacation and at home, in my work and in my rest;
when I'm most at peace and when I have no peace;
when I know you're at my side
and when I cannot find you;
in all these times your gifts are mine
if I but trust in you
and open wide my eyes to find them...

Thank you for the gifts of the last few weeks, Lord:
give me grace to hold them in my heart and in my mind
and in my memories,
especially when vacation fades away...

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of the last two weeks:
may the rest and peace I've known
make me strong for all that lies ahead...



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Just one of a billion blooms...

Photo by CW

I wonder, Lord, do you individually paint
each of the billions of blossoms around the world?
And if not, how does each, uniquely,
so beautifully display your distinctive brush stroke?


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Pause for Prayer: MONDAY 8/13

Image: MacJams

I thank you, Lord,
for something as simple
as a warm summer's day
and for time,
plenty of time,
to sit in the sun at the shore,
soaking in the warmth
of the heart of the solar system, hoping
that as the sun seeps into my body
so the very heat of your grace might permeate
the marrow of my soul...

And I thank you, Lord,
for the constant, gentle breezes
sweeping over my bared flesh,
spiriting me to prayer,
reminding me of your gentle healing touch...

I thank you, Lord, for Yo Yo Ma,
sitting by my car parked hard by the shore's edge,
playing Bach's unaccompanied cello suites:
the digital mystery of dashboard music
floating over this sandy beach just for me --
and for any passersby...

I thank you, Lord,
for something as simple
as a summer's afternoon
and time, plenty of time,
to sit by the shore
soaking in the heat of your presence,
the warmth of your love and the surety
that even as the sun burns bright in August skies,
so all year 'round your gracious love
burns warm within my soul...


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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 8/12

Newcomb Hollow, Wellfleet: photo by Kaitrin Acuna

no matter what's going on in the world right now,
still morning will break
and the sun that shone at creation's dawn
will shine anew on us all...

no matter what's going on in the church right now,
in our broken hopes and shattered dreams,
still morning will break
and the sun that glowed when life began
will warm your people again...

no matter how confused and angry we are right now,
whatever our troubles and trials,
still morning will break
and as sure as the sun shines above
you'll rise in our broken hearts...

Ours is the sunlight, Lord, ours is the morning,
born of the one light Eden saw play:
we praise with elation, praise every morning,
your recreation of every new day...



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