Monday Morning Offering

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

I watch the people leaving their cars on Sunday morning
and crossing the parking lot to enter the church for Mass...

Some saunter, others stride and some hurry;
others limp or lean on a cane or push a walker;
a few come in chairs wheeled by a friend;
and some young ones seem not to want to come at all -
but they're here...

And with each step or push or dragged foot
there comes a story:
the tale of the week just past
or perhaps a month or a year or a number of years
since last some came to pray on Sunday morn...

Oh, the stories, the sagas your people bring to church, Lord!
Their lives are open books before you,
tomes you've read your with merciful heart, your eyes of truth,
with your justice and compassion...

You know every word on every page in every chapter
of your people's stories:
   you know the pain and the glory,
   the dreams and disappointments,
   the faith and the doubt,
   the ups and downs and ins and outs,
   the facts and the fiction,
   the poetry and the prosaic,
   the tragedy and the romance...

You read the stories we hide from ourselves, Lord:
the stories we fear to acknowledge;
the stories in need of healing;
the stories we try to forget, to block out;
the stories that need telling
though the telling of such stories
is a story in itself...

You read all our stories with understanding
and love beyond our imagining, Lord,
and for that we're grateful...

No one is more skilled than you
at reading between the lines of our lives,
at grasping the leitmotifs that tell the deeper tale,
at finding the hidden threads that weave our stories
and hold together what's unraveled in our hands...

In wisdom you erase the ill-chosen word,
with grace you edit the selfish theme
and with mercy you delete the chapter of shame...

Our real lives are fully known by you alone, Lord:
neither friend nor spouse can read us as quickly,
as deeply as do you, and truth be told,
you know our histories better than we who make and live them...

Such are the stories we, your people, bring to church, Lord,
and we come because we know you read us well
and even though you know the turns our tales will take,
you love us nonetheless and whisper quiet inspiration
to turn us to what's true, what's real, what's right...

On Sunday morn we come with all our stories
to hear the story of your love for us
and we pray and hope your story's power will draw us in
'tl there's but one story, the one you began to write
before all time began...

Until then, Lord, keep us faithful to your Word,
to the narrative of love you've written in our hearts
and embedded in our souls: the story of your love for us
and your call for us to love each other
as we are loved by you...

And keep us mindful of how true and fragile,
how strong and sustaining, how beautifully unique
is the story of every one who prays with us, who lives with us,
who works with us, whose paths cross ours each day...

This Monday morning begins a new page
in the stories we're all writing
with our lives, our words and deeds:
make our stories one with yours, Lord,
and with one another's...

Make our stories true and just,
make them generous and selfless,
help us write them in your wisdom
and live them in your love...


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