Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY

Photoshop of a painting by Sir Frederick Leighton

At an easel, 
the artist looks to the subject,
then to the canvas, 
dipping a brush,
mixing and making

And from skilled and patient strokes 
(some swift, some painstakingly,
carefully made) 
there comes to life a face, 
a scene, 
a 'scape...
With just such strokes, Lord,
paint me to be
the person you imaged
in your mind's eye
since long before 
all time 
From your palette, Lord,
and with your brush,
tease out the beauty
your heart finds so deep in mine
and let me see what you see
on the canvas
of my life...

With your palette knife give texture
to the contours of my being: make bold
what I'm so quick to hide, 
diminish and deny...
Stretch the canvas of my soul
and paint upon it 
all you made my life to be
and to become...
Make me grateful for your artistry,
the grace of your design,
for the masterpiece you want to make
of all I am and have...


Image by Victor Wagner


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NIGHT PRAYER: Monday 6/5

When I'm put off by the rain
    and impatient for good weather,
when I'm fuming at the red light
    while I'm waiting for the green,
when "two-day delivery"
    isn't fast enough for me,
when waiting in the checkout line's
    a personal afront...
Then, help me remember, Lord,
    all the people who wait
who wait patiently
    for weeks and months and years for 
        fresh water,
        a place to live,
        a meal to eat,
        a shower and clean clothes,
        some medical attention,
        a few days free of pain,
        a peaceful good night's sleep
        a bed to sleep in,
        a job to go to,
        a homeland, free and safe,
        the gift of faith,
        a ray of hope,
        someone to love,
        a friend who cares,
        peace of mind,
        the healing of old hurts,
        the joy of being recognized,
            invited, welcomed, included, 
                respected and embraced...

Give me patience, Lord,
    and help me see how small may be
the things that push my buttons,
   things that anger and annoy me,
things that fade away to nothing
    when I see my neighbor's plight...
Give me patience and compassion
    in the face of others' needs
and please, I hope and trust and pray:
    be patient, Lord with me...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...
Purpose, Patience, Presence by Bob Singleton

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Monday Morning Offering: 6/5

Image: George Mendoza
Good morning, good God!
In this world of ours, Lord, a world of
    alternative facts 
        and artificial intelligence,
    of virtual sex, identity fraud
        and false narratives, 
    of synthetic reality
        and sham investigations,
    of  bogus claims, scams
        and deception,
    of hypocrisy, pretense,
        and duplicity,
    of plagiarism, piracy
        and cover-ups...
In such a world, Lord,
I offer you my thanks and praise
    for all that's real and true,
    transparent and straightforward,
    honest, right and accurate,
    heartfelt and sincere,
    human, simple, just and clear...
And I thank you, Lord,
    for everyone and everything 
        faithful to your word,
    faithful to your calling us
        to love what's just and true,
            walkinghumbly by your side....
Help me hunger for your truth, Lord,
    and for the grace I need to live it
and to speak it and to share it
    with all whose paths cross mine...





NIGHT PRAYER: Sunday 6/4

On Sundays, Night Prayer will focus on an element from the day's celebration of Mass - tonight, some verses from today's first reading
The Lord is a merciful and gracious God,
slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity
but this, indeed, is a stiff-necked people...

A stiff neck is sensitive
    to every other move my body makes...

A stiff neck focuses my attention,
    limits my mobility,
        narrows my ability to look left or right...

A stiff neck is - a pain in the neck!

A stiff neck needs rest,
    stillness and a gentle touch...

Some days, Lord, 
    I have to number myself  
        among your stiff-necked people,
days when I suffer from a
    stubborn will
    an ornery soul,
    an obstinate mindset
    and a rigid heart...
Days when I'm frozen
    in my moods and anger,
    my resentments and grudges, 
    in my unyielding pride,
         my unbending resistance...

I get stuck, Lord,
    paralyzed by my inflexibility,
    disabled by my refusal 
        to ask for help,
        to let go my passions,
        to change my ways,
        to humble myself before you... 

Help me, Lord, to come to you 
    and slowly bend and bare my neck 
to the gentle touch of your firm, strong hands
    massaging, relaxing and loosening the hold
that keeps me from turning to you and my neighbor,
    and the grace you offer to set me free...

Be merciful, gracious and slow to anger,
    faithful and rich in your kindness, Lord,
and gentle in how you lay your hands
    on me, your stiff-necked servant...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...
Spirit of the Living God

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Pause for Prayer: TRINITY SUNDAY 6/4

Image: IntoTheMystik

Today is Trinity Sunday.  For our prayer this morning, we turn to Saint Patrick's Lorica (breastplate) which opens with a strong Trinitarian creed and offers beautiful imagery for trust in God's presence in every aspect of our existence.
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.
St. Patrick (ca. 377)
Unfortunately, none of the sung adaptations of The Lorica
include the opening Trinitarian lyrics but Shaun Davey's
setting, sung by Rita Connolly, his wife, is definitely worthy
of our prayerful reflection this Trinity Sunday morning.
The Breastplate of Saint Patrick by Shaun Davey,
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Artificial Intelligence and Mystery

 Here's a link to my homily for Trinity  Sunday.

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NIGHT PRAYER: Saturday 6/3

Tomorrow (6/4) is Trinity Sunday...
I pray to you, O God, 
    Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
your triune mystery 
    more than I can fathom...

So many ways to name you,
    to seek you and to know you, 
        to call on you in prayer...

So many holy images
    to ponder,
        to reflect on,
           to feed my dreams and visions....
So many aspects of divinity
    touching my humanity,
         inviting me to sanctity... 
You are one God,
    triune in your glory,
        in your power and your strength...
You are one Lord,
    triune in your presence,
        in your mercy and compassion...

You are one Spirit,
    triune in your grace,
        in your wisdom and your gifts...

You are one, my Lord and God,
    make me one with you in prayer
        in your triune, holy peace...

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...
Tonight's music is a very simple song 
    with a mantra-liyke quality

Trinity Song by Sandra McCracken

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Holy Father, Son and Spirit 
Holy Communion, Three in One 
Holy Father, Son and Spirit 
Holy Communion, Three in One 
Come with Your peace, with Your invitation 
Bind us together in holy love 
Come with Your peace, with Your invitation 
Bind us together in holy love 
Holy Father, Son and Spirit 
Holy Communion, Three in One 
Holy Father, Son and Spirit 
Holy Communion, Three in One 
Three in One 
Three in One
Three in One 
Three in One





It's been said that "anyone who preaches on the Trinity for more than three minutes will likely lapse into heresy."  And this because the Trinity is a mystery we can name - but cannot fully comprehend.  As soon as we begin speaking about the Trinity, human language, inadequate for revealing, let alone explaining, this mystery, opens us to making statements that are neither true nor reflective of more than 2,000 years of faith and Church teaching.
Our Lutheran friends have produced a short, lighthearted and entertaining video that explains this quite well.  
And I wonder if any of you will hear one or more of these heretical metaphors preached in a homily this weekend!
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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 6/3

Though my needs are many, Lord,
I pray you'll be generous 
when I ask you to grant me:
   hope when I'm discouraged,
   patience in my haste,
   faith when I'm in doubt,
   consolation in my distress,
   courage when I'm fearful,
   truthfulness in all I say,
   strength when mine is waning,
   mercy when I sin,
   healing when I'm broken,
   comfort when I'm sad,
   perseverance in my weakness,
   counsel when I'm confused,
   purity in passions,
   wisdom in my choices, 
   good will when I'm indignant,
   compassion when I'm spiteful,
   prudence when I'm angry,
   fairness when I'm biased,
   love when I'm indifferent,
   integrity in all I do,
and peace of mind and heart, Lord,
the peace I truly need today,
the peace I find in you,
the peace that only you can give...






NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 6/2

The month of June (and Fridays all year 'round) are times of special devotion to the Holy Heart of Jesus.  (See this morning's Pause for Prayer) On the Fridays of June, these Night Prayer posts will offer an opportunity to pray with art, with images of the Heart of Christ.  
Just as you can read, study, muse and pray over a scripture text, so you can approach a work of art as a subject for prayer (as we did this past Lent). DON'T WORRY! You don't have to be a museum goer or an art historian to pray this way. You need only some time, some art, a prayerful curiosity and a desire to discover what the Lord wants to share with you through a sacred image. (These posts will ask for a little more of your time than usual.)

We'll begin this series with one of my favorite images of Jesus: Salvador Dali's "Sacred Heart."   

Before you read my thoughts below (in black)
    here are some questions for your reflection...
• Spend some time simply contemplating Dali's Jesus...
    What comes to your mind?  to your heart?
        How does this image speak to you?
When you pray, how do you image the face of Jesus?
    How do you image his stature?
        What do you find in the face Dali gives Jesus here?
Departing from custom, Dali, here, gives Jesus a biological organ,
    a heart that might beat - skip a beat - beat fast
        - and one day stop beating...
  Place your hand over your own heart
    and imagine Jesus' heart beating in sync with your own...
The first apostles followed Jesus upon hearing his call:
    how might you respond to Dali's Jesus calling you?
        What attracts you here?  What surprises you?
            What mystifies and what is revealed here?
Dali's faith life had a complex history though in later life
    he became a Catholic.  In his autobiography he wrote:
        "Heaven is to be found, neither above nor below, 
            neither to the right nor to the left, 
         heaven is to be found exactly in the center of the bosom 
            of the one who has faith!' 
    In the painting, the Cross is at the center of Christ's heart,
        how does this image touch the center of your heart? 
How might you pray, tonight,
    to the Jesus imaged in Dali's painting? 
Dali's Sacred Heart images so clearly, so frankly
    the beauty, strength and intensity, the raw humanity 
        of Christ's divine heart.  

This isn't the meek Jesus of so much religious art:
    this is a strong, compelling, confident in-your-face, 
        I've-got-your-back Christ 
    who puts his heart out there for us, 
        who empties his own heart into ours 
            with love beyond all telling.
Here's a Christ at whose word simple fishermen
    might leave behind their boats and nets
        to follow where he led them...
Here's a Christ 
    with sinew and strength 
        to lift and carry others' burdens
            while carrying his cross.
Here's a Christ 
    with a strong and robust heart,
ready to pump his power and Spirit
    through a universe aching for his grace.
Here's a Christ of tender heart,
    a refuge, a haven for us all;
a  brave heart, ready to expose itself
    to cover and defend us;
a heart prepared to give itself away 
    in rolling, endless waves of mercy; 
a heart large enough, deep enough, real enough
        to be the very heart of God, 
    God's own heart
        made flesh for us,
    that our hearts might know his 
        and by his love, be saved... 
Lord, open your holy, saving heart
     and welcome us in
        to your mercy, love and peace...
Protect us, Lord, while we're awake
    and watch over us while we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...

Tonight's (powerful!) song is titled:
    Empty Space: Prayer of the Heart of Jesus
As you listen to it, hear it as Jesus' word for YOU,
    Jesus' prayer for YOU, Jesus' desire for YOU!
I'm repeating the Dali image just below the video
    so that you can pray with the image
        while  listening to the song's prayer.
 Empty Space: Prayer of the Heart of Jesus
          by Jose Mari Chan
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