Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 7/31

St. Ignatius of Loyola by Meljohn Tatel


About today...  July 31 is the Feast of Saint Ignatius,  founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Ignatius' influence on prayer and spirituality cannot be underestimated. Personally, I've had a Jesuit priest as a spiritual director for the past 25 years and for the same period of time I've always made my annual retreat at Jesuit retreat houses.  This morning, for your prayer and reflection, I offer you The First Principle and Foundation (don't let the title scare you away!) with which Ignatius begins his Spiritual Exercises. The text below is a paraphrase of the same by David L. Fleming, S.J. In the icon above, Ignatius holds a book inscribed with the letters AMDG, the initial letters of the Latin motto of the Jesuits: Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (All for God's greater glory!).

The First Principle and Foundation

The Goal of our life is to live with God forever.
God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life
to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God,
presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
they displace God
and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
and are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
to God's deepening his life in me.

Let's Pause for Prayer...

Help me accept everything in my life, Lord,
    as your gift to me...
Grant me the wisdom
    to hold all things in balance, in perspective...

Let not even the greatest of your gifts
    overshadow the gift of your grace in my life...

Help me see how everything in my life
    has potential for drawing me closer to you...

Let this be my one desire, Lord:
    to choose, always, what leads me to
        and deepens your life within me...






NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 7/29

Driving down Mill Street today, I was taking in
- and taken by - a thousand shades of green 
in trees and bushes loosely lined 
along the road's soft shoulders...
And I wondered if the trees recall what happened 
just last year and all the years before:
how summer slips away as fall sneaks in 
and slowly strips their branches bare
exposing them for all to see, naked,
before the winter's frost... 

If trees remember seasons, Lord, then clearly
they live in the moment, in every gentle breeze 
rustling in their leafy boughs,  through thunder storms 
and high winds  bent on breaking branches 
dropped like match sticks, scattered on the ground...

If trees remember seasons, Lord, they keep it in today:
they neither wince nor flinch 
at what has been or what may come 
but stand, resolute and strong, firm
in the present, in the moment, in the now 
that is the only time you know, the very time 
where you meet us and we, by grace, 
meet you...

I'm not as tough as trees, Lord,
I bend and break to memory's pain,
I cower and bow to worry's fears,
I'm blown about, I'm scattered, swept away, 
I lose my place, my footing in the moment, 
in today, in the present, in the now
where you meet me in time
and I, in time, meet you should I,
if I, when I surrender
to your grace...

I'd love to be a maple, Lord, 
a mighty oak, an elm - or a sequoia
but such as these grow greater, stronger,
older and wiser than what my future holds
so here's my prayer this evening, Lord:
    make of me an evergreen,
    a pine, a spruce, a fir tree fit
    for every season, all year 'round,
    perpetual, perennial, 
    graced by what's eternal,
    ever present in the moment
    when you meet me
    and I, in time, meet you,
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...

(If the video below doesn't appear, click here!)
Hold On To Me by Lauren Daigle





My apology!

Once again, my new subscription service, AWeber.com has failed my expectations and what they told me would happen. I am working to resolve the issues which led to my subscribers NOT receiving an email this morning.




Join us grumblers on Sunday morning!

Lots of grumbling going on in Sunday's scriptures -
    are you a grumbler, too?




Good News!


Two pieces of GOOD NEWS regarding my blog!

 1) If you've had trouble subscribing to my blog, that issue has been resolved and the link should now be working!
2) Rather than receiving multiple emails each morning, one for each of my new posts, you should now receive ONE email per day, aggregating my new posts from the previous 24 hours!
Pray with me that what I've been promised will happen Friday morning!






Pause for :Prayer: FRIDAY 7/30

You might not catch a butterfly by chasing it 
but if you sit very still
a butterfly might find and visit you...

Teach me to be still, Lord:
to take a few deep breaths, sit back
and see what grace, what beauty
comes to visit at my side
and deep within...

Teach me to be still, Lord:
to find a place far from the chase
that rends and spends my spirit,
a place where just one butterfly
might find and visit me...

Teach me to be still, Lord:
pace my racing thoughts and restless heart
until your Spirit, like a butterfly,
might light upon my soul
and bring me peace...

Teach me to be still, Lord,
teach me to be still...

To be still, Lord,
teach me to be still...





NIGHT PRAYER: Thursday 7/29

Lord, you call each of us to be (gulp) holy!
Truth be told - that kinda scares me
because one thing I know is how unholy
my thoughts and words and deeds can be...
But holy is the goal you set before me, Lord,
    holy is the path you challenge me to follow
        and holy is the way of life for which I was created...

Daunting - to say the least!
So I'm relieved to know, Lord, 
you're not calling me to the holiness of 
Saint Paul or Joan of Arc,
or Francis of Assisi or Katherine Drexel,
or Oscar Romero  or Maria Goretti
or Maximilian Kolbe or Teresa of Calcutta...
You called each of them
    in their own times, circumstances and struggles,
with their own 
    abilities, talents and personalities,
in spite of their own 
    faults, weaknesses and limitations,
and through
   the  seeds you planted in their hearts
    and the words you whispered in their prayer,
opening them to your Spirit
    moving deep within their souls
    in ways unique to each one moved...
I'm not called to be Paul or Joan, Oscar or Teresa:
I am called to be ____________________
                                       (your name here)
    in my own times, circumstances and struggles,
    with my own abilities, talents and personality,
    in spite of my faults, weaknesses and limitations...
You call me to be holy, Lord,
    through the seeds of faith you plant in my heart
    and the words you whisper in my prayer,
opening me to all the ways 
    your Spirit leads and guides
in ways unique to me
    and how you call me to be - holy...
I pray for all your saints to intercede for me, Lord:
    may their example help me see 
        how you're calling me
and how I might respond 
    in thought, word and deed
in my own life, through my story, on my own journey,
    as I make my way home to you and to your love...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake 
and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I may keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...

(If the musical widget doesn't appear below,
    click here!)  
(The language in tonight's song is a bit dated         
     - but the message is not...)
Take Time To Be Holy by William Dunn Longstaff 
    performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir 

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;  
Abide in him always, and feed on his Word.  
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak, 
Forgetting in nothing his blessing to seek.  
Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;  
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone. 
 By looking to Jesus, like him thou shalt be;  
Thy friends in thy conduct his likeness shall see.  
Take time to be holy, let him be thy Guide;  
And run not before him, whatever betide. 
 In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,  
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.  
Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul, 
Each thought and each motive beneath his control.  
Thus led by his Spirit to fountains of love,  
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.




Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 7/29

(I posted this a few years back
but I keep meeting these people in my life!)

I’ve been noticing, Lord, how many good people,
how many really good people,
are so much a part of my life…

generous people
who selflessly give - and give and give and give...
those who are kind
without pretense or guile or self-interest...

folks who forgive,
whose pardon is so healing…

the ones who are holy
- and don’t even know it…

folks who are gentle,
never rough or harsh or coarse...

those who are strong,
whose friendship lifts me up…

the ones who are true and pure
in thought, word and deed… 
people of conviction
whose zeal never flags or fades…

friends who are faithful
especially through my rough patches…
folks who are happy,
 filled with genuine joy to share,,.

the honest ones, Lord,
whose plain and simple truth is a gift…

folks of tender compassion
whose patience is unending…
the people who generously offer help
- and before anyone asks…

people of prayer and faith in you
whose presence is peace for my soul...

Good people, Lord,
so many good people
- all in my life…

People, Lord, more generous and kind,
more forgiving and holy,
more deeply convicted, faithful and joyful,
more honest, compassionate, loyal and helpful,
more thoughtful and prayerful,
gentler, stronger and purer by far
- than I…

Make me grateful for such good people, Lord
   and teach me their ways,
the ways of people
    whose goodness is yours...






NIGHT PRAYER: Wednesday 7/28

This Night Prayer is inspired by a photo taken in Idaho by a friend traveling through the western US in pursuit of the sun rising over barns...

                               Photo by Madeleine Arsenault

Let us never forget, Lord, 
how you cause the sun to rise and set
   on the just and the unjust,
   on warmongers and peacemakers,
   on those in sorrow and those in joy,
   on the newborn and the dying,
   on those who mourn and those who party,
   on those who believe and those who don't,
   on those who harm and those who heal, 
   on sinners and on saints...
Whatever today has brought us,
whatever we've brought to this day,
whatever tomorrow may bring:
    your light will shine upon our world,
    your  mercy will forgive and cleanse,
    your patience will attend us,
    your Spirit will inspire peace,
    your Word will call us to the truth, 
    your grace will set us free from sin,
    your rain refresh us, one and all,
    saints and sinners 
All our help comes from you, Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth...

Protect us, Lord, while we're awake
and watch over us as we sleep
that awake, we might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...



Our help is from the Lord, the maker of heaven,
the maker of heaven and earth.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains,
from where shall come my help?
My help shall come from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
May our God, ever wakeful, 
not allow you to fall.
No, he sleeps not nor slumbers; 
for Israel, God is at guard.
God is your guard and protection;
by your side God shall stand.
By day the sun shall not harm you
nor the moon in the night.
The Lord will shelter you from evil;
God will guard your soul,
will guard your coming and your going
both now and forever more.