5/24/24

NIGHT PRAYER: Friday 5/24



I've been working with the scriptures for well over 50 years and yet, still, I come across passages and verses that strike me as if I'd never seen them before.  The first reading at Mass this morning provided just such an occasion.

Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another,
that you may not be judged.
 
(James 5:9)
 
O Lord, O Lord!
I complain about others all the time!
 
I criticize, I whine and I grouse.
I stew, I accuse and I dissent.
I charge, I gripe and I grumble.

And all this, Lord, 
    sometimes - out loud -
but even more often 
    - quietly, silently -
in my thoughts, resentments and grudges,
    in my mind and, sadly - in my heart...
 
My complaining wears on my kindness,
    it erodes any gentleness within me,
        it hardens my heart
           and closes me in on myself...

And you, Lord?
You have never once complained about me.
You have never once complained
    about those who suffer my complaints...

You did not complain about those
    who judged you, struck you, crucified you,
who stood at the foot of your cross
    and mocked you...
 
Not a word of complaint came from your lips,
    much less from you sacred heart
but instead you offered a prayer for them
    a prayer you offer for us, too:
        "Father, forgive them,
            they know not what they do..."
 
Heal my complaining heart, Lord,
    in your mercy and kindness, heal me...
 
Help me see how often I complain
    about those whom you love so deeply...
 
Heal me, Lord,
    and make of my stony heart
        a heart of mercy and love...

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...

Amen.

Heal Me, O Lord!  by Don Moen

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Heal me O Lord 
And I will be healed 
Save me and I will be saved 
Heal me O Lord 
And I will be healed 
For You are the One I praise 
You are the One I praise
 

  

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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 5/24


This perfect image of spring, Mother Robin feeding her four nestlings, was snapped by friends from their window with a telephoto lens.  Thanks to MLL and PL for sharing this!
 
These fledglings are hungry, Lord,
    and unafraid to beg and plead for what they need
        to live, to grow, to flourish and to thrive...
         
Lord, make me hungry, too:
    hungry for your word to speak to my heart's depths,
    hungry for your gentle hand to heal my wounds, my hurt,
    hungry for your love to satisfy my longing,
    hungry for your daily bread to feed my starving soul,
    hungry for your wisdom to clarify my thoughts,
    hungry for your Spirit to enlighten my decisions, 
    hungry for your joy to relieve me of my sorrow,
    hungry for your mercy to wash away my sins,
    hungry for your glory to shine upon my path
    and hungry for the faith I need
        to trust that you will nourish me
            and feed me with your grace...

Amen.

And here's a video I found online of hungry baby robins waiting, praying to be fed...
 
(If a video doesn't appear below, click here!)


 

  

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5/23/24

NIGHT PRAYER: Thursday 5/23



At mass this morning, I mentioned how odd it is that we pray to God, "lead us not into temptation."  Personally, I think I need to be more concerned about the temptation I lead myself into!  Well, that got me to thinking about such things - and thus this evening's Night Prayer.  Of the items in this litany, which might be the three most in need of your attention?

For the selfishness that often shapes my days,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For the worry I let cheat me of my hope,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For the times when I think only of myself,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For the ways in which I fail to love and serve,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me....

For my unkind thoughts and words and deeds,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For the grudges and resentments I hold on to,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For the ways that I'm unfaithful 
(small, medium and large),
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For failing to respect my common sense,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For spreading rumors, hearsay, slander, gossip,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For promises and pledges I've not kept,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For thinking I've no growing left to do,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For foolishness and fantasy I shouldn't entertain,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me....

For laziness that keeps my from my work, 
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For anger I let fester in my soul, 
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For the crazy thought that I know more than you, 
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For jealous thoughts I harbor in my heart, 
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For all the precious time I waste,
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

For ignoring you, not making time to pray, 
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

And for thinking I do nothing wrong, 
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive me...

Help me see myself as you do,
help me see the wrong I've done and  pray:
    I'm sorry, Lord: forgive 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...

Amen.

Confession Song  by Nathan Surgenor

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5/22/24

Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 4/23

 

 
Got some things I need to let go of, Lord,
and I won't be surprised if they're just the things
you'd like to see me cut loose...

I need to let go some resentments, Lord,
some bitterness, grudges and spite
- and did I mention the chip on my shoulder?
 
I need to let go some really old habits:
some harmful, some risky,
some just plain stupid 
- and all of them foolish...

I need to let go my anger, Lord,
the rage I stew in
to no one's advantage...

I need to let go self-pity and pride
and the envy that keeps me
from loving my neighbor...

I need to let go my idle thoughts,
    - not my hopes and my goals -
but my fantasy, pipe dreams and make-believe...

I might need to let go a relationship, Lord,
one I'm not meant to be part of,
not healthy for me or the other...

I need to let go the past I cling to
with its aches and worries and disappointments
    - memories that rob me of peace...

I need to let go my addiction, Lord
    be it work or play, some substance or toy,
    some guilty pleasure - whatever it is -
    that eats up my time, devours my soul
    and robs my heart of its peace...

Got some things I need to let go of, Lord,
and I won't be surprised if they're just the things
you'd like to see me cut loose...


When I cling to these things, Lord,
    pry open my hands...

When I harbor what's hurtful,
    give me freedom to heal...

When I hug what's harmful,
    fill my arms with your grace...

When I'm holding tight 
to what's holding me back:
free me, release me
and set me free of whatever it is 
    I need to let go...

Give me grace, give me courage,
give me wisdom and strength,
as much as I need, Lord,
to help me let go what I need to let go,
    - what I need to let go of - today...

Amen.

 

  

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NIGHT PRAYER: Wednesday 5/22



I realize that folks all over read this page so please excuse me if my climate isn't a match for yours!  Here, in my corner of the Lord's vineyard, the mercury was reading 93ºF!

It's only mid-May, Lord, but in these parts
folks are already complaining about the heat
    - but not me!

I love the way the sun enfolds me,
    bakes me in its warm embrace,
melting through my tender skin
    and deep into the marrow of my soul...

I love the heat, I want the heat
I wait for heat to thaw old winter's hold
on hearts chilled 
by grief and sorrow,
hurt and disappointment, 
anger and resentment,
violence and war...
 
I seek the heat, I crave the heat
I pray for heat to melt the hardest heart,
    beginning with my own;
to defrost the icy edge that scrapes
    and scars the bonds 
        that once held all together;
heat to meld and fuse and merge
    what pride and time
        have sundered into fragments;
heat to warm and wrap us 
    in the mantle of your peace...

Lord, I love the way the sun enfolds 
    and bakes me in your warm embrace,
seeping through my tender skin
    and deep into the marrow of my soul...

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...

Amen.

I had trouble find a hymn or song to pair with tonight's prayer
so I settled for this classic piece with "melt me" in the lyrics!

Spirit of the Living God  by Daniel Iverson

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Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 5/23



 

 

  

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5/21/24

NIGHT PRAYER: Tuesday 5/22



If I'd driven instead of walking,
if I'd hurried, Lord, to save some time
if I hadn't crossed the street just to take a closer look,
I'd have surely missed the mystery 
revealed before my eyes...
 
Photo by CP
 
A gorgeous eastern red bud tree,
sprouting from its bark a rare corsage
worthy of my date for senior prom... 

And fragrant lilacs, understated elegance,
rehearsing how to curtsy
 just in time for spring's debut...
 
Photo by CP

Oh, if only I'd slow down, Lord,
and take in what's all around me:
    what mystery I might meet,
    what fragrance might give hint
    of your aromatic presence,
    blossoming in places I might miss
    - and so miss you...

Photo by CP
 
If I'd driven instead of walking,
if I'd hurried, Lord, to save some time,
if I hadn't crossed the street just to take a closer look,
I'd have surely missed your mystery, Lord,
revealed before my eyes...

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... 
 
Amen.

Smell the Roses  by Cecily Hennigan

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Maybe I'll stop and smell the roses
Not gonna rush what could be golden
Just gonna sit here for a moment

'Cause good things come to those who wait
Yeah, good things come to those who wait

So I'll be praising
In the middle of the crazy
Where I find myself just gazing
At Your face
The more in love, the more I wait

So I stay, stay
Stay right here as I look at Your
Face, face
Stay right here and look at Your face


Maybe I'll rest and let You love me
'Cause some thing's are missed when I'm at full speed
I'll give You control of all my worry, busy, hurry, yeah, yeah

  

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Pause for Prayer:




I need time to catch my breath...

I need a quiet place to rest...

I need to be alone with you, Lord...

So, cleanse my mind of all its worries...

Free my heart of what it fears...

Hold my cares in your strong hands...

Lift my soul to you in prayer...

Help me trust that you are there... 

Let me hear the word you speak...

Give me strength to do your will...

Help me follow where you lead...

Bring me through this day in peace
   and give me peaceful sleep tonight...

And that's all I need today, Lord,
   that's all I need today...  
 
Amen.



  

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5/20/24

NIGHT PRAYER: Monday 5/20


   

I hope you'll allow me one more Spirit-centered prayer post!

Come breathe in me  and give me voice to say with clarity 
    the truth I own and need to speak... 
 
Come breathe in me and sweep my soul of fear 
    that I might welcome joyfully whatever comes my way... 
 
Come breathe in me and season me to bear 
    what burdens may be mine -  and others' woes as well... 
 
Come breathe in me and give me strength to walk 
    down whatever path you set for me...
 
Come breathe in me your power, hope and strength: 
    come breathe in me 'til my heart's filled with you...
 
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake, 
    keep vigil while I sleep 
that awake, I might keep watch with you 
    and asleep, rest in your peace... 
 
Amen.

O Breathe On  Me arranged by Liam Lawton

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1 O Breathe on me, O breath of God:
fill me with life anew,
that I may love the things you love
and do as you would do.

2 O Breathe on me, O breath of God,
until my heart is pure,
until my will is one with yours
to do and to endure.

3 O Breathe on me, O breath of God;
my will to yours incline
until this selfish part of me
glows with your fire divine

4 O Breathe on me, O breath of God;
so shall I never die,
but live with you the perfect life
of your eternity.


  

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51 years

                                Photo by Dupont Media World

Sunday, May 19, 2024, was Pentecost Sunday. The photo shows me after the 8:30 Mass at Saint Zepherin Church in Wayland, MA.  I'm wearing a stole that was handcrafted by Peg Purcell nearly 30 years ago.  Peg offered to make me a stole and asked what color or design I might like.  I told her I'd love to have a Pentecost stole with the tongues of fire mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles.


Peg block stitched each of the flames on the stole and while she created each one she prayed for an individual in her life who had passed over to the Lord. While stitching the blue flame on my left, she prayed for my mother.

It was a blessing and a joy to wear this stole on Sunday and to pray for Peg who went home to God many years ago.

This Pentecost Sunday was also the 51st anniversary of my ordination but rather than thinking back to 1973, I spent more time remembering the joy of celebrating my 50th last year! Unexpectedly, I went out for coffee after the 8:30 mass with 3 friends  whose lives have been part of mine for some 30 years - a delightful way to observe my 51st.

But wait - there's more!

Returning to the rectory, I checked my email and came across a reminder of a concert by the Westford Chorus, an event I learned about several months ago but had failed to put on my calendar. I am so grateful for my emailer's reminder.  What a wonderful way to spend my anniversary: a whole program by my favorite contemporary composer, John Rutter!  Regular readers here know how often I turn to his music in these posts.  The concert's first half was a collection of classic Rutter pieces, including one of his Christmas carols! After the intermission the Chorus presented Rutter's Requiem - a lush, stunning piece that grabs hold of your soul and brings you through death to life to everlasting peace.  The Chorus acquitted themselves very well indeed - under the able direction of my friend and longtime colleague, Jim Barkovic.  What a blessing and a joyful way to mark my anniversary.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I don't have a recording to today's performance, but these two pieces will give a taste of Rutter to any who may not be familiar with his work.

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For the beauty of the earthFor the glory of the skiesFor the love which from our birthOver and around us liesOver and around us lies
'Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn of praise
 
For the beauty of each hourOf the day and of the nightHill and vale and tree and flow'rSun and Moon and stars of lightSun and Moon and stars of light
'Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn of praise
 
For the joy of human love (For the joy of love)Brother, sister, parent, child (Brother, sister, parent, child)Friends on earth (Friends on earth) and friends above (And friends above)For all gentle thoughts and mild (For all gentle thoughts and mild)For all gentle thoughts and mild
'Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn (Our joyful hymn) of praise (Of praise)
 
For each perfect gift of ThineTo our race so freely givenGraces human (Given) and divine (Human and divine)Flow'rs of earth and buds of heav'nFlow'rs of earth and buds of heav'n
'Lord of all, to Thee we raiseThis our joyful hymn (Our joyful hymn) of praise(This our joyful hymn) Our hymn of praise
 

The Lord is my shepherd:

therefore can I lack nothing.

He shall feed me in a green pasture:

and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.

 

He shall convert my soul:

and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness,

for his Name’s sake.

 

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil:

for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them

that trouble me:

thou hast anointed my head with oil,

and my cup shall be full.

 

But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the

Lord for ever.

 

  

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