Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 11/21

Image source

On Thursday, Lord,
we'll overeat and drink too much,
we'll stuff ourselves like turkeys
and joke about how much we've had
and how there's no room left for more...

And then for several days -
turkey sandwiches...

What we call "left-overs"
some (millions) would think a feast...

On Thursday, Lord,
we'll eat all day and night
while others go for days and weeks,
their cupboards bare and empty...

Let this week not pass until
I find and fund a way to feed the ones
whose tables never groan as ours
beneath the weight of too much food and drink...

For those who hunger all year 'round
help me do more than simply pray, Lord:
may I give thanks this week for all I have
by finding ways to share it with the poor...

Open my heart as wide as my mouth
and let my charity, like wine, pour freely,
filling others to the brim,
sharing with my neighbor, Lord,
the best of all you've given me...


Looking for a way to be generous this Thanksgiving week?
Click on the St. Boniface Haiti Foundation link
at the top of my sidebar... 


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Monday Morning Offering 11/20

Coffee in the Morning

Thanksgiving's just a few days away, Lord,
and I want to be ready on Thursday
to thank you for all I have,
for all you've given me,
for what I have in abundance:
I want to remember the ways you've helped me
since last Thanksgiving,
just a year ago...

Help me remember, Lord,
when your strength, not my own,
got me through the really hard times...

Help me remember
how, in your faithful love,
you’ve never left me alone...

Help me remember
the gift of your mercy
each time I've strayed from your grace...

Help me remember
how every time I’ve prayed
you’ve been there to hear me...

Help me remember
how I've survived and moved on
past things I thought I’d never get by…

Help me remember
how you stay by my side
when moving on is hard - and not yet done...

Help me remember
the people who love and care for me,
family and friends, at work and at school…

Help me remember the most basic gifts:
food and water, warm clothing, a place to live,
safety, liberty and freedom... 

Help me remember
all those who serve and protect me
whose names I don't even know...

Help me remember and be grateful for
my vision, my hearing, my sense of touch
and all the good things I smell and taste…

Help me remember
and thank you for the clean air I breathe,
the beauty I see and the music I hear...

Help me remember
what I take for granted
and open my eyes to what I’ve missed...

Help me remember
the gifts I've forgotten
and the people I've forgotten to thank...

Help me remember
that every good gift comes from you, my God,
from your heart to mine, to be shared...

Help me remember and never forget
how many are the reasons
I have for thanksgiving...

Help me remember this Thursday,
between the turkey and the football games,
help me remember to thank you
for all the blessings I count as mine...

So this morning, on Thursday and all this week,
I praise you with all my heart:
I praise you my loving God
from whom all blessings flow...


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Homily for 11/19: You go, girl!

Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
Scriptures for today's Mass

Audio for homily 

As tempting as it might be to interpret this parable in economic terms
Jesus’ words here are simply not about the stock market,
or investment strategy or clever entrepreneurship –
even if the imagery he uses is that of return on funds loaned.

And if you think otherwise, just look at what happens
to the foolish one of the three servants:
he’s thrown outside into the darkness,
where there’s wailing - and the grinding of teeth:
no bailout for this guy!

Well, you don’t have to be a scripture scholar
to figure out the message here:
use your gifts, whatever they are,
no matter how large or small they might be
use your gifts wisely - and in the service of others.

In choosing today’s scriptures, the church pairs the woman in Proverbs
with the three servants in the gospel.
We heard that she’s a faithful wife, that she weaves her own cloth
and is generous to the poor.
But that’s only a snippet from the 31st chapter of Proverbs
where we also learn that this same woman:
- secures provisions for her family
- sets a good table and is a good cook
- works late into the night and gets up early every day
- finds fertile land to purchase and plants a vineyard
- is strong and has sturdy arms
- is successful in business
- reaches out to the needy
- weaves her own blankets
- makes warm clothes for her children in the winter
- dresses herself in fine linen and beautiful colors
- makes clothes and belts and sells them to local merchants
- is known for her strength and dignity
- speaks with wisdom and offers kindly counsel
- keeps her house in order
- is careful about what she eats
- is never idle - and laughs at tomorrow’s problems

You go, girl!

But what we need to see in this woman is not her success
or how many talents she has – that’s not the point.
The point is simply that she used what she had
and she used what she had well -and she used it for others.

So, I need to ask myself, you need to ask yourselves,
 “What do I have to work with?” 
Am I working with everything I have? 
And, for whom am I offering my gifts?”

These scriptures are about so much more
than fiscal or personal success.
They’re about the fruitful harvest of the gifts I have to offer -
not for financial gain or personal acclaim -
but for the glory of God and the needs and service of others.

Sometimes we’re less like the woman in Proverbs
and more like that third servant in Jesus’ parable.

• We might not dig an actual hole in the ground to bury our gifts,
but we might pack up our gifts in a box that we mark
“My Puny Gifts,”
they won’t make a difference, they’re not worth anyone’s notice;

• or we might stuff them in a package labeled,
“Return to Sender,”                         
telling God, in effect:
“I don’t like the gifts you gave me; they’re not the ones I wanted;
I wanted her gifts; I like his gifts better!”

• Or maybe my gifts are buried in a busy schedule with the notation:
“Sorry – no time to offer my gifts
– I’m much too busy about other things!”

• Or my gifts might be hidden, in fear that others find that I have them -
because if they knew – they might expect me to share them;

• Perhaps I blindfold myself, refusing to acknowledge any gifts,
convinced that I just didn’t get any!

• And sometimes others teach us to deny or bury our gifts;
sadly, sometimes the Church fails to recognize
the gifts of all its members.

Gifts?  What gifts am I talking about?

My gift might be time, treasure or talent;
my gift might be warmth, compassion, or humor;
my gift might be a smile, a word or a gesture;
my gift might be my art, my strong arm or my particular skill;
my gift might be a friendly gesture or a lifetime of love;
my gift might be a token of appreciation or an act of sacrifice;
my gift might be support, encouragement or consolation;
my gift might be my silent presence;
my gift might be sharing my faith with another person;
my gift might be spare minute, a day's help or a lifetime commitment;
my gift might be a phone call, a letter, an email, a text or a visit;
my gift might be a dollar or a hundred thousand dollars or a prayer;
my gift might be a forgiving heart, an understanding ear,
my gift might be truth on my lips or a helping hand;
my gift might be volunteering, joining – or just showing up…

The woman in Proverbs saw what she had to offer - and offered it
- and in doing so, everyone around her found their lives enriched.

This parable of the talents,
about how our lives will be measured at the end
might prompt some questions for us.
What are my gifts and talents?
Am I using them - or hiding and burying them?
Am I using them for others?
at home, in my neighborhood, in my parish, in my community,
and where I work or go to school?

Wherever my answers to those questions - it’s not too late!
Even if my gifts were long ago stashed away,
it’s never too late to unpack them and find ways to offer them now.

The Cross hovering over our prayer
shows us how willing Jesus was to offer everything he had
in service of the needs of others
– in service of your needs and mine.

And at this altar, across this table,
he continues to offer himself for us -and to us- in the Eucharist.

May the bread and cup of this sacrament
nourish us to offer all that we’ve been given
in service of others.


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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 11/19

Image source

you will not fail today
to show me your face,
speak to my heart,
and touch my soul with healing...

You will not fail today
to walk by my side,
to show me the way,
and lead me to where your peace awaits...

You will not fail today, Lord,
to help me carry the burdens I bear,
to be the light in my darkness
and to offer some joy in my sadness...

You will not fail today
to give me what I need,
everything I need,
to come to this day's end
in peace...

So, help me then not fail this day
to look for you
and listen for your word, Lord;
to open my heart
to your presence and touch;
to find you at my side, guiding my way
and lifting me up each time I fall...

Help me not fail today, Lord,
to find and accept
your saving presence in my life,
in my heart and in my prayer...

This is the day that you've made, Lord,
and you will not fail
to live and walk it with me:
help me not fail
to live and walk it with you... 



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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 11/18

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I know the things I really want today
but you know, Lord, the things I truly need...

And you know how you plan
to help me find this day whatever I might need
to live in peace with you, with those around me
and with myself...

Help me discern between my needs and wants:
make me unselfish and self-giving,
thinking first of others' needs
before my own...

And when you offer me your help,
your grace, your strength and deeper faith:
open up my heart and hands
to take in all your gifts
with thanks and praise...



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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 11/17

The Empty Chair by Dena Cardwell
Thanksgiving and "the holidays" are just around the corner and for many this can be a very difficult time - especially those grieving the loss of a loved one.  In one way or another, we're all getting ready for Thanksgiving: some of us are looking forward to this day while some of us may be dreading it.  I'm posting this prayer today, a week before Thanksgiving Day: you might pray this as Thanksgiving approaches or print, forward, share and post it for others who might find it helpful...

A Prayer at an Empty Chair 

This Thanksgiving, Lord, 
there’ll be an empty chair at our table,
an ache in our hearts
and tears on our cheeks...

We might shield others from our grief
but we can't hide it from you...

We pray for  (name your loved ones) 
whose loving presence we'll miss 
at this homecoming time...

Help us remember and tell again 
the stories that knit us as one
with the ones we miss so much...

Open our hearts to joyful memories 
of the love we shared
with those who've gone before us...

Let the bonds you forged so deep in our hearts
grow stronger yet 
in remembering those who've left our side... 

Help us pray and trust that those we miss
have a home in your heart
and a place at your table forever
and that one day we'll be one with them
once again...

Teach us to lean on you and on one another
for the strength we need 
to walk through these difficult days...

Open our eyes and our hearts 
to the healing, the warmth
and the peace of your presence...

Give us quiet moments with you in prayer,
with our memories and loss,
with our thoughts and tears...

Be with us to console us 
and hold us in your arms
as you embrace the ones we miss...

Even in our grief, Lord,
this is the day that you have made:
help us be glad in the peace you've promised,
the peace we pray you share 
with those who've gone before us...

For ourselves, Lord,
and for all who find the holidays to be a difficult time,
we make this prayer...


Pause for Prayer: THURSDAY 11/16

Will I ever learn, Lord?

Will I learn not to panic
when times are tough,
when I'm overwhelmed,
when things fall apart,
and nothing feels right?

Will I ever learn, Lord?

Will I learn to hope
that things will get better,
that peace will be mine,
that tomorrow will come
and that all is not lost?

Will I ever learn, Lord?

Will I learn to trust
that you're on my side,
that you have my back,
that you are my strength
and that all shall be well?

Will I ever learn, Lord?

I have learned, Lord!

I've learned once again
in the last three days
that you're right by my side,
that your love is abiding,
that I've every reason to trust and believe
that all shall be well,
all shall be well,
that all manner of things shall be well...



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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 11/14

Image by victormeldrewsyou

Trusting Trees 

For many weeks now
I've watched the trees along my way,
their green leaves turning
draping the highway's shoulders
in a last gasp of color and beauty,
taking my breath away...

And then one night
(I'm sure it was under cover of darkness)
the trees did quietly conspire and begin, together,
to shake off their faded frocks and take a bow
in a coppery, brown farewell...

Soon they'll all stand bare
against a chilled November sky,
stilled with scarce a shiver,
their branched arms stretching long,
bracing for the weight of ice and snow:
their December sparkle,
their wintry armor...

O, would that I were bold enough
to stand as naked before my God:
my arms straining, reaching in the cold
for the warmth of winter's love...

But I'm not so brave and so I pray
that I might trust, as do the trees,
how spring will come again
and make of frost the morning dew
and the leaves all green again...


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Monday Morning Offering: 11/13

Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

What a week it was, Lord!

My path has crossed so many others' paths
and the routes have been many:
through my work, through prayer,
through sickness and death,
through good times and bad,
through joys and disappointments...
through meeting newcomers
and bidding farewell to old friends...

I offer you all the moments of meeting
in the week just past, Lord,
and most of all I offer you the hearts and hopes
of those whose steps walked close to mine...

I offer you the tears of loss I saw,
damp upon cheeks of grief...

I offer you the smiles of faith
on parents bringing their children to the font...

I offer you the small steps forward
taken by some who are afraid to move ahead...

I offer you the anger of those who've been hurt,
left out and let down...

I offer you the new resolve bold in the hearts
of those picking themselves up, dusting themselves off...

I offer you the gratitude of those who've worked hard
to learn, to grow, to become again the selves they knew...

I offer you the Spirit's nudge in my own heart on Friday
and pray for the grace to be faithful to it...

I offer you those who asked me for help I could not give
and pray you'll help me find a way to assist them...

I offer you those whose hearts are bound
to hearts far away or in harm's way...

I offer you the moments of grace I saw and seized
and the moments I missed or messed up...

I offer you the many ways you showed me your face,
took me by the hand, walked by my side,
asked for my help, listened to my prayer,
lifted me up, settled me down, forgave my sin,
calmed my fears, strengthened my will,
and held me in the palm of your hand...

Now I offer you this day, Lord,
and the new week there before me...

Cross my path, Lord,
in the lives of all I know and meet
and guard my steps in the shade
of the Cross of your mercy and love...



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