5/23/17

Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 5/23

Photo by CP

Simple, splendid pansies grace my porch door
where they wait each day
for me and for my watering can
to quench their thirst,
refresh their roots,
to strengthen them
lest they wilt and droop
and die...

I get this, Lord.
I know they're thirsty
and I know they wait on me
to wait on them,
to feed their beauty,
to refresh them
to withstand the heat of day...

I visit my porch door friends each day, Lord,
to shower them with my attention
and slake their thirst for what they need
for life
and in return they grow, they bloom,
they flourish and brighten
all my comings and my goings,
these portal pansies waiting for me
to wait on them..

My soul is thirsty, too, Lord,
and waits each day for me to water it
with my attention, care and prayer
that it might grow, bloom, flourish
and brighten all my comings and goings,
this soul of mine waiting on me
that I might wait on you, Lord,
that I might wait on you...

Amen.





   
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5/22/17

Monday Morning Offering: May 22

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza


Good morning, good God!

I offer you my praise
for your patience
when I think I'm too busy
to make some time for prayer...

I offer you my thanks
for your understanding
when I'm confused and I'm unsure
of where to turn and what to do...

I offer you my praise
for your mercy
when I fail to love
in thought, in word and deed...

I offer you my thanks
for everything you've given me,
especially for gifts
that I have yet to find and use...

I offer you my praise
for seeing my friend's face
across your holy table,
for our being one in prayer...

I offer you my thanks
for all the grace you offer me
more often than I know,
in more ways than I can count...

I offer you my praise
for all the people in my life
who care for me and help me
when I'm very much in need...

I offer you my thanks
for the faith I have in you,
and the trust I have in others:
the hope that keeps me going...

I offer you my praise
for always being there for me
when trouble's at my door
and I'm feeling all alone...

I offer you my thanks
for my memories of joy,
those souvenirs of grace 
that mend and heal my heart...

I offer you my praise
for the words you speak
in scripture, in my prayer
and on the lips of wiser friends...

I offer you my thanks
for your abiding love,
so freely, fully given
and with not a string attached...

I offer you my praise
for interludes of peace 
that come between rough patches
and keep me on your way...

I offer you my thanks
for your strong and gentle arm
to help me when I'm weak
and when I'm ready to give up...

I offer you my praise
for your Spirit, always moving,
in my mind and in my thoughts,
in my heart and in my soul...

I offer you my thanks
for your calling me
to stretch and grow and deepen
my relationship with you...

And I offer you my praise and thanks
for all the times you stay by me
when I forget to offer you 
all my thanks, Lord, and my praise...

Amen.


  

     
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5/21/17

MONDAY MORING OFFERING: 5/22

Morning Coffee by George Mendoza


Good morning, good God!

I offer you my praise
for your patience
when I think I'm too busy
to make some time for prayer...

I offer you my thanks
for your understanding
when I'm confused and I'm unsure
of where to turn and what to do...

I offer you my praise
for your mercy
when I fail to love
in thought, in word and deed...

I offer you my thanks
for everything you've given me,
especially for gifts
that I have yet to find and use...

I offer you my praise
for seeing my friend's face
across your holy table,
for our being one in prayer...

I offer you my thanks
for all the grace you offer me
more often than I know,
in more ways than I can count...

I offer you my praise
for all the people in my life
who care for me and help me
when I'm very much in need...

I offer you my thanks
for the faith I have in you,
and the trust I have in others:
the hope that keeps me going...

I offer you my praise
for always being there for me
when trouble's at my door
and I'm feeling all alone...

I offer you my thanks
for my memories of joy,
those souvenirs of grace 
that mend and heal my heart...

I offer you my praise
for the words you speak
in scripture, in my prayer
and on the lips of wiser friends...

I offer you my thanks
for your abiding love,
so freely, fully given
and with not a string attached...

I offer you my praise
for interludes of peace 
that come between rough patches
and keep me on your way...

I offer you my thanks
for your strong and gentle arm
to help me when I'm weak
and when I'm ready to give up...

I offer you my praise
for your Spirit, always moving,
in my mind and in my thoughts,
in my heart and in my soul...

I offer you my thanks
for your calling me
to stretch and grow and deepen
my relationship with you...

And I offer you my praise and thanks
for all the times you stay by me
when I forget to offer you 
all my thanks, Lord, and my praise...

Amen.


  

     
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Homily for May 21


Homily for the Sixth Sunday of Easter
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily


Always be ready to give an explanation
to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope…

Got hope?
Hope…  
How’s your hope these days? Has the news the last few weeks,
the sound bytes, the tweets, the social media,
has the recent news given you a reason for hope?
The question, of  course, is rhetorical!
But I’m sure that each of us has an immediate response within us.
The recent news has given some folks
more hope than they’ve had in ages
and the recent news has led other folks
to the brink of hopelessness.

And I’m sure there are representatives of both responses
gathered right here, right now, around the altar.

The great divide in our nation reflects the hope and trust we invest
- or refuse to invest - in elected officials
and in their polices and programs.

Of course, St. Peter wasn’t envisioning any elected official
as the reason for our hope.
For Peter there was, and for us there is,
only one reason for our hope
and that is Jesus…  Jesus…  Jesus…

But the plot thickens!
On both sides of our great political divide today
you’ll find people who, with Peter,
claim Jesus as the reason for their hope
and then point to the agenda
of one or the other side of the legislative aisle
as evidence for just that.

But when two camps are so sharply and antagonistically divided
it’s folly to think that somehow Jesus aligns himself with both sides.

Of course, “politics is the art of compromise” and so it’s possible
that those on two sides of even a sharply divided issue might
- in some manner or fashion and according to their own reasoning-
be faithful to some measure of the gospel message.
But here’s the rub:
the teaching, the truth of Jesus, is not a matter of compromise
but rather a command, a matter of conviction,
indeed, a matter of conscience.
We make a great mistake when we begin our political reckoning
by looking first to the choices before us,
siding with those that satisfy our feelings, our biases,
our frustrations and our anger
- and then baptizing our inclinations with a quote from Jesus.
Those on both sides of today’s hot button issues
are too often too quick to do just this.

But for those who truly claim Jesus as the reason for their hope,
            Jesus is the starting place for all our political deliberation.
And this is not meant in any simplistic way.
It’s seldom as simple as asking “What would Jesus do?”
Each Christian is called by Christ
to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar
and to God what belongs to God.
And implicit in those words of Jesus is the truth that
some things belong exclusively to God
and some things simply do not belong to Caesar.
Put another way, in at least some instances:
what is American might not always be Christian
and what is Christian might very well be un-American.

Although we may in the end need to choose the lesser of two evils,
we need to do that aware that God’s law of love
admits of no compromise,
precisely because for Christians,
compromising the law of love - is sin.

When asked to be ready to give an explanation to anyone
who asks us  for a reason for our hope
the only answer a Christian has is this:
Jesus is the reason for my hope.

I’m reminded of John Paul II’s reflection on who Jesus is - he wrote:

"It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness.
He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you.
He is the beauty to which you are so attracted.
It is Jesus who provokes in you that thirst for fullness
that will not let you settle for compromise.
It is Jesus who urges you to shed the masks of a false life.
It is Jesus who reads in your heart your most genuine choices,
the choices that others try to stifle.
It is Jesus who stirs in you
the desire to do something great with your life,
the will to follow an ideal,
the refusal to allow yourself to be ground down by mediocrity,
the courage to commit yourself humbly and patiently
to improving yourself and society,
making the world more human and more fraternal.”

It is Jesus…  It is Jesus…
It is Jesus who is the only explanation we have to give
to anyone who asks us for the reason for our hope.

Pray with me?

Lord Jesus, help me hope for light
when I'm totally in the dark...

Help me hope for serenity
in the midst of my distress...

Help me hope for tomorrow
when I'm locked in my past...

Lord Jesus, help me hope for joy
when sadness consumes me...

Help me hope for understanding
when I'm lost in confusion...

Help me hope for grace
when I'm tempted to sin...

Lord Jesus, help me hope for love
when I'm most alone...

Help me hope in faith
when I'm lost in doubt...

Help me hope for help
when I fear there is none...

Lord Jesus, help me hope for strength
when I'm at my weakest...

Help me hope for hope
when I'm at a dead end...

And when I feel most hopeless
help me hope in you, Lord Jesus:
help me find my only hope in you...

(My homily ended with a song I sang,
with the congregation joining in on the refrain:
listen to the audio above for the music!)

 

     
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5/20/17

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 5/21

Photo by Frank Spooner

A friend's photo, taken in his back yard,
brings to mind a verse from Psalm 42:
     As the deer longs for running streams
        so my soul longs for you, O God...
Let's pause and pray...

My heart and soul thirst for so many things,
   so many blessings and gifts:
      for love, for companionship,
      for healing and wholeness;
      for wisdom and understanding;
      for serenity, for grace,
      for mercy and peace...

My heart and soul thirst for a sip
   of waters pure, sweet and cool,
     for a drink that slakes my thirst
        deep, deep within...

Like a dry, parched desert land, my heart longs
   for a spring, a stream, an oasis
      where my barren life might be refreshed...

At the core of every thirst I know,
   at the bottom of my well gone dry,
there lies my soul, parched for you, Lord,
   with a thirst that only you can quench...

Help me know how the thirst in my heart's well
   is a thirst for you, O Lord:
a thirst that only you can slake,
   a well that only you can fill...

Lead me, Lord, to waters clean and clear
   where your grace flows sweet and pure,
waiting for my thirsty heart to drink,
   as a deer who longs for running streams...

(Pray with Bob Hurd's beautiful setting of Psalm 42...)




As the deer longs for running streams,
so I long, so I long, so I long for you.

1) A-thirst my soul for you the God who is my life!

When shall I see, when shall I see,
see the face of God?

2) Echoes meet as deep is calling unto deep,
over my head, all your mighty waters,
sweeping over me.

3) Continually the foe delights in taunting me:
“Where is God, where is your God?”
Where, O where, are you?

4) Defend me, God, send forth your light and your truth,
they will lead me to your holy mountain,
to your dwelling place.

5) Then I shall go unto the altar of my God.
Praising you, O my joy and gladness,
I shall praise your name.



 

     
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5/19/17

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 5/l20



Calm me,
quiet me,
settle me...

Steady me,
balance me,
ground me...

Plant me,
root me,
embed me...

Support me,
sustain me,
protect me...

Forgive me,
pardon me,
free me...

Refresh me,
restore me,
heal me...

Enfold me,
embrace me,
hold me...

Lord,
hear my prayer today!




 

     
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Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 5/19


As always, I wrote today's Pause for Prayer on the night before,
posting it in time for you to read it this morning:
today's prayer includes both those moments...

Forty-four years ago tonight, Lord,
I thought I'd never fall asleep:
I was so excited about the next day,
my ordination day,
and the excitement was mixed
with fear, joy, caution, nervousness
and trust and hope that it was indeed you, Lord,
who began all this within me
and that you'd bring it fulfillment
through the power of your Spirit...

Forty-four years ago this morning I woke up early
(so yes, I must have finally fallen asleep)
and I was out of bed quicker than ever before!
I remember driving from Brighton
to the cathedral in Boston
and thinking and praying
that my life would never be the same
after this day...

And I was excited
and the excitement was mixed
with fear, joy, caution, nervousness
and trust and hope that it would indeed be you, Lord,
who would bring all this in me to fulfillment
through the power of your Spirit...

Now, forty-four years later it's hard to believe
that more than four decades have  passed,
more than half my age,
in the life that began for me that morning
in the Cathedral of the Holy Cross...

It's exciting to consider all that's happened
in my life as a priest, Lord,
and because I have responded to your call
with uneven amounts of fidelity and devotion,
my excitement is mixed with contrition and caution,
with nervous joy and with trust and hope
that where I have failed
you, Lord, have picked up my slack
lest anyone I've been sent to serve go without
on account of my weakness, my faults, my failings...

Forty-four years later, Lord,
I''m still trusting that it was indeed you
who began this work within me
and that it is indeed you
who seek to bring it to completion,
to fruitfulness, to harvest
through the power of your Spirit...

For all you've given me, Lord
and that's more than I can weigh, count or imagine,
for all you've given me I am indeed truly grateful
and I pray, I hope and I trust
that you will bring to fulfillment
the work you began in me
forty-four years ago today...

Amen.



 

     
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5/17/17

Thankful Thursday: 5/18


Image source

Bless the Lord, my soul;
and do not forget all his gifts...
- Psalm 103


Me, Lord?
Would I forget all your gifts to me?

No way!

I mean, how could I?
You've been so generous...

But on the other hand,
I guess, maybe it's sometimes true:
I do forget.
I loose track of what you've given me,
how you've been there for me,
what you've done for me...

But see - that was back then, Lord,
and this is now...

I so easily focus on what I need from you now;
how I need you in my life at this moment;
and what I want you to do for me, today...
I have to admit, Lord,
that sometimes my memory of past blessings
doesn't even reach back to yesterday...

What you gave me last month,
how you blessed me last year
and the gifts I've received and carried for decades:
all of these can fall into a great black hole,
forgotten and eclipsed by my needs today...

I don't mean to be ungrateful, Lord,
but often that's where I end up,
forgetful of your forgiving love,
your enduring patience and endless mercy,
your abiding presence at my side
and your gifts, large and small, hand delivered to my heart:
some gifts opened and enjoyed but then discarded;
others used, abused or wasted;
and some left tied, wrapped up, unopened
when my petulant heart in self-pity
refused to receive what you offered...

Bless the Lord, my soul;
and do not forget all his gifts...

Once more then, Lord,
I ask for your forgiving love,
your patience and your mercy.
I pray you drop these gifts on my heart's doorstep
that I not miss them,
not fail to receive them gratefully;
that I might open them with joy
and find in them the peace of your presence
that comes with your hand's every gift...

Help me recognize the gifts I failed to see
when they arrived in wrappings I didn't expect;
help me find and accept any gift I ignored or rejected
because it wasn't just the one I'd prayed for;
help me be grateful for gifts whose time has passed,
gifts my angry heart refused to open and accept,
and give me joy in knowing that you were there for me
with gifts unknown, unnumbered and undeserved;
help me know, in my heart of hearts,
that you know better than I, Lord, what I really need
and what will truly bring me peace...

In your mercy, Lord, pardon and forgive me
for having forgotten, lost and wasted
so much of what you've given me
and especially those gifts you gave
for me to share with others...

Open the eyes of my heart and soul,
the doors of my mind and memory,
to find all the gifts I've received from your hand.

Teach my heart to rejoice in your generous love...

Give me the gift of a grateful heart
and grant me an attitude of gratitude...

Give me your Spirit's help to recognize your gifts
regardless of their wrapping or how they came my way;
open my heart to gifts I didn't ask or pray for,
the gifts you knew I needed, even if not the gifts I wanted...

Help me trust that you know best what I need most today
and that you will give me everything I need to be at peace
with you, with my neighbor and with myself...

Bless the Lord, my soul;
and do not forget all his gifts...


Amen.
 

 
 
   
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5/16/17

Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 5/17







   
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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 5/16

Photo by CP

If I'd driven instead of walking,
if I'd hurried rather than taking my time,
if I hadn't crossed the street to take a closer look
I'd have surely missed the mystery:
a gorgeous eastern red bud tree,
sprouting from its bark a rare corsage,
worthy of a senior prom...
and fragrant lilacs, understated elegance,
rehearsing a perfect curtsy
for a timely spring debut...
Photo by CP

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

Photo by CP
If I'd driven instead of walking, Lord,
if I'd hurried rather than taking my time,
if I hadn't crossed the street to take a closer look
I'd have surely missed the mystery, Lord,
and more: I'd have missed you...

Amen.



 

     
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