Friday, April 9, 2010

Romans 12:5

I've been reflecting on this all day... "so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others."

What I've discovered through this reflection is that it is a great tool to use every day. I have found it a relief that when I don't agree with my neighbor, it's okay because WE are of the same Body; the Body of Christ. I can no longer get away with saying, "It's not my job!" because if it affects someone else, it does affect me and the way I live my (hopefully) Christ-centered life. This new "attitude" is a loving experience that is teaching me a deeper, more enriching meaning of "cooperation".

But no, this is NOT just a tool that I will use every day, but a BELIEF that this IS part of my very DNA and I must live it to the fullest. Christ is the HEAD of a Great Body and we are ALL members of it. I mean members in a physical sense, not just as a collective group of believers. If I remember that I cannot do certain things with my own body without the other parts of it working at what they do best, then I can take this "belonging to the Body of Christ" to a new level. This means that if I don't "live" up to "my part" of the Body, then I am taking away energy (or spiritual encouragement) from the other parts. What happens to my neighbor is important and I honor that. YOU belong to that Body and I belong to that Body. We perform different functions, but we have a function to perform. WE are important together as members of the Body of Christ.

Being a "member" of the Body of Christ is more than being present in a community. It is a life-living promise that I will keep. If I don't, then I shall surely die.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Maundy Thursday

I've never been up to have my feet washed. I know it's important, but I'm just not that brave. Tonight was no different.

Then, all of the blessed Sacraments were consumed. Then the altar was stripped bare. Then I was alone as I was when others were having their feet washed. I realized suddenly, that I didn't fully understand at all. I had denied the gift that Christ wanted me to have and it wasn't until the Sacraments were gone and the altar bared that I saw Christ leaving without having given me that tender gift. It was as if I'd watched Christ walk away and I didn't bother to say goodbye. It was a sad moment and it was a moment I lost. I hope that I will be given the chance next year to receive that gift of tenderness.

For the next three days, THE most Holy Days, I will be with my Sisters at CSJB. To anyone who may read these words, I pray you have an enriching Triduum and a very blessed Easter Victory!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Lord, have mercy upon us.

Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.

There are many wonderful names for Christ: Comforter, Beloved, Healer, Teacher, Companion, Victor and so on. I even found a website that offered a free download for a names of Christ screensaver. Whatever I choose to call the Son of God, I will be forever humbled by the fact that I have the power to call upon Christ the Lord at all. I am a sinner of my own making, but God has not taken away my ability to call out the name of my Savior. In any situation, I have been given a gift to use for my very own benefit. God the Loving, God the Merciful, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is just a name away from my need.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

O Christ, hear us.

O Christ, hear us.

I get so frustrated when people don't listen to what I'm saying. When doctor's don't listen; when mechanics don't listen; when family don't listen; when people I work with don't listen. I want to be heard! I want to be understood! Do I need a mediator when I speak? And then, a still voice deep within gently reminds me, "I'm listening. I understand."

Oh Lord, why do I make this so hard? It is YOU that I turn to for every need and I can trust that. So, I am practicing letting go of the need to have my voice heard by those around me and trusting more that YOU are my mediator. This thing I can do because I know YOU hear me. YOU always have. Thank YOU.

Monday, March 29, 2010

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world

Grant us thy peace.

I've been praying all day for grace. I've felt out of sorts most of the day, for one reason or another and none of them good enough to feel out of sorts about. I should have been praying for peace, calmness, serenity. I was almost calm after saying the noonday office and thankful for the company today. Unfortunately it didn't stick. I just didn't have the energy to fight for that peace today. Ah, therein lies the problem. I'm not really at war with anything, just with myself. I have earnestly left all the problems that usually plague me during such a busy time in God's capable hands...and it has been good. That is, until today. Today, I just seemed to "want" to be at war with something/someone. It didn't matter what or who, it just was the way I was feeling today. That awful feeling was accompanied by one of remorse. So, after feeling like fighting some unknown foe and losing the battle, I felt worse having betrayed my promise to my Lord. My saving grace is that I recognize what happened; I can name it and I can release it again. That does bring peace. Thanks be to God!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world

Have mercy upon us.

One of the definitions according to Webster's New World Dictionary for the word "mercy" is: a disposition to forgive or to be kind. For the word "disposition", a selling or giving away. So then, I have the power to forgive or give away kindness to anyone I choose. Yet, God chooses to give away kindness and forgiveness to all--without judgment; without partiality. Certainly it is my responsibility, then to share that kindness with those around me. Mercy is not an option.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world

Have mercy upon us.

The whole world, not just my sins, but all the sins of all the peoples. When I look at this perspective, it seems that my sins are small in comparison to when the sins of the whole world are lumped together into one huge sin-filled ball. Yet, when I sin, and I am aware of my sin, I feel as though I am the only one in the world who has sinned. This recognition of my sin and my sorrow for it is what brings me closer to God. This is God's mercy teaching me how to look at my sin and how to overcome it so that I will be stronger and will be able to push that sin aside the next time. That is truly God's mercy at work.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

We are coming up on Holy Week and now is the time to be still and know God's closeness. I have called upon the Lord in every way I know how; in my prayers, in joy, in sorrow, in pain, in sin, in action, in rest and more. Now it's time for me to listen for God's response. I know that the Lord has heard the voice of His servant. I know that the Lord desires to hear each voice calling on His name. I know that I may not always like what I hear, but at least I know I've been heard. For that I am so very thankful.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

That it may please thee to grant that, in the fellowship of all the saints, we may attain to thy heavenly kingdom

That it may please thee to grant that, in the fellowship of all the saints, we may attain to thy heavenly kingdom, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

How comforting it is to know that we are in the "fellowship of saints" and that what they have done before us have left us with a legacy of enrichment to guide us on our earthly pilgrimage. There are so many saints that I have read about and so many that I want to read about and still, so many that I've never even heard of yet. Some of my patrons are Michael the Archangel, Joan of Arc, Julian of Norwich, Benedict of Nursia, Padre Pio, C. S. Lewis, John of the Cross, Ignatius of Loyola, Thomas Merton, Marie-Helen, and the list goes on. Some are very personal bearers of light in my journey and others a shadow hanging around for some reason unbeknownst to me. It is a good thing to remember, study and get to know the saints; especially those saints that are here beside us today, before they go on to that heavenly kingdom.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

That it may please thee to grant to all the faithful departed eternal life and peace

We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Over the years I've put down some of the things that I want to happen at my funeral service. I'm not being morose, I'm just planning ahead. Yes, I have the usual favorite psalm verses and I'm still thinking about music, but what I want most is celebration. I wonder at my selfishness in my planning. It's always hardest on those left behind. So, I've allowed for 60 seconds of tears. I've also included a moment of required laughter in my service. I want joy! After all, I will be going HOME! Home to the Great Banquet. Home, at last, to my Beloved and all those who have gone before me. It's gonna be a grand ol' time! Let's face it, the journey from life to death will have been long and hard, but it is only termporal. Hopefully, I will have lived a good life, a peaceful life, a Christ centered life. And when I go home, I will have life eternal!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand

That it may please thee to strengthen such as do stand; to comfort and help the weak-hearted; to raise up those who fall; and finally to beat down Satan under our feet, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

As a spiritual companion, I like to think I am also an encourager of faith and faith journeys. I don't tell people what they want to hear, but I do promise to pray for them and walk with them in their search for a closer relationship with God. I hope and pray I'm doing it right. It worries me that I might cause some injury to another's soul. That's why I got a certificate in Spiritual Direction and that's why I pray when we meet. I pray that God's presence blanket us; that only God's voice be heard to each of us and that we be protected one from the other. That last part surprises some, but it's an honest prayer. I don't want my stuff spilling over in our time together and I don't want to be "hooked" by anything the other might say. I truly trust that we are not alone when we meet and that everything that is said will be interpreted as God would have it be. My desire in companioning others is to build a strong army of faithful that will be able to stand firm in times of spiritual weakness. May it please God to make it so.

Monday, March 22, 2010

That it may please thee to forgive our enemies

That it may please thee to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

I started thinking about how whenever I say the "Our Father" and I get to the part, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us", I can't think of anyone at all that has done me wrong. It's as if my saying this, makes it so.

Thinking about how others hurt those close to them, I recall being very angry about a parishioner and what X and done to XX. I didn't want to be nice to X and I didn't want to speak to X. But, I still prayed for X just the same. Then one Sunday as I was meditating and praying about this it dawned on me that perhaps X was hurting inside and that was the reason for the turmoil. I felt an instant, overwhelming love flow forth. It was as if God was crying for the lost and hurting soul of this person. That same Sunday, for whatever reason, X chose to sit in the same pew row as I was sitting which X had never done before. I felt "gifted" by X's presence and I prayed that X felt a sense of peace sitting there. I've not looked back on the trespass of X to XX. It is not for me to be in judgment of another. It is, however, my job to pray that all hurting souls come to know that peaceful, loving light that is Christ our Lord.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

That it may please thee to give us true repentance

That it may please thee to give us true repentance; to forgive us all our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and to endue us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to thy holy Word, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

There is a song that came out around 2003, but I'm not quite sure. It's a love song but for me says much in regard to repentance. The song is by a group called Hoobastank. Don't ask, I have no clue who they are, I heard the song on the radio a few years back and thought, "Wow. This is exactly my prayer." The song is, "The Reason". The lyrics, in part are:

"I'm not a perfect person
There's many things I wish I didn't do
But I continue learning
I never meant to do those things to you
And so I have to say before I go
That I just want you to know

I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you"

I really like this song because it speaks to my feelings about my own repentance and walk with Christ. Yes, the "reason" I have been able to repent, to change my life and to start over new is Christ. It may not be "your cup of tea", but I encourage you to look it up, read the words and listen to it. See where it takes YOU.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

That it may please thee to have mercy upon all mankind,

That it may please thee to have mercy upon all mankind, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

This world is full of turmoil and it seems to be getting worse with each generation. I am afraid for our planet and for God's children. My thoughts remind me of the passages in Genesis where Abraham is trying the Lord's patience when he learns that the Lord intends to "sweep away the righteous with the wicked". "Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you then sweep away the place and not forgive it for the fifty righteous who are in it?" And the Lord basically says, "Okay, if I find fifty righteous, I will forgive them all". Then Abraham presses harder, "But what if five of the fifty are lacking?" And the Lord says, "Okay, then I won't destroy it for forty-five." And so Abraham talks the Lord down to saving the city if only ten are found righteous.

I get the feeling here that God's true intention was not to destroy but to get us to be more aware of the needs of those around us by testing Abraham's compassion level. If we could even now be truly compassionate towards one another, we will have saved humankind.

Friday, March 19, 2010

That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger

That it may please thee to support, help, and comfort all who are in danger, necessity, and tribulation, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

A dear friend tells me her son is going to jail. Again. My heart goes out to her as she fears for his life in both a physical and emotional way. She knows deep within that it's not her fault and that her son needs help. She has done everything she knows how to do to help him. Now, it's his turn to do what must be done so that he can begin to heal from the dark pain deep within him.

All I can do is listen and support my friend. I tell her I pray for each of them, but it sounds too simple. Yet, I know that simple prayer is the best because it is prayer that comes from the very core of the soul. I know that God hears all prayer, but really does not desire lots of words or gestures; only true prayer that comes from deep within. That same "deepness" where my friend is hurting is the place where God dwells. Even in my friend's son's deep, dark, despair, God is there, ready to bring him healing if he will just look inward and see God there.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

That it may please thee to visit the lonely

That it may please thee to visit the lonely; to strengthen all who suffer in mind, body, and spirit; and to comfort with thy presence those who are failing and infirm, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

"I'm not that old", I tell myself as I inch closer to 60 every year. My body, mind and spirit sure feel like it though! My health is going down the tubes fast and my brain doesn't seem to have the ability to hold information like it once did. None of these things are serious, just annoying. I find myself thinking, "why do I have these stupid health annoyances" and I stop myself and rethink that statement saying, "Thank God I have I have these stupid health annoyances and not something more serious!"

It's my fault partly. I took a vow to be obedient to God. That vow of obedience also includes caring for the body, mind and spirit that God gave to me. How can I do the work that God has set for me to do if I am careless with my health? If I care so little about taking care of myself, how can I care for those God has placed before me?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

That it may please thee to preserve, and provide for, all women in childbirth

That it may please thee to preserve, and provide for, all women in childbirth, young children and orphans, the widowed, and all whose homes are broken or torn by strife, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

I know of no greater love than God's love for me. In God's love, through Christ, I have been well provided for, protected, comforted and have experienced all the things any spouse should. I asked for a safe place to dwell and my Beloved blessed me with all that I needed in securing that. I have been afraid and my Beloved blessed me with the protection of the Saints. I have felt lonely and my Beloved blessed me with His calming Presence. When I call upon my Beloved's name, He hears me. When I cry, my Beloved consoles me. When I am angry, my Beloved listens to me. Christ, my Beloved is who wakes me in the morning and walks with me throughout my day. Christ, my Beloved is my first thought and my last and watches over me while I sleep. I pray that I might be a worthy spouse to my Beloved.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

That it may please thee to preserve all who are in danger by reason of their labor or their travel

That it may please thee to preserve all who are in danger by reason of their labor or their travel, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

"Watch out for the other guy" was the slogan in the... mid-seventies, I believe. Now, with the constant distraction of cell phones, iPods, and a slew of new devices to help us "multi-task", the "task at hand" seems to have a new meaning. That long ago slogan is all wrong, which is probably why it's not used anymore. Maybe it was misinterpreted. Maybe it meant that by being a responsible driver we would also be watching out for the other guy in a courteous humbly yielding to someone that "must" go first; by backing off from a driver that is going too slow to give them room and not possibly create a situation of panic for them; by slowing down so the person behind you can pass you safely; by practicing the gift of patience instead of laying on the horn. Road courtesy has been replaced, unfortunately, by road rage and we all "do it". I will personally keep trying to get it right, by allowing Grace to be my driving instructor.

As I write these thoughts tonight, I am aware of a call that came in this afternoon that a parishioner was at the hospital because of an automobile accident. I pray that God's Healing Grace will blanket this person and those who anxiously wait for test results.

Monday, March 15, 2010

That It may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings

That It may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings, to do the work which thou givest us to do with singleness of heart as thy servants, and for the common good, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

It took me two years before I said, "Yes" to God. Two years of praying, denying, screaming, foot-stomping, "NO!" At the end of two years, I was exhausted from the fight and gave up. I said, "Yes" because I could no longer say, "No". I said, "Yes" because the desire to find out what God wanted me to do was greater than my desire to continue a path of uncertainty. I had no idea where that "Yes" would take me or how I would get there, but I trusted that if God wanted me, He would show me the way...and He did. Once I said, "Yes", my whole world changed almost instantly as if someone turned on a switch. Every door that was supposed to open, did and every door that needed to be closed, closed. Every tool that I needed was provided and continues to be to this day. I am still amazed at how it all happened. I am amazed at why I fought so hard when all I needed to do was trust in God's plan for me.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the bountiful fruits of the earth

That it may please thee to give and preserve to our use the bountiful fruits of the earth, so that in due time all may enjoy them, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

I am in awe of seeds. No, I'm not a gardener, I don't have a green thumb and I'm allergic to flowers. I just find it fascinating to look at a seed and know what it will grow to be; whether it be a fruit or a flower. That tiny, little seed with what it holds inside, by the power of God's hand is miraculous. That tiny, little seed can grow something that bears more tiny, little seeds. That tiny, little seed could grow into a thing of beauty for our very own enjoyment or to be shared with those around us. That tiny, little seed could become the nourishment to many people throughout the world! That tiny, little seed binds us together as a people of God's creation. Thank God for the bounty of the earth and thank God that we can, if we so choose, share that bounty with our brothers and sisters on this tiny, little planet.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives

That it may please thee to show thy pity upon all prisoners and captives, the homeless and the hungry, and all who are desolate and oppressed, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

I think that in some small way each of us has experienced these cruel situations. I have been imprisoned by some vice. I have been held captive by the society in which I live. I have felt lost, alone, homeless and hungry by the way I lived my life. I have felt these things as I hungered for something better. In each situation, as minute in comparison to the reality of those terms is, the pain for me was real. But through each trial, God was able to reach through the walls of my prison and touch me; reach into the hearts of others to help me; reach into my soul and cradle me. I shall not take the blessings of God for granted because I never want to experience those cruelties again. Knowing what I have felt, I pray for others who have not yet experienced the life saving grace of our Lord.

Friday, March 12, 2010

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world

That it may please thee to make wars to cease in all the world; to give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and to bestow freedom upon all peoples, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Somewhere back in my youth I remember the thought that was passed around, "What if they declared a war and nobody came?" I used to think that would be so wonderful. I still think that it would be wonderful and I wonder would there/could there ever be such a peace? Am I still so naive to think in those terms? Yes, and why not? In God all things are possible. WE however, must do our part to make that peace, that freedom for all peoples possible. I must do all I can to be that peaceful presence that, as St. Seraphim said, "thousands may be saved". Knowing or unknowingly, as long as I present peace to others, they will know peace.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

That it may please thee so to rule the hearts of thy servants

That it may please thee so to rule the hearts of thy servants, the President of the United States (or of this nation), and all others in authority, that they may do justice, and love mercy, and walk in the ways of truth, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

When I reflect on this line of the litany, my thoughts take me to Sr. Teresa of Calcutta. There is the spirit of justice, mercy and truth. There is a woman I admire and wish I could be more like.

I think most of us have an inner desire to do these things and some are skilled at it and live out this ministry to the fullest. But of those, who like me, only dream of doing that kind of mission work, we can at least pray for those who do. Pray for those whose life is in mission work. Pray for continued guidance in their ministry. Pray for strength and stamina. Pray for protection that they may do their work in peace and safety. Pray for true justice, mercy and truth to be known throughout the world so that we may all be one, united in peace by the great power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Pray for every nation and every inhabitant of this earth, "our island home".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

That it may please thee to give us a heart to love and fear thee

That it may please thee to give us a heart to love and fear thee, and diligently to live after thy commandments, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

This brings to my mind the scripture from Job 28:'The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.' This passage describes my journey with Christ as loving something/someone so truly deeply that you would change your life and run with fear of losing that something/someone; knowing that this LOVE is THE LOVE.

It takes a lot of courage to LOVE that deeply; to say YES to the ONE that LOVED me first, but allowed me to live the way I thought I wanted to live life; to be and act the way I wanted and to love whomever I wanted. With the call to serve THE ONE, wisdom takes over and teaches us how to live into that life--that God centered life of LOVE. Our YES becomes our promise to diligently carry on in spite of what the world teaches us.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

That it may please thee to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived

That it may please thee to bring into the way of truth all such as have erred, and are deceived, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

"To err is human" the old saying goes. Yes, but to deliberately deceive another is horribly cruel. I have known such people and I have a very hard time forgiving them. I can only place them in God's hands. I have also known those who have been on the "err" side of things because they were deceived.

It is so hard to watch a loved one go through the pain of discovering that they have been deceived; watching that loved one err time and again because they believe the lies of another. When the truth finally comes to light and the loved one realizes what has happened, you watch them go through deep embarrassment and shame for the pain they have contributed to. But there is God in all of this. When my loved one asks, "How can you forgive me after what I've done?" I simply reply, "Because God's love is unconditional."

Monday, March 8, 2010

That it may please thee to give to all people increase of grace

That it may please thee to give to all people increase of grace to hear and receive thy Word, and to bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

It's been a very hard lesson for me to learn and I'm still struggling with it. I cry out, "Why don't I hear you, Lord? I know you hear me and I know you ARE listening to my cry, but why don't you answer me?" I imagine God, sitting patiently waiting for me to finish my rambling and answer me saying, "Because you never shut up!" It's a hard lesson indeed, trying to be still and silent.

Last summer I went on an eight-day silent retreat. It was absolutely heavenly. What I noticed most was that when all the noise of daily distractions, voices around me, telephones, television, radio, etc. were eliminated, the chatter in my mind was so loud that I wanted to shout, "Shut up!" Once I was finally able to stop the chatter box of my brain, I was able to hear God speaking to me through the silence and stillness. I was able to truly see God's magnificence in creation around me. I found myself being "gifted" the entire time. I know that I am being gifted always, but with stillness of soul and quiet of mind, I was truly able to know God's presence in a most intimate way.

Psalm 116 begins, "I love the Lord because he has heard the voice of my supplication, because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I called upon him." Indeed God has been listening and responding in every way. I was just not listening.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

That it may please thee to send forth laborers into thy harvest,

That it may please thee to send forth laborers into thy harvest, and to draw all mankind into thy kingdom, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

I asked my daughter what news there was from her family in Chile and if there was much damage to the farm. All the trees are gone. All the vineyards, olive trees and avacado trees too. They will have to start again and they will.

I'm finding out more and more about this family that I've never met. It seems they have a rich ministry to their community. They have a history of helping those around them and they plan to continue to help. They want to give back to their community because they have been blessed themselves. Now their focus is turned to rebuilding structures that have been damaged and seeing to the needs of their neighbors. That's the way it is. That's the way it should be.

We should all be so thankful and trusting that our own needs will be met, think more of helping those around us. Strong ministries form strong communities and those strong communities build strong armies of faithful upon the earth. This kind of thankfulness is truly the kind of harvesting I believe God wants each of us to tend to.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

That it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people,

That it may please thee to bless and keep all thy people, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Wherever I am, whatever else I am doing, I am praying. I see people on the streets, in the store, at work, driving and I am praying for them. "God Speed" I say to those I see and the meaning behind that two word phrase is: "God grant you safety in your journey, grace in your day and respect for those around you." These little "arrow" prayers serve a dual purpose. Not only am I praying for everyone (and I do mean EVERYONE) around me, but I am living my vocation of prayer to the fullest.

So, if you are ever with me and I'm silent, now you know. If I am talking and I stop and start again, now you know. Prayer "without ceasing" means staying focused and staying in the presence of the Holy. It's hard to forget about God, when you are constantly saying, "Here's another one for you!"

Friday, March 5, 2010

That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and deacons,

That it may please thee to illumine all bishops, priests, and deacons, with true knowledge and understanding of thy Word; and that both by their preaching and living, they may set it forth, and show it accordingly, We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

My Grandfather was an Episcopal priest. There is a photo of him from a magazine article standing at the door to his parish greeting the Sunday worshipers as they go out into the world armed with The Word in their hearts. I love this photo as it shows the diversity of that parish in times when certain classes and cultures just did not co-mingle.

One of the last positions he held was as a Prison Chaplain. I wish he were around to tell me stories of that ministry. I can only imagine how fulfilling it must have been to bring The Word to those who may not have known that they were loved by God, or of those that did, perhaps hungered to be reminded.

I'm proud of my Grandfather, whom I never knew, and I hope that he would be proud of me in my vocation.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God;

We sinners do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; and that it may please thee to rule and govern thy holy Church Universal in the right way,We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Every day I pray for the churches of the world, "that we may be united, one church under one God." I take this prayer very much to heart as I pray it will bring the whole world into unity with God.

When I met our Presiding Bishop not long ago, I asked, "How can I pray for you." She said, "Pray for open hearts." Simple and clear. Now this, too, has become part of my daily prayers; and I add, "for our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Amen."

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In all time of our tribulation; Good Lord, deliver us.

In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and in the day of judgment, Good Lord, deliver us.

What must the day of judgment be like. Have I lived too well; not well enough. Is there a balance that I've been able to keep while keeping the Spirit of Christ alive in all I do? Will there be anything at all that was pleasing in God's sight?

The Benedictine way teaches that we begin again and again until we truly live a Christ centered life...and then we begin again. I try to live every day with that wisdom and I will die trying. But I will have tried. That trying, I am certain, is indeed pleasing in God's sight.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; Good Lord, deliver us.

By thine Agony and Bloody Sweat; by thy Cross and Passion; by thy precious Death and Burial; by thy glorious Resurrection and Ascension; and by the Coming of the Holy Ghost, Good Lord, deliver us.

Today I got the call that the daughter of a friend had been found dead. My heart broke into pieces. There is so much agony surrounding this news. The family left behind, the many friends and my own children who were close to her. There is no greater sorrow for a parent than to lose a any age, in any circumstance.

Lord Jesus, look with compassion upon these your servants. Embrace them in their sorrow and bring them to a place of peace knowing that their beloved child, wife, mother, granddaughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend now rests in the arms of Love. Amen.

Monday, March 1, 2010

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; Good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation; by thy holy Nativity and submission to the Law; by thy Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation, Good Lord, deliver us.

A "Sister in Christ" posted a photo of a chipmunk that appeared to be holding a little blue flower. I posted back and asked if that flower was being given to her by God's creature. It's more than a nice thought; it's the way I truly see God. In the same way of the mystery of God's Holy Incarnation, birth, living, dying and victory, I see the mystery of all God's creation as a Holy Blessing--a Holy reminder that this Incarnation is still present with each of us and all around us. Seeing the Holy and knowing the presence of the Holy brings depth into my life and keeps me focused. I am so thankful for these gentle reminders--glimpses into the Holy that reassures, reaffirms and keeps alive the Christmas story; Emmanuel-God with us. Still. Always.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; Good Lord, deliver us.

From all oppression, conspiracy, and rebellion; from violence, battle, and murder; and from dying suddenly and unprepared, Good Lord, deliver us.

I watched my father die a slow, agonizing death. His body was violently tortured by an infection after a successful throat surgery. He couldn't speak but his eyes pleaded for forgiveness for some sin known only to him.

Mom died suddenly and I wasn't at her bedside like I was with Dad. Had she also begged forgiveness in the end?

Had either of them been prepared? Dad had been given the "last rites", although he was not conscious and couldn't confess. Mom had not received last rites, although she had rejoined her faith.

How prepared am I? I would like to think I am, but I know that I need to confess my sins daily before God. Yes, I know I am forgiven, but this is an act of contrition I do for myself, to remind me as if every day were Ash Wednesday, I am dust and to dust I shall return.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

From lightning and tempest; Good Lord, deliver us.

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine, Good Lord, deliver us.

As I sat down to do the next entry and read the words of what I must blog about, I found this line in the litany unsettling. I remember to pray first and then write, not wanting to rush into this entry bringing my own words to print, but to remember that I desire this blog to be words of encouragement and love from Our Lord--not me.

Still, the news today has been of yet another earthquake--this one in Chile and accompanies warnings of a tsunami in the Pacific. The earthquake hits home. Not literally, but emotionally in a most fearsome way. My grandson lives in Chile where an horrific earthquake of 8.8 has occurred.

My daughter has been beside herself with worry over her child and his family there. There has been a huge outpouring of support through prayer directed our way. I had spent the day in silence and prayer as I do every Ember Saturday leaving all of this in God's care. I trust God to be with those I love and those I cannot be with and those I cannot comfort. I trust God in all manner of things.

Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my loved ones. Amen.

Friday, February 26, 2010

From all false doctrine, heresy and schism; Good Lord, deliver us.

From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment, Good Lord, deliver us.

"I hate God! How can you belive in a God that would do that to his son?" My own son asked incredulsouly. My son was a teenager at the time trying to figure out what God and Christianity meant to him.

You see, at the age of 9, my son had a kind of revelation during the Stations of the Cross. He got it...and it hit him hard. He cried and cried for the pain and suffering that our Lord had gone through. But he only got half of the story. It's the other half of that story, the reason behind the suffering and the victory over death that he has yet to understand. It's the love that God has for us, His beloved children that my son has yet to accept. I belive that through my son's experience at such a young age, he has experienced that love only didn't fully understand and still doesn't.

My son is still struggling with this as he proudly wears a tatoo of the Episcopal Church shield on his arm and when visiting wants to go to "his" church. He tells me (and himself) that he goes for me. I know different. So does God.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

From all inordinate and sinful affections; Good Lord, deliver us.

From all inordinate and sinful affections; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil, Good Lord, deliver us.

I once had a true gentleman ask me to marry him. He was well known and well liked. This union would have meant I wouldn't have to work any more; I wouldn't have to worry about money or debt or anything. It would have been the answer to a lot of prayers. But it would have been the wrong answer.

I sat down to do evening prayer shortly after the proposal and Christ entered my heart and mind. I knew instantly the depth of love and the lengths that my True Beloved would go to that I might have what I desired. I knew instantly that what I truly desired was already with me...I need not look elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

From all blindness of heart;... Good Lord, deliver us.

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity, Good Lord, deliver us.

I had to rent a car a few months ago. It came with more bells and whitsles than I could dream of. I liked it. I liked the feel of it, the look of it and the toys that came with it. I liked it a lot. It was so easy to slip into the trap of "show-off-manship." I began to wonder if I could find a way to lease a car like that. It became kind of an obsession. I dreaded the thought of turning it in. I had the car for one day. ONE DAY!

I live a life that is set apart, but I am human. I forget how easy it is to slip back into the mode of "worldly desires" and how hard it is to stay on track. I tell myself that it would be nice to have an iPod to listen to "meditating music." I'd really love to have one of those electronic books so that I could read scripture or other spiritual works anywhere and anytime. Oh, and one of those hand-held games to "keep my brain active" would be good to have too.

No, those are just distractions and I DON'T want them. I don't want anything that will occupy my mind more than my Beloved Christ. In Christ, I have all. There is nothing else to want.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

From all evil and wickedness, Good Lord, deliver us.

From all evil and wickedness; from sin; from the crafts and assaults of the devil; and from everlasting damnation, Good Lord, deliver us.

Oh, how much strength it takes to stay on the right path! The temptation to quit is very strong but with the grace of God, I have been able to fight that demon.

I had a dream about a week ago...the same dream that I've had repeatedly for a number of years, just a different face and a different scene. The evil one, hiding behind the mask of "trust" is trying to convince me to stray from the path set before me and I usually fall for it. But this dream was different. In this dream, I was able to, even subconciously, tell that demon, "NO!" I awoke feeling like a great victory had been won, and indeed for me it had. No longer would I fall into the trap of deception and lose my soul and all the grace that had been given to me. This time, I was in charge of my dream. This time I won.

Last night I had another dream, much like the ones before my "victory" dream. Still, I awoke knowing that I make the decision to stay or to go, no one else. I choose to stay. I still win!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses... Spare us, good Lord.

Remember not, Lord Christ, our offenses, nor the offenses of our forefathers; neither reward us according to our sins. Spare us, good Lord, spare thy people, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and by thy mercy preserve us for ever. Spare us, good Lord.

It's a little like cleaning the house for expected guests. People come into the home and see what hasn't been done--not what has been done. They won't know that I spent hours, maybe days cleaning and preparing. They won't know that I cleaned that special place that usually goes untouched except when company comes. They won't know the care that was taken to make sure their stay was as comfortable as possible. They may notice, however that little speck of something that was forgotten, the book that isn't sitting quite right on the shelf or they may see that imperfection that can't be fixed at this time.

The point is, God notices everything; all my shortcomings, all my mistakes, all of my own imperfections...and God has already overlooked all of them. God knows that I tried--when I indeed tried and God knows when I haven't tried hard enough. As for my sins, Christ has washed them away with His blood. It is up to me to do my best in all circumstances. More, it is up to me to do my best with a true heart in all I do.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God, Have mercy upon us.

Today I witnessed the Trinity at work. The community of God's people, empowered by the Holy Spirit; reaching out to those around us as members of the body of Christ.

What was it that made today any more special than any other Sunday worship, I wondered? Nothing. Yet, it felt more like the Blessed Trinity in action than it has, at least for me, in a long time. Maybe it was more newcomers in church, or the action taken to include the one less fortunate, or the listening ear to the hurting soul. Perhaps my heart was awakened today through that same Trinity--the power of the Holy Spirit; an extention of the love of Christ with God at the head.

Whatever the nature of this blessed day, it was complete in action to the will of God. The Trinity at work is always with us, and I need to be more aware of this.

Friday, February 19, 2010

O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful, Have mercy upon us.

There are those wonderful souls that have gone before to set an example for us to know how to live our lives. And, there are those here today who do the same without even knowing they are placing cornerstones in our lives.

There is that well known line about entertaining Angels unaware, but there is also the truth that WE were ALL set apart as members in union with Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit at baptism, to go and be diciples of Christ. When we give a smile, the right of way, a helping hand, a listening ear and so on, we are living that Truth. We were set apart to make known the Love of God to the whole world. But when we deny another the right to experience that Truth, not only are we ignoring the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are contributing to the suffering of another--whether intentionally or not.

May we all be living examples, builders of diciples, setting foundations for the Kingdom of Heaven.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

O God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy upon us.

I lived my life so I could be happy.
I lived my life so I could find love.
I lived my life so I could feel good.
I lived my life so I could know power.

I sacrificed myself for this, but I was not alive.

YOU died to life so I could be happy.
YOU died to life so I could find love.
YOU died to life so I could feel good.
YOU died to life so I could know power.

YOU sacrificed YOUR life for me. I had to change to live.

I died to life, and YOU made me happy.
I died to life and found YOUR love waiting.
I died to life and YOU made me feel good.
I died to life and knew the power of YOUR presence.

YOU lived and died for me, I died to life to live.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth, Have mercy upon us.

I could be a better steward of this earth. Sure there are things that I do, I tell myself, that are helping the environment; but is it enough? I could put more effort into remembering my "green bags" for shopping instead of leaving them in the trunk of the car. I could carry with me a bag just for litter that I see on the sidewalk as I pass by and pick it up instead of just glaring at it in judgement of the person who carelessly left it behind. If I think hard enough or research other ways of greening my life, I'm sure I could do more.

I often look up at the beautiful sky, the clouds and the birds and give thanks. I often look up in awe at the stars twinkling above and I praise God. I love the smell and sound of rain and I love the way God has hand painted the flowers and the trees and how the colors change with the seasons. I am filled with a comforting sense of joy with all the creatures of this planet, both man and beast. I wonder at the creatures below the seas and the new discoveries that are made every day. So much of God's creation I'll never even know, but of those gifts that I do know, I am very thankful.

Am I thankful enough to keep it all alive by doing my part--by doing more than the usual?

Have mercy on me, O God, I am a sinner.

Ash Wednesday 2010

Almighty and everlasting God, you hate nothing you have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of you, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. BCP p. 264.

Read it again. "You hate NOTHING you have made"..."AND FORGIVE the sins of all who are penitent."

Why then, show hatred to what God has made? How "penitent" am I being if I judge those around me? My sin IS always before me and YOU are present even then.

Yes, Lord, create in me a new and contrite heart, that I will, after all I've said and done, after deep examination and repentence, be made worthy of YOUR Truth. Amen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Noonday Prayers: Feast of the Presentation

I walked into the church this afternoon, glad to take the time for the Noonday Office, just to hear the sounds of a very loud radio behind the altar wall where the work crew has been busy with the church's reconstruction. It was as if they were in the church with me and I found it not only hard to concentrate, but offensive too. “Couldn’t they turn that thing off for one hour at noon so prayers could be said”, I grumbled to myself. I sat down to try to focus and Bon-Jovi was singing “Place your hands on me”. I have no idea what this song is really about or what the rest of the words are, but my mind wandered into a scene at the Jordan with Gospel Singers praising the Lord and singing, “Place your hands on me, Lord”…

I went on with the lessons of the Feast, although I really have no idea what I was reading. I found myself amused that in “my” need for a place to be quiet and be with God, I was taken away to a place of joy and praise of and for God.

I wondered how this might fit into the Feast of the Presentation? What was God saying in this moment? I wasn’t sure it did fit or that God was saying anything at all. Then again, was this more a time to remember my baptismal covenant than worry over whether or not “I” had the space and quiet time “I” wanted? The Presentation of Jesus in the temple is about “recognizing” God’s humanity and celebrating it; much like we traditionally do at a child’s baptism. But this is not about Christ’s baptism. That comes much later. Still, it reminded me of Baptism and the Baptismal Covenant. Had I not just this morning re-read the Renewal of Baptismal Vows, promising to SEEK and SERVE Christ in ALL persons, LOVING my NEIGHBOR as myself? Did I not also vow to strive for JUSTICE and PEACE among ALL people, and RESPECT the dignity of EVERY human being?

Noisy or quiet, I have been baptized into the Community of All God’s people. My continuing prayer for these hard workers as they do their best for us remains:
Great Creator, remember these men in their works for this parish; grant them grace in their day, safety in their works and respect for those around them; (and I add) grant me patience and respect for them in their works. Amen.

Friday, January 1, 2010

YOU are with me in study

I sat down at my table to study this morning and as I prayed before beginning, I noticed a bird chirping away on one of the rooftops outside the window of my little cell. I stopped to listen to the voice of my Beloved in that chirping. I closed my eyes for a moment. I longed for some message of Truth in what I study and what I discern. And then, as if I hadn’t noticed it before, I heard the ticking of the clock on the wall getting louder until it distracted me so much that I stopped listening to the bird and began my study. There it is. God with me in my studying; God with me in all that I discern; God present even when I am distracted.