Thursday, October 20, 2016

Prayer to prepare to vote. . . .

Prayer for Leadership

Give us, O God, leaders whose hearts are large enough to match the breadth of our own souls and give us souls strong enough to follow leaders of vision and wisdom.

In seeking a leader, let us seek more than development for ourselves—though development we hope for—more than security for our own land—though security we need—more than satisfaction for our wants—though many things we desire.

Give us the hearts to choose the leader who will work with other leaders to bring safety to the whole world.
Give us leaders who lead this nation to virtue without seeking to impose our kind of virtue on the virtue of others.
Give us a government that provides for the advancement of this country without taking resources from others to achieve it.

Give us insight enough ourselves to choose as leaders those who can tell strength from power, growth from greed, leadership from dominance, and real greatness from the trappings of grandiosity.

We trust you, Great God, to open our hearts to learn from those to whom you speak in different tongues and to respect the life and words of those to whom you have entrusted the good of other parts of this globe.

We beg you, Great God, give us the vision as a people to know where global leadership truly lies, to pursue it diligently, to require it to protect human rights for everyone everywhere.

We ask these things, Great God, with minds open to your word, and hearts that trust in your eternal care. Amen.  

By Joan Chittister, OSB

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Presence of the Presence!

Litany of God's Names by Joseph Sobb, S.J.

O God of silence and quietness, you call us to be still and know you -
O God of steadfast love, your Spirit is poured into our hearts –
O God of compassion, your Word is our light and hope –
O God of faithfulness, you fill our hearts with joy –

O God of life and truth, from you we receive every gift –
O God of healing and peace, you open us to divine grace –
O God of all creation, our beginning and our end –
O God of salvation, you reconcile all things in Jesus, -

O God of Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit –
O God of Jesus, who invites us, “Come and see” –
O God of Jesus, who was tempted as we all are –
O God of Jesus, who is your pledge of saving love –

O God of Sarah and Abraham, from whom came  Jesus -
O God of Anna and Simeon, who recognized Jesus, your Son,
 as Messiah –
O God of Mary, who bore Jesus, -  
O God of Joseph, to whose fatherly care was entrusted Jesus, -

O God of all generations, of all times and seasons and peoples –
O God of our mothers and fathers, of all who have loved us –
O God of our past; O God of our future –
O God of our present, O God in our present -

Humble Pride!

I’m Gorgeous Inside!

There is a lovely Victorian house I pass on my way north as I drive through my neighborhood. It has had a For $ale sign in the front yard for at least three months. Today as I passed by another sign was perched atop the For $ale sign. It read: I’m Gorgeous Inside!  I thought this was a great sign – one that would entice me to stop, go within, and validate its proclamation!

However, I thought it also was a great metaphor for what I experience when I attend weekend gatherings for participants in the spiritual direction preparation program, of which I am an adjunct supervisor. I meet so many wonderful and sincere people who desire to deepen their spiritual life and walk as a faith-filled companion with those seeking to deepen their relationship with God.

I found that as I sit in the varied group activities, I marvel at the courage, faith, hope, and resiliency of these participants. They truly are gorgeous inside and I am privileged and honored to stand with them in their laughter and tears as they share their journey stories.            
In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus tells a parable about the Pharisee and the tax collector. Jesus wants to teach his listeners a lesson about pride and the Pharisee gets to be the “bad guy” in the story. He has a prayer chuck full of all that he is and is not . . . and he is proud that he is not like others, especially tax collectors. He took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself “I thank you, God that I am not like the rest of humanity . . .” He thanks God for all his gifts.  So what’s the hook in his prayer?  He is proud of his humility before God and glad that others don’t have what he has and hopes that they don’t get it.

The second person in the parable is the tax collector who “stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed.” Being a tax collector was considered one of the worst jobs to have. As a Jew and tax collector, he was under the authority of “Big Brother” – the Roman Empire, of which all the tax monies funded the Empire and its territories. He had to be sure that the people pay him the taxes or else he gets no food, no place to live, no way to provide for his family, and no way to pay rent – he would be desperate. “This man is unclean. He works for Rome; he embodies, he displays, he makes present Rome’s power and authority. He has put his life in service to God’s enemy. It’s the most disgusting, dishonorable, unfaithful, thing anyone could do.”  His place in the temple is not with the Pharisee but among the unclean.  However, in his humble prayer, he doesn’t look up, he bows to the ground.  He prays: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”   He speaks his prayer with integrity and humility.

So are not both gorgeous inside?
However, the Pharisee’s vision is blurred by the illusion that the goodness and holiness he exhibits is only for him and he is proud of his humility.  Let us ponder: have we ever had a prayer where we set ourselves off from the rest of humanity . . . and were we proud of our humility? What prayer did we really need to pray?

Or have we prayed like the tax collector knowing what it is like to live on the margins in a community, a church, the government, etc.?  What was the gift in the challenge of this experience?

Another Story:
One day a Rabbi, in a frenzy of religious passion, rushed in before the ark, fell to his knees, and started beating his breast, crying, “I’m nobody! I’m nobody!”
The cantor of the synagogue, impressed by this example of spiritual humility, joined the Rabbi on his knees. “I’m nobody! I’m nobody!”
The custodian, watching from the corner, couldn’t restrain himself, either, He joined the other two on his knees, calling out, “I’m nobody! I’m nobody!”
At which point the Rabbi, nudging the cantor with his elbow, pointed at the custodian and said, “Look who thinks he’s nobody.” (Chassid)

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Knot in your life"!

The Knots Prayer

O God,
please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart, and my life.

Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots
that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots,
may nots, might nots
that find a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots,
would nots, and should nots
that obstruct my life.

And most of all, God,
I ask that you remove from my mind
my heart and my life all of the ‘am nots'

that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough. Amen.

Author Unknown .
. .


Saturday, October 15, 2016

Timing is everything . . .

“What is it too soon for,
too late for, just the right time for?   
When you are very still in a place without words, steeped in silence, when the world is elsewhere with its noise and motion, what are the sacred hungers that echo inside of you?

Who am I when I stop doing?”
~ Dawna Markova, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life

The prayer of the cup . . .

O God, to you I raise my whole being,

~ a vessel emptied of self.  Accept,

O God, this my emptiness, and so fill

me with yourself ~ Your light, your

love, your life ~ that these your

precious gifts may radiate through

 me and over-flow the chalice of my

 heart into the hearts of all with

whom I come in contact this day~

revealing unto them

the beauty of









your peace

which nothing can destroy.

ancient sufi prayer

This day . . .

Look to this day
for it is life
the very life of life.

In its brief course lie all
the realities and truths
of existence
the joy of growth
the splendor of action
the glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory
and tomorrow is only a vision.

But today well lived
makes every yesterday
a memory of happiness
and every tomorrow
a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day . . .
~ an ancient Sanskrit poem ~