Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Prayer for July 4th . . .

Blessed Are You, O God, Who Has Made Us Free Persons

With joyful hearts uplifted in gratitude, we rejoice in that freedom which each of us has been given. We are a free people since we have come forth from the God of freedom. We are a free people because we have worked to remain free of all that threatens to enslave us.

We are filled with thanksgiving that You, our Redeemer, have shown us how we might be free in spirit and in heart as well as in body.

As You directed Your holy servant Moses to lead Your children Israel from slavery, from the oppression of the Pharaoh, so continue to direct us so that we may stay free from the oppression of evil, of greed and the lust for power over others.

As free daughters and sons of God, may the lamp of truth burn brightly in our home and in each of our hearts. As sisters and brothers of Jesus, may we be faithful, as was He, to the wondrous freedom of the children of light and be ever grateful for the joys of liberty.

May our profound reverence for truth, as piercing as a sword and ever-liberating, be our burning torch of freedom and shield against oppression in mind, heart, and soul.

Blessed are You, our God, who has made us free persons.  Amen.

(Adapted from Prayers for the Domestic Church)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

July 4th ~ Freedom Prayer

Litany Prayer ~ Chief Seattle 

Every part of the earth is sacred,
every shining pine needle, every sandy shore.
every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy.
The rocky crest, the juices of the meadow, the beasts and all the people,
all belong to the same family.

Teach your children that the earth is our mother;
whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.

The water’s murmur is the voice of our father’s father,
we are part of the earth, and the earth is part of us.

The rivers are our brothers; they quench our thirst.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters.

The air is precious, for all of us share the same breath.
The wind that gave our grandparents breath
also receives their last sigh.

The wind gave our children the spirit of life.
This we know: the earth does not belong to us;
we belong to the earth.

This we know: all things are connected, like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected. Our God is the same God,
whose compassion is equal for all.

For we did not weave the web of life: we are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
Let us give thanks for the web in the circle that connects us.
Thanks be to God, the God of all.

Printed in CRCN/CiRCLe M Newsletter May 2011

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Connecting at the level of the sacred. . .

Prayer: Anselm of Canterbury

God of love, whose compassion never fails, we bring you the grief and perils of people and nations, the pains of the sick and injured, the sighing of prisoners and captives, the sorrows of the bereaved, the necessities of the homeless, the helplessness of the weak, the despair of the weary, the failing powers of the aged. Comfort and relieve them, O merciful God, according to their several needs and your great mercy. Amen.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Remembering . . .

I Remember Now In Silence 

God, plunge me deep into a sense of sadness
at the pain of my sisters and brothers
 inflicted by war,
that I may learn again to cry as a child
until my tears baptize me
into a person who touches with care
those I now touch in prayer;
 victims of violence,
 of greed,
 of addictions,
 prisoners in ghettos,
 in old age,
 in sexism,
 people with broken bodies,
 with broken hearts,
 with broken lives,
whom I remember now in silence before you
because I have too often forgotten them
in the shuffle of my fretful busy-ness.

(Author: Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace)

Left to right top: Cynthia Hurd, Clementa Pinckney, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Tywanza Sanders. Left to right bottom: Ethel Lance, Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Susie Jackson, Daniel Simmons Sr

§  Cynthia Hurd, 54
§  Rev Clementa Pinckney, 41
§  Rev Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45
§  Tywanza Sanders, 26
§  Ethel Lance, 70
§  Rev Depayne Middleton-Doctor, 49
§  Susie Jackson, 87
§  Rev Daniel Simmons Sr, 74
§  Myra Thompson, 5

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Poetry prayer . . .

The Summer Day       
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean– the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

A Summer Morning prayer. . .

Opening Prayer
I bow before you, my hidden but beloved God,
as I begin this day.
An alarm rings in my heart to awaken me to the fact
that I am a pilgrim who travels a sacred path.
I now answer that call to mindfulness,
as I prepare to enter into silent prayer.
I join myself with all who are in prayer at this sacred hour
when the Earth once again faces its source of life, the sun.
I now turn fully to face you, O God,
the source of the universe and of my life,
as I enter into silence. (pause for silent prayer).

With fidelity I have tried to still my restless heart in you,
the divine source of all that I am.
May this effort bear fruit by my living more fully in the
present moment this day.
I join my voice to all the awakening sounds of the Earth
at this hour, as I pray. (reflect on a chosen passage of scripture)

Concluding PrayerThis summer day is growing warmer
as we turn to face the fullness of our daystar, the sun.
Plants, animals, and we human folk are all solar-powered
in the marvel of your clever creation.
May this morning prayer give me the energy
to act at all times this day with love and kindness.
May I treat each person and each living being as a
brother or sister, as a member of your sacred family.

I pray now for these personal needs: (offer intentions), and
for the special needs this day of (n.).
May the business of this day never eclipse my real work
as a pilgrim on the sacred path.

Open my eyes and ears to the miracles you have hidden
along my path this day.
Let my mind find its joy in the present moment,
the only place where you dwell.

I bow before you, Divine Creator, Holy Mother,
Eternal Source of my existence.
Your heart is my home;
from you I have come
and to you I journey this day.

(Author: Edward Hays)

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

More Blessings . . .

A Beauty Blessing

As stillness in stone to silence is wed
May your heart be somewhere a God might dwell.

As a river flows in ideal sequence
May your soul discover time in presence.

As the moon absolves the dark of resistance
May thought-light console your mind with brightness.

As the breath of light awakens colour
May the dawn anoint your eyes with wonder.

As spring rain softens the earth with surprise
May your winter places be kissed by light.

As the ocean dreams to the joy of dance
May the grace of change bring you elegance.

As clay anchors a tree in light and wind
May your outer life grow from peace within.

As twilight fills night with bright horizons
May beauty await you at home beyond.

- John O'Donohue from his book Divine Beauty

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Summer Blessings . . .

Thank you, God
for this season of sun and slow motion,
of games and porch sitting,
of picnics and light green fireflies
on heavy purple evenings;
and praise for slight breezes.
It’s good, God, as the first long days of your creations.

Let this season be for me
a time of gathering together the pieces
Into which my busyness has broken me.
O God, enable me now to grow wise through reflection,
peaceful through the song of the cricket,
recreated through the laughter of play.

Most of all God,
Let me live easily and grace-fully for a spell,
so that I may see other souls deeply,
share in a silence unhurried,
Listen to the sound of sunlight and shadows,
explore barefoot the land of forgotten dreams and shy hopes,
and find the right words to tell another who I am.

(Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace)

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Too Muching . . .

Homeless Jesus
Sometimes It Just Seems to be Too Much
Sometimes, God, it just seems to be too much:
too much violence, too much fear; too much of demands and problems;
too much of broken dreams and broken lives; too much of war and slums and dying;
too much of greed and squishy fatness and the sounds of people
devouring each other and the earth; too much of stale routines and quarrels,
unpaid bills and dead ends; too much of words lobbed in to explode
and leaving shredded hearts and lacerated souls; too much of turned-away backs
and yellow silence, red rage and bitter taste of ashes in my mouth.

Sometimes the very air seems scorched by threats and rejection and decay
until there is nothing but to inhale pain and exhale confusion.
Too much of darkness, God,
Too much of cruelty and selfishness and indifference. . .

Too much, God,
Too much, too bloody, bruising, brain-washing much.
Or is it too little,
too little of compassion,
too little of courage, of daring, of persistence, of sacrifice;
too little of music and laughter and celebration?

O God,
Make of me some nourishment
For these starved times,
Some food for my sisters and brothers, who are hungry for gladness and hope,
That, being bread for them, I may also be fed and be full.
(From Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder)


Gather Me to Be with You

O God, gather me now to be with you as you are with me.
Soothe my tiredness; quiet my fretfulness; curb my aimlessness;
Relieve my compulsiveness; let me be easy for a moment.

 + + + 
O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.
Forgive me for claiming so much for myself that I leave
no room for gratitude; for confusing exercises in self-importance
with acceptance of self-worth;
+ + +
For complaining so much of my burdens that I become a burden;
For competing against others so insidiously that I stifle celebrating
them and receiving your blessing through their gifts.

+ + +
O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.
Keep me in touch with myself, with my needs,
my anxieties, my angers, my pains, my corruptions,
that I may claim them as my own rather than
blame them on someone else.
+ + +
O God, deepen my wounds into wisdom; shape my weaknesses
into compassion; gentle my envy into enjoyment,
my fear into trust, my guilt into honesty,
my accusing fingers into tickling ones.
+ + +
O God, gather me to be with you as you are with me.
(From: Guerrillas of Grace by Ted Loder)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Summer stories . . .

There was a small boy who when walking down the street one day found a bright copper penny. He was so excited that he found money and it didn’t cost him anything. This experience led him to spend the rest of his days walking with his head down; eyes wide open, looking for treasure.

During his lifetime he found 296 pennies, 48 nickels, 19 dimes, 16 quarters, 2 half dollars and one crinkled dollar bill ~ for a total of $13.96.

He got money for nothing. Except that he missed the breathless beauty of 31,369 sunsets, the colorful splendor of 157 rainbows, the fiery beauty of hundreds of maples nipped by autumn’s frost. He never saw white clouds drifting across blue skies, shifting into various wondrous formations. Birds flying, sun shining, and the smiles of a thousand passing people are not a part of his memory. (Author unknown)

* * *

A little girl walked to and from school daily.
Though the weather that morning was questionable and clouds were forming, she made her daily trek to the elementary school.

As the afternoon progressed, the winds whipped up, along with lightning.  The mother of the little girl felt concerned that her daughter would be frightened as she walked home from school and she feared the electrical storm might harm her child.

Full of concern, the mother quickly got into her car and drove along the route to her child's school.   As she did, she saw her little girl walking along.  At each flash of lightning, the child would stop, look up, and smile.

Another and another flash of lighting followed quickly and with each, the little girl would look at the streak of light and smile.  
When the mother's car drew up beside the child, she lowered the window and called to her, 'What are you doing?' The child answered,  
'I am trying to look pretty because God keeps taking my picture.” (Author Unknown)

When I read this little story, I thought of the camera I recently purchased.  It has a function button that “reads” smiles. Somehow if I adjust the camera to a certain icon, it can notice the smile of the person I wish to focus on and when they smile the camera flashes!  Wow!  Is it not so in life when someone we focus on beams us a giant smile we just respond in kind and sense that we are loved, noticed, accepted, welcomed?  That’s probably why God can’t get enough of us as well! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Just some Monday mirth!

Jesus is watching you . . .

A burglar broke into a home and was looking around.
He heard a soft voice say, "Jesus is watching you".

Thinking it was just his imagination, he continued his search.
Again the voice said "Jesus is watching you".

He turned his flashlight around and saw a parrot in a cage.
He asked the parrot if he was the one talking
and the parrot said, "Yes."

He asked the parrot what his name was and the parrot said, "Moses."
The burglar asked, "What kind of people would name a parrot Moses?"
The parrot said, "The same kind of people who would name their pit bull Jesus".

* * *

The Magician and the Parrot . . .

A Magician worked on a cruise ship.
The audience was different each week so the magician did the same tricks
over and over again. There was only one problem:
the captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began
to understand how the magician did every trick.

Once he understood, he started shouting in the middle of the show, 'Look, it's not the same hat!' or 'Look, he's hiding the flowers under the table!' or 'Hey, why are all the cards the ace of spades?'

The magician was furious but couldn't do anything. It was, after all, the captain's parrot. Then one stormy night on the Pacific, the ship unfortunately sank, drowning almost all who were on board. The magician luckily found himself on a piece of wood floating in the middle of the sea with, as fate would have it, the parrot. They stared at each other with hatred but did not utter a word. This went on for a day... and then 2 days... and then 3 days. Finally on the 4th day, the parrot could hold back no longer and said......
OK, I give up. Where's the ship?
* * *

Grace before Meals . . .

A man decided to skip Mass one Sunday and head to the hills to do some bear hunting. As he rounded the corner on a perilous twist in the trail, he and a bear collided, sending him and his rifle tumbling down the mountainside. Before he knew it, his rifle went one way and he went the other, landing on a rock and breaking both his legs. That was the good news. The bad news was the ferocious bear charging at him from a distance, and he couldn't move. "Oh, Lord," the man prayed, "I'm so sorry for skipping Mass today to come out here and hunt. Please forgive me and grant me just one wish . . . Please make a Christian out of that bear that's coming at me. Please, Lord!" That very instant, the bear skidded to a halt, fell to its knees, clasped its paws together and began to pray aloud right at the man's feet. "Dear God" the bear said, "Bless this food I am about to receive."

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


knocks at my door
seeking a home for his son:
Rent is cheap, I say.

I don’t want to rent. I want to buy, says God.

I’m not sure I want to sell,
but you might come in to look around.

I think I will, says God.

I might let you have a room or two.
I like it, says God.  I’ll take the two. You might
decide to give me more someday. I can wait, says God.

I’d like to give you more but it’s a bit difficult.  I need some space for me.
I know, says God, but I’ll wait. I like what I see.

Hmm, maybe I can let you have another room.  I really don’t need that much.
Thanks, says God.  I’ll take it.  I like what I see.

I’d like to give you the whole house but I’m not sure . . .Think on it, says God.  I wouldn’t put you out. 
Your home would be mine and my son would live in it. You’d have more space than you’d ever had before

I don’t understand at all.I know says God, but I can’t tell you about that. 
You have to discover it for yourself. That can only happen if you let him have the whole house.

A bit risky, I say.
Yes, says God, but try me.

I’m not sure  . . .  I’ll let you know.
I can wait, says God. I like what I see.

     Margaret Halaska, osf

And it was GOOD!

In the aeons of time
there came a moment
when God said: "NOW!"
Light sprang from darkness,
order from chaos,
and where there was no life before
life teemed.
God saw that it was - GOOD!
So every once in a while
God does it again
God's "NOW" breaks planets open,
bursts stars apart,
shifts the continental plates,
moves mountains and valleys,
melts the ice-caps,
sends forth a Sun.
It is incredibly disturbing -
adjusting, adapting,
stroking the fires of passion
for God's endless possibilities,
But a Word keeps calling:
"LIFE!" Be in it with me,
any moment, every moment,
alert for God's "NOW!"

Raphael Consedine PBVM
NASA photo of the Helix Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope has been dubbed the 'Eye of God'

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Presence of the Presence!

God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need.  Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace.  And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone
undone. . . just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with God.  Then you will be able to rest in God ~ really rest ~ and start the next day as a new life.
St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein)
Photo by Anita Henning, CSA


An offering from Gerald May:

Peace is not something you can force on anything or anyone...
much less upon one's own mind.
It is like trying to quiet the ocean by pressing upon the waves.
Sanity lies in somehow opening to the chaos, allowing anxiety,
moving deeply into the tumult, diving into the waves,
where underneath, within,
peace simply is.

Monday, June 1, 2015

A Summer Prayer . . .

Transforming Presence,
layers and layers of my false self
keep being stripped away from me.
I walk with caterpillar feet,
knowing that the skin must be shed
time and again
before I find my butterfly wings.

I look at the old discarded peelings
of the person I thought I was
with some dismay and sadness,
but also with some relief and joy.

With every lifted layer, I feel lighter.
With every painful peeling, I am freer.
With every discarded skin, I stretch deeper.
With every sloughed off segment, I grow wiser.

Keep teaching me, Freedom Bringer,
that it is never too late
to embrace the changes
that lead to my truest self.
Keep nudging me away from confining security
when I cling too tightly to what needs to go.

Continue to attune my spirit to your song
of ongoing transformation.
Remind me daily that I will always have
another layer that needs to be shed.

Joyce Rupp
Prayers to Sophia