Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Good-bye and Hello!

In the stillness of an autumn afternoon
we sit in quiet communion. Before us,
hills and valleys yawn, spreading wide
their yellow and green, ochre and gold
harvest of hay, beans and corn.

All summer long these fields drank
daily offerings of dew and sunlight.
We listen to the hush of hills, a hawk
above us riding thermal winds,
the drying corn nearby whispering
Praise! Praise! Praise!, the grass
beneath our squeaking swing
chanting, sotto voce, Thank you, God. 

Everything around us whispers shhh.
And when we do, we hear the holy
breath of God bringing forth the world.

Poem by: Sister Irene Zimmerman, SSSF

World Day of Care for Creation . . .

Earth Teach Me to Remember

Earth teach me stillness
as the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach me suffering
as old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach me humility
as blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth Teach me caring
as the mother who secures her young.

Earth teach me courage
as the tree which stands alone.
Earth teach me limitation
as the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach me freedom
as the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach me resignation
as the leaves which die in the fall.

Earth teach me regeneration
as the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach me to forget myself
as melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach me to remember kindness
as dry fields weep in the rain.
Ute, North American

Monday, August 29, 2016

Remembering . . .

The spirit, newly freed from earth,
is all amazed at the surprise
of her belonging: suddenly
as native to eternity
to see herself, to realize
the heritage that lets her be
at home where all this glory lies.
By naught foretold could she have guessed
such welcome home: the robe, the ring,
music and endless banqueting,
these people hers; this place of rest
known, as of long remembering
herself a child of God and pressed
with warm endearments to God’s

Jessica Powers

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A Labor Day Prayer . . .

Litany of Labor:

Let us pray to the God of all creation, from whom comes life,
work and purpose. Almighty God, when you lovingly formed us out of the dust of the earth, you breathed into us the breath of life and gave us work and purpose for living.
 We give you thanks, O God.

• For those who plow the field; for farmers and farm workers, for those who work with their hands and those who move the earth, for all who provide food for others.

• For those who tend the sick and those who seek new cures; for doctors and nurses, for scientists and technicians; for all who work to care for the sick.

• For those who design and create; for inventors and explorers, for artists and musicians; for those who write books and those who entertain; for all who open windows on their world through art and music.

• For those who work in offices and those who work in warehouses; for secretaries and receptionists, for stockers and bookkeepers; for those who market products and for those who move them; for all who serve others through administration.

• For those who inspire our minds and those who motivate us; for teachers and preachers, for public servants and religious servants; those who help the poor and those who work with our children; for all who encourage us to learn.

• For those whose labor is tidiness and cleanliness; for janitors and sanitary workers, for drycleaners and maids; for those who produce cleaning products and those who use them; for all those who add beauty and cleanliness to your world.

• For those who sail the waves and those who fly the skies; for captains and attendants, for astronauts and deep sea divers; for those who chart and those who navigate.

• For those who serve in the armed forces; for soldiers and airmen; sailors and marines; for all those who put themselves in harms way to protect others.

• You bless us all with skills and gifts for labor. You provide us opportunities to use them, for the benefit of others as well as ourselves and the growth of your Kingdom on earth. Guard and protect those who labor in the world.

• Send your special favor on the unemployed, the under-employed and the disabled, that they may find work that enriches their lives and provides for their families.

• Give health to the sick, hope to the bereaved.

• Keep us from laboring for ourselves alone.

• Make us loving and responsible in all that we do.

(Adapted from: Author: Carolyn Moomaw Chilton)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Care of Creation Prayer Day ~ September 1st

A Prayer for our Earth
By Pope Francis*

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.

O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.

Photo by Doris Klein, CSA
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace .

Photo by Joan F.

* Pope Francis published this prayer in his Laudato Si’ encyclical, 

and is meant for sharing
with all who believe in a God who is the all-powerful Creator .

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Holy Wonder!

The Spirit of God is Always with Us at This Time, in This Place
We awaken in our time to a Universe which is holy,
to creation which is not an event in the past, but a living event of the present.
We enter a new mode of human presence where we are not merely observers,
but where each of us is a participant in this moment of evolution.

Like all other creatures, we carry with us Wisdom and Values,
the dynamics of the Universe. But unlike other creatures, we must choose whether 
and how we will live in harmony within this sacred web of creation. May we be open to the Source of All Being, Our God within and among us!

We have the capacity to wonder,
and to celebrate this great mystery of existence within such a magnificent Universe!  
In us the Universe enters into a great celebration of itself.
We are part of the Dance, the Great Work, the Great liturgy which is the Universe unfolding.

Glory to You, O God, Source of All Being!
This great Liturgy finds expression at this moment in us,
gathered here in a posture of prayerful openness, with listening hearts, loving spirits and a holy wonder.

May the sacred web that unites us with each other, our God and all creation,
ignite communities of light and hope throughout the Earth.
May we be open to the Source of All Being, Our God within and among us!


 Together We Pray:
 O Gracious, gentle Spirit of Love,
 Your energy permeates the Universe,
 Igniting Earth with
 Your Goodness, Truth and Beauty.
 Open our minds and hearts
 To a deeper awareness
 Of our interconnectedness with You,
 Each other and all creation.
May we experience
 Your unique presence
 Within the sacred web of creation.
-Author Unknown


Easing and Ceasing

Softening the Soul (by Robert J. Wicks)

 Lighting a candle
 in a dark room
 is a small gentle act of peace.
 When the match touches the wick,
 time slows down
 and the race to the future ceases.
 Worries are consumed
 anxiety burns out
 and I sigh deeply.
 Watching the flickering light
 is a graceful prayer
 which eases my stress and lessens my strain.
 Finally when the flame goes out
 I turn quietly back,
 to the events of the day . . .
 And find everything changed because of the time
 I sat softening my soul candlelight.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

"You-niquely" You!

Be Yourself,
Everyone Else is Already Taken
Oscar Wilde
Bronze statue, Viterbo University Campus, La Crosse, WI

"The Dancing Francis"

Friday, August 19, 2016

Welcoming In and Letting Go . . .

Photo by: JL, SP

The Welcoming Prayer (by Father Thomas Keating)

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me today
because I know it's for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons,
situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for power and control.
I let go of my desire for affection, esteem,
approval and pleasure.
I let go of my desire for survival and security.
I let go of my desire to change any situation,
condition, person or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God and
God's action within. Amen.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Faith is . . .

Faith is risking what is for what is yet to be.
It is taking small steps knowing they lead to bigger ones.
Faith is holding on when you want to let go.
It is letting go when you want to hold on.
Faith is saying YES when everything else says NO.
It is believing all things are possible in the midst of impossibilities.
Faith is looking beyond what is and trusting for what will be.
        It is the presence of light in darkness, the presence of God in all.        
 Ellen M. Cuomo


Monday, August 15, 2016

Resting in God . . .


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)

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Under Construction . . .

Under Construction!
I recently was on my way across the western part of Wisconsin to attend a number of meetings. I understood that the construction on the highway going west was now complete. So with a light heart and an eager spirit, I set off only to be greeted by an orange vested man, with a large grin, and a STOP sign.  This intersection was only 12 miles from my turn onto the freeway heading north. His detour sign pointed south. There was no other exit going west or north. I had no other escape. I had to “obey” the sign like all the other drivers. Soon I noticed I was heading to the vacation land of the Wisconsin Dells. This is where all those signs stating, “Wisconsin Fun ~ Exit NOW” will direct you. But I didn’t want to go there! Turning around and trying to locate another route would have made me late for my first meeting.

So dutifully I journeyed south and then west and entered a place that people come to get away from it all. In fact, they were all there! I found myself in a traffic chain like “bumper cars” slowly making our way through the narrow streets, trying not to strike anyone crossing the road while looking down on their Smart Phone. I asked myself, “Is this part of Pok√©mon Go?” I soon was in the middle of town. I said to myself, “This looks like Great America, Disney Land, and Las Vegas, all nestled within these 10 miles of detour!” There were shops for golfing, crafts, candy, souvenirs, eateries, and tourist information. That was on just one block! There was more of the same as I moved with turtle-like speed through the maze of people and shops.

There seemed to have been miles of this “Wisconsin Fun” while I was trying to negotiate pace and people, and not get too distracted and lose the DETOUR signs. I remember as a youngster that this was a beautiful area of fresh lakes and rock formations. It had been carved out after the glacier had melted some 15,000 years ago. Now I have found that it is “sky-scrapered” by hundreds of water slide rides. In fact, the websites claim “The Dells” to be the water ride capital of the world! How did I miss the fact that it has over 200 water rides!

Eventually, I made my way to a ramp and exited with laughter and laser like speed to head north. I felt freed from the shackles of this “Wisconsin Fun”, and mused that possibly there was a conspiracy between the Department of Tourism and the Department of Transportation. Then, once I started to breathe normally again, I asked myself, “What was my learning in all of this redirection?”  Well here it goes:
I learned . . .
• That I sometimes have to travel a route that may not be my choice, but it offers me experiences of humanity of which I can take to prayer, and be in solidarity with those seeking relief from the burdens of their lives.
• That I can be grateful that families and friends have a place to “get away” and laugh and connect with each other so that they will be refreshed, renewed, and relaxed.
• That God was there in the experience, nudging me to trust the path, to stay focused, and delight in the creativity all around me. And . . .
• That I believe and know that in the spiritual life, there are oftentimes “orange-vested” events or circumstances that challenge us to discover the gift of courage and creativity that is always “under construction” in us through God’s grace!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Journey . . .

A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

~ Wendell Berry ~

(Collected Poems)

Easy Prayer. . . .

It Would Be Easier to Pray if I Were Clear

O Eternal One,
It would be easier for me to pray
if I were clear
and of a single mind and a pure heart;
if I could be done hiding from myself
and from you, even in my prayers.

But, I am who I am,
mixture of motives and excuses,
blur of memories,
quiver of hopes,
knot of fear,
tangle of confusion,
and restless with love,
for love.

I wander somewhere between
gratitude and grievance,
wonder and routine,
high resolve and undone dreams,
generous impulses and unpaid bills.

Come, find me, Lord.
Be with me exactly as I am.
Help me find me, Lord.
Help me accept what I am,
so I can begin to be yours.

Make of me something small enough to snuggle,
young enough to question,
simple enough to giggle,
old enough to forget,
foolish enough to act for peace;
skeptical enough to doubt
the sufficiency of anything but you,
and attentive enough to listen
as you call me out of the tomb of my timidity
into the chancy glory of my possibilities
and the power of your presence.

Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace, LuraMedia, 1984

Unfolding . . .

The Song of the Seed
By Macrina Wiederkehr

Life unfolds
a petal at a time

The beauty of the process
is crippled
when I try to hurry growth.

Life has its inner rhythm
which must be respected.
It cannot be rushed or hurried.

Like daylight stepping out of darkness,
like morning creeping out of night
life unfolds slowly
a petal at a time
like a flower opening to the sun,

God’s call unfolds
a Word at a time

A disciple is not made in a hurry.
Slowly I become like the One
to whom I am listening.

Life unfolds
a petal at a time
like you and I
becoming followers of Jesus,

dicipled into a new way of living
deeply and slowly.

Be patient with life’s unfolding petals.
If you hurry the bud it withers.
If you hurry life it limps.

Each unfolding is a teaching
a movement of grace
filled with silent pauses
breathtaking beauty
tears and heartaches.

Life unfolds
a petal at a time
deeply and slowly.

May it come to pass!