Monthly Archives: November 2014
“Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them, for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had.” (Luke 21:3-4)
Do I trust you enough, Lord, to give everything to you, not just what I think I can afford? Every day, I offer the prayer of St. Ignatius, “Take … my liberty, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own.” And yet, when I am asked to contribute, I wonder how much enough is. Nothing could ever be enough to give back to you, and yet it is our willingness that you consider.
Feast of Christ the King
“Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed your, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill and in prison and visit you?” (Matthew 25:37-38)
In which of my neighbors will I see you today, Lord? In an hour, I’ll play Scrabble with three or four friends. Let me recognize their diverse personalities, and, in particular, their needs. Let me listen patiently and respectfully, enjoy their humor, and offer whatever I can contribute.
The only way to serve you is to let you serve through me. Make me your instrument, receiving your song and releasing it. You are the carpenter; I am only the saw. You are the artist; I am the brush. You are the sculptor; I am the tool.
But I am also the strings you pluck, the wood that you carve, the canvass that you illuminate and the clay that you mold. Let me do your will by subjecting myself to your touch. Work in me, not just through me. Put me at your service.
That the dead will rise, even Moses made known … when he called “Lord” the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, and he is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive. (Luke 20:37-38)
I am here, Lord, still in the afterglow of today’s encounter with you in Mass and Communion. We were in a smaller room due to a scheduling conflict, and because of that our congregation seemed larger. It was nice to have all the seats filled.
At some point, a simple phrase struck me – “at your service.” During the homily, Father Bowen talked about how “busy” we all are and the things we “don’t have time for.” If you are our priority, our first instinct should be to be available for those who need us. How happy I am when you show me how to help my neighbor, when you send someone to me. The interruptions are more valuable than the schedule. Thank you for a week that was filled with opportunities to listen and serve.
My wrist is still sore and it’s hard to write, but I much prefer it to typing. I feel as though you guide my pen. The keyboard is fast but impersonal.
In you, Lord, God of the living, we are all alive. We do not see Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob. We no longer hear the voices of those family members and friends who have preceded us into Eternity, but we know that you see them, and that when we meet again it will not be in an earthly relationship, but in one of unity with you, constantly joined in praise and thanksgiving. We will sing without tiring. We will, as the hymn, “Gather Us In,” states, “enter the song.” Gather us, indeed, Lord, serving now so that we will recognize you in each of us.
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin
The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put her to death, but they could find no way … because all the people were hanging on his words. (Luke 19:47-48)
Your word draws us into you, Lord. If we hang onto it, we live in you.
“The people” had no political power during your ministry, Lord; yet fear of them kept those in charge from seizing you – until your time had come. We who cling to you are stronger than we know. Give us courage.
What could be more tragic than the death of our God, and yet through it you bring salvation. What earthly disaster need we fear? The only real loss is the loss of our soul. Nothing else can dismay us.
As Jesus drew near Jerusalem, he saw the city and wept over it, saying, “if this day you only knew what makes for peace, but now it is hidden from your eyes. (Luke 19:41-42)
Lord, please draw us into your loving Presence. Open our eyes to your peace. Let us accept you now, for this is the time. There is only today. Just as we cannot bury our talents to dig up later, we cannot save up your grace without acting on it. Peace and love are now, if we recognize them—if we recognize you, that is. Enter into our hearts as you prepared to enter into Jerusalem. Let us welcome you with the joy that you give us, turning it back to you.
He called ten of his servants and gave them ten coins and told them, “Engage in trade with these until I return. (Luke 19:12)
Good evening, Lord. I have been so aware of my father, on this, the 22nd anniversary of his death. I feel him, still watching, praying for me as I pray for or with him. I truly feel that is with you in your glory. He was a gentle, compassionate and encouraging man, and he suffered so much during his life. For the last nine years, he could not speak, though he could understand us. I know we cannot presume, but surely that helped to make him ready. I did not deserve a daddy like him, any more than I deserve your love, Heavenly Father, or the redemption by your Son.
I don’t know whether my father knew how much I loved him, despite my often ungrateful and even hurtful actions. Why do we not say these things while we have the opportunity? In Eternity, with no need for speech, we will know one another as you know us. The unity that cannot fully be grasped in this world will heal and nourish our souls. As members of one Body, we will immerse ourselves joyfully in your praise.
Luke’s version of the parable of the talents seems even stricter than Matthew’s, but the master is clear in his direction to trade with them. They are not gifts, but trusts, which we are to use for the sake of all. If we are cowardly or unconcerned, we will have nothing. Please help us to “grow” your gifts and contribute to your kingship.
Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for I must stay at your house tonight. ( Luke 19:5)
Zacchaeus was “short in stature,” we are told. He was also short in virtue, and yet he was so eager to see you, Lord, that he climbed a tree, unabashed, despite his wealthy (though hated) stature.
Am I so eager to catch a glimpse of you that I will sacrifice my dignity and risk ridicule? Why do I sometimes resist these very exercises that draw me closer to you? Even alone in my own space, do I fear being acknowledged by you? Am I afraid that you will notice my faults? Of course, you already know me as you did Zacchaeus, from all eternity, before I was born.
And yet, it is for sinners like me that you came. For me, you, who are all great and all good, humbled yourself. You were mocked, spat upon and crucified. You want only to save me. What does it matter whether I possess anything, as long as I am possessed by you? That is all I ask, Lord. Bring salvation to this house.
He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. (Luke 18: )
Once we see you, Lord, what choice do we have but to follow you and praise you?
“Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them?” (Luke 18:17)
Here I am, Lord, ready to leave in a few minutes for Confession and Mass. Please keep me close to you and remind me of my failures and your mercy, that I may discern your will for me and how to attune myself to it.
In today’s parable, you tell us of the importance of asking persistently for what we need. You are not the dishonest judge who gave in to constant pressure, but rather our loving Father. You will not grow impatient nor weary of our petitions. You already know our needs, and yet you want to hear them, and, wise parent that you are, you will grant what is best for us. Still, you delight in hearing us, even when we might think we are nagging.
Let us call to you at all times, trusting not merely in your justice, but most of all in your loving mercy. You will not delay. Only you know the acceptable time.
Friday, November 14, 2014
“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” (Luke 17:33)
Good evening, Lord. This day has gone so fast. Thank you for being with me through all its lessons, encounters, and work. Now let me just rest in your love.
Do I seek to preserve my life or to lose it in you, Lord? The less I care about earthly possessions and concerns, the freer I am to be who you created me to be, made in your image, saved in your death.
I cannot die for you, but I can die in you. Since you are God and I am human, I can do nothing to redeem myself from my sins against you. Yet, you allow me to participate in your Sacrifice. You will not take me without my consent, but if I allow you — no, rather if I beg you to receive all that I have and all that I am, you will make me your instrument.
Play me; work through me for your honor and glory. Then, only, will I find my life. If it be your will, let me be silent now, lost in you.
“For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer and be rejected by this generation.” (Luke 17:24-25)
Take me, Lord. Immerse me in your Presence.
Today is the feast of Frances Xavier Cabrini, the first American citizen to be canonized. The Magnificat has a passage from her writings which ties in with the Gospel, about the wonder of suffering. It is so appropriate at this time when the weather is changing drastically and many are suffering from the pain of both chronic and seasonal illnesses.
Much as we who are aging long to be with you and relieved of grief and infirmity, it is good for us to remember that we still have the opportunity to serve you and share in your Passion. It is a kind of prayer none of us hope for, and yet it helps us to participate in the very process through which you redeem us.
When my brother, Bill, was dying, I gave him a rosary I had had for many years. He said, “I should pray this.”
I responded, “Just hold it. Your suffering is prayer.”
Please help me to remember my own advice when I am tempted to feel useless.
Lord, I know that you are here with me now. Empty me of concerns, plans and random thoughts so that I can surrender to your presence.
“Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?” (Luke 17:17)
As one of many whom you heal and save, please show me how to thank you with all my heart, in all my words and deeds. By your will, I exist; by your love I am sheltered. Direct my every step toward you.
Were it not for your love, unmerited and yet freely bestowed, I could not dare to approach you. Yet, here you are, beckoning to me, inviting me, saying, “Fear not.” Let my every breath be a sigh of gratitude. Remind me to thank the family and friends who contribute to me in ways they probably don’t realize. They are your instruments. Bless us all, my Lord and my God.
Here I am again, Lord, home for the evening at 6:00 and well satisfied with all you have given me. I like being available and I am so grateful for every encounter with you and with my neighbors. I need to be more spontaneous; it is such a blessing. I must decrease; you must increase.
Planning can be useful, but often it is liberating to just respond – to embrace the invitation of each moment. Just as you will provide us with the words we are to say, you will send us those with whom we need to interact.
St. Martin of Tours didn’t see you in the beggar with whom he shared his cloak. It wasn’t until later in a dream that you revealed yourself to him. He did not give you the whole cloak, but cut it in half. There is such dignity in sharing, in acknowledging our equality. We can give with pride, but when we share we are humble. Please help us to acknowledge in others the respect and camaraderie that make us one. Thy will be done.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Today, I rejoice in what I don’t have, for I release it gladly to you, Lord. I am happy, even when I stumble in frustration and weakness, for I have no illusions that I am in control. Without guilt, without indolence, I shall float wherever your current takes me. I’m at sea, but not lost, for that sea is you and you are my All. Take me, Lord. Accept me, unworthy as I am. Make me who you want me to be and yet let me be nothing. Use me, absorb me.
No matter how I feel, let me remember that you are in charge and you know exactly what I need. I just have to get out of the way. Nothing else matters. Stay with me. Keep me with you. Thy will be done.