Monthly Archives: January 2015

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing? “ He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet. Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm.

The disciples were with you in the boat, Lord, and there were other boats, which they must have seen floundering. Some were fishermen and used to the sea, but they were terrified. Yet, you slept calmly.

I can imagine your companions saying, “How can he sleep through this. We have to wake him.”

“You wake him.”

“No, you.”

By the time they rouse you, they are angry. “Do you not care?” they ask.

It reminds me of your response when hearing of the death of Lazarus. Although you wept for your friend, you thanked the Father for the opportunity to teach your followers and encourage their faith. But that was later. At this time, although they had witnessed many miracles, they had not yet absorbed your lessons. As you rebuke the wind, their fear and anger turn to awe.

Why am I so often surprised when you answer my prayers immediately? If I had faith, I would not have feared, nor would I have been amazed. In hurricane or in doldrums, you are present and immutable. Circumstances cannot disturb your infinite peace. Take me into that peace, Lord. You will never desert me. Thy will be done.

This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the see would sprout and grow, he knows not how.
(Mark 4:26-27)

Here I am, Lord. Let the seed of your word grow in me.

I have never seen a mustard tree, though I have heard the parable many times. I imagined it as a large shrub, like a forsythia, perhaps. Finally, I looked for a picture and was surprised to see that it really is a tree, with a length of trunk between the ground and its feathery leaves. In one photograph, it towers above a group of people gathered underneath. There is no hyperbole in the parable. It is truly amazing that a tiny seed could be the source of this growth.

The seed is hidden, under the soil, but the warmth of your sunlight reaches it and stirs it to split open and send out shoots. We cannot check its progress. Once planted, it is beyond our control, even beyond our knowledge. We don’t see the stems reaching toward the light. Later, if we look carefully, we will notice a spot of green, once the first leaf breaks through the surface. It is your work, Lord, not ours. We can only wait and trust.

When I feel trapped and purposeless, it is only because I am blind to what you are accomplishing in me. I have no purpose other than to let you nurture your growth in me. If I am underground now, someday you will expose me to your light. Your life is in me whether I feel it or not. Open me to your will.

Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lamp stand?”
(Mark 4:21)

Good morning, Lord. I feel as though I need to ramble a little before I can be still. I have time but no energy. Is there something I should be doing to be more productive? Where is my lamp, and how can I use it to do your will? Whatever I have is yours; whatever light I cast is a reflection of yours. Thieves hide in darkness. If I am honest, I have nothing that must be kept secret. Let me stand humbly before you and my neighbor, open and undisguised. Thy will be done.

The sower sows the word.
(Mark 1:14)

Only you, Lord, can prepare the soil of my soul to receive the seed of your Word. All I can do is rely on you. I use so many of my own futile words when I talk to you. I want to listen, instead. You have the Word of Truth. Silence me, so that I may absorb it.

You take me to a place outside myself that is really inside myself, for my center is at your center. There is time for everything, for there is no time, only Eternity. Thy will be done.

For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.
(Mark 3:35)

Good morning, Lord. What is your will for me today? Already, my plans have changed unexpectedly, but I know you will show me how to adapt.

You never fail to use an interruption to illustrate your plan. When your relatives arrive, you take that opportunity to reveal a relationship that goes beyond family and friends. We are all your relatives, and, through you, we are all related to one another. Please make me available to all whom I encounter. Thy will be done.

Amen, I say to you, all sins and all blasphemies that people utter will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an everlasting sin.
(Mark 1:28-29)

Holy Spirit, guide my prayers. To blaspheme against you would be to deny everything, for you are Truth, Love, Wisdom, and Life itself. To renounce you is anathema, but to ignore you in this life of distractions and temptations is all too common. Please help me to be cognizant of you and bestow on me your gifts as I pray and plan. Thy will be done.

Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again, the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
(Mark 3: 20-21)

My Jesus, you gave yourself so completely that your relatives came to “rescue” you. Am I willing to be considered out of my mind for dedicating my life to your Gospel?

You could not even sit down to eat. Would I survive people pressing on me even when I retired to my home? Sometimes I don’t even answer the phone until I know who is calling. Do I value my privacy so much that I forget the needs of others?

You went out to deserted places to pray, but when you came back, you were fully accessible. You did not filter the crowds that pushed against you. Please help me to find balance between private and social life. Give me the energy to spend myself in your service. Thy will be done.

Jesus went up to the mountain and summoned those he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles…
(Mark 3:13-14)

The choosing of the Apostles takes place on a mountain. Later, the Transfiguration is witnessed on a mountain. You agony, Lord, is endured on a mount. On each of these occasions, you choose followers to accompany you.

Take me to the mountain with you, Lord, and show me your will. Then, If I have to go alone into the desert, I will know that you are still with me.

How can I be your disciple today? I want to stay home, but if you send me out, I will listen. There is time now to be still in you. Thank you for silence and peace.

He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him.
(Mark 3:9)

The sick want to touch you, Lord, for they know that healing power flows from you. Even the demons recognize you, though they hate you. The crowd is forceful enough to crush you, but you do not hold back.

Today, I will touch your Body in the Eucharist. I will receive you, my Jesus. You will hold me even closer than anyone could reach when you were here in historical time.

Time is not a slice of Eternity, for Eternity can be neither divided nor measured. Eternity is now, even though we see it only in flashes. Time is just the movement of our planet, in orbit or on its own axis. It affects our bodies but not our souls. Help me to live in your everlasting Now. Let me bask in it silently while I can.

They watched Jesus closely to see if he would cure him on the Sabbath so that they might accuse him.

(Mark 3:2)

The Pharisees went out and immediately took counsel with the Herodians against him to put him to death.
(Mark 3:6)

We can want the same things for vastly different reasons. The man with the withered hand wanted to be healed so that he could function normally. You, my Jesus, wanted to heal him, not just to teach the Pharisees the difference between the letter and the spirit of the law, but mainly because you had compassion on the suffering man. The Pharisees, on the other hand, wanted ammunition for their campaign against you. It is what is in our hearts that matters. Help us to act with love.

Draw me into your Presence, Lord, and quiet me. Show me what is important. Thy will be done.

Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”

(Mark 2:27-28)

You know what is good for us, Lord. You give us both work and rest. Your law does not forbid taking care of ourselves and others on your day. All of your commandments are meant to give us order and balance. Let us never forget the spirit of your law. If we love you and love our neighbor, all will flow from that.

I had some unexpected free time today, for which I am very grateful, and little by little I am catching up. As my mother used to say, “I’m making haste slowly.” Here I am. I come to do your will.
I found out that one of my neighbors broke her hip and is having surgery. Please keep her safe and see that she gets the care she needs. Bless and heal all those for whom I have been asked to pray. Take home those who have completed their earthly lives. Encourage those who are struggling.

In Eternity, every day is the Sabbath. Every day we will rest in you and sing your praise. Thy kingdom come. Make us one. Thy will be done.

Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the skins will be ruined. Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins.

(Mark 2:22)

Lord, make my soul new and elastic, so that it can expand with the effervescence of your love.

The new is not necessarily better than the old, nor the old better than the new. We need both. As Girl Scouts we used to sing a round that said, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.”

The circumstances of our lives keep changing, and we have to be flexible enough to adapt. At the same time, we must honor the constant values. You do not change, Lord. The truth does not change. The route can be updated; there may be detours, but our destination doesn’t move.

I encountered a lot of detours in what I had planned for today, but I did what I needed to do and now I am here where I need to be, with you. Nothing else matters.

How can I accommodate your grace? Please help me to adjust to whatever changes occur, without ever losing sight of my purpose, to do your will. The next time I am interrupted, let me say, “Okay, I have to pause, but I will not stop.” Let my journey to you proceed. I will try harder to enjoy the people I meet, the beauty I see, and, yes, even the ditches I have to negotiate.

Just as I was writing the last paragraph, someone was shouting in the hall. (Shouting is the normal way of communicating for those who don’t hear as well as they once did.) I started to feel annoyed until I remembered there is a radio beside me tuned to the classical station. All I had to do was turn it on and let the non-intrusive music drown out everything else. Why does it take me so long to learn? With your grace, I will try harder to remain focused. Thy will be done.

“What do you seek?”
“Rabbi, where are you staying?”
“Come and see.”

(John 1: 38-39)

“Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will.”

(Psalm 40, response)

Yesterday was such a blessing, Lord. I didn’t write anything, but I received your forgiveness and your very Body. I participated in communal prayer and had time for private prayer. How apt it was that in yesterday’s Gospel, you comment, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” We are all sinners, and you came to heal and redeem us all.

What do I seek, Lord? To stay with you, to know you, and to do your will.

How can I find you? By following you, staying with you, and listening to you.

You are the Lamb of God, Rabbi, the Messiah, the Son of man. From Eternity you are God; so you do not need to describe yourself as the Son of God. At a point in time, you came to us by way of Mary’s womb, in the Flesh. You remain Flesh in the Eucharist now, though your human Body had a beginning, just as ours did. Yet, you are Incarnate, not created. There is an end to time but not to life. Let me live my life in you, that I may join you in Eternity.

Just as you went to the desert to pray and be tested, so can we retreat in silence to listen for your Word.

“Come and see,” you call to us. Let us answer, “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.” Let me enter now into your Presence, not saying or asking anything more.

Which is easier to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise, pick up your mat and follow me.

(Mark 2:9)

Good morning, Lord. In half an hour, I have to begin my prep for the CT scan, and then it will be time to leave. Be with me, Lord, and keep me alert to your will.

Here I am again, at last. Two people asked for my help after I returned this afternoon, but if they hadn’t, I still would have procrastinated. Thank you for making me a little useful.
When I leave my apartment and return, whether it’s for just an hour or all day, I don’t want to do anything. I need more stamina, Lord, but you always find some way to get me back on my feet. Thank you.

How appropriate is today’s reading, since tomorrow I will receive the Sacrament of Penance. As you did with the paralytic, you will heal my soul, first, and then my body. Please help me to prepare honestly and humbly to confess to you. Show me my faults, and make me truly sorry. I do not deserve your mercy; nothing I could do would earn it, but you, yourself, have already atoned for my sins. All I have to do is acknowledge them.

The friends of the paralyzed man were prodded to resourcefulness by their faith. Finding it impossible to get to the door, they burst through the roof. Let me follow their example and persevere no matter what obstacles I encounter. You will not keep me away when I trust in you.
Please help me to examine my life and learn how to participate more fully in yours. Thy will be done.