Monthly Archives: January 2015
Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched the leper, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
He spread the report around so that it was impossible for Jesus to enter a town openly. He remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere.
Mark 1: 45
Good morning, Lord. Even in “deserted places,” let us seek you out. Sometimes I find you in the dryness of my soul.
This will be a busy day, our first Communion service since before Christmas. We are back in ordinary time; the days are lengthening, however gradually, and New Year’s resolutions are sliding from our consciousness. There are just five weeks until Lent. Please help me to give whatever I am able. Work through me.
In spite of your admonition, the leper cannot keep silent. He who had been considered dead is brought back from oblivion. How can he refrain from sharing his story? In his elation, he forgets your warning and broadcasts the miracle. Yet, your will is done, whether or not we cooperate.
Today, Lord, let me be your witness. Work in me with or without my awareness. Thy will be done.
Rising very early before dawn, he left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”
Lord, I am looking for you and I will find you in prayer. Let me enter into your Presence. Here I am, in the silence of my room, with 45 minutes until noon Mass. I want only to surrender to your Love. Keep me still in you.
Immediately after the unclean spirit “outed” you in the temple, Lord Jesus, you went home with Simon and Andrew and healed Simon’s mother in law, who got up at once and waited on you. There is no hesitation. Just as the fishermen walked away from their boats, the woman recognizes you and wants nothing but to serve you.
How can we hesitate, then, when you reveal yourself to us? Why waste time wondering what you want when all we have to do is follow you? If we trust you, we will know.
As before every transition, you retreat to pray. You are about to announce your ministry to “all of Galilee.” You are launched into your public life, and all are caught up in its impetus. First, though, you discuss it with the Father.
As exciting and fulfilling as our mission may seem, we cannot enter into it without reflecting and discerning when, where and how to carry it out. Enlighten us, Lord. Encourage and guide us. You are the Way.
As I pray, trusting that you will reveal your will to me, let me wait in hope for your call. Thy will be done.
And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching! With authority, he commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.
Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will. Please help those who are stranded with no elevator and those whose apartments are flooded. Please temper this frigid winter. It seems to have arrived so early. Look after those who are most vulnerable.
You speak with authority, Lord, because you are the author of life. The demons are powerless against you. They reveal you as “the Holy One of God,” before you silence them. The evil spirits cannot oppose your will.
We, your children, do not recognize you. We are amazed, and yet we have free will to turn away from you. Belief alone cannot sustain us. You, who sends your own Son to become human, to take our sins upon himself – you who love us so extravagantly, still wait for us to choose to accept you. Increase our faith, hope and charity that we might open our souls to your grace.
How can I receive and reflect your love today? Already, you have given me an opportunity to leave my comfort zone and offer assistance to a neighbor. How little I could do, and yet how grateful I was for a little push. I can strive to be more aware of the needs around me, more proactive, more willing to help before being asked. I cannot live in you and still keep to myself. Take me. Use me. Thy will be done.
Jesus said to them, “Come after me and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they left their nets and followed him.
Here I am, Lord. Yesterday, I had a little time for prayer but no time to write. Forgive me.
I had wanted to meditate more on the significance of your Baptism and the heavenly announcement as you began your ministry, “You are my divine Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Peter, James and John will hear almost the same words at the Transfiguration, near the end of your time on this earth. In between, you teach, heal, forgive, and gather disciples so that your mission will continue until time gives way to eternity.
How can I be your disciple today, Lord? First, I know, I must get out of your way and lose myself in you.
And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Good evening, Lord. For the second time in three days, my morning schedule was interrupted and I had to go out before starting my prayers. I am here now and longing to place myself in your Presence. Please center me in you.
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens to him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase, I must decrease.
(John 3: 29)
Good morning, Lord. Thank you for this chance to rest in you. Please work in and through me. Prepare my soul to receive you in the Eucharist this evening. Father, bless me. Spirit, guide me. Jesus, come to me.
You are the bridegroom, my Jesus, and this is your wedding day. We, the church, are your bride. John is your best man, your best friend. He is there to serve you, not to compete. How he rejoices to witness this blessed union.
He has fulfilled his mission of announcing you. He has presented you as the one who was to come. Now he makes way for you, knowing he must decrease. Even before his birth, John witnessed to you, leaping in his mother’s womb at your presence.
I want to give my life over to you as he did. It is not about me; it has never been about me, even when I was young and full of hubris, thinking I could control my life. How much happier I am now that I can see more clearly that you are my purpose. I still stumble, of course, but when I pause to examine what is important, I am closer to the person you made me to be. I still see “through a glass, darkly,” but I am less distracted by my own reflection and more aware of your light. Please help me to shed my pretenses and find myself in you.
Today, I will try to remember that it is you, not I, who sacrifice; you who sing and pray through me, and you who invite me to worship you. Thy will be done.
But so much more the report went around concerning him, and great multitudes gathered to hear and to be healed of their infirmities. But he withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.
Good afternoon, Lord. My day began abruptly this morning, but now there is time and silence in which to ponder your Word. Let me listen attentively, as Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, did at your feet. I had to be more like Martha today, busy about many things, but now I am here.
After you healed the leper, you asked him not to tell anyone, but still the word spread and the crowds gathered. You taught and healed them, but even you, my Jesus, who are One with the Father and the Spirit, “withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.”
Please teach me how to keep a balance with prayer life, work and charity. They do not conflict; all are good and necessary. Everything is prayer when we do it for you, but even you went off to be alone with your heavenly Father. How can I neglect that? Make me more aware of you, especially when I have to adjust my plans.
When that happens, my first impulse is irritation. If I hit a snag, I give in to frustration. When, by your grace, I finally overcome a hurdle, I want to relax and forget any other commitments. Please help me to be more flexible, and especially to get back to prayer when it is postponed or interrupted. Without this time with you, I become sluggish and discouraged. I don’t want to waste my energy on worldly and fleeting concerns. You are all that matters. My Jesus, I trust in you. Thy will be done.
Beloved, we love God because he first loved us.
1 John 4: 19
Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4:21
Good morning, Lord, on this cold winter day. Please take care of those who need shelter and heat: the homeless, the poor, the elderly. Watch over those for whom I have promised to pray. Let me pause for a moment and remember them. Empty me of all my distractions. I surrender to your unfathomable love.
I could not love you if you did not first love me, Lord. You do not merely love; you are love. How can I return and share your love today? What are the opportunities that I see now? How can I remain open to those I do not yet see? You will provide them if I just stay alert to your will.
A neighbor and I were talking about all the requests for donations we get. We want to help, but we are overwhelmed with all the mail. It is hard to choose.
It reminded me of the cliché, “Charity begins at home.” I see or hear about the needs of the elderly in this building every day. Please help me to respond to then with alacrity. How often I postpone a visit because I am too tired, or just too lazy, to go out. If someone comes to me, I will gladly drop everything to listen and, if possible, help. But who am I to expect others to come to me?
I say that I want to be available, but I need to be more active. Love is, after all, an action, not a mere feeling. Only you can be love, Lord, but we can do love. Please help us all to be your servants. Thy will be done. Work through us, Lord.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
But when they saw him walking on the water, they thought it was a ghost and cried out … But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I. Have no fear.” They were completely astonished. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened.
Mark 6: 49-52
Good morning, Lord. My groceries were delivered at 7:30; so I have been up for a while. I am still sleepy but I want to stay awake. Please energize me and center me in you.
The motto of one group of Christians is “Expect a miracle.” If we were to live up to that advice, we would not cringe in fear when you reveal your power, as the disciples did in today’s Gospel. How quickly they forgot the manifestation they had witnessed that very day.
The storm frightened them, but not as much as the sight of you walking to them on the water. Earlier, you had directed them to cross to the other side while you withdrew to pray. They must not have asked how you would catch up with them. Did they wonder about it? If not, I can admire their simple obedience, but why, then, are they “astounded”? Why were their hearts hardened?
I suppose that, after you had fed the vast crowd, they didn’t absorb the miracle’s significance. It was more than they could fathom. As we say today, they couldn’t wrap their minds around it. So they put it out of their minds.
I am just the same, Lord. Daily, I witness your providence, even in the most ordinary incidents. I find something before I remember that I need it. You send a friend who can help me, or one that I can help, just when I am thinking only of myself. I say a prayer and you respond immediately. Each time, I am surprised. Why? Please strengthen my faith. Make me always aware of you, always prepared for your goodness and mercy, yet never complacent. Even if I expect you to answer me, let gratitude well up in my heart.
Today, Lord, let me rely on you, look for you, and recognize you in all the miracles, large or small. Thy will be done.
When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
Then, taking the five loaves and two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the bread, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied.
Good morning, Lord. Thank you for letting me rise earlier today. It is so good to have unhurried time with you. Please let me hold you close, as Mary held you at your birth and at your death.
Take pity on me, my Jesus, for I am so often a sheep without a shepherd. I felt so scattered this morning, but having time and silence in which to rest in you is allowing me to focus.
You looked up to heaven before blessing the loaves and the fish, not because you, yourself, did not have the power to bless and increase them, but as a sign to us. I have a loaf of ciabatta in the kitchen now. Before I slice it later, let me remember to ask your blessing.
You give us so much more than we need. I am singing, “You Satisfy the Hungry Heart” as I write. It is my heart that is hungry, but you, in your infinite Wisdom, feed our bodies first, that we may be free to open ourselves to your Spirit.
You divide your gifts among us all, and yet each of us is filled. “My cup runneth over.”
Just as you blessed the bread during your earthly mission, you bless the bread of the Eucharist, permitting us to experience you in the Flesh. Only your Sacrifice, in which you allow us to participate, sustains your Presence. How can we thank you? Only by giving back what you have already given to us can we acknowledge the gift of yourself. Our free will enables us to make this decision. I give you my will, that yours may be done.
He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom and curing every disease and illness among the people.
Lord, forgive me. I was rushed and had to go out before breakfast. When I got home, I ate and fell asleep. I spent some time waiting for my friend and was able to pray, but I couldn’t write anything. Please help me to absorb your Word. Heal my bodymindspirit. Thy will be done.
They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.
Good morning, Lord. Thank you for the prayer by Edwina Gately that so simply describes your constant Presence:
Let your God love you.
It brings tears to my eyes and truly does erase “my liberty, my understanding and my entire will.” Suscipe by Ignatius Loyola).
This morning I picked up a few papers to sort and a bookmark I had laminated fell out. It bore the words of Thomas Merton, “God works in us while we rest in him.” I have been reading Seven Storey Mountain by him, even took it to my doctor’s appointment but didn’t have a chance to open it. It’s time to get back to it. Now, let me rest in you.
The Magi went into a house, not a stable, and saw a child, not an infant. He was probably a toddler.
It doesn’t matter when they found you, Lord, but that they did. It doesn’t matter whether you were born on December 25, but that you were born. It doesn’t even matter whether you were born in a stable or in a humble dwelling. The manger could have been an improvisation. (My mother told me my first crib was a dresser drawer.)
Later in the Gospel, we are told that Herod ordered the murder of all male children under three. So, he must have had some inkling of your age. The fact that you were still in Bethlehem suggests that your family lived there and did not leave until after their return from Egypt.
Whether there was a census or not, you are God’s Son, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit. This is what we celebrate. With you, there is no time; so dates matter only in our mortal life. Commemorating the events of your earthly mission keeps us grounded, but celebrating you every moment sets us free.
Lord, please help me to see the little things, the star, the shepherds, the manger, as stepping stones to your Wisdom and Glory. Today, I will look for the light which invites me to seek you. Lead me; guide me. Thy will be done.
The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.”
Good evening, Lord. Thank you for an unstructured day and the time and energy to accomplish some household chores. Thank you, especially, for enabling me to carry out my resolution to update my blog.
Let me behold you now and forever, my Savior and my God. We could not atone for our sins because we have offended our very Creator, to whom we can offer nothing on our own. In your infinite mercy, you came down to take on our nature and die for us. Until then, sacrifices were just symbolic reminders; the creature cannot earn the forgiveness of the Creator. You were born for one reason, to die for us and thereby absolve us and restore us to your likeness. The only way we can thank you is to give back everything you gave to us, to lose ourselves in order to live in you.
I want only to follow you, Lord. From your Baptism by John until your passion and death, you followed the path for our redemption. Let me retrace your steps, listening to you, the Word made Flesh, witnessing your miracles, and carrying the cross. Your burden is light. In letting go, I am free. Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us. Grant us peace. Thy will be done.
Now, Lord, I am alone and quiet. Please draw me into your loving Presence and make me attentive only to you.
He said, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
How can I make straight your way in this new year? How can I witness to you? As the Baptist also said, “I must decrease; [you] must increase.” In order to make your way straight, I have to get out of it. I must abandon the fear, pride and human respect that keep me from acknowledging you and living only for you. Like Moses, I am not good at speaking, but I can renew my resolution to share whatever you show me in prayer.
I can’t go back and try to catch up, but I will start over once again. Guide me, please, Spirit of God. First let me listen in silence for your “still small voice.”
How can I imitate John the Baptist if I have never experienced the wilderness? Lord, even if it is just for a second, take away all the stimuli and distractions so that I may follow your will.
Take “my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will.” (St. Ignatius Loyola) Take them, Lord; they are yours. Lead me into nothingness that I may prepare for your everything. Thy will be done. Be it done unto me.