Monthly Archives: February 2015

Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O Lord, my God.
(Esther C:14)

For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds. And to the one who knocks, the door will be open.
(Matthew 7:8)

Lord, I am not literally alone, but, without you, I would be helpless. Please stay close to me whether I am with my neighbors or isolated by circumstances beyond my control.

I ask you for help when I need it (which is always), but I must seek to find what it is I really crave, your will. I search my heart; I search your Word. I search in silence or in bustle. Then I must knock. I must act according to whatever you show me. If the door doesn’t open at once, I must keep knocking. Help me to persevere in prayer. Thy will be done.

…every man shall turn from his evil way and from the violence he has in hand.
(Jonah 3:8)

Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
(Luke 11:30)

Lord, please show me what I need to learn from this scattered day in order to turn from evil and see the signs you will show me.

It was day of many snags; everything took me much longer than I expected. I forgot to eat lunch until five o’clock. Now it’s 10:30 and at last I have time to review and be still. What an isolating winter this is turning out to be. Snow and ice have prevented us from having our Communion service here, and kept me from weekend Mass, too. I long to be in your Sacramental Presence. I know you are here with me, but I need the Eucharist in order to have life in you. Sustain me during this fast.

Please, if it be your will, shorten this harsh season and shelter those who are most vulnerable. Let our Lenten discipline make us more aware of the needs of others. Now, I will rest in you.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves.
(Psalm 38:18)

…and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
(Matthew 6:12)

This morning, as I was underlining these passages in preparation for Mass, I didn’t realize that they were so closely related. The very person who left me “brokenhearted” is the one I need most to “forgive.”

I know how close to me you have been, Lord, even when I thought my “spirit” was “crushed.” And I know, too, that forgiveness is an ongoing decision. Please help me to examine my heart and see whether I still hold any grudges. When I reflect on your loving nearness, how can I resent anything or anybody? With you there is more joy than I can contain. Please let it flow over to those around me.

Yesterday, I told you that I expected to interact with several people. By your grace, that opportunity was increased. People asked for my help; so I didn’t have to guess about what they needed. The busy day I had anticipated became a hectic one, and I had little time to think about anything, least of all, myself. That was so freeing. I had to wait for this chance to be alone with you, and now I appreciate it so much. I will be quiet now, and listen for your will.

And the King will say to them in reply, “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for the least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
(Matthew 9:15)

Today, Lord, I have so many tasks to complete. I know you will enable me. Please show me how I can serve someone else, too. If no beggar appears in my path, I can still pray and contribute to those I don’t actually see. Make me available and open to your will.

Tomorrow, I will have more opportunities to interact with others. You give me so much joy. Show me how to share it.

Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?
(Matthew 9:15)

Lord, you are with us now, but we long to see you in your glory. We fast and pray as we contemplate your passion and death. You, yourself, went into the desert and fasted for forty days before beginning your public ministry. Let our fast lead us to new and increasing service. Thy will be done.

Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
(Luke 9:24)

What parts of my life am I still trying to save, Lord? Why do I fear letting go? I know how happy I am when I just listen for your will and respond to whatever you send. Please quiet me now.

I am free when I surrender to you. Only when I die to myself can I discover who I am and who you are. You, alone, are sufficient. All I need is your grace.

Take, then, my freedom. Let me float in you. Take my memories, my pride, my resentment, my inadequacy. Take my understanding, which is constantly judging, measuring, and comparing. Take my will, for it does not know what is best for me. I have nothing that you have not given to me. I give it back, knowing that you will love, nurture and protect me.

Today, I will embrace whatever circumstances and events I encounter, trusting and obeying you. Thy will be done.

But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father, who sees what is hidden will repay you.
(Matthew 6:18)

Here I am, Lord, returning to you on this first day of Lent. I was away, not from you, but from my journal and my normal routine. Travel and weather kept me from Mass, and tomorrow the weather will prevent our Communion service here. Still, there has been time to pray, just no opportunity to write.

I spent most of today thinking how I can begin this forty-day journey of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I will make a list for myself but keep it between you and me.

You who are hidden and see what is hidden will guide and sustain me. Thank you for so many favors this week. Until last night, I had hardly any time alone with you, but I was blessed to reconnect with family and interact with children and adults. I had a chance to visit the sick and to share faith with good Christians. Thank you for a rewarding visit.

Please keep me close to you during this holy season. Thy will be done.

“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
“For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

(Mark 7:28-29)

Why would you call the foreign woman a dog, Lord? Surely, you did not say it to offend her, but to point out that you had come first for the children of Israel. Yet, you, yourself, had gone out to a city on the border.

You delighted in her answer, which showed wit and spirit as well as faith. Had you been testing her or testing the crowd? Perhaps, you were testing all who would hear or read this account.

Today, we hear so many complaints about our government helping people in other lands. A doctor told me recently that Doctors without Borders can provide health care to needy people far away, but there are so many regulations in our own country that they are unable to offer the same services here.
You teach us that we are to love without distinction gentile or Jew, woman or man, master or slave. We are all children at your table. There is plenty for everyone, as you illustrated when you divided the loaves and fishes among so many.

How can I be more generous? I am happy to give to those I see, but, too often, I fail to see. Something interrupts, and I forget. Please help me to be more attentive to you in my neighbors. Thy will be done.

But what comes out of man, that is what defiles him.
(Mark 7:20)

Evil comes from the heart and not from anything external. Lord, protect our hearts from the temptations of the evil one. Replace impurities with love for you who created us out of love. Let us be thankful for everything you send and take from no one what is not ours. Let us recall that we are members of one Body. If we harm another, we harm ourselves. Let us love only you, want only what you give us, wish no one harm, and deceive no one, including ourselves. Of our own merit, we are entitled to nothing; let us begrudge no one. You are our very sustenance. To speak or act contrary to that is blasphemy and foolishness.

Lord, how can I acknowledge you today? Guard my heart; hold it fast in your Presence. Thy will be done.

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrine human precepts.
(Mar 7:7-8)

Lord, you give us your law, but we corrupt it, turning it into rituals that have nothing to do with its purpose and spirit. We use it to avoid our responsibilities instead of welcoming them. Please help me, today, to concentrate on the basis of your commandments, to love you and to love my neighbor as myself. Let my words and actions reflect the love you shine on me. Thy will be done.

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and the years, and serve as luminaries in the dome of the sky, to shed light upon the earth.
(Genesis 1:14-15)

You don’t need light, Lord, for you are Light. Still, you order the world into “fixed times,” – days and nights, seasons, years – because we who are finite need measures and limits in order to remember and plan.

A child born in winter may notice that the earth is cold and barren, but he doesn’t know yet that spring will bring warmth and color. By the time that child is three, he might assert, “But this is the way we always do it.” He has developed a memory and the ability to compare.

When we come home to you, we will no longer require boundaries. For now, help us to know the difference between borders and barriers. How can I use this time and these circumstances to serve you? I will make at least one phone call and write at least one letter. Please remind me and push me. Thy will be done.

Rising very early, before dawn, he left and went to a deserted place where he prayed.
(Mark 1:35)

“Everyone is looking for you.”
“Let us go to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose, I have come.”

(Mark 1:37-38)

Lord, after you taught in the synagogue and rid the demoniac of unclean spirits, you went to Peter’s house and healed his mother-in-law, who was in bed with a fever. You simply took her hand and she rose and waited on her guests. That night, “the whole town” arrived. You cured the sick and possessed among them. Your only chance to be alone with the Father was before dawn. When the disciples found you, they expected you to return with them, but the Father had revealed to you that it was time to go to the other nations and fulfill your purpose.

We pray in order to discover your will and then act on it. Why, then, am I still so uncertain? Yesterday, you helped me to make a choice and I was reassured. When you give me energy, I can work for you. When you give me pain, I can offer it in union with your Sacrifice. When you bless me, I can give thanks, whether your blessings are moments of consolation or difficult lessons in patience and perseverance. I want to do so much more, but if I only stay attuned to you, that is all you ask. If it be your will, though, take me out of my comfort zone and make me more active. Thy will be done.

“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
(Mark 6:31)

When Jesus disembarked and saw the large crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd.
(Mark 6:34)

Every time you retreat to pray, Lord, the people find you. When the disciples returned from their first mission, you invited them to follow your example, but the crowd anticipated your destination and waited for you there. Still, you took pity on them and ministered to them.

I am so blessed to have a quiet room where I can rest in you. Why, at times, do I face so much resistance in giving myself over? Let me welcome this opportunity now, so that when the time for action comes, I will know what you want me to do. Quiet me in you.

King Herod heard about Jesus, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him.
(Mark 6:14)

Lord, it has taken me all day to get here. I don’t know why I am so sluggish. It is a good day, though, and I am thankful for all its blessings.

Throughout his ministry, the Baptist had professed that he was not the One for whom the world was waiting. Still, when word of you, my Jesus, spread, some thought you were John, risen from the dead. Herod, who had beheaded John out of pride and human respect, must have been particularly rattled by the rumor, but he believed it.

Herod feared John the Baptist, but loved to listen to him. He protected him until a rash promise afforded Herodius the revenge she sought.

How often have I done something I knew was wrong, or neglected something I knew was right, because I feared what others might think? Were there times when I spoke without thinking and then felt bound by my own words? If I spoke less and prayed more, I could avoid so many mistakes.

Please help me today to consult with you about every decision, no matter how trifling it seems. I wrote a list of tasks that need my attention. With your grace, I can tackle them without rationalizing or procrastinating. Help me keep my promises to myself, as long as they are in accord with your will.

He said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave from there.”
(Mark 6:10)

Lord, you instructed the disciples to go with only the clothes on their backs, with no money, trusting you as the Israelites had to trust you in their exodus.

I think of all the preparations I make just for a weekend trip, trying to foresee what I might need and packing extra, going to the bank, imagining every step of the journey. Even “traveling light” means lugging a suitcase and large bag.

The disciples didn’t even know their destination, but were to stay wherever they were invited and eat whatever was provided. Until their work there was done, they were to “bloom where they were planted.” If only I could serve you with such abandon, Lord.

How do I know when it is time to move on? You will show me. Until then, let me consider only whatever mission you have for me here. Let me be at your disposal, free from worldly concerns, confident in your providence. Thy will be done.