Monthly Archives: November 2015

He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once, they left their nets and followed him.
(Matthew 4:19-20)

In this account by Matthew, there is no indication that the disciples had met you before, my Jesus, but in John’s Gospel, Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist and had already encountered you. Either way, they were ready when you called to them.

Am I ready, Lord? What are you calling for me to leave behind? Am I tangled in my own nets? Free me from them by making me your servant.

To follow you, I must lose my sense of security. I will gain trust in you. I surrender my will in order to be engulfed in your love and to participate in your divine plan. I give up my livelihood and you set me to work wherever I am needed, whether in your vineyard or on your boat. Let me follow you at once and not look behind.

I do not know what will happen tomorrow, what I will do next week, or how much longer I will live in this world. Give me faith to trust without knowing. Now, as I plan my chores, check my calendar, and meet with those I have agreed to see, remind me that you are beckoning to me and might surprise me at the next turn. Let my “yes” be already on my lips.

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties or daily life…
(Luke 21:34)

Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.
(Luke 21:36)

When I consider the purpose of this world and the end for which you have destined me, Lord, I realize how trivial the “anxieties of daily life” really are. Instead of wearing myself out worrying about material goods, let me pray for what I truly need, the strength to stand before you.

It is Advent, a new year, and we prepare for your coming, not just at your birth, but again on the last day. I will see you then, whether or not I am still breathing the air of this world. After the final trial, through your mercy, I will breathe only your love. Everything else will vanish; nothing else will be necessary.

Let me use these days of longing and preparation to let go of whatever is not you. Once again, I will give away some worldly possessions, and, with your help, free my soul from worldly distractions, attachments and concerns.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
(Luke 21:33)

Your words, Lord, sustain and enlighten us in this life and will encompass us in the next. They will consume us, and we will live in them. Bring us closer to you in them now.

Today, there were so many distractions. Tomorrow, I will try harder to overlook them and listen for your will.

Fall into winter,
Life into death,
We commemorate,
Commiserate,
Reflect, elect,
Celebrate,
Give thanks.

Like leaves in greatest splendor
Before they wither and die
Hinting of beauty yet to be
We begin with those who have gone on,
All saints, all souls.

As citizens of God and country
We vote
And pray.

We show respect
For those who fought our battles
And fight them still today,
Honoring their service
Even if we cannot honor their war.

We come home
To family
To feast together
To give thanks
To mend and renew
To bond
To look back with gratitude
And forward with hope.

This November.

But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.
(Luke 21:28)

On this day, Lord, when our country celebrates Thanksgiving, we look back over the blessings we have received. The year is waning, both in the church calendar and the civil one. It is natural to look ahead, as well.

The day will come when we fully realize the redemption which you have achieved on our behalf. Some, you tell us will die of fear, but if we have loved and praised you, we need not cower. Let us stand and receive your embrace.

You bless me daily with your light. You provide, not just for my needs, but for those of my family and friends. You enable us to help one another. Let every day be one of thanksgiving.

I will observe carefully so as not to overlook any of the gifts you set before me at all times. Make me cognizant of your love and mercy, especially when I am tired and distracted.

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
(Luke 21:14-15)

Please, Spirit of God, teach me when and how to speak. I am always tempted to rehearse, but how can I know ahead of time what others will say or do?

Just today, I aborted a message. I started to write something about not being like Eeyore, and it sounded exactly like Eeyore. Fortunately, I could delete it. Once a word comes out of my mouth, though, I cannot take it back.

Your wisdom is not just in our response, but in the courage to respond. There are times when the best reply is silence, but we cannot know when that is appropriate unless we trust in you. How often I say, “Let go and let God.” The only way to do that is to take a step back and listen. Only you can instruct me.

Today, I will strive to be spontaneous, not by saying whatever pops into my mind, but by pausing so that you can speak and act through me. The more people I encounter, the more opportunities I will have to carry out this resolution, and there will be many chances the next few days. You always test me, and so often I fail miserably. Yet you teach me through my failure. Help me to listen carefully, to you and to my brothers and sisters in you.

I am thankful to you
And thankful for you.
I am thankful that God created you
In a world where I am created, too,
At a time when I can know you
And learn from you and
Hear you and be heard by you.
I am thankful for the light
That shines on you
And reflects on me.
I am thankful to you
And to God for you.

When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.
(Luke 21:9)

Lord, it has been almost 2000 years since you spoke about the end of time, and in every generation since some have predicted its imminence. Our wars are no longer just between countries, but between ideologies. We cannot build walls to protect our cities. Yet there was never a way to preserve this life. The wait seems so long, but it is only a moment compared to eternity.

We should not be alarmed, but we must be prepared. Peace is knowing that all things will pass away, except your Word. To that we cling, Lord. You are our life and our salvation. Our trials are temporary. Once we have passed through them, even while we are passing through them, our joy is complete when we trust in you. Give us faith and courage.

Every day in the news, I hear of another murder in Baltimore. Every day, I read about hatred, terrorism, racism and xenophobia. It saddens me. It is shameful that it doesn’t surprise me, but I will not be dismayed. Hatred can be countered only by love. Let me examine where there is love in my soul and where it is lacking. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” Teach me to love and trust in you.

He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
(Luke 21:34)

Once again we consider the account of the widow’s mite. Luke’s version gives less detail about the setting that Mark’s, but the chronology is the same.

Lord, let me not be one of “those others” who gave what was extra. We would not offer leftovers to an honored guest. Instead, we would prepare a “company meal” from our best ingredients. Privileged to host you, for you have made us your temple, we set before you what we have been saving for a special occasion. When we serve the poor, we serve you. Let us not hold back.

Tomorrow, I will give away something that I wanted for myself. It is a small gesture, I know, but maybe it will teach me to be generous. Please show me how.

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this was I born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

I am listening, Lord. Only you can teach the truth, for you are truth. Open my ears to your voice.

You are our king, here and now, for you have placed us “in the world but not of the world.” It is you we obey. Only you can judge.

What are you asking of me today? I was going to run an errand, but you are showing me that it is not urgent. This is your day, the new Sabbath, when we commemorate your Resurrection and rest in your love. I want to spend it reflecting on you and caring for my neighbors.

In the convent, we used to observe one Sunday a month as “Silent Sunday.” There was no conversation until dinner; we spent the day praying and reading. Last week, I felt as though I had that opportunity again and it brought me such peace. We cancelled our Scrabble game and I didn’t turn on the television or radio. This afternoon, I will enjoy a game with my neighbors, but until then I am free to just be.

I am thinking of a dear friend, of whose death I was just informed. She had spent 99 years in this world and was very active for most of them. Few knew that she was almost blind. She spent her retirement helping others with limited vision, organizing transportation for seniors, facilitating our Communion service, and encouraging those in her community to be active and involved.

Last week, before I had heard of her death, I came across an announcement of an award ceremony for her, which I had attended. So she was already on my mind. Receive her warmly, Lord. I know that the work she began will continue.

As I welcome this quiet time with you, please guide me and give me the wisdom and strength to follow Lyn’s example. Let my response be, “How can I help?” I will make that today’s slogan.

That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called “Lord,” the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and he is not God of the dead but of the living, for in him all are alive.
(Luke 20:37-38)

We are alive in Who You Are, oh Lord, and you will keep us alive even when this world passes away.

The Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection of the body, tried to trick you with their silly question about marriage in heaven. They were applying a worldly law to your eternal rule. Yet you answered them seriously and respectfully, disarming them with your wisdom. Even after all you have taught us, we still forget that your law is given not to burden us but to prepare us to receive your love.

The man who kept taking his dead brothers’ wives did so that they might have children. In answering this hypothetical story, you tell us that those in your eternal Kingdom are “the children of God” and no longer the “children of this world.” Our relationship is in and through you.

In this month when we remember those who have preceded us in death, we also prepare for the day when we will join them. Help me to use this world, its goods and its regulations, always in relation to the end for which you created and redeemed me. Whatever happens today, help me to see it in the perspective of your light. Once again, I ask you for patience and focus.

Jesus entered the temple areas and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things.
(Luke 19:45)

Lord, you have made me your temple. How have I profaned your dwelling place? Do I bargain for status, respect and popularity? Do I jostle and shout to be noticed? Your house is meant to be a haven of peace, calm, and silence. If I clutter it with vain distractions, I shut you out. Please, Lord, quiet me in you. Whatever I bring in, let it remind me of you. If there are windows, let them direct the light to your tabernacle. Let whatever clothes my soul be pure and simple. Make me reverent.

Today, let me host you joyfully, singing your praise and directing my thoughts, words and actions to you. Let me regard my surroundings as your church and my neighbors as fellow worshippers. What concrete resolution can I make?

Now there are loud voices in the hall outside my door. My first reaction is annoyance, but you are not disturbed. I will strive to interpret the noises of this day as shouts of praise. Let us all make a joyful noise to you.

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, what makes for peace? Why is it still hidden from us? You have shown us, and yet we struggle. Today, we weep for so many cities where violence destroys not only landmarks, but our everyday activities, our freedom, and our security. Teach us again your peace.

What have you told us? “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and afraid.” (John 14:27)

“I have told you these things so that you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

What do you mean by “these things”? Maybe it is, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give you.” (John 16:23)

We ask in your name, my Jesus. We pray as you taught us, “Thy kingdom come; thy will be done.” We remember that this world, with all its tribulations, will end, but your word will never end. We place our trust in you so that peace can grow in our souls. In your glory, that peace will rule.

Today is the anniversary of my father, one of the most peaceful persons I have ever known. He taught me much, sometimes in words, but more often in his gentle, humble, self-deprecating and yet dignified manner. He teased us with his wit, but more often he turned it on himself. He made our paths smooth. Let me continue to learn from him. Hold him close, Lord.

You have provided many examples in your saints, some of whom lived in our own time. They are an army of peacemakers. Let us call on them to defend us against hatred with their love.

Today, I will follow their example and the advice of Mother Agnes of Jesus, OCD, and “pay no attention to what is not [my] concern.”

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.” And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

My Jesus, all I want is to dwell in your house, and yet you come to stay in mine. You give so much more than we know how to ask.

There are sycamore trees behind our building, but they have tall, peeling trunks, and the branches that grow near the bottom are spindly twigs. I couldn’t imagine anyone climbing them. I checked some photographs of those that grow in Jerusalem, and they are short and sturdy, as I imagine Zacchaeus was. He wanted to see you, not as Herod did, as a diversion, but because you moved him. You knew his heart, and when you beckoned him, he jumped down eagerly.

We don’t need to climb a tree or a mountain to see you. We just have to be ready for you to find us. In just a couple days, you will come to me in the Eucharist. You will “enter into my house.” Please help me to repent and to withhold nothing from you. Zacchaeus promised half his possessions. Am I that brave?

If I am not using something now, I still hang on to it, thinking I might need it later. Only you know what I need. Today, I found out I will not get something I had expected. I had been so sure of it, I didn’t even think to pray about it. When the news came, I felt deflated, but then I realized that there are other solutions, probably much wiser ones.

As my loving Father, you prevent me from grabbing what is harmful. I trust you; I know you promise whatever I need, but not everything I want. Why, then, is it so difficult for me to give generously? I do want to let go, Lord. I want to make room for you. Teach me to share.

Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.” He immediately received his sight and followed him, giving glory to God. When they saw this, all the people gave praise to God.
(Luke 18:42-43)

My Jesus, you worked this miracle, not just for the sake of the blind man, but for all who witnessed it. The beggar followed you, and the people praised you.

So many times you have answered when I called to you. It is not enough to thank you. I must follow you, praise you, and proclaim you. Open my eyes to your glory and show your power to all of us. Use me. Let me be your instrument. I will accompany you, singing of you as loudly as I cried to you for help.