Monthly Archives: November 2016

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.
(Matthew 24:42)

You will come, Lord, when I do not expect you. How, then, can I be prepared? When I was young, my life stretched ahead of me. I searched for plans and purposes to fill it. Now that I realize how fleeting it is, I still have no knowledge of how long it will last. No matter what diagnoses or prognoses I receive, no one can tell me when or how I will leave this mortal life. My purpose is to remain aware of your divine plan.

When the mother of an infant sleeps, her ears are attuned to her child. She will hear the tiniest murmur; she will know when to go to the crib. So let me be alert to your will. In Advent, we remember your birth and look toward your coming again. Let me live each hour as though I am beginning, for with you there is no end.

Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise.
(Luke 21:34)

Lord, anxiety is as debilitating as carousing and drunkenness. It makes our hearts drowsy. Only by trusting in you can we guard against fear and worry. Shield me from the gossip and suspicions that surround me. Let me expect mercy and kindness; if I look, I will see it. With your grace, I can acknowledge and reflect the goodness I see in your servants. Wake me to your love.

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

Lord, both public and personal events lead me to reflect on the fragility of mortal life. Only your word will remain, but we are in your word. We will live in you. These may not be our final days, but for each of us there is an urgency. In youth, we are driven to work for a better life, a better society, and opportunities for ourselves and our children. As we grow older, we are pressed to finish our projects and pass on our dreams to those who will follow. We long for completion, but the only true completion is union with you.

Please help me today to cling to your Word and seek your will.

“Has no one but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
(Luke 17:18)

Of ten lepers who were healed, only one, a Samaritan, came back to give thanks, Lord. We who are blessed with so many favors can grow to expect them. It is the outsider, the one who has little and expects less, who accepts and affirms your miracle. From humility and poverty of spirit rise gratitude.

Each day, let me strip myself of attachments and expectations. Just now, my timer chimed and I removed a corn pudding from the oven, fragrant, bubbling, and delicately browned. Every ingredient was a gift from your providence, as were the fuel to cook it, the knowledge to read the directions, and the energy to assemble it. I have family with whom I hope to share it. I can communicate with them from a distance and travel to celebrate with them. None of this did I earn; to none of it am I entitled.

To you who lead me to green pastures, who prepare a banquet for me, who fill every moment with the life you breathed into me, to you, Lord, I offer this day and thank you for all that is in it.

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)

So often, Lord, I find myself rehearsing what I will say if I am called to defend my values, my faith, or simply my opinions. There is no lesson plan for life, except to stay open to your Spirit in every decision or situation. In this politically charged atmosphere, I have to remember what is true and life-giving. If support for that is challenged, if I am obliged to speak, then I will silence myself first and await your wisdom. Truth cannot be resisted or refuted. Please help me to recognize and proclaim it.

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, we live in terrifying times, but hasn’t every generation? I cannot locate the source, but I remember reading that the lion was as much a threat to the isolated village as nuclear war is today. The village was the known world, and the danger all-encompassing.

As humans, we measure and quantify. We forget that one soul is as important as all of humanity. Of course, we are concerned for the fate of our earth and must work and pray for all creation. Still, we remember that this world is finite and fragile, and not an end in itself. Its end will come, whether in our time or centuries hence, but probably not tomorrow. We can neither predict nor prevent it, but simply live in your law and trust in your mercy.

Please help me to focus on your Eternal Now.

He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow has 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 21:3-4)

Lord, am I willing to give you everything that I have? How much do I trust you? The less I have, the more dependent on you I will be. What am I hanging onto now? What am I holding back?

Please help me to appreciate your gifts and to share them without measure.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:17)

My Jesus, through your life, death and resurrection, you join us to yourself, to your Father, to the Holy Spirit and thereby to one another. You Who Are, help us to remember that we hold together in you; we exist in you.

To you alone we owe our allegiance; you are our King. If countries fall apart, we will remain in you. When this world ends, we will experience eternity in you. Let us rejoice!

How can I revere you today, oh King of Kings, my God? I will practice your mercy. Hold us close, Lord. Hold us together.

Some of the scribes said in reply, “Teacher, you have answered well.” And they no longer dared to ask him anything.
(Luke 29:39-40)

Lord, if we wanted you to teach us and answer our questions, wouldn’t we be eager to ask more? The scribes had not questioned you in order to learn. Instead, they were trying to trip you. Humiliated, they abandoned their strategy, at least temporarily.

When we ask you to tell us what to do, Lord, are we really trying to clarify your will, or do we hope to justify our actions? Help us to listen openly.

What will you teach me today? On the vigil of Christ the King, I will hear your word proclaimed. As I worship with my congregation, make me attentive to you and to all your servants.

The year of mercy is ending, but your mercy is infinite. Make me merciful toward those in need, toward those who offend or irritate me, toward those I have offended or irritated. Help me to learn from my neighbors, for they are your instruments. Let me dare to ask you anything.

“Has no one but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
(Luke 17:18)

Of ten lepers who were healed, only one, a Samaritan, came back to give thanks, Lord. We who are blessed with so many favors can grow to expect them. It is the outsider, the one who has little and expects less, who accepts and affirms your miracle. From humility and poverty of spirit rise gratitude.

Each day, let me strip myself of attachments and expectations. Just now, my timer chimed and I removed a corn pudding from the oven, fragrant, bubbling, and delicately browned. Every ingredient was a gift from your providence, as were the fuel to cook it, the knowledge to read the directions, and the energy to assemble it. I have family with whom I hope to share it. I can communicate with them from a distance and travel to celebrate with them. None of this did I earn; to none of it am I entitled.

To you who lead me to green pastures, who prepare a banquet for me, who fill every moment with the life you breathed into me, to you, Lord, I offer this day and thank you for all that is in it.

And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.
(Luke 19:47-48)

Thanks to the evangelists, my Jesus, we still hear what you taught in the temple. We are still hanging on your words.

Please help me to cling to your instructions, your admonitions, and your encouragement. Let me follow your example as I remember your birth, your exile as an infant, your nights of prayer, your healings and miracles, and your passion, death, and resurrection. In your life and your words, I find answers to my questions, resolution of my doubt, comfort and forgiveness. Let me not just read about you, but carry you in my heart.

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, we long for peace today. Do we know what makes for it? You tell us that Jerusalem did not recognize its visitation. How can we recognize you when you come to us?

Where can I find you today? How can I acknowledge and profess you? You will visit us this afternoon in the closest way possible in this life, in your very Body. Prepare us for this gift beyond our understanding. Only your love can make us worthy; only you can say the word and heal our souls.

How can I carry you with me once you have come to me? How can I reflect your love? If I remember you, I will be patient, forgiving and generous. These are the building blocks of peace. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

He said to him, “With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then, on my return, I would have collected it with interest.”
(Luke 19:22-23)

Lord, you have made us stewards of your earth and of your gifts. You have given us your commandments and prophets to guide us, and your very Son to teach and save us. You expect us to use our talents according to your divine plan.

The servant in the parable was culpable because he knew exactly what the master expected, and yet he chose to ignore his directions. You are a demanding master, but you are also merciful. If we make mistakes, through ignorance or weakness, you forgive us. Until the end, you counsel us and give us countless opportunities to know and serve you. When you return, you will reward those who are diligent.

How can I increase what you have entrusted to me? Help me to take risks in order to share your love.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.
(Revelation 3:20)

Doors are no barrier to you, Lord, and yet you knock and wait for us to admit you. Unless we answer, how will we know that it is you? Let us recognize your voice and welcome you.

We may seek you, as Zacchaeus did in today’s Gospel, but it is you who find us. Please help me today to see you in anyone who greets me and especially in those who need a favor. Come into my heart.

Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Jesus told him, “Have sight; your faith has saved you.”
(Luke 18:41-43)

My Jesus, if you asked me now, “What do you want me to do for you?” I would answer, “Please let me follow you.” I, too, want to see. I want to see your will, your mercy, your love, your wisdom, and your power, not only in my mind, but in my heart. I want to serve you with all my strength, without measuring time or energy. I want to pray always, in thoughts, words and deeds. Most of all, though, I want to sit at your feet as Mary of Bethany did, just listening. Lord, I want to learn you.