Monthly Archives: January 2017

Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
(Mark 4:40)

My Jesus, you were asleep in the stern of the boat when the storm began. The disciples, sure they were perishing, awakened you. In the storms that rage now in our country and our world, some would say that you are sleeping, that you do not care. Where is our faith?

I admit that I, too, have been terrified. With your grace, I resolve to renew my faith. “No storm can shake my inmost calm when to that rock I’m clinging.” I will trust in you and not let go.

Calm my soul as you calmed the wind and sea, Lord. This, too, shall pass. I will stand up and speak up, lifting my voice in prayer. If our emperor has no clothes, give me the innocence of the little child who was not afraid to announce it. Give me the courage of truth.

Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
(Mar 4:28)

The other day, Lord, in the grey of winter, I filled the bird feeders and stopped to look at the garden. Already the bulbs are pushing up green blades. I had buried them, forgotten about them until spring, then rejoiced in their early splash of color. For six years the cycle has repeated, without any effort from me.

You tell us in a parable that this is how your Kingdom grows. You provide the seed, hide it in the earth, and the life cycle continues. The whole plant is contained in a tiny grain. All the DNA is there, all the potential. It is always growing, always developing, producing more seeds.

You plant me here, fertilize me with your Spirit, and wait patiently as I become. On my own, I cannot add a hair to my head, and yet you complete me. In your sight, I am whole. I am in your Kingdom, even though I cannot yet see you clearly. Only you know the time for harvest. Reap me when I am ripe, or wait for me to go to seed. Either way, you will use me. You do not waste. Please let me surrender as completely to your providence as the plants submit to the soil and sun and rain.

Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear.
(Mar 4:28)

The other day, Lord, in the grey of winter, I filled the bird feeders and stopped to look at the garden. Already the bulbs are pushing up green blades. I had buried them, forgotten about them until spring, then rejoiced in their early splash of color. For six years the cycle has repeated, without any effort from me.

You tell us in a parable that this is how your Kingdom grows. You provide the seed, hide it in the earth, and the life cycle continues. The whole plant is contained in a tiny grain. All the DNA is there, all the potential. It is always growing, always developing, producing more seeds.

You plant me here, fertilize me with your Spirit, and wait patiently as I become. On my own, I cannot add a hair to my head, and yet you complete me. In your sight, I am whole. I am in your Kingdom, even though I cannot yet see you clearly. Only you know the time for harvest. Reap me when I am ripe, or wait for me to go to seed. Either way, you will use me. You do not waste. Please let me surrender as completely to your providence as the plants submit to the soil and sun and rain.

For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control.
(2 Timothy 1:7)

Spirit of God, please give us your courage in these times of anger and upheaval. Help us to love those who oppose us, even those who persecute us. In my own community, I see prejudice that used to be under the surface bubbling over. People are quick to choose sides. How can we include then? I think often of the quatrain by Edwin Markham:

Outwitted
He drew a circle that shut me out–
Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!

Will I be brave enough to stand up without excluding anyone? Only your grace can strengthen me. Please help me to embrace truth while understanding the needs and fears of others. Show me how to champion our common values. Draw us together in you.

[Saul] said, “Who are you, sir?” The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
(Acts 9:5-6)

My Jesus, you so identify with us, you so unite us in you, that when Saul asks who you are, you inform him that he has been persecuting you, personally. Do I realize how closely you hold me? How can I possibly thank you?

Just as you converted and forgave Saul, convert and forgive e for the times when I didn’t see you in my brothers and sisters. Make me gentle, even when I have to stand up for our right to worship you in our little community. I do not know what words I will say the next time I am confronted about our space, but you instructed us to trust your Spirit. Please let me forget myself so that you can use me. Show us what we must do.

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand…”
(Mark 3:23)

The Pharisees accused you, my Jesus, of casting out demons by the prince of demons. This was illogical as well as faithless. You remind us all that without unity we are powerless. Create us in you, Lord. Help us to lift up one another, to work together for your kingdom.

Envy and gossip divide. How can I support my neighbors in bringing about your will? First, I can listen. I can refrain from negative comments and complaints. I can resolve that when I am talking with another, the conversation is about us and no one else, unless we are complimenting another. If I cannot deflect criticisms, I can ignore them. Help me to pray while I speak and while I listen.

Summoning them, he began to speak to them in parables, “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand…”
(Mark 3:23)

The Pharisees accused you, my Jesus, of casting out demons by the prince of demons. This was illogical as well as faithless. You remind us all that without unity we are powerless. Create us in you, Lord. Help us to lift up one another, to work together for your kingdom.

Envy and gossip divide. How can I support my neighbors in bringing about your will? First, I can listen. I can refrain from negative comments and complaints. I can resolve that when I am talking with another, the conversation is about us and no one else, unless we are complimenting another. If I cannot deflect criticisms, I can ignore them. Help me to pray while I speak and while I listen.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Then he said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” But they remained silent.
(Mark 3:4)

The Pharisees had no answer for you, my Jesus? What is my answer? How could I rest on the sabbath if the person next to me were suffering and in need? No rule is more important than the commandment to love you and one another. The Pharisees, who regarded you as a rebel and blasphemer were waiting for you to confirm their beliefs. They would not discuss; instead they plotted to kill you. You threatened their position and their way of life.

When I encounter you, Lord, you call me to change. To what happens and traditions am I clinging? Pope Francis challenges us to look at our complacency and see what we are missing. How can I free myself to follow wherever you lead me? I like routine, privacy, and quiet. I am impatient with interruptions and distractions. Yet, if I find you in all things, I will realize that you are in the interruptions. If I stop to accommodate another, I am still praying, for you are in that other. Please help me to flow from still water into the current, letting you carry me in service as well as in silence.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

He had cured many, and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him.
(Mark 3:10)

My Jesus, we, too, long to touch you, for e are sick, whether physically, spiritually, mentally, or emotionally. In your Divine Wisdom, you reach out to us. Today, in the most complete way possible in this life, I will touch your Body in the Host. I will take you in and you will take me in. In your Mystical Body, you will unite us all with you. How can I thank you? I will reach out to my brothers and sisters, for in them, too, I can touch you.

Friday, January 20, 2017

He went up to the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him.
(Mark 3:13)

My Jesus, you want us all. Will we come when you summon us? Where will I hear your voice today? I will listen, to the silence, to my neighbors, to the advice of the physical therapist, and to whatever cries for help I might hear. Please make me attentive to your voice.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

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)

I wonder if your relatives wanted to save you, my Jesus. Your mother might be concerned for your safety, but at the beginning of your public life she had said simply, “Do whatever he tells you.” Perhaps the other relatives dragged her along, saying her Son was in danger. What were their intentions? Some of them probably wanted to rescue you. Other might have wanted to squelch you in order to save face. Either way, they showed no trust in you. What would I have done?

There are people in my life who have revealed mental illness. My reaction is sympathetic, I think, but at the same time wary. I fear what I don’t understand, and how could I have understood your zeal, your miracles, your total disregard of what we call “human respect,” your indifference to your own needs while caring for the needs of others?

By your grace, you give me faith to know you. I thank you for what faith I have and beg you to increase it, especially in these times of deep uncertainty and fear for our country and our world

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
(Luke 1:38)

Mother Mary, you speak few words in the Gospels, but each time your words model what God expects from us. Here, you profess that you were born to serve our Father. You say not merely, “Thy will be done, but “May it be done unto me.” I want to be so absorbed in the Divine Will that I disappear. My thoughts and plans are idle dreams; all that matters is God’s plan. Please ask your Son to work in and through me. When you speak again at Cana, you say,” Do whatever he tells you.” If I never spoke except to quote you, these words would be enough.

Please, Lord, let me be so attuned to your will that I forget everything else.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’”
(Matthew 11:16-17)

We are like contrary children, Lord. We expect others to live up to our expectations; yet we reject anything they suggest. John is too austere. You eat and drink with sinners. Nothing suits us.

Please help me to seek your will over mine. As long as I love you above all else, I can work with my neighbors. I do not need to win, to be in charge, or to decide. Teach me, Lord. “Make me an instrument of your peace.”

Saturday, December 10, 2016

…but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.
(Matthew 17:12)

Elijah had not died but had been taken up to await the fulfillment of his mission, to announce the imminence of your coming, my Jesus. John the Baptist appeared, as had Elijah, as the voice of one crying in the desert. He was rejected and put to death, as you would be.

Only in hindsight are the prophets recognized. Only after your death and resurrection are you, the Son, professed. Why are we so slow to believe?

How can I affirm my faith today? I will worship with my congregation. I will receive your very Flesh. Help me to carry your Presence to everyone I meet.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
(Matthew 11:5)

When Jon asks whether you are the one, my Jesus, you answer that the prophecies of Isaiah have been fulfilled. John is justified, then, in having recognized you as the Lamb of God. He does not need to wait for your resurrection. Indeed, he precedes you in his martyrdom.

Do we still doubt, we who have waited so long? Instructed in your words and your works, and fortified in faith by your Spirit, we know, and yet we lose patience. Strengthen our hope, for you will not be a moment overdue. Let us rejoice as we anticipate your coming.

How can I show my joy in your good news, Lord? I can be more patient, less annoyed by trivial matters, and more open to you in my neighbor and in my surroundings.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The son said in reply,” I will not,” bit afterwards changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, “Yes sir,” but did not go.
(Matthew 11:29-30)

Lord, so often I agree to a request but “something comes up.” Other times, I say, “I can’t do that” but then you show me that I can. I want to do your will always, not just when I feel disposed to it. Please keep me open to your word today.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016
St. John of the Cross

Let justice descend, O humans, like gentle rain let the skies drop it down. Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up. I, the Lord, have created this.
(Isaiah 45:8)

Lord, on the anniversary of my birth, reawaken me. Let my soul open like the earth and wash it with your dew. In Baptism, you rained down salvation. Let me renew the vows that were made in my name. You who create and save me will not abandon me. Come, Lord Jesus.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the last in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.
(Luke 7:28)

John, in his lifetime, did not see your resurrection, my Jesus. He was the bridge between the old law and your Kingdom. With you, there is no time, nor is there rank. In our mortal lives, though, we who have been told, who have heard your Gospel as well as the words of the prophets, are richly blessed. How can we “be as great as we are”?

Today, for the first time this week, I had the opportunity to respond to some posts on line. Some of the writers shared beautiful insights. Some were happy, some needy, some requesting prayers, some pledging prayers. With you help, I want to answer in ways that are honest and helpful. When I am concentrating on others, I can come closer to losing myself and relying on your grace. Please help me in this hectic Advent time, to look beyond the bustle and into the hearts of my neighbors. Save me from the temptation to spend my energy without saving enough for prayer. If I first quiet myself in you, you will help me to organize my actions.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify that the Father has sent me.
(John 5:36)

My Jesus, the Father sent you to save us. Through your works, you revealed your Divinity; through your words you prepared us, and through your sacrifice you redeemed us.

As we wait this Advent for you to be born in our hearts, help us to see you. I will look for you in the many gifts you provide, in the people you send into my life, and in the beauty of your creation — in cold snow as well as in flowers and sunshine. Draw me close to you.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happine
ss.
(Psalm 72:17)

When I reflect on your attributes, Lord God, I don’t think of your happiness, but this translation reminds me that “happy” and “blessed” are synonyms. If our happiness comes from you, of course you are happy. You who made us in your image exhort us to rejoice.

As we enter this final week of Advent, this year exactly an octave before Christmas day, let our longing for you melt into joy.

How can I proclaim your happiness today? I will celebrate at Mass with my parish. I will visit and encourage my neighbors. Please help me to let go of whatever hinders joy.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

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)

I wonder if your relatives wanted to save you, my Jesus. Your mother might be concerned for your safety, but at the beginning of your public life she had said simply, “Do whatever he tells you.” Perhaps the other relatives dragged her along, saying her Son was in danger. What were their intentions? Some of them probably wanted to rescue you. Other might have wanted to squelch you in order to “save face.” Either way, they showed no trust in you. What would I have done?

There are people in my life who have revealed mental illness. My reaction is sympathetic, I think, but at the same time wary. I fear what I don’t understand, and how could I have understood your zeal, your miracles, your total disregard of what we call “human respect,” your indifference to your own needs while caring for the needs of others?

By your grace, you give me faith to know you. I thank you for what faith I have and beg you to increase it, especially in these times of deep uncertainty and fear for our country and our world.

May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness.

(Psalm 72:17)

When I reflect on your attributes, Lord God, I don’t think of your happiness, but this translation reminds me that “happy” and “blessed” are synonyms. If our happiness comes from you, of course you are happy. You who made us in your image exhort us to rejoice.

As we enter this final week of Advent, this year exactly an octave before Christmas day, let our longing for you melt into joy.

How can I proclaim your happiness today? I will celebrate at Mass with my parish. I will visit and encourage my neighbors. Please help me to let go of whatever hinders joy.

I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the last in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.
(Luke 7:28)

John, in his lifetime, did not see your resurrection, my Jesus. He was the bridge between the old law and your Kingdom. With you, there is no time, nor is there rank. In our mortal lives, though, we who have been told, who have heard your Gospel as well as the words of the prophets, are richly blessed. How can we “be as great as we are”?

Today, for the first time this week, I had the opportunity to respond to some posts on-line. Some of the writers shared beautiful insights. Some were happy, some needy, some requesting prayers, some pledging prayers. With you help, I want to answer in ways that are honest and helpful. When I am concentrating on others, I can come closer to losing myself and relying on your grace. Please help me in this hectic Advent time, to look beyond the bustle and into the hearts of my neighbors. Save me from the temptation to spend my energy without saving enough for prayer. If I first quiet myself in you, you will help me to organize my actions.

The blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.
(Matthew 11:5)

When Jon asks whether you are the one, my Jesus, you answer that the prophecies of Isaiah have been fulfilled. John is justified, then, in having recognized you as the Lamb of God. He does not need to wait for your resurrection. Indeed, he precedes you in his martyrdom.

Do we still doubt, we who have waited so long? Instructed in your words and your works, and fortified in faith by your Spirit, we know, and yet we lose patience. Strengthen our hope, for you will not be a moment overdue. Let us rejoice as we anticipate your coming.

How can I show my joy in your good news, Lord? I can be more patient, less annoyed by trivial matters, and more open to you in my neighbor and in my surroundings.

…but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the Son of Man suffer at their hands.
(Matthew 17:12)

Elijah had not died but had been taken up to await the fulfillment of his mission, to announce the imminence of your coming, my Jesus. John the Baptist appeared, as had Elijah, as the voice of one crying in the desert. He was rejected and put to death, as you would be.

Only in hindsight are the prophets recognized. Only after your death and resurrection are you, the Son, professed. Why are we so slow to believe?

How can I affirm my faith today? I will worship with my congregation. I will receive your very Flesh. Help me to carry your Presence to everyone I meet.