Monthly Archives: May 2017

Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
(John 17:3)

To know you, Lord, is to live forever. I think that I need to know so many things in this world. I want to know where I am going and how I’ll get there. I want to know my schedule, the weather, traffic patterns, and the local, national, and world news. I am bombarded with information, but the only knowledge that can satisfy me is knowledge of you.

Please quiet me sot that I can absorb you. For two hours today, I will avoid media. I will read and pray, go outside to fill the bird feeders and check the garden, snap some beans on the porch, and cook and freeze the vegetables I have. During this time, Lord, open me to your will and strengthen me to withstand the temptations and distractions that clutter my life. Keep me in your peace, not just during that short time of silence, but all day.

I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage. I have conquered the world.
(John 16:33)

My Jesus, I will take courage. I believe that you have conquered the world, even in these troubled times. I trust in you.

My peace is in you. Only in you do I overcome my doubts and fears. Let your peace flow into me, through me, and out to all.

How can I reflect your peace today? It is almost time to call my neighbor, and, if she still wants to, we will have another shopping excursion and a fast food lunch this afternoon. Please help me to support her and to greet all with at least a smile of peace. Let nothing disturb me, and let me disturb no one.

They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.
(Acts 1:11)

How lost the apostles must have felt, my Jesus, after you vanished from their sight. Perhaps they expected you to return, for as often as you had told them you were going to the Father, they had failed to realize that it was up to them, now, to carry on the work you had assigned. You had taught them all they needed to know, but the Spirit had yet to bring them understanding.

When you show me your will, Lord, I still hesitate, looking up for confirmation and clarification. I stumble through the first steps, second guessing myself, waiting for another sign, perhaps, or the answer to some question. I still let myself be consumed by a desire to know more than I can comprehend. It is not a need, just a want, a symptom of my compulsion to be in charge. You are showing me, gradually, how I have thwarted your design and my inner peace by insisting on making plans and setting deadlines.

I just moved some furniture that I had been waiting to rearrange until I had disposed of a couch I no longer want. It is a sign of surrender, admitting that I cannot control my space at this moment. I am constantly looking for signs of progress. Please help me to abandon everything except my trust in you.
When a river reaches an island, it simply flows around it. It doesn’t stop or try to back up. Even the strongest dam can be breached. Flow through me, Lord, and take me where you will. Crush the part of me that resists. My Jesus, I trust in you. You will come. Thy will be done.

On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.
(John 16:26-27)

Our Father, Yahweh, whatever I ask of you, I ask through your Son, Jesus Christ, for you are One, along with the Holy Spirit, the love that flows between you. We, too, are caught in that love. By your grace, we believe. We could do nothing on our own to deserve your love; you give it to us freely.

My Jesus, you are not merely the Way, but the Reason, the very giver of life. When we ask you, we are asking the Father. And the Spirit, whom you have breathed into us, hears and inspires us.

Let us not hesitate, then, to ask you for what is good, whether or not we know what that is in any situation. This evening, at Mass, I will ask you to bless my family and friends, especially those who are far from me, whether physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Please forgive me for any slight I have done to them, intentionally or not. I forgive them for whatever I have interpreted as an insult. Tear down the walls I have built to shield me. If I have to take the first step, give me the courage and humility I lack. Thy will be done.

So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take you joy away from you.
(John 16:22)

Come, Lord Jesus. You told us this anguish will not last forever. How I long to see you!

Where did I find you today? I saw a friend’s mood lighten when she drove me on a shopping trip. We got lost on the way, and she was very anxious, but when we got there and she explored a new store, she came alive, chatting with vendors as she tasted theirs samples, telling everyone how old she is and delighting in their surprise, forgetting her worries and becoming once again her cheerful, outgoing self. I, too, began to see the experience as new, looking through her eyes. Arriving home, I was so exhausted that I forgot to eat – well, at least for a while—but happy that a day which had started rather badly had steadily improved. Even the weather had brightened. Thank you, Lord. Please help me to remember that however I feel at any moment is not how I always felt, nor how I will feel forever. Let me look for your blessings.

Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.
(John 16:20)

Lord, we grieve now with the people of Manchester, with all the oppressed, with refugees, with the earth itself when it is abused. I grieve personally over broken relationships, a suffering infant and her family, and my own weakness and sinfulness. Yet I know that you are in charge; you “nullify the counsel of the nations.” You will turn our tears into laughter.

Please help me today to remember the joy you promise us, not only in our resurrected lives, but here and now, for your Spirit is with me. Remind me that you bring all things to good. You make straight our path; you write straight with crooked lines. My Jesus, I trust in you.

For as I walked around looking carefully at your shrines, I even discovered an altar inscribe, “To an Unknown God.” What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you.
(Acts 17:23)

Lord, I thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to proclaim you through the Gospels and the Church. I beg you to send disciples to those who are searching for you, longing to know you. Give them your Spirit.

The altar to an unknown gods was probably erected as insurance, to make sure no one was overlooked. Still, as Paul points out, they showed the seeds of faith and our human need to acknowledge what is bigger than us.

We are not self-made people in a self-made world. How sad it would be if there were no one to worship. Those who did not know you had to invent gods. You created us with a hunger for you. You sent your Son to fulfill that hunger and your Spirit to sustain us.

By your grace, help me today to act and speak according to the Word you have proclaimed.

But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
(John 16:7-8)

I want to cling to you, my Jesus, but your Divine plan is to remain in the person of the Holy Spirit, our Advocate, who will support us and speak for us. You are not separate; though I don’t see you in your human nature, I still live in you and you in me.

Please help me today to listen for your will. As I tend to practical matters like laundry, cooking and cleaning, keep me attuned to you within me. Whatever I observe, let me see you as Creator and thank you. Whatever I enjoy, let me reflect your joy. Whatever is trying, let me unite it with you trials. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, praise be to you now and forever!

They will expel you from the synagogues; in fact, the hour is coming when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God.
(John 16:2)

Do the terrorists really think they are doing your will, Lord? How violent we become when we try to enforce rules we cannot understand, when we substitute our own interpretation of law for your Spirit. Holy Spirit of Truth, please guide me and prevent me from judging. Let me be zealous for you, not for some concept of you. You do not will hatred and murder. You do not will our haughtiness and sanctimony. You will us to be humble and obedient. Not my will but thine be done, and if I am worthy to suffer persecution in your name, let me rejoice as your disciples did.

I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live.
(John 14:18-19)

I see you, Lord Jesus, because you live, and so I , too, will live in you both now and in eternity. You create me. You redeem me. I bless you and thank you for your abiding Presence.

I am not an orphan. I am not a widow. There is no name for a parent who loses a child, but I am not that, either. We all live in you, with whom there are not boundaries, not even time.

I will see you today in whatever my senses take in, and I will praise you. Let every breath be an affirmation that you live in me. Open me to your life. Make me conscious, no matter what I do. You are my raison d’etre.

Remember the word I spoke to you, “No slave is greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
(John 15:20)

Lord, you called us friends, not slaves, but you are still our master. I just read a story about a modern day slave here in this country, imported when the family she served immigrated. She had to take a whipping that the child for whom she cared deserved. You were scourged for us and crucified for us. Why should we be indignant or even surprised if we are persecuted in your name? In the early Church, the Apostles were overjoyed when they suffered for your Way. Whatever you send today, let me accept gladly, for I am in you and want only your will. Make me worthy to carry your cross.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friend if you do what I command you.
(John 15:13-14)

You were about to lay down your life for us when you spoke these words, my Jesus. The Apostles could not absorb their meaning. Though you had discussed your death, they had refused to hear.

Today, we know that you gave your life to redeem us, and yet we struggle to comprehend. Your love is overwhelming.

What is your command? You ask us to love one another as you love us. Without your grace, I couldn’t love anyone, but you will strengthen me. How, then, can I obey you today?

Tomorrow, I will worship you with my congregation. I have transportation, thanks to the generosity of a couple who befriended me. I have a casserole for the soup kitchen because they were willing to freeze it for me after I made it. I cannot repay them because they do not want payment, but I can thank them and ask you to bless them. Following their example, I can find ways to serve my neighbors. We have been asked to examine what contributions of time and talent we can declare on Pentecost Sunday, and I have many opportunities. I will continue to pray and discern what is the best fit.

If I am your friend, then I want to talk to you. I have a few close friends here to whom I can recount little daily occurrences, thoughts and emotions. I can listen to theirs. There is satisfaction in just being able to relate. How much more, then, do I want to confide in you, the One who created and saved me out of your love. I am thinking of a hymn to your Blessed Mother, “Lovely Lady, Dressed in Blue” in which the little child asks, “Do you think he really cares/ If I tell him things/ Little things that happen…?” Yes, I know that you care, and I will not be too grown up, too proud, to bring you my little concerns. You are my friend. Help me to be a friend to others today.

I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.
(John 15:11)

My Jesus, you spoke these words just before you went out to the garden to begin your passion. How, the world asks, could you be joyful? Your will and the Father’s are the same, and you rejoice when it is done. How, then, can we be joyful in the midst our trials? If we want what you want, you will give it to us. Only then will our joy be complete.

We rejoice, then, by reflecting on the gifts we already have. We thank you for life itself, with its beauty and ugliness, its knowing and unknowing, its stability and its vicissitudes.

Today, through your grace and by your grace, I awakened. There was daylight and warmth. I had food to eat, water to drink and to wash myself and the dishes, fans to cool me and electricity to power them. I had enough energy to fix breakfast and do household chores, enough time to pray and check my mail, enough sense to remember to make a phone call, and a comfortable place to sit and rest and write. All is well, and yet I haven’t allowed myself time to experience your joy. I remind myself that you cried over Lazarus, and that you asked the Father to be delivered from death and separation from him. You were still joyful, for you were One with him.

I think I can be sad and still rejoice, for happiness is not an emotion but a knowledge and acceptance of unity. Show me your will. Only you are enough.

I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.
(John 15:5)

This was my mother’s favorite Bible passage; so I am thinking of her as I read it. She loved to garden and used to demand that my father stop when she saw wildflowers growing at the side of the road. She would uproot them with the little garden tool she kept in the trunk of the car. On arriving home, she would happily transplant them. I can see how she related to the vine and the branches, and, different as our personalities are, I, too, am moved by the metaphor.

Keep me attached to you, Lord Jesus. Prune me, but never let me be separated from the sap that gives life. Vine and branches, Mystical Body, remain in me. Grant that I may remain in you.

Without you, I can do nothing. I could not have risen this morning if you had not raised me. I could not be reading your words and writing my reactions to them if you did not give me sight and understanding. You guide my pen as you guide every step I take. I do not know what I will say until I write it. I do not know where I am going, exactly, but I know that you are the way and the truth and the life. How can I get lost when it is you who carry me?

If I were to become separated, I would be thrown into the fire, for I would be dead and useless. Only in you does my life have meaning. So, trusting in your mercy, I will hope only in you. Whatever fruit I bear through you will nourish whoever needs it. Does the branch know that the birds find a perch, shelter and food on it? I do not need to know what you are doing with me, only that I am in you and you in me.

Please help me today to be attached only to you and to accept everything you send without judging or complaining.

I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name – he will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.
(John 14:25-26)

My Jesus, in your name the Father sends the Spirit; so the Trinity is here and now. I cannot comprehend this mystery; yet it brings tears of joy and awe. I am never alone. I am not ignorant, for you teach me everything. How often when I face a difficulty or give thanks for an unexpected favor, a phrase from Scripture comes to mind. Yesterday, a friend was listening to the Simon and Garfunkel classic, “Sounds of Silence” and asked me what I thought of the lyrics. My mind turned to Elijah and the “still, small voice.” Even though this example is from the Old Testament, it shows how the Spirit reminds me of all you told us.

When I ponder the daily readings, it is the Spirit that guides me in finding their relevance in my little life. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I bless you. I praise you and thank you for your Presence. Show me how to live in you today.