8/26/16

Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 8/27

Photo by Grace Scimone

You might not catch a butterfly by chasing it 
but if you sit very still
a butterfly might find and visit you...

Teach me to be still, Lord:
to take a few deep breaths, sit back
and see what grace, what beauty
comes to visit at my side
and deep within...

Teach me to be still, Lord:
to find a place far from the chase
that rends and spends my spirit,
a place where just one butterfly
might find and visit me...

Teach me to be still, Lord:
pace my racing thoughts and restless heart
until your Spirit, like a butterfly,
might light upon my soul
and bring me peace...

Teach me to be still, Lord,
teach me to be still...

To be still, Lord,
teach me to be still...

Amen.


 

   
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8/25/16

Pause for Prayer: FRDAY 8/26

Image source

Lord,
there's nothing in the world
hidden from your sight...

You see all things:
what's visible
and what's invisible...

You see all things:
past,
present
and future...

In the whole of creation,
nothing's hidden from your sight...

Sometime today, Lord,
give me the courage
to share with you in prayer
even just one thing I've tried to hide
from you, from others and from myself...

And as I share what I hide,
open my heart to your mercy,
your wisdom, your counsel,
your acceptance, your healing
and your love...

Amen.



 

     
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Ten tips for going back to school!


(In my parish, this coming weekend is the last before school opens in town.  I'll be calling students forward for a blessing at Mass and giving out these 10 Tips I wrote for this purpose.)


1) Every morning: ask God to help you always be the best student you can be.

2) Promise yourself to do the best work you can -always- especially in classes and activities you don’t like because you find them difficult.

3) Be honest with yourself, with your parents and with your classmates and teachers and always.

4) Always treat everyone as you would want to be treated yourself.

5) Remember: people who follow the crowd end up being part of a crowd.  People who want to make a difference always make choices based on what they know to be good and right and fair.

6) Failing a test and facing why you failed is always better than cheating.

7) Some students can be mean and cruel to others. Always hang out with those who are kind and fair to others and to you - and in return, be kind to everyone else.

8) If you need help, ask for it.  Seeking and accepting help doesn’t mean you’re stupid - it means you’re smart! And always be on the lookout for ways you can help others around you.

9) When you’re not sure what to do or say next, always ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?  What would Jesus say?”  Then follow his example.

10) Every night: thank God for the good things that happened during the day; ask God to forgive your mistakes; and pray, again, to always be the best student you can be.

Do what is just, 
love what is good 
and walk humbly with your God - always! 
- Micah 6:8

 

     
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Pause for Prayer: FRDAY 8/26

Image source

Lord,
there's nothing in the world
hidden from your sight...

You see all things:
what's visible
and what's invisible...

You see all things:
past,
present
and future...

In the whole of creation,
nothing's hidden from your sight...

Sometime today, Lord,
give me the courage
to share with you in prayer
even just one thing I've tried to hide
from you, from others and from myself...

And as I share what I hide,
open my heart to your mercy,
your wisdom, your counsel,
your acceptance, your healing
and your love...

Amen.


 

     

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Pause for Prayer:THURSDAY 8/25

Lake Quannapowitt: photo by Steve Pressley

Before the end of day, Lord,
help me make the time
and lead me to a place
where you might still the waters of my life,
calm my fears
and bid me rest in the peace
that only you can give...

Be the still point of my turning world,
the center of my heart,
the place wherein I find that place
where I find you
- and know that you've found me...

In storm and calm,
in rage and rest,
in turmoil and in consolation:
help me find your dwelling place within me,
your still point
at the center of my being...

Today, Lord,
help me make the time
and lead me to a place
where you might bathe me in your mercy,
where I might swim the waters of your peace,
refreshed by the grace and solace
that only you can give...

Today, Lord,
touch the troubled waters of my life
and still them with a calm
that settles deep,  
very deep, 
deep within my soul...

Amen.


 

     
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8/23/16

Pause for Prayer: WEDNESDAY 8/24





 

     
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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 8/23


Today is August 23, 2016.

This day is unique in my own life,
   in the lives of those around me,
      in the history of humankind
         and in the very mind of God...

This day has never dawned before
   and this day will never come again...

August 23, 2016
   is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
What would you have me make of this day, Lord?
What would you have me do?
What would you have me not do?

How might I make this day a better day
   for the people whose paths cross mine?
How might I repair today
   what I've broken in the past?
What might I do today
   to prepare for a peaceful tomorrow?

What will you do in my life today, Lord?

Open me to all the ways your Spirit moves this day
   in my mind, my conscience, my heart and my soul,
      in my words and in my deeds...

This day, August 23, 2016, is the day you have made, Lord:
   help me rejoice and be glad in it,
   help me spend it as you ask me
   and come to its end in your grace...
Amen.


 

     
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8/21/16

Monday Morning Offering: August 22


Morning Coffee by George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!

On Friday, fresh from vacation,
I did a major cleaning of my desk at the office:
four bags of trash, Lord,
from one l-shaped desk and two drawers!

Finally there's some order there,
some blessed, much needed, liberating order!

Wish I could as easily do the same with my heart, Lord,
all for the sake of that same blessed,
much needed, liberating order...

So much stuff jumbled together in my heart:
worries, hopes, plans, problems, to-do lists,
dreams, sorrows, fears, responsibilities, joys
and unfinished business of all kinds...

And then there's the trash that's been piling up within me:
grudges, bitterness, resentments, prejudice, envy, hard feelings
- and the trash of junk that should never have found
a square inch of space to rent in my heart...

Lots of stuff to sort through, Lord,
lots of stuff to throw away,
lots of stuff to put in order,
that blessed, much needed, liberating order
that frees the soul and opens me
to be filled with what's good, whole, true, beautiful
and most of all: pleasing to you...

So I offer you this morning, Lord,
the mess that clutters the desk of my heart
and fills the drawers of my soul...

Help me make the time
and give me your help
to sort out what's good within me
and clean out what doesn't belong:
only your grace, Lord, brings order out of chaos
so I pray you'll help me find
that blessed, much needed, liberating order
that frees my soul for peace and serenity
and strengthens me to live my life
as you would have me live it...

Amen.



 

   
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Homily for August 21

Christ at the Door of Heaven by Elizabeth Wang


Homily for 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
(Scriptures for today's Mass)

Audio for homily


I remember from my youth being taught in Sunday School
that the Catholic Church was the one true church
and the way to heaven.

I don't think I was precociously theological as a child
I do remember this teaching causing me some difficulty.
You see, I grew up on a block where there were three children,
my sister, myself and our friend Lewis.

Lewis and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Spates, didn't go to St. Mary's,
the Catholic church in Danvers:
they belonged to the Maple Street Congregational Church,
the big Protestant church in the center of town.

I was worried that although Lewis and his folks
were good Christian people,
their not being Catholic might mean
we wouldn't all meet one day in heaven.

As I mentioned, I wasn't precocious so I brought this problem
to someone I knew would have a solution - my mother -
and I asked her where non-Catholic Lewis and his parents
would be spending eternity.

And I was right - she had the answer!
She told me,
"Well the Spates family are very good people
so I'm sure God will find a way for them to go to heaven, too."

My mother's answer satisfied me then and it satisfies me now
because her intuition was, in fact,
what the Catholic Church teaches when it asserts that
"the Spirit of Christ does not refrain 
from using (separated churches and ecclesial communities)
as instruments of salvation..."

Does the Catholic Church teach, then, that it doesn't matter
what church you belong to?
No, it does not teach that.
It teaches that ours is the Church founded by Jesus
and that the fullness of Christ and his truth and grace
rest, or subsist, in the Catholic faith - even if
"the Spirit of Christ does not refrain
from using other faith communities as instruments of salvation."

The Catholic Church is not shy about saying and teaching
that it gets some things right that other churches get wrong.
And guess what - that’s just how those
“separated churches and other ecclesial communities” think, too!
They think that they’re right about some things
and that we Catholics are wrong about those same things.
Are they reticent to claim that? Not at all.
They became separated churches by protesting
that the Catholic Church was in error.

Do these differences matter?
Yes, they do!
If they didn’t matter, we’d all still be one Church.
The differences matter enough that tragically
groups within the Body of Christ have split off, one from another.
Christendom is a divided kingdom and that is a scandal.
It is a scandal that disciples of Jesus have failed in his desire
that we all be one as he and his Father are one.

The scriptures today get at the question of who will be saved
and give us several answers.

Isaiah envisions God’s people being gathered together
to make one offering of worship to the one God,
in Jerusalem.

Jesus echoes this when he says,
“People will come from the east and the west  
and from the north and the south  
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.”

But he also says that the door into the banquet hall of heaven
is a narrow one.
What’s it to be, then?
Will only a few be saved by squeezing through the narrow door?
Or will the banquet hall be immense and the table so long
as to accommodate all God’s people?

Here’s the answer:
the hall is big enough and the table long enough
to seat every man, woman and child ever created by God.

The door is narrow but remember:
the narrow door is only an image.

The narrow door is not a door but rather, an image of a person
- and the person is Jesus.

We will enter heaven through our relationship with Christ -or-
for those who have never known Christ:
through lives lived sincerely in love and justice,
such that they will immediately recognize Christ
not only as the door to life eternal
but also as the perfect mirror
of all that was good and true in their lives.

The question, then, is not so much,
“How many will be saved?” or “How narrow is the door?”
The question is much more
“Will I recognize Christ, when I stand before him?
Will my life and how I lived it, will my faithfulness to Jesus
and my fidelity to his goodness, truth and justice)
enable me to recognize the One
who can open the door for me?”

The door to heaven, through which ALL are invited to pass
opens to those whose lives mirror
the self-giving life and love of Christ,
to all who learned in this life
to love God and serve the neighbor.

Christ gave us the altar of his sacrifice, the Cross,
and this table of his sacrament, the Eucharist,
that we might “rehearse” even now
for taking a place at his table n the kingdom of heaven.

Christ is the door.
Christ is the altar; Christ is the sacrifice.
Christ is the table; Christ is the supper.
Christ is the server; Christ is the food.

If you recognize him here, come and share even now
in the banquet he has prepared for us - and for all.


 
 

 
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8/20/16

Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 8/21



I hate it, Lord,
when bad things happen
to good people...

(And, truth be told, I also hate it
when bad things happen
to people who aren't so good...)

I especially hate it, Lord,
when the best of life's hopes
come face to face
with pain and shattered dreams...

So, when the mountain seems too big climb,
when the river seems too deep to cross,
when the pain seems more than we can bear,
be with us, Lord, be with us,
for without you
we are hopeless
and in you
is our only hope,
our way, our truth, our light...

Amen.



 

     
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