Thoughts on Prayer from the DRCC


                                                      December 5, 2020










As we prepare for the holidays, this year in particular, so many people are struggling – financially, emotionally, and spiritually. Any small act of kindness or compassion can be the greatest gift, the greatest prayer you can offer someone.

 Here are some ways to pray through acts of kindness:
 

  • Call someone who lives alone just to say you are thinking about them.

 

  • Check with your faith community and see if they know of a homebound member who could use a prayer partner. Pray with them over the phone or in person if it is safe to do so.


  • Look for organizations that are supplying food to those in need. Offer what you can, either by donating food, funds, or assisting in distribution if you are able.


  • Notice the cashiers, janitors, bus drivers. Ask them their name and thank them for what they are doing.


  • Be patient with the driver in the car in front of you who does not start immediately when the light turns green.


  • Bring some extra groceries around to someone you know needs them, but will not ask.


 Pray that God will show you, each day, the person most in need of a small act of kindness or compassion that you can fill.

 Be well and be at peace!



                                                 November 28, 2020

For those of us in the Christian tradition, tomorrow begins the season of Advent – a season of waiting and hope for light to be born into the darkness. Waiting can be really hard and we can become impatient. Waiting can also be a time of rich reflection as we enter into a stance of hopeful expectation.


Here are some ways to pray as we begin this time of waiting:

  • Use an advent calendar and or advent wreath to mark time through this season of waiting.


  • Each day, be a spark of light for someone who is struggling at this time, with some small act of kindness.


  • Pray for all those waiting for the results of medical tests, waiting to hear about a job, waiting to receive food.


  • Pray for all expectant parents.


  • Pray for all who are impatient at this time for whatever reason.


"Maranatha" means "Come Lord". Use it as a mantra through these coming weeks or create your own mantra.


Be well and be at peace!



                                                      November 21, 2020


As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, you may be frustrated that all is not "back to normal". In fact, there is still much to be wary of with this pandemic. Yet, whether we are celebrating on our own or within our small family bubble, there is still much to be grateful for!

Here are ways to pray in gratitude:


  • Write a letter or call or zoom someone to say how much you appreciate them being part of your life.


  • Make a list of things you are grateful for using the alphabet. Example: a – autumn leaves; b – Brian Jr. (my nephew); c - …


  • Take a gratitude walk outside and enjoy all of God’s creation


  • Make a list of all who have taught or mentored you throughout your life and say a prayer of thanks.


  • Start a gratitude journal where each night you enter 3 things you were grateful for during that day.


  • Make a point of saying "Thank you" to everyone who assists you in some way – the person who holds a door for you, the cashier at the grocery store…


  • Read the book "Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer" by Brother David Steindl-rast or watch THIS video that he created.


Meister Eckhart a Dominican theologian and mystic said, "If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough."

Be well and be at peace!



                                                       November 14, 2020


Sometimes I feel as if I am surrounded by a multitude of words – questions from people around me, ads ad infinitum on any TV show I am watching, texts and emails on my devices. I get wrapped up in those words and start doing the same thing…in prayer. I subject God to lots of words about what did happen, and what should happen, and what God should do, and why. I was reminded this week, that sometimes one word will do.

Here are ways to pray with one word:

"Help"

"Yes"

"Thanks"

"Sorry"

"Wow"

"Please"

You might want to try saying one of these prayers or you might have a one-word prayer of your own. God is listening!

Be well and be at peace!



                                                       November 7, 2020

It has certainly been a week – some have seen it as fascinating, some frustrating, some scary, and some hopeful. Many have prayed through these days of election that are not completely over. Regardless of when the actual counting of ballots will be complete, I suggest we can continue to pray.

Here are ways we can continue to pray with our recent election:


  • Many more people exercised their right to vote this year. Remember that many around the world do not have that freedom, and give thanks to God for our ability to do so.


  • Thousands of poll workers and ballot counters have worked significant numbers of hours and days to facilitate our right to do so. Give thanks to God for the sacrifices they made to devote time to this process.


  • Someone will eventually come out the winner and someone will lose. Regardless of who that is, thank God for their willingness to serve our country and each of us.


  • We may be pleased with the outcome or disappointed, as will our family members, friends and neighbors. Ask God to guide us so that our conversations are open and understanding of both sides and lead to acceptance instead of division.


  • Pray that all our elected leaders chose to do so with integrity and wisdom.


  • Pray that each of us chose to act and serve in our own small ways, grounded in the values of our faith and with an eye to the common good.


Be well and be at peace!



                                                      October 31, 2020


It’s Halloween – so I started thinking. As a kid, we dressed up as something scary, or a hero heroine we admired, or something funny, or something creative or practical. Haunted houses were decorated with skeletons and tombstones and spider webs. Can we pray with that? Yes we can!


Here are some ways to pray with Halloween:


  • There are a lot of things that scare us right now. Say a prayer for those who are afraid.


  • There are a lot of heroines around us: doctors, nurses, teachers, bus drivers, grocery store clerks, firefighters, police and the list goes on. Say a prayer for their safety and strength.


  • It is easy to get caught up in the serious issues surrounding us and in our lives. Say a prayer for those who remind us to lighten up and enjoy life too.


  • We have had to reinvent ways to connect with others, work, teach, live. Say a prayer for those who have imagined new ways for us to do all those things.


  • And those empty haunted houses – remember those who have no house this day because of fire or flood or loss of a job. Say a prayer that they have a safe place to be this night.


  • Skeletons and cobwebs? Is there something that is within you or clinging to you that you can’t let go of. Ask God to help you forgive or accept or let go – whatever is needed.


Graves? May we be mindful of all who have died and all who mourn.

Be safe tonight, and allow all you see and experience on this Halloween evening lead you into some deeper reflection.

Be well and be at peace!



                                                       October 24, 2020


Last week I spoke of praying with color. Today I would invite you to add to that prayer a shape – more specifically, a circle. "Mandala" is the Sanskrit word for circle. This shape, and patterns within this shape can become another way of praying without words.

Here are some ways to pray with mandalas:

     Take a walk outside and see how many you can find. A spider web, a tree trunk that has been cut where you can see all it’s rings, the petals of a rose, the ripples of a stone dropped in still water. If you can’t go outside imagine some of these things or search them on your computer. Give praise for the glory of what God has created.

     Look up the mandalas of Hildegard of Bingen – a Doctor of the Church whose visions/illuminations were drawn at her direction. Pray with one of Hildegard’s mandalas.

     Get yourself a mandala coloring book or download some mandala coloring sheets off the internet. Allow yourself to simply enjoy the process of playing with color and design and ask God to be present to you in that process.

     Create your own mandala (and take a deep breath – you do not have to be an artist) Simply draw a big circle on a piece of paper (or trace the outline of a dinner plate) Before you begin, put your hands on the paper and make the intention that this will be your prayer in this moment. In the center of the circle, draw something that is a symbol of God for you, and then allow yourself to fill in the mandala however seems right to you. Again, this is not about creating a piece of art, it is about praying and connecting with your God through color and shape. Thank God for the experience and any musings that may have arisen in the process.
 
Be well and be at peace!


                                                          October 17, 2020

Each season has its own beauty, and as we move more deeply into fall, I am aware of so many gorgeous colors all around us! Colors that are bright as well as those that are more subtle or quiet; colors that compliment each other as well as contrast with each other. It is the cacophony of all of it together that makes up such beauty.

Here are some ways to pray with color:

Walk outside or look out a window and let your attention be drawn to a color. Allow yourself to be captivated by or drawn into whatever you see and thank God for that gift.

Think about your life in terms of color -


  •      What color does it feel like right now?
  •      Is it bright or more quiet and subtle?


Talk to God about what that brings up for you.


  •      Who has God put in your life that compliments yours?
  •      Who are the people who give contrast to your life?


Thank God for the beauty and gift of all of that diversity in your life.


Find some crayons or colored pencils (or treat yourself to a new box of crayolas!) Allow yourself to choose a color – whichever one you are drawn to or feel like. On a piece of paper or in a journal, simply play with that color – allow it to be a wordless expression and a wordless prayer to God.


Be well and be at peace!


                                                     October 10, 2020

It seems to me that there has been a lot of "letting go" in 2020! Letting go of our "normal" way of life; letting go of plans; letting go of routines; letting go of the way we have thought; letting go of some long-held beliefs; letting go of family or friends at a distance; letting go of people we love to this virus; letting go of what school looks like; perhaps being let go of our employment or income.

Here are some ways to pray with the "letting go":

In this season of Autumn, take some time to look at the trees. How does the tree let go? Maybe you wish to "name" a leaf with something you are letting go of. Notice that leaf gently falling to the ground or being blown about in the wind. Just be with that experience.

The 12 step folks have a saying, "Let Go and Let God". Make that your mantra for the week.

Use the breath prayer we have spoke of before: As you breathe in say to yourself "Acceptance". As you breathe out, "Surrender".

Go to the Contemplative Outreach website and explore the Welcoming Prayer:

https://www.contemplativeoutreach.org/welcoming-prayer-method/

Listen to (sing to, dance to) "Let it Go" from Frozen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVVTZgwYwVo

Remember, our loving God is with us every step of the way and will give us the strength we need to handle any "letting go" that is before us!

Be well and be at peace!



                                                     October 3, 2020

Tomorrow (October 4) is the Feast of St. Francis. On this early Autumn day, let us use Francis’ words to pray in praise of all creation!


                                                    Canticle of Brother Sun


Most high, all-powerful, all good, Lord
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor
And all blessing.
To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy
To pronounce your name.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright
And precious and fair.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
And fair and stormy, all the weather’s moods,
By which you cherish all that you have made.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
Through whom you brighten up the night.
How beautiful is he, how merry! Full of power and strength.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our Mother,
Who feeds us in her sovereignty and produces
Various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon
For love of you; through those who endure
Sickness and trial.
Happy those who endure in peace,
By you, Most High, they will be crowned.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Death,
From whose embrace no mortal can escape.
How dreadful for those who die in sin!
How lovely for those found in Your Most Holy Will.
The second death can do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.

Be well and be at peace!
 

                                                  September 26, 2020
 

When I looked out the window this morning, it had just started to get light as the new day was beginning. By the time I was really up… the fog had rolled in. It made me think about how much fog has been in my life during these last 6 months of the pandemic (and still is). Sometimes the fog has been in my brain as I tried to remember which day it was. Sometimes the fog has been in my plans when I was not sure what step to take next. Sometimes the fog has been in my heart when I just felt cranky for no apparent reason.

So here are some ways to pray with the fog:


  • If your thoughts or memory are foggy, pray for clarity and the ability to be patient with yourself.


  • If the fog rolls in on you and your plans, slow down and pray for the ability to see just the next step.


  • If the fog envelopes your heart, and your emotions shift to ones that are less than pleasant, remember that this too is not a permanent state. Pray for the grace to accept this moment as it is, and the grace to experience the sunlight again.


Fog can be unsettling, confusing, and frustrating. As such, it calls us to slow down and proceed with caution. It can also be quite beautiful as it shrouds or frames objects in a way that cause us to see differently. Whatever our experience of fog, we are never in it alone. Our God is with us…reach out, take God’s hand and let yourself be led safely onward.

Be well and be at peace!


                                                          September 19, 2020


There was a stink bug in my bedroom this morning. I find them very annoying! This is the time of year when they try to come inside to hibernate and they actually leave a path we cannot see that leads others to follow them in. It made me think about some of the other "annoyances" in my life – things that distract me from seeing the good in others, things I notice about myself that I am less than tolerant of, things that get in the way of my plan for my day…the list goes on!

Here are some ways to pray with annoyances:


  • If you are focused on how someone annoys you, think of a characteristic that you like about them and ask God to bless them.


  • If you find yourself saying something negative about yourself (out load or inside your head) remember that you are precious in God’s sight and God loves you just the way you are, and ask God to bless you.


  • If you find that something unexpected has evolved in the middle of your day, let go of your plan as best you can, be present to the need that is in front of you, and ask God to bless this moment.


What we focus on grows. If we focus on one stink bug – one annoyance – we are more likely to create a path for others to follow – we continue to be annoyed by just about everything to follow. Ask God to give you the grace to let go of whatever is annoying you and to bless the rest of your day.

Be well and be at peace!


                                                     September 12, 2020

Do you have one thing that reminds you that God is with you? Or maybe a special message that you need to hear often? Some might call this a touchstone or a touchstone experience. Since we can’t physically see God, sometimes a particular object or symbol can remind us of an experience we have had or that message. For some, a rainbow is a message of hope, for others a butterfly reminds then that they are precious in God’s eyes. Symbols are an important part of our prayer.

Here are some ways to pray with symbols:

Think about what symbol is an important reminder to you of God’s presence to you. Is there a special message it represents? Take some time to remember how that connection started.

Pay attention to how many times you notice that symbol as you go about your day.

Perhaps you have that symbol as a small item. You might want to carry it about with you in your pocket this week.

Perhaps it is not a pocket type object but you can put that object or a picture of the symbol in your prayer space.

Pray with that symbol, look at it or hold it. Remember how it connects you to God – and say a prayer of thanks for God’s special reminder to you!

 Be well and be at peace!     


                                                     September 5, 2020


So, it’s Labor Day weekend! For some it means the last days of vacation, for others family gatherings, for still others it is the last reminder that school will start soon. But it is a time to honor work – all work – whether we sit in an office or collect trash, build buildings or raise our children. All work is necessary and a blessing to the entire community. I thought, perhaps today we could pray for all workers.

 We pray for those who create:
  - engineers, carpenters, landscapers, bakers, designers, writers, farmers, and…..

 We pray for those who bring beauty:
  - musicians, artists, dancers, poets, hair stylists and…

 We pray for those who plan:
  - teachers, administrators, parents, community leaders and…

 We pray for those who serve others directly:
  - counselors, health care providers, receptionists, faith leaders and…

 We pray for those who meet our daily needs:
  - bus drivers, trash collectors, grocery store stockers, plumbers and…

 We pray for those who are unemployed and unable to find work and…

We pray for those whose time for working is done and who are learning how to simply be and receive….

And so many more!!

Be well and be at peace!   

     

                                                     August 29, 2020


These past few days, we have watched as Hurricane Laura inundated some of our Southern states with water – leaving destruction in its wake. While out west, acres of land and houses are being destroyed by fire because of lack of water. Water can be powerful or gentle, but regardless, it is necessary for life. It can quench our thirst, cleanse our bodies, nurture our gardens and calm our souls.

Here are some ways to pray with water:

When you take a drink of clean water, thank God for that gift andpray for those who simply do not have clean water to drink.

When you take a shower, imagine the water washing away any concerns or worries, judgments or self-criticisms that you have been carrying.Allow God to give you a fresh new start.

When you wash your hands, occasionally bless yourself with the water as a symbolic reminder of your Baptism or commitment to your relationship with God.

If you have the opportunity to be near water (a lake, a river, an ocean, a stream) simply look and listen to the sound it makes, the way it moves and glints in the sunlight or moonlight. If you can’t go to the water, enjoy it the next time it comes to you in the form of rain – listen to it, walk in it, watch it dance.Allow God to calm your heart and speak to your soul through the sight and sound and feel and smell and taste of the water.

And pray for all of those whose lives have been devastated by too much or too little water! 


Be well and be at peace!



                                                         August 22, 2020

I realize, during these past few weeks in particular, there has been a lot of focus on what school will look like. Some have started up already and others are delayed. I thought, perhaps today we could pray for all of those involved in those decisions.

 We pray for parents:
      - who have to decide how their child/children learn best
      - who have to make choices of going to work or staying home to teach
      - who have to think about where they will get fed (mentally and physically)
      - who have to take into account their children’s health and the health of those in the household

We pray for teachers:
      - who have to figure out how they can best teach each child according to their needs
      - who have to be ready for formats to change on a dime
      - who have to be mindful of the health and wellbeing of their own families


We pray for administrators:
      - who have to make the daily decisions of how to ensure safety and effectiveness of all plans

We pray for school bus drivers, aides, janitors, nurses, food personnel and all who have a role in caring for our children daily


And we pray for our children – that wherever they do their studies – they grow in wisdom and knowledge, in health and safety, knowing that they are precious in our sight and in the sight of God!


Be well and be at peace!



                                                        August 15, 2020


It is a fact that when we are stressed or anxious, we begin to breathe more shallowly…and situations during these past months have certainly added to the stress level of all of us! I know, for myself, when I notice my breathing become more shallow, it is time to take a few moments for prayer - and the prayer of those few moments can actually be focused around breath.


Here are some ways to pray with breath:

Stand or sit outside for a few minutes. Close your eyes and feel the breeze around you. Remember the first lines from the book of Genesis where the breath/wind/Spirit of God swept over the formless void and then light was created? Allow that breath of God to sweep around you, giving you light.

Take a few minutes wherever you are and close your eyes. Remember in Ezekiel 37 when God breathes life into the dry bones? Ask God to breathe life into the dry spots in your life.

Take a few minutes wherever you are and close your eyes. Remember in John 20 when Jesus appears to the disciples locked in a room, saying "Peace be with you" and he breathes the Holy Spirit on them? Imagine Jesus taking your face gently in his hands and breathing his peace onto you.

Spend a few minutes doing some intentional breathing. Close your eyes. focus on your breath and as you inhale say to yourself "Acceptance" and as you exhale, "Surrender".

Be well and be at peace!


                                                    August 8, 2020


Today is the Feast of St. Dominic, founder of a family known as an Order of Preachers. So, as we celebrate with our Dominican Sisters and Brothers throughout this struggling world, I would like to share a prayer from our Dominican tradition.


A Dominican Blessing (13th Century)

May God the Father bless us,
May God the Son heal us,
May the Holy Spirit enlighten us and give us
eyes to see with,
ears to hear with,
and hands to do the work of God with,
feet to walk with,
and a mouth to preach the word of salvation with,
and the angel of peace to watch over us
and lead us at last,
by our Lord’s gift, to the kingdom.

Amen.


Be well and be at peace!



                                                         August 1,  2020


During this time when many of our activities have changed, many people are spending more time with their gardens – both flower and vegetable. Gardens show up in the sacred stories in many religious traditions.
 
Here are some questions to use while praying in your garden (or looking out at another person gardening):

Meister Eckhart speaks of the "ground of our being" – Who is the Ground of my being – what does my soul sink its roots into?

What seeds have been planted in this soil?

What life bursts forth?

How do I nurture that life?

What life finds a home in my soil?

What needs to be weeded out, thinned or moved to another location of the garden?

Can I see the beauty/fruit in what comes forth from the garden (whether intentional or not)?
   
Be well and be at peace!


                                                      July 25, 2020

 It has been said that "The only constant in life is change." (Heraclitus) We have all been experiencing tremendous change in our life – how and where we work, go to school, pray with others, shop, relax, exercise. The list is endless! Adapting to a state of constant change takes a lot of energy.

Here is a great prayer to use when faced with change in our lives:

God, grant me
the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

 Be well and be at peace



                                                          July 18, 2020


Perhaps as a child you were told, "Don’t play with your food!" During these last few months, food has been very much the focus for so many. So I thought I would change the statement to, "Please pray with your food!"

Here are some ways we can pray with food:

As you are cooking or eating, recognize the ingredients as fruits of the earth – say a prayer for the earth.

Be mindful of the farmers and ranchers who grow our crops and raise the animals that become our food. They are at the mercy of both the weather and our economic system – say a prayer for them.

Much of our food needs to be packaged and transported for us to have access – pray for the truckers, those who package, those who stock shelves, cashiers.

Many people prepare food prior to packaging – say a prayer for bakers and butchers who make our lives easier.

Sometimes we allow others to cook for us as we return to restaurants – pray for the chefs, the servers, the dishwashers who are gifting us with their talents.

If you are cooking for someone else – pray for those who will be recipients of your gift.

Pray for those who are without food this day, those who do not know how they will feed their families.

Pray for those who are working to provide food to the hungry – ask God to bless their efforts and ponder if there is something you can do to assist.

And as you sit down to partake of what is in front of you, say grace – thanking God for the gift which you are about to receive!

Be well and be at peace!



                                                      July 11, 2020

 We are a global community. With all of our technology, we know about happenings on the other side of the world instantly. This time of self-quarantining has allowed many of us to use technology to connect and pray with a wider scope of people than usual. Last week I mentioned that many other religions have some form of "The Golden Rule".


Let us simply pray that prayer of peace in its many forms:

13 Religions present "Golden Rules" for Peace

 Aboriginal
:

"We are as much alive as we keep Earth alive."
~ Chief Dan George

 Baha’i:


"Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself."
~ Baha’u’llah

Buddhism:


"Treat not others in way that you yourself would find hurtful."
~ The Buddha

 Christianity:

"In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you."
~ Jesus (Matthew 7:12)

 Confucianism:

"One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct: loving kindness.  Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself."
~ Confucius

 Hinduism:


"This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you."
~ Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam:


"Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself."
~ Muhammad

Jainism:

"One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated."
~ Mahavira, Sutrakritanga

Judaism:

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary."
~ Rabbi Hillel, Talmud

 Sikhism:


"I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am friend to all."
~ Guru Granth Sahib

Taoism:

"Regard your neighbor’s gain as you own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss."
~ T’ai Shang P’ien

Unitarianism:

"We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence, of which we are a part."

 Zoroastrianism:

"Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself."
~ Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29

Be well and be at peace!

                                                          

                                                      July 4, 2020

 Independence as a growing child is a good thing, as we learn to stand on our own from our parents. Independence as a nation over 200 years ago, was a good thing. It allowed us to have certain rights, such as the right to pray as we choose. Yet independence is one end of the spectrum and at times we may have lost the fact that we need to be interdependent. What has become more and more clear in these last few months is the necessity of this need to be interdependent – to be mindful of the common good, because simply put, we need each other.

So on this Independence Day, let us exercise our right to pray:


  •  For our country, that we come to know unity within our diversity


  • For those who are oppressed by unjust norms, systems, ideas


  • For those who are trapped by fear of violence, cynicism, judgment


  • For those who feel they are alone or invisible


  • For those who are isolated because of the virus or other circumstances


  • For those who feel hopeless or forgotten


  • For those who are homeless, hungry, ill


  • For those who have no access to adequate water, employment, education


  • For those among us who are the most vulnerable


  • For this earth that we live upon, that we treat it with as much respect as we treat each other


Each religion has some form of "The Golden Rule – Do to others as you would want done to you." Today, in the many ways that we pray, may we pray for each other and become the prayer that we pray.

 Be well and be at peace!



                                                       June 27, 2020


How many times have you said to your children or grandchildren, "Pay attention"? Or how many times has someone said to you, "Are you listening to me?" It is easy in this new norm to feel scattered or to have a hard time staying focused. It takes a certain amount of energy to rethink ways of doing things that once were very normal tasks. Prayer is a way of giving God our attention and allowing ourselves to be the center of God’s attention.


Here are some ways we can pray by paying attention:

Use your senses. When you are cooking, be aware of the smells and taste. If you are out walking, feel the sun on your face, the see the beauty of the flowers, hear the chirping of the birds. Thank God for these small ways God is present to you.

Take some time to give God your full attention. Find a quiet spot and a quiet time in your day to simply sit with God and invite God to sit with you. Let God listen to you and take some time to listen to God.

Look for God. Actively look for God hidden in your current experience, conversation with another, or activity. God is playing Hide-and-Seek all around us! The more we find God, the more we will notice God in the most unlikely places. God delights in being found!


 Be well and be at peace!

 

                                                          June 20, 2020


What a difference a day makes…or an hour…or a moment! I don’t know about you, but during the experience of finding a new normal, I find that my thoughts and feelings can shift suddenly as I hear something or see something…or for no apparent reason. Last week I offered one specific way of praying through our day by looking back on it.

Here are a few more ways we can pray with our day:

If you find yourself caught it the worries of what has or could happen –

Close your eyes and take a few deep breathes. You may even want to put your hand on your heart as you do so, remembering God is with you in everything.

As they say in the 12 step programs, "Be where your feet are." Literally, you might want to look at your feet or at your surroundings and bring yourself back to this current moment… remembering God is with you in everything.

Start a gratitude journal. (Remember when you were told to count your blessings?) Write down a few things each day that you are grateful for. No blessing, no grace, no thing is too small. The more you notice, the more you will see…and in the process, it will become easier to remember that God is with you in everything!

Be well and be at peace!


                                                         June 13, 2020

 For the majority of us, our days have been very different than they were a few months ago. Perhaps you are working from home or not working at all. Some have been teaching your children or grandchildren. Maybe you have had to make difficult decisions as a result of financial changes. You may be spending extra time caring for neighbors. Our days have become very different.

Here is a way we can pray with our day:
At the end of your day, take some time to review it.  Ask God to be with you as you do so.
     Where were the blessings?
                 For what are you most grateful?

     Where did you struggle?
                 For what are you least grateful?


     Decide if there anything you need to do about this.

When were you most aware of God during your day?
Say a prayer of thanks and ask God to give you the grace you need for the next day.


(There are many variations to the examen of consciousness suggested by St. Ignatius. Explore others by searching on line)

Be well and be at peace!

                                                           


                                                           June 6, 2020

 In light of so many unjust deaths, these past days of violence and unrest have brought out both the worst and the best in us.

Today I simply offer the Prayer of St. Francis as our reflection for the week:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

Be well and be at peace!


May 30, 2020


 It has been said that what we focus on expands or grows. When we focus on something we don’t like about a person or situation, it becomes easy to see more things we dislike. But the same is true in the positive! When we notice the good, we start seeing more good. One of the things that I am enjoying are the number of "good" stories on the news these days – stories of kindness, compassion, hope and caring.

Here are some ways we can pray with "the good":

As you interact with people today, notice what you like about them and say a silent prayer, blessing them.

If you see or hear of someone acting or doing something kind for another, affirm them (or thank them if it is appropriate do so).

If you see or hear of something on the news or in your community that helps others and which interests you, think about ways that you can help move that forward.

If you find yourself in a conversation where some person or situation is getting put down, do not build on it. See if you can add something good about it to fill out the perspective, or simply remove yourself from that conversation.

Look for the good. Encourage the good. Be the good!

 Be well and be at peace!


May 23. 2020


Last week, I spoke about different ways of praying with words. This week, I thought I would share a few more ideas using words – through writing or journaling. You do not have to be a "good" writer to write in a journal – no one is going to see it but you!


Here are some different ways we can pray by journaling:

The simplest way is to pick up your pen and write to God. Tell God what you are thinking and feeling. Write down what you are questioning or wondering about. It may be only a few sentences or it may turn out to be a few pages. When we put on paper what has been circling around in our brains, it may become clearer to us. It can be one way of allowing God to speak to us.

If you want to be a little more adventurous, you could do some "Right Hand, Left Hand Journaling" Have a conversation with God in your journal in this way: Let your dominant hand be you and begin writing with that hand – a thought or a question. Then switch your pen to your non-dominant hand and let that be God – answer the question, or make a comment or reply with another question. Keep moving your pen from hand to hand until the conversation is complete. Are you putting words in God’s mouth? Maybe, but as often as I have done this, my non-dominant hand has given me insight or questions I would not have come up with on my own.

For those who are a little more poetic, you might want to write your own psalm. The psalms were songs written to express a multitude of feelings to or about God. Create your own psalm of the day focused on what you are feeling, what you are seeing, what you are understanding.
Be well and be at peace!​


                                                       May 16, 2020  

 There are lots of words spinning around us these days and sometimes it is difficult to know which ones to land on. The same can happen with prayer. The first prayers we were "taught" likely had specific words that we learned by heart. But there are so many prayers out there, which ones should I land on?

 Here are some different ways we can pray using words:

You may choose a specific prayer you learned long ago – a psalm, the Our Father, the rosary, a devotional prayer. These "long ago" prayers can often help ground or root us.

You may explore prayers from saints, spiritual books or websites that seem to express what you are thinking and feeling. You may find the similarities comforting in knowing that you are not alone. You may also find prayers that are challenging – stretching you to look at situations in a different way and helping you to grow.

Remember, you do not need a phone or device or link to have a conversation with God. You can simply speak from your heart, using your own words. If you are going for a walk or taking a drive, imagine God walking with you or sitting in the passenger seat. Have a conversation with God about what is going on in your life – your hopes and your worries. And don’t forget to allow a little time just to be quiet together and listen. You may even sense what God is saying back to you.

 Be well and be at peace!



May 9, 2020


We have to have a sense of humor in the midst of all of these days. I think God does too! I woke up this morning, thinking about our friends with fur and feathers and was reminded of the refrain of a song - "All God’s critters got a place in the choir. Some sing low, some sing higher. Some sing out loud on the telephone wire. Some just clap their hands, or paws, or anything they got there."

 Here are some ways we can pray with God’s creatures:

 If you sit quietly by your window or on a porch or walking slowly outside, what are you seeing? Birds pecking for food? How many different kinds of birds and colors of feathers? Notice their song, their beauty, grace in flight, pairing with a mate. Maybe you have the opportunity to watch one building a nest or a hawk soaring through the air. What does God say to you through them about freedom, worry, beauty, diversity?

And what about those squirrels chasing each other? What does God say to you through them about playfulness, surety of foot, saving for the future, alertness?

What else do you see outside? Deer? Fish? Raccoon? Bear?

And what about our indoor friends – cats, dogs, fish, birds, lizards, etc? They have no worries during this pandemic. They are still as loyal, faithful, playful, relaxed, and carefree as usual because they know they are cared for. What about you? Do you know you are cared for? What is God saying to you through these faithful companions of yours?

Be well and be at peace!


May 2, 2020
 

These days have certainly been different! For many of us we have had the opportunity to be out in Creation a bit more – taking hikes, sitting in our yards, going for walks. Some of us may be more limited – confined to our homes looking out. Creation offers us much in the way of beauty, hope, transformation, and patience.

Here are some ways we can pray with Creation:

Whether you are inside or outside, pay attention to a particular plant – tree/bush/flower. Over the next couple of days, watch how it grows and changes – leaves growing, buds forming, flowers blossoming. Notice the new growth on what was seemingly lifeless as it endured the winter.

Use as many of your senses as you can! See the colors. Hear the birds chirping, the wind blowing, the rain falling. If you are outside, feel the breeze on your skin and smell the fragrance of the flowers or new mown grass. Let a tree or flower speak to your soul.

Praise God for the wonder of Creation – realizing that you are just as intricate and beautiful as all you are seeing around you!

(For those of you wondering "What about the animals?" We’ll talk about that next week)

Be well and be at peace!



                                                  ​April 25, 2020

These days it is easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged by the news.  We can have it 24-7 and it doesn’t take much to get drawn into it frequently - looking for signs of hope or change or any bit if information that they did not have an hour earlier.


Here are some ways we can pray with the news:

As each story comes on the screen, say a prayer for all those involved. A story about what is happening in a local nursing home could lead you to pray for the residents, the families of the residents, the health care workers, the housekeepers and food service workers.

If you can’t hear one more thing, turn the volume off and pray with the images – for the people and situations that you see before you.

If you’re looking at a newspaper or articles on line, read a headline and hold the situation in prayer before continuing on.

While we often pray that God will “fix” a situation, perhaps our prayer can be that wisdom, understanding, hope and love fill each one – regardless of whether it is a person/decision we agree with or not.

Be well and be at peace!


April 18, 2020


Sometimes it is just hard to pray!  Maybe we feel discouraged or overwhelmed, and prayer may feel like just one more thing to do.  Here are some simple ways that might help in those situations:

Pray a prayer you know by heart.  Maybe you learned it long ago – like the Our Father, or rosary, or a psalm.

Spend a few minutes doing some intentional breathing. Close your eyes. focus on your breath and as you inhale say to yourself “Acceptance” and as you exhale, “Surrender”.

Simply sit in your favorite chair with a cup of hot tea or coffee or hot chocolate.  Just let yourself be there with no words and let God love you!

Be well and be at peace! 


April 11, 2020


For those of us in the Christian tradition, Holy Saturday is a day of waiting – an in between time where those first followers were not sure what just happened or what was yet to come and when.  Kind of like now…

So, in this time of sacred waiting, I invite you to take a technology break - just for an hour or whatever timeframe makes sense in your life right now.  Turn off the tv or radio, your music or phone and allow yourself to enter into some sacred silence.  Notice what you hear.  Listen to the wind blowing in the trees or the birds chirping. Pay attention to your own breathing or put your hand on your chest and be mindful of your heartbeat.  Maybe you live with others.  Close your eyes and listen to the cadence of their voices as you recognize each one. Allow God to speak to your heart in the simple sounds around you as, together, we wait.

Be well and be at peace!                                              


April 4, 2020

In this time of social distancing, we are very aware of the space between ourselves and others – both physically (6’) and virtually (via technology).

But how are you creating space for God at this time?  Here are two ways to look at it:

Create a prayer space in your house/apartment/room
 

In that space you might have a small table or corner of the floor where you can lay a scarf.  You might want to place a candle or symbol that directs your thoughts toward God on that cloth.  Keep in that space your bibleor meditation books, your journal, your knitting, your coloring…  If you only have a small space, sitting in your favorite chair and lighting a candle or putting on instrumental music can turn the atmosphere into prayer time until the candle is blown out or the music is turned off. 

If you live with others ask that whenever anyone is sitting in that space, the others respect that as prayer time and do not interrupt. Allow others to use that space or create their own.

Create space in your day for God

In this time of new routines, think about what time of day is easiest for you to connect with God – first thing in the morning? as the end of the day? right after lunch when everyone else has gone outside for a bit?

Find the time that works best for you and make it part of your daily routine.

Be well and be at peace!

                                          

                                         March 28, 2020


I have heard it said that “All prayer is relationship.” How has your prayer, your relationship with God been going these past days? It can become difficult when our whole daily routine is upended.

Here are some thoughts to remember:

If you are living with others:

          Try to find a place where you can be by yourself and take at least 5 minutes of quiet time with God.
          Find some time during the day to pray with those you live with. This may be as simple as saying grace together, or it may involve sitting down together at a time that you would usually have gone to services - read Scripture together and share what that Word means to you.

If you live alone:
          Reach out and call someone who you have seen at your place of worship. Connect about life as it is now and offer a word of encouragement from your own prayer.

Be well and be at peace!

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