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​​​   Thoughts on Prayer from the DRCC


                                                  September 18, 2021








 





These last few months have been filled with storms – hurricanes that we give names to. Thousands of lives have been left in turmoil after the storms have passed. We do our best to help where we can and when the next one comes along, we focus on the new area leaving the previous area to continue cleaning up and rebuilding their lives.
 
Here are some ways to pray with storms:
 
~ Pray for the people in the areas where hurricanes/storms have passed through this year…and then pray for those who are still rebuilding their lives from the havoc of storms in previous years.
 
~ Pray for those who study or predict storms in an effort to help people prepare and move to safety.
 
~ Pray for those who risk their lives to help move people to safety
 
~ Pray for those who provide safe shelter from the storms
 
~ Pray for those who work to restore power, bring water, provide food, move debris, cover damaged roofs, help rebuild homes, provide medical care
 
May God’s peace calm all storms and return us to a place of peace and security.
 
Be well and be at peace!



                                                     September 11, 2021
 
As we remember the events of 9/11, let us pray…

~ For an end to hatred and intolerance
 
~ For the ability to welcome those who are different
 
~ For an end to oppression and injustice
 
~ For the willingness to listen to a different viewpoint
 
~ For an end to war and violence
 
~ For the ability to see all as similar and connected to myself
 
~ For all those who grieve
 
~ For all those who hope
 
~ For all those who strive to bring peace and unity to a divided world 

 
Be well and be at peace!


                                                      August 28, 2021


Given all we have seen or heard about in the news this past week, it seemed like we should be praying for the people of particular countries. And then I thought, "But all countries are struggling with something – war, poverty, hurricane, floods, fire, inequity, drought, political division, economic issues, climate issues…..." The list goes on! So I decided that we need to pray for the world this week.
 
Here are the countries of the world that we can pray for by name:
 
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Andorra; Angola; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Armenia; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belarus; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bhutan; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Côte d'Ivoire; Cabo Verde; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; China; Colombia; Comoros; Congo (Congo-Brazzaville); Costa Rica; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Czechia (Czech Republic); Democratic Republic of the Congo; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Estonia; Eswatini (fmr. "Swaziland"); Ethiopia; Fiji; Finland; France; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Greece; Grenada; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Holy See; Honduras; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Laos; Latvia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Marshall Islands; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mexico; Micronesia; Moldova; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar (formerly Burma); Namibia; Nauru; Nepal; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; North Korea; North Macedonia; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Palestine State; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Russia; Rwanda; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Samoa; San Marino; Sao Tome and Principe; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; Somalia; South Africa; South Korea; Zambia; Zimbabwe
 
Be well and be at peace!


 

                                                       August 21, 2021


I was never a morning person growing up, but I have moved in that direction as an adult. There is something about the dawn: the movement from darkness to light when the world wakes up; the movement from silence to sound as the birds start to chirp and the traffic increases on the road.
 
Here are some ways to pray with the dawn:
 
~ Pray for those struggling with addiction or mental illness - for those having difficulty finding the light in their lives
 
~ Pray for those who are beginning something new this day - a new job, a new relationship, a new project
 
~ Pray for those who are studying - both a subject and an environment- that they be open to new ideas, new perspectives, new understanding of perhaps old situations
 
~ Pray for those who work through the night in those hours of darkness so that businesses, hospitals, schools, transportation are clean and ready for the new day
 
~ Pray for those who are born this day - both from the darkness of the womb into the light of day and from the light of this day into the brightness of eternity
 
Be well and be at peace!  

                                          



                                                     August 14, 2021

Many parts of our country are experiencing a heat wave right now. Heat is both helpful and necessary as well as detrimental or harmful. I think we need to pray with it looking at both perspectives.

Here are some ways to pray with heat:

 ~ In the midst of heat, thank God for places of shade or cooling where you can be refreshed. Pray for those who have no way of escaping the heat.

~ Remember what it is like to come in from the cold to the comfort of warmth. Thank God for the opportunities to experience warmth and comfort. Pray for those who have no warm place to be.

 ~ Think of how the warmth helps the plants to grow. Thank God for the mystery of that growth. Pray for the farmers whose crops are destroyed by excessive heat and drought.

 ~ High heat allows forest fires to spread quickly. Pray for those who have lost their homes to fires this season. Pray also for those firefighters who risk their lives battling them.

~ Think of how heat is used to cook our food. Thank God for the ability to use heat in this way. Pray for those without food to cook or a place to cook it this day.

~ We often use the phrases heat or warmth as aspects of our lives.

Pray for those who are trapped in the heat of anger.

Ask God to help you be a person of warmth whom people are drawn to.

Be well and be at peace!                                                        



                                                       July 24, 2021

 For the next two weekends, there will be no posting of Thoughts on Prayer, only Program Reminders. One weekend I will be attending the First Profession of one of our Sisters and the next, Perpetual Profession of another. So it seems appropriate this week, to pray for those who are making life choices.

And so we pray:

~ For those who are discerning a call to religious life as a sister, nun, brother, monk, priest or deacon

~ For those who are moving toward marriage or any life commitment to another person

~ For those who are making plans to start a family through birth or adoption

 ~ For those who are striving to understand who and what and how God is calling them to be

All choice means saying no to another option, so..

~ For those who are letting go of other good options in order to embrace a choice they are making in a relationship, lifestyle, ministry or career path

May God be invited into the process of each of those decisions so that they may be life-giving!

Be well and be at peace! 



                                                            July 17, 2021


Not too long ago I woke up to a phone call that changed my plans for the day. It wasn’t bad, just something where I had to fill in. Shortly after that I received a text from a friend wishing me a day filled with little surprises – good ones! All sorts of things can surprise us – some are serious and some are fun.

Here are some ways to pray with surprise:

~ When you suddenly notice a flower that has just bloomed, or a rainbow at the end of a storm…thank God.

~ When you get a call, a letter, an email out of the blue from someone you haven’t connected with in a long time…thank God.

~ When you expect a difficult conversation to go badly and it doesn’t…thank God.

~ When you are faced with an unexpected situation, illness, piece of information…ask God to help you.

~ When your plans for the day have been completely rearranged by circumstances…ask God to help you.

~ When you are worried, concerned, bored, or complacent…ask God to fill your day with little surprises – good ones! And then be on the look out. They will show up, and when they do…thank God!

Be well and be at peace! 


                                                        July 10, 2021


Recently we spoke of we spoke about exercise as prayer. It required the use of our bodies in the process. Another way we need our bodies as part of prayer is by doing acts of service. This does not need to be a huge commitment. Every small act of kindness is a service to another. As Mother Theresa said, "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

Here are some ways to pray with service:

~ Notice the daily activities of your day. Cooking a meal, doing laundry, making a bed, cleaning a toilet will benefit a partner, child, parent, neighbor. Pray through that activity for those it will benefit.

~ Notice small ways you can make someone’s day easier. Holding a door, letting another car enter heavy traffic, NOT honking the minute the light turns green, waiting patiently for a harried customer in line before you at the grocery store can make a difference in that person’s day. Pray through the patience you need to wait or help.

~ Notice when someone needs space. Sometimes stepping back and not helping is the greatest service you can offer. Pray that you will be able to recognize those moments when our greatest service to another is to remain quiet and not step in.

~ Notice the needs of your community. Perhaps you will see a need in which you can assist by volunteering to distribute food, visit a shut in, help clean up a park…the list is endless.

~ Ask God to help you do small things with love!

Be well and be at peace! 



July 3, 2021


Due to unforeseen circumstances, Thoughts on Prayer will resume next Saturday.


Be well and be at peace! 


                                                           June 26, 2021

 
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies, minds and emotions. But if you are like me, sometimes I have to really convince myself to do it! However, exercise can also be part of our spiritual practice (which has helped my sometimes reluctance)

Here are some ways to pray with exercise:

~ Notice the rhythm of your body as you are moving. Use a prayer phrase or mantra over and over to the rhythm of that movement and let it be a total body prayer.

~ Notice your breathing. Meditate on how the breath of God gives you life. Use a breath prayer (i.e. breathe in "acceptance", breathe out "surrender"; or breathe in "peace", breathe out "thank you": or create one of your own)

~ Make the intention that this time of exercise will be a time of prayer. Start out with some spiritual or scriptural reading that you can meditate on while exercising. Or, listen to some music that feeds your soul.

~ When you are exercising, whether inside or outside, notice the beauty of all that is around you – both the creation of God and the works of human hands – and thank God for all of it!

 Be well and be at peace!


 

                                                          June 19. 2021


As we pray for all fathers and father figures on this Father’s Day Weekend, I thought it would be a good time to consider our image of God. No single image can capture who God is or what God is like. While the image of God as father has been given to us by Jesus, that image can be helpful to many, and unhelpful to just as many.

Here are some ways to pray with our image of God:

~ What does God feel like, taste like, smell like, sound like, look like? Pray with whatever comes to mind AND you may even want to create your own prayer collage from images that come up.

~ Find a scripture passage (from any part of the bible ie. psalms, prophets, etc) with an image of God that appeals to you and pray with that passage.

~ Find a piece of art that speaks to you of God and pray with it.

~ Pray the Our Father slowly and meditate on each phrase, OR re-write that prayer in your own words using whatever image of God most appeals to you 

~ Meditate on how you are created in the "image and likeness of God" 

Be well and be at peace!


June 12, 2021

In the Catholic tradition, yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and today is the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So, it seems only appropriate to pray with our hearts today - perhaps in a little different way.

Here are some ways we can pray with our heart:

Place your hand or hands over your heart so that you can feel your heartbeat:

~ Pray that you can love yourself even a fraction of how much God loves you.

~ Pray for all of those that you love.

~ Pray for those that love you.

~ Pray for those you find difficult to love.

~ Pray for those who do not experience love in their lives.

~ Pray for those who believe they are unlovable.

~ Pray for those who have physical problems with their hearts.

~ Pray for cardiologists and all medical professionals who care for the physical needs of our hearts.

~ Pray for those who are experiencing a "broken heart".

~ Pray for all counselors, spiritual directors, therapists, and unknowing strangers that say or do the right thing to help us mend our hearts.

~ Pray that we can be God’s heart in our world!

Be well and be at peace!



June 5, 2021


Around here, the past week has been a bit dark and rainy. I found myself extremely grateful anytime the sun popped through for a moment. So as I enjoy this glorious sunny day, I thought perhaps we could pray with the sun!

Here are some ways we can pray with sun:

Sunrise:

~ We pray for all of those for whom this is their first day of life! May their lives be filled with love, joy and wonder.

~ We pray for all for whom this is a new day:

~ For those who live in recovery from any addiction

~ For those who are recovering from any physical or mental illness

~ For those who are making some new choices in their lives

~ For those who are starting something new today

~ For all of those who are moving from darkness to light in any way

 
Midday:

~ We pray for those who stand in the brightness of the day:

~ For those who stand in integrity of their values

~ For those who stand with the oppressed and bring injustice to light

~ For those who strive to "see" clearly

~ We pray for those who find the brightness too much:

~ For those who are blinded by too much light

~ For those experiencing famine because crops are scorched by too much sun and too little rain


Sunset:

~ We pray for those who feel stress and anxiety that they are running out of time.

~ We pray for those who struggle with limitations.

~ We pray for those for whom this is their last day. May they be at peace!



Be well and be at peace!



                                                         May 29, 2021

On this Memorial Day weekend, let us pray…

  • For all who have fought in any war


  • For all military families and families of veterans


  • For all who suffer from the effects of war, both soldiers and civilians


  • For all whose lives have been changed by war


  • For all who are left homeless as a result of war


  • For all those who refused to fight


  • For peace in our world and an end to all war, intolerance, injustice, oppression, greed and hatred


Be well and be at peace!


 

   May 22, 2021


I know I am repeating myself, but having spent a number of weeks considering ways to pray with our senses, I would like to revisit Ignatian prayer.

Here is another way to pray with your senses:

  • For any passage that tells a story (i.e. any Gospel passage, the Acts of the Apostles, or many parts of the Old Testament) St. Ignatius would invite us right into the story!

  •  Read through the passage once to get the sense of the story in your mind. Then read through it again, close your eyes and imagine yourself right in the story.


  • Who or what are you? You could be one of the people in the story, or someone who is not in the story but is related to one of the people. You could also be any object in the story – a tree, a boat, an animal.


  • What do you see, hear, feel, touch, smell, taste?


  • What is God speaking to you through this experience?


Be well and be at peace!



                                                           May 15, 2021

Our final sense is that of taste. I was remembering being in school and learning that there are 4 different types of taste receptors on our tongues – sweet, salty, sour and bitter

Here are some ways we can pray with our sense of taste:

Pay attention to what you taste:


  • Notice the sweetness in some foods. Think about the "sweet" experiences of your life – times when you were filled with an inner joy and love. Thank God for those sweet moments. Pray for all who have added a "sweet" component to your life.


  • Notice the saltiness in some foods. Think about the experiences in your life that were filled with action, energy and passion. Thank God for those bright moments. Pray for those who have added spice to your life.


  •  Notice the sourness in some foods. Think about those times when you have had to do or say something that was really difficult. Thank God for walking with you in those sticky, stretching moments. Pray for the grace to always approach these types of experiences with courage and compassion.


  • Notice the bitterness in some foods. Think about whether or not you are finding it difficult to forgive or are holding any grudges. Thank God for any insights about those painful moments. Pray for wisdom to know when to let go.


Finally:


  • Notice what tastes like home – however you define home. What are your comfort foods? Thank God for all those people and experiences that have nurtured you and brought you comfort. Pray for those who are hungry, lonely, and afraid. Ask God to show you what you can do to help them.


Be well and be at peace!



                                                          May 8, 2021


We pause in praying with our senses, to pray with life on this Mother’s Day weekend:

  • We pray for those who have physically given us life.


  • We pray for all those who have nurtured us and mentored us throughout our life.


  • We pray for our Mother Earth who sustains our life.


  • We pray for those who are transitioning from this life to the next.


  • We pray in gratitude for the Breath of life we have received from God.


Be well and be at peace!                                                



                                                   April 30, 2021


If you have allergies, like me, perhaps the last thing you want to do is pray with your sense of smell. But I invite you to give it a try…at least in theory!

Here are some ways we can pray with your sense of smell:

Pay attention to what you smell:

  • Notice the fragrance of Spring – the scent of flowers, damp earth, spring rain, and freshly mown grass. Thank God for this season of new life. Pray for all of those in need of some "newness" in their lives.


  • Notice the scents of your home – the residual scent of the foods you like to eat, perhaps candles that you burn, the type of cleaning supplies you use. All of these create what connects in your brain as "home". Thank God for this refuge of comfort that you have. Pray for those who have no place to call home.


  • Notice the scents related to those you love – maybe it is a perfume, cologne or soap they always use; the smell of baby powder on an infant grandchild; or the sweat of hard work/play on a spouse coming in from outside. Thank God for all those who walk this path of life with you. Pray for those who are homeless, with nowhere to wash up and who’s "scent" may put others off.


  • Notice the smells that take you by surprise – our sense of smell has a very strong ability to connect us to distinct memories. Thank God for the memories of people and places that hold significance for us. Pray for those whose past holds pain, regret or fear.


Pay attention to what you don’t like to smell:

  • What smells or even toxins are we adding to the air we breathe?


Pray that God helps us all to find a way to breathe more deeply.

Be well and be at peace!


                                                          April 24, 2021


I heard someone say the other day that they were feeling touch deprived and understood that completely! So I thought that perhaps this was the week to explore praying with our sense of touch.

Here are some ways we can pray with touch:

Pay attention to what you feel:

  • Notice the elements. Feel the warmth of the sun on your body, the wind blowing your hair, the rain landing on your face, the rich earth in your fingers. Thank God for the elements of creation which sustain us. Pray that we can be open to what creation has to teach us.


  • Notice the textures of your clothes, your furniture, the objects you use daily. Feel that which is soft, hard, smooth, or rough. Thank God for the complexity of textures you encounter continuously. Pray for God’s guidance through all the emotional textures of your daily life.


  • Notice the temperature. It varies from hot to cold. Thank God for warmth on a snowy night and a cool breeze in the heat of summer. Pray for those who have no means to escape the extreme heat of a summer’s day or the freezing temperatures of a winter’s night.


  • Notice the touch of a loved one. Maybe you feel the clasp of a hand or the warmth of a hug. Thank God for those who touch your life with their presence. Pray for those who are alone or isolated.


Pay attention to what you don’t feel:

  • Who or what is are you unable to touch?


Pray that God helps you to find a way to connect by other means.

Be well and be at peace!


                                                       April 17, 2021

As we continue praying with our senses, Spring is a lovely time to pray with our sight!

Here are some ways we can pray with our sight:

 Pay attention to what you see:

  •  Notice colors, both indoors and out in creation. Where do colors compliment each other and where do they clash? Thank God for the beauty and diversity of the colors. Pray that we can see the beauty in all diversity around us.


  • Notice the animals, both pets and wildlife. Watch their antics and behaviors. Thank God for their companionship and the lessons they teach us. Pray that we can respect the needs of all creatures.


  • Notice the faces of all who you encounter. How has life shaped the distinct features of each person? Thank God for the life of each person as you offer them a smile of your own! Pray for any special need or concern they may have.


  • Notice the work of our hands, from a knitted scarf to a skyscraper. Thank God for the wisdom and intelligence to create. Pray that we always create with the common good in mind.


Pay attention to what you don’t see:

  • Who or what is absent?


  • Does everything look too alike?


Pray that God gives you the eyes to see what is missing and the wisdom to know how to invite it back into view.

Be well and be at peace!



                                                       April 10, 2021
 
I was noticing the birds chirping in the morning. Spring is happening! So I thought this might be a good time to begin praying with our senses.

Here are some ways we can pray with our hearing:


  • Pay attention to what you hear:


  • Notice those birds chirping? Thank God for the sounds of creation around you. Pray that we be good stewards of this earth.


  •  Notice the sound of raindrops on the windowpane or in a puddle? Thank God that we have drinkable water at our fingertips. Pray for those who have no shelter from the storms.


  •  Notice the voices of family members, co-workers, friends, or others you pass in the store? Thank God that those people have crossed your path this day. Pray for any special need or concern they may have.


  • Notice the sound of children at play? Thank God for the life and gifts they have yet to discover. Pray for those children who are scared or alone.


  • Notice the strains of music? Thank God for the beauty of the composers, singers and musicians who speak to our hearts. Pray for those who are too distressed to hear that beauty.


Pay attention to what you don’t hear:


  • Who is silent?


  • Who is missing from a conversation?


  • What is not being said?


  • What sound is no longer being heard?


Pray that God gives you the ears to hear this silence and the wisdom to know how to engage.

Be well and be at peace!


                                                       April 3, 2021

For those of us in the Christian tradition, it is Holy Saturday. My first thought had been to skip sending anything out today, but after more reflection on this in-between time, between death and resurrection, I thought "What a perfect time to pray with grief!" There have been a lot of losses during this past year and truly grieving them is necessary.

Here are some ways we can pray with grief:

  • Perhaps a family member or friend, church member or neighbor has died this past year.


  •  Remember something nice about them and thank God for their presence in your life.


  •  If it was someone very close to you, allow yourself time to be sad or cry. Invite God into the sadness and tears.


  • Reach out to a relative of that person. Just listen. Allow them to share their sadness or retell a funny story. Ask God to help you be God’s presence.


Many people have died during this pandemic who we do not know.

  • Pray for their families and friends


  •  Pray for the medical staff who accompanied them as they died


  • Pray for those with no family, who died alone and unremembered


As a result of this pandemic, many lost jobs and our way of life as we knew it. Pray that God keeps our hope alive and lights a path toward new life.

May the blessings of New Life greet you as you emerge from this time of grief.

Be well and be at peace!


                                                      March 27, 2021


During this time of year, people in both the Christian and Jewish traditions remember stories of oppression and suffering that end in freedom and new life.


  • Let’s pray for those in our world who are experiencing oppression this day:


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of the color of their skin


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of their race or ethnicity


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of their gender


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of their sexual orientation


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of their status or lack of it


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of their age


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of their level of education


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of where they live


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of their religious beliefs


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of physical or developmental limitations


  • For those who are treated unjustly because of our own judgements or opinions of "them"


May God give us the eyes to see all as our brothers and sisters, and treat each person with the dignity they deserve as children of God.

Be well and be at peace!



                                                        March 20, 2021

We have taken some time during this Lent to think about prayer and fasting. Today I thought we could prayer with the third aspect – alms giving. I like to think of it in terms of "What can we share with another?"

Here are some ways we can pray with alms giving/sharing:

  • For those who have the financial means, ask God to help you decide where you could give a monetary donation that would make a difference in someone’s life. Pray for those who will benefit from your generosity.


  • For those who have experienced life, share your wisdom with someone going through a similar experience or career. Perhaps you will consider becoming a mentor to someone. Pray for those God puts in your life who will benefit from your wisdom.


  • For those who have the availability of time, ask God to show you who might need someone to really listen to them. Consider volunteering somewhere, or simply giving a child or grandchild some extra time reading a book or drawing together. Pray for those who will benefit from your time.


  • For those who have smile to share (even if it is behind a mask), make a point of smiling or nodding at someone you pass in the store, at a doctor’s office, or in school who seem to be in need of a small kindness. Pray for those who will benefit from your smile.  


Be well and be at peace!


                                                         March 13, 2021


This week, we continue our look at fasting - this time from the perspective of our words, actions, and attitude. How we treat others makes a difference in our own lives, in the lives of other individuals, and in our world.

Here are some ways we can pray with fasting and our words, actions, and attitudes:
 

  • If a conversation turns toward gossip about another, ask God for the grace to stay silent, to walk away or to stop the conversation.


 

  • If you notice yourself judging another person, ask God to help you see that person from God’s point of view.


 

  • If you find yourself ready to criticize someone, ask God to help you find something to compliment instead.


 

  • If you find yourself excluding someone, ask God to help you find a way to include them in something.


 

  • If there is someone who really gets on your last nerve, do something nice for them for no reason.


Ask God to help you be a living word of kindness and compassion each day.

Be well and be at peace!


                                                        March 6, 2021


In the midst of Lent and as the Pope travels to Iraq, let us pray for peace:
 

  • For peace in the Middle East, that there be movement towards living in harmony with each other.


  • For those who cannot see eye to eye with another, that tolerance will lead to respectful listening.


  • For all those who live in the midst of war and violence, that they find a place of safety where they can live free of fear.


  • For hope amidst the rubble, that cities, towns and villages destroyed by war may be rebuilt.


  • For all who strive to bring peace to places of division, may that peace take root and grow.


  • For peace in our own hearts, that we may be instruments of a ripple effect of peace in our homes, our communities, and our world.


 
Be well and be at peace!


                                                     February 27, 2021


Last week, we looked at fasting from the perspective of abundance. This week, I offer a reflection from the perspective of time. How we spend our time in the course of a day can help give us a snapshot of our priorities. Lent is a good time to evaluate those priorities.

Here are some ways we can pray with fasting and time:

  • Write down what you do during the course of a day and a week. Include how much time you spend on each of those activities.


  • When you look at your activities, is there something you might want to fast from?... less time on social media, TV, computer, news, maybe even work!


  • With the extra time you gained from that decrease, is there something you might want to increase?... more time in prayer, reading scripture or studying, allowing yourself to be still and quiet, spending one on one time with a child or grandchild, calling someone who lives alone, grocery shopping or preparing a meal for an elderly neighbor, looking for a random act of kindness you can do each day.


Often, we say, "If only I had more time!" Ask God to help you "find" that time, decide how to use it, and bless that new activity.

 Be well and be at peace!


                                                       February 20, 2021


As we begin Lent this week, our thoughts may turn to the call to fast and the inevitable question of " What should I give up?" Over the years I have come to look at fasting from a few different perspectives. Today, let's think about it in terms of abundance. Many of us are privileged to have much.

Here are some ways we can pray with fasting and abundance:

  • Look at the clothes you have. Are there items that you have not worn in a long time? Every day of Lent choose one item and make a collection to give to those who are in need. Pray for those who will receive them.


  • If you have an urge to purchase something, ask yourself if you really need it. If you don't, perhaps you could use that money to purchase new socks, or underwear, or hats and gloves to give to the homeless shelters. Pray for those who will receive them.


  • Instead of giving up a particular type of food during lent, why not purchase food weekly to be distributed to those who are struggling to have enough to eat? Pray for those who will receive it.


  • Instead of thinking about what more you want, think about what you can share with others so that they have enough.


Be well and be at peace!


                                                    February 13, 2021


Last week, I offered one way of praying with scripture. Today, I am adding two more.

Here are more ways to pray with scripture:

For any passage that tells a story (i.e. any Gospel passage, the Acts of the Apostles, or many parts of the Old Testament) St. Ignatius would invite us right into the story!

  • Read through the passage once to get the sense of the story in your mind. Then read through it again, close your eyes and imagine yourself right in the story.


  • Who or what are you? You could be one of the people in the story, or someone who is not in the story but is related to one of the people. You could also be any object in the story – a tree, a boat, an animal.


  • What do you see, hear, feel, touch, smell, taste?


  • What is God speaking to you through this experience?


Another way is to pray with the psalms:


  • Pick a psalm and rewrite it in your own words.


  • Choose an emotion you are feeling right now, and write a psalm to God about your life that expresses that emotion.


Be well and be at peace!



                                                    February 5, 2021

Some of us take the time to read and pray with scripture, others of us only hear designated sections when we are attending or watching mass. As we move closer to Lent, I thought I would offer some ways to pray with scripture that may be either familiar or brand new to you.

Here is a way known as lectio divina (sacred reading):

This method can be done with any scripture passage (or for that matter, writings of the saints or other meditations)

  • Find a quiet space and sit comfortably - attentive to your prayer.


  • Choose a passage (maybe the reading of the day, one of the readings for the next Sunday, or whatever presents itself when you open your bible.)


  • Read the passage the first time and simply notice what word or phrase catches your attention. Allow yourself to let that word or phrase resonate.


  • Read the passage again, and reflect on how that word or phrase connects with something in your life right now.


  • Read the passage a third time and respond to God in whatever way seems appropriate given your reflection.


  • After the fourth reading, simply rest in the Word. Sit in the quiet and let God’s presence, through the reading, wash over you and envelope you.


For a more detailed explanation click here for a brochure from Contemplative Outreach. 

Be well and be at peace!


                                                         January 30, 2021


Those of us in the Northeast have been experiencing a "Polar vortex" these past few days. In other words, it is nasty cold!!! So I started thinking about the cold and wondered if there is a way to pray with it – there is.

Here are some ways to pray with the cold:

  • Pray for those who are homeless and are seeking shelter during these frigid days.


  • Pray for those whose finances do not allow them to warm their homes to a comfortable temperature.


  • Pray for the firefighters, police, utility workers and all who must work outside in the cold.


  • Pray for those who rely on public transportation and school children who must stand out in the cold waiting for a bus to arrive.


  • Pray for those who do not have adequate clothing to keep them warm enough.


  • Pray for the person who has given you the "cold shoulder".


  • Pray for the person you encounter that seems "cold or distant".


May we each be the warmth of God’s love in our world.

Be well and be at peace!



                                                       January 23, 2021


According to church calendars, we are in what is called "ordinary time". But with the pandemic, it feels anything but ordinary! Sometimes I equate "ordinary" with other things like: normal, uneventful, less important, or even boring, and I pay less attention to it. However, God did not say, "I am with you only in the extraordinary, or the interesting or the miracle." God said, "I am with you always"

Here are some ways to pray with the ordinary:

  • Pay attention to something you take for granted everyday like getting out of bed in the morning or opening your eyes to see the sunrise. Thank God for those abilities and pray for those who cannot do that this day.


  • Take a drink of clean water and pray for those who do not have it.


  • Instead of rushing through a meal, actually notice the flavors you are tasting, and pray for those who are hungry this day.


  • When you get in a car or on a bus, be thankful for the engineering that made that possible to get where you need to go in comfort, and pray for those who do not have that access.


  • In the course of a conversation with a family member, friend or stranger, thank God for putting that person in your life, and pray for those who are alone.


Remember, God is with us and around us at all times…even in the ordinary. Pay attention – you may start to see God in the most unexpected places!

Be well and be at peace!



                                                      January 16, 2021
 
Since this pandemic started, many people took to walking and hiking more. That time may have been shared with family members, friends, pets, or alone. St. Augustine once wrote, "It is solved by walking." Walking gives you time to gaze, to think, to wonder and to pray.

Here are some ways to pray while walking:


  • Allow each walk to be a time of prayer for a particular person or situation.


  • Choose a specific sentence or two as a mantra that you repeat over and over to the cadence of your footsteps (or perhaps a repetitive prayer like the rosary)


  • Allow the rhythm of your footsteps to lead you to a song, and see if that song turns into a prayer experience for you.


  • Gaze at the beauty of creation around you. Thank God for the many ways you are uplifted and sustained by that beauty.


  • If you are walking in a city or neighborhood, smile at those you pass and say a prayer for any needs or concerns they may have that day.


  • If you are walking with someone else, pray with them or for them.


And know that your God is your ever-present companion. You do not walk alone.

Be well and be at peace!



                                                 December 26, 2020


As this year draws to a close, let us pray for peace -

     Peace in our world

          Peace in our communities

               Peace in our homes

                    Peace in our hearts

Be well and be at peace!


Personal Note: I will be on my own retreat, so you will not be receiving Thoughts on Prayer for the next 2 Saturdays.  Sr. Sue

                                             

                                             December 19, 2020

We often see music as simply a means of entertainment, or a way of putting ourselves in a particular mood. Music may be seasonal, as we are experiencing right now. Music can also be prayer – which is why it is part of prayer experiences in virtually every faith tradition.

Here are some ways to pray with music:
 

  • When participating in communal prayer experiences, sing with full voice! As someone I knew once said, "God gave me this voice – I’m giving it back!"


  • Listen carefully to the words of the songs used in communal prayer experiences. What meaning do those words have in your life right now?


  • If there is a phrase of a song that speaks to you, allow that melodious phrase to become your mantra throughout the day.


  • Put on some instrumental music when you are praying. Allow it to touch your heart and raise your soul.


  • Listen to a different style of music than you usually do. Say a prayer for all those who are at home with that music.


  • If you are a musician, simply play your instrument and allow the notes to envelop you.


May the music of this season stir up fond memories and bring you peace!
Be well and be at peace!


                                                December 12, 2020


The holiday season means we get inundated with ads to "buy this, buy more". But gifts are so much more than items! As I mentioned last week, small acts of kindness can be a prayer - a gift to another.

Here are some more ways to pray with gifts:

  • Ask God to show you who needs the gift of your time – your undivided attention. Spend time with that person physically (if they are someone you live with), on the phone, or on Facetime or Zoom.


  • Spend some time in prayer reflecting on the gifts God has given you – are you a good baker? are you good at organizing? are you good at making people feel comfortable? do you have a good sense of humor? do you knit or build things out of wood? How can the gift God has given you become a prayer and a gift for someone else?


  • Are there people in your life who do not need one more thing? Honor them with a donation in their name to a cause that speaks to who they are. Allow it to be a prayer both for those who you are honoring and those you are helping.


May the gift of who you are be exactly the prayer someone needs to receive this day!

Be well and be at peace!



                                                      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!     


Holy Week 2020 Reflection

                                        

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!