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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

pentecostActs 1:8

To the Ends of the Earth

You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you, and you will be my witnesses, even to the ends of the earth, alleluia.

The Apostle John has told us all that we need to know about Jesus.

The Apostle John has written to us, God’s little children, to remind us that we are well loved.

The Apostle John experienced the power of the Spirit and he passes all of this on to us.

How do choose to receive this Word? How do we choose to witness God’s love? How do we choose to pass along the story of God’s overwhelming love for us?

Let us spend a bit of time today with the first Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, and let us consider how we enact God’s Spirit not in overt, grandiose ways, but in the smallest, the most mundane and the most ordinary acts of our lives.

And let us pray: Holy and generous God, we come to you as both weed and wheat. Help us to be patient with ourselves and one another. We find ourselves before you struggling with  the real and ideal in our lives. Show us how to reconcile our nights and days of grief and joy. We ask for wisdom as we work to understand your Word and how we are to testify in our own right the amazing story of your love. Teach us how we are to know you among all the false gods in our lives. We make liars of ourselves too often and too easily. Give us the energy, patience and strength to walk in faith with you as we experience victory over all that draws us away from you. And grant us the power of your Spirit so that we might witness authentically, even to the ends of the earth. We ask this in Jesus’ name and in union with the Holy Spirit. Amen.


This post was written on Pentecost Sunday 2014 and is posted today as a conclusion to our reflections on John’s first letter. 

Image from: http://www.daughtersofwisdom.org.uk/19-may-pentecost-sunday/

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Tuesday, June 8, 2021

confidence1 John 5:14-15

A Prayer for Confidence

Now that we have taken in this first letter to us from the Apostle John, let us raise our prayer together as we ask for confidence in ourselves and in God’s love for us.

As we reflect on Chapter I: For those days when we have forgotten that God is light that overcomes all darkness, we pray: Wonderful God, remind us that there is no dark place or time that you cannot touch. For those nights when we long to connect to others, we pray: Generous God, remind us that we find you in our relationships with others.

As we reflect on Chapter 2: For those times when we believe that your universe is a duality of either or, we pray: Patient God, teach us that you are both real and ideal. For those moments when we take sides in hostile camps, we pray: Persistent God, teach us how we are both human and divine.

As we reflect on Chapter 3: For those places in which we cannot discern the weeds from the wheat, we pray: Wise God, show us how our reliance on you means that we leave life’s winnowing in your hands. For those spaces in which we forget how to act as your true children, we pray: Timeless God, show us that we already have eternal life.

As we reflect on Chapter 4: For those people who bring strife into our lives, we pray: Powerful God, guide us as we test false spirits and stumble toward you. For ourselves as we struggle to foster peace rather than conflict, we pray: Wonderful God, guide us in our efforts to speak always in your language of love and to act always in your spirit.

As we reflect on Chapter 5: For the liars we make of ourselves, we pray: Compassionate God, remind us that we are always truthful when we live in you. For the speakers of truth among us, we pray: Holy God, remind us that all is possible when we live for you.

We remind ourselves of your apostle’s words: “We have this confidence in Christ, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regards to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours”.

And so we pray: Good and Gentle Christ, we ask all of this in your name. Amen.

As we continue to fully take in all that John has related to us we might be amazed to understand that God loves us always. So let us spend time today with this thought . . . We have this confidence in Christ, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regards to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours . . .

Enter the word confidence into the blog search bar and consider how willing we are to trust and confide in God.


Image from: http://www.quotationbest.com/confidence.html 

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

1 John 3

presence ofholinessA Prayer for True Children

The Apostle John repeatedly and earnestly calls us to be true children of God. John, the Beloved Apostle who writes a soaring Gospel of hope and light, brings us the constant message that we can do nothing to earn God’s grace – it is a gift already given. John, one who walked and talked and ate with Jesus, reminds us that as true children of God we have the privilege, and the responsibility, to allow our holiness to take us over and to call forth in others that same holiness in God.

From the July 20, 2010 MAGNIFICAT Sunday Day by Day reflection by Fr. Maurice Zundel: Holiness is you who have become the Kingdom of God, it is you divinized by the gift of yourself. Precisely, if we see that this [divine life] is about a Presence, about a person-to-person exchange, if we see that each gesture allows us to be in communion with divine life, we will understand that the eternal is now . . . That is exactly what we must do. There is no question for us waiting until the afternoon. It is now, here . . . That is where God is waiting for you. There lies your eternity, your infinite communion, because each human act, if it is a gift of ourselves, is an act creating eternity. There is nothing else to expect. If you die tonight and your day has been full of God, you will be in eternity because you yourselves will have become eternity . . . God is not someone we speak about, he is someone we breathe, whom we communicate through the atmosphere emanating from ourselves. People around you will feel if you are in constant communion with God. There is not a religious action: it is the whole of life that is religious, the whole life or nothing, I repeat, the whole life or nothing”.  

And so in the presence of God’s holiness we pray for holiness as true children of God.

Holiness is you who have become the Kingdom of God, it is you divinized by the gift of yourself . . . and as children of God this is the kingdom we receive as inheritance.

The eternal is now . . . it is here . . . and as children of God we are presently and will always be integral building blocks in the infinite now.

Each human act, if it is a gift of ourselves, is an act creating eternity . . . and as children of God we are bound eternally to the Father.

God is someone we breathe . . . and as children of God we cannot help but inhale and exhale his love for all creation.

It is the whole of life or nothing . . . and as children of God we are content with living out God through the whole of life, through every moment of life . . . or we are content with nothing.

This relationship is a present reality and also part of the life to come . . . and as children of God we are both gifted and gift.

Holiness is you who have become the Kingdom of God, it is you divinized by the gift of yourself . . . and as true children of God this is the inheritance for which we give praise and thanksgiving to God.  This is the inheritance we pass along to others. Amen.


Adapted from a reflection first written on July 20, 2010.

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 20.7 (2010): 33. Print.  

Image from: http://www.lornemitchell.com/?p=1270

For a look inside the theology of Fr. Maurice Zundel, go to: http://books.google.com/books?id=YX5wW8upXgYC&pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&dq=fr+maurice+zundel&source=bl&ots=NfkHQyaeJ-&sig=hoEa1zPgRflfHY6pQOtB6GM1V0k&hl=en&sa=X&ei=leOBU7SuFYnMsQT8_YLAAg&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=fr%20maurice%20zundel&f=false

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Ary Scheffer: Saint Augustin and Saint MOnica

Ary Scheffer: Saint Augustin and Saint Monica

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

John 14

A Prayer for Our Days and Nights

Perhaps because our circadian clock plays a quiet but powerful role in our lives we are subtly convinced that the universe is a mystery of black and white principles and forces. Perhaps because we see so much duality in others we are convinced that God punishes or saves depending on our behavior. Perhaps because we divide our lives between forces of good and evil, our perceptions between dark and light and our hours between day and night . . . we see God as something or someone we must seek. Perhaps because of all of this . . . we believe that seeking God means leaving what we know to journey toward what we do not.

St. Augustine of Hippo writes: Don’t go looking for any end beside God, in case by looking for an end beside God, you find yourself being consumed, not completed. (Cameron 277)

St. Augustine lived a life of dissipation in an era when the Greek and Judeo-Christian worlds were merging. He eventually changed his way of living and thinking to become an early leader in the Western Christian Church and to merge the worlds of day and night for himself and others.

In Chapter 14 of his Gospel, St. John records Christ’s words at the Last Supper in which we hear the dialog between Jesus and his followers. Spend some time with it today and consider the world of black and white that we have constructed for ourselves. Consider what it is we would do well to change. And as the day comes to a close and begins to merge into night, join those in the Noontime Circle to pray.

Loving God, protect us from consuming ourselves as we fight against a world that struggles to reconcile darkness and light. Teach us to complete ourselves in you so that we might learn to live in a world that has both nights and days.

For those who convince themselves and others that creation divides itself into worlds of evil and good we pray: allow us to understand that God is every thing and every person.

For those who believe that God’s grace and blessing are earned and not given, we pray: allow us to learn that God’s compassion and love are gifts freely given.

For those who tell themselves and others that our task on earth is to find God while we live safely and comfortably without risking ourselves for others, we pray: allow us to see that we are complete in God when we allow ourselves to be consumed for and in God,

For those who understand Jesus’ words: I am the way and the truth and the life: inspire them to help others to see The Way of days and nights.

For those who live Jesus’ words: No one comes to the Father except through me: encourage them to bring the wisdom of a world of days and nights to others.

For those who enact Jesus’ words: If you know me then you will also know the Father: strengthen them as they bring Christ’s love to all who live in a divided world of days and nights. Amen.


Visit the scripture John Chapter 14 link above and read the versions that have been pre-selected. Choose another version and consider how we might live on a world where dark and light co-exist without consuming us, where the coming together of nights and days become a force in our transformation.

St. Augustine’s citation from SERMONS and cited Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 18.5 (2014): 277. Print.  

For more information on circadian and biological clocks, visit the NIH (U.S. National Institutes of Health) at: http://www.nigms.nih.gov/Education/Pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx

For more about St. Augustine and the divergent worlds his life helped to merge, visit the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy at: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/augustine/

Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Scheffer_Saint_Augustine_and_Saint_Monica.jpg

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Pentecost Sunday, May 23, 2021

1 John 2

holy spirit doveIdeal and Real – Part III: Hostile Camps

The early Christian community struggled to survive the various arguments declaring Jesus more human than divine or more divine than human. “They were the community of true prophecy. But now, the community itself is divided into two hostile camps. And the cause of the division is precisely what should have been the centerpiece of this unity: the proper understanding of the nature and role of Jesus”. (Senior RG 563)

Rather than reprimand us or remind us that we are not in control, John repeats what he has written so often that from the beginning Christ has been and that through eternity Christ will be. Knowing that we struggle with the double mystery of eternity and infinity, Christ remains with us so that we might not panic when trials arrive at our door. Knowing that we struggle with the dichotomy between the visible and invisible, the real and ideal, Christ brings himself to us in the Scripture we hold in our hands, the Word that we can open as frequently as we need in order that we remain connected to this divine-human mystery. Knowing that we are terrified at the thought of being left alone, Christ invites us constantly to come to him joyfully. Today we might read the words of one who lived and still lives beside him.

My children . . . we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world . . . Do not love the things of the world . . . for the world and its enticements are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever . . . Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you . . . And now, children, remain in him . . .

And so we pray . . . Creator Father, Rescuer Christ, Abider Spirit . . . save us from the hostility of the world . . . help us as we struggle with the opposing camps of our lives . . . bring our reality into focus with the ideal which you have dreamt for us . . . and keep us ever close to you in joy. Amen.

Tomorrow – Part IV: The New Commandment


Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.RG 563. Print.  

Adapted from a reflection written on Sunday, January 10, 2010.

Image from: https://www.biblword.net/why-is-pentecost-important/

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john3Wednesday, May 19, 2021

1 John 1:1-4

A Prayer to Love

The Apostle John tells us today . . .

What we have seen from the beginning . . .

What we have heard . . .

What we have seen with our eyes . . .

What we looked upon . . .

What we touched with our hands . . .

Was visible . . .

Is still visible . . .

And we proclaim to you now . . .

We are writing this so that your joy may be complete . . .

This is our anthem of love . . .

Sing it often . . .

Proclaim it aloud . . .

So that others may know this joy. Amen.

Spend some time today with the opening of John’s first letter of love to us by clicking on the scripture link above or here in this paragraph. Explore the four versions of these verses that have been selected. Choose another version by using the drop-down menus and examine the meaning of love in your life and where it is present in an unusual way. Say the prayer above or write your own prayer. Consider sending your Prayer to Love to another . . .


For an interesting prayer to St. John from The Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951, click on the image above or go to: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/liturgicalyear/prayers/view.cfm?id=965

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Mark 13:14-23

joy-with-white-300x214A Prayer for Times of Tribulation

When you see the desolating abomination standing where he should not [let the reader understand], then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, [and] a person on a housetop must not go down or enter to get anything out of his house, and a person in a field must not return to get his cloak . . . Be watchful!

These are words that are often construed by fundamentalists to predict the idea of rapture, of the faithful being taken into God’s presence suddenly while the unfaithful are left behind. Here Jesus speaks words of warning, but what do they really mean?

God says: You worry and fuss, you compare yourselves with others, and you focus on the minutiae of your day while you neglect The Word. When fear begins to overtake you, remember that I want to bring each of you to me, even those of you who have much to account for.  Keep in mind that you are joy to me . . . and I want to be joy to you. Remember that I find joy in you . . . and I want you to find joy in me.

And so we pray with the words of the psalmist.

Great things are they that you have done, O LORD my God!

Remind us, God – when we are stressed – that your hope heals many wounds.

How great your wonders and your plans for us!

Remind us, God – when we are tired – that you care us for each moment of the day and night.

There is none who can be compared with you.

Remind us, God – when we are sad – that you are our greatest champion.

O, that I could make them known and tell them!

Remind us, God – when we are worried – that you suffer with us through all misfortune.

But they are more than I can count!

Remind us, God – when we finally come to rest in you – that your love counters all tribulation.

Psalm 40:4-5


For interesting insight into the English expression, “head for the hills!” go to: http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/80681/does-make-for-the-hills-still-hold-currency-as-an-idiom

For further information on the idea of the Rapture, visit: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Rapture-the 

Image from: http://www.christiansciencechicago.org/self-sustaining-joy/

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Matthais Stom: Supper at Emmaus

Matthais Stom: Supper at Emmaus

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Luke 24:33-49

If we want to acknowledge the gift of God’s presence in our lives, let us first give thanks.

If we want to fully participate in the resurrection journey, let us first give thanks.

If we want the full impact of our own Emmaus experience, let us first give thanks.

If we want to share in God’s Easter hope, let us first give thanks.

If we want to share in God’s Easter joy, let us first give thanks.

And as we give thanks . . . let each of us become witnesses to the story we know to be true.  The story of God’s great love for all of creation, the story of  God’s plan for the salvation of the world.


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Le_repas_d%27Emma%C3%BCs_by_Matthias_Stom.jpg

Enter the words You Are Witnesses into the blog search bar for an Easter prayer and reflection.

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christs-empty-tombWednesday, April 21, 2021

John 7:40-52

Never Before

When Jesus enters Jerusalem, his presence creates division, particularly in regards to the origins of the Messiah. In these days of Lent and Eastertide we have reflected on how our encounter with Christ engenders questions and sparks discussion. Scripture has shown us how Jesus, followed by large crowds, is proclaimed the new king of a new kingdom. We have participated in the ancient liturgies of the Triduum and, along with countless generations of the faithful, we declare Christ the Messiah. Despite of, or perhaps because of, Jesus’ message of liberation and rescue, arguments separate us as we react to the call of the Gospel. Today we are reminded that: Never before has anyone spoken like this one.

On this day, as we proclaim Christ risen from a world of death and darkness, we ask, what do we believe?

On this day when we say Jesus has entered our lives in a particular way, how do we enact the Gospel call to love those who hate us?

On this day when we celebrate the presence of God in our lives, how do we proclaim to the world that the one who stands before us has never been seen before?

EmptyTombWishing Easter peace and blessings to all in the Noontime Circle.

Asking Easter joy and grace for all the faithful.

Trusting in Easter transformation for all of God’s creation.

Amen.


A re-post from Easter Sunday 2014.

Images from: http://www.the-dock.org/blog/2011/easter-sunday/ 

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