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Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category


John 14: Seek Presence

Thursday, November 30, 2017

With the institution of the gift of Eucharist, Jesus promises that he will remain with us always. Matthew 26:26-28

With the gift of bread and wine as the real presence of Christ, the Spirit dwells in us today. Mark 14: 22-24

With the physical remembrance of transformed bread and wine, of God fulfills the promise to live among us. Luke 22:19-20

With the gift of Eucharist, or Thanksgiving, we have the way to be in the real presence of God. John 14

Richard Rohr, OFM writes: “The Eucharist is an encounter of the heart, knowing Presence through our available presence. In the Eucharist we move beyond mere words or rational thought and go to the place where we don’t talk about the Mystery anymore; we begin to chew on it. Jesus did not say, ‘Think about this’ or ‘Stare at this’ or even ‘Worship this.’ Instead, he said, ‘Eat this!’ It was to be a bodily action and a social action with the group . . . We are the very Body of Christ. We have dignity and power flowing through us in our very naked existence – and everybody else does too – even though most do not know it. This is enough to steer and empower your entire faith life”. (Rohr 299)

We can infer from these verses and Rohr’s words that realizing the true presence of God in our lives will not happen when we are alone in a quiet corner contemplating God’s existence. Rather, we best find God as we act as Christ asks us to act, when we abide in the Spirit as the Spirit urges, and when we agree to become the Body of Christ as God invites us.

Finding the True Presence, then, is more likely when we are moving through our days with Christ ever on our minds and in our hearts, hands, lips and feet. We find the presence of God when we are truly open and thankful. We encounter the presence of God when we remember that Eucharist means Thanksgiving, and when we thank God for all that we have and all we are.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

When we use the scripture links and drop-down menus to compare varying translations of these verses, we discover the presence of God within.

 

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Daniel 2:20-23: Seek God

William Brassey Hole: Daniel Interprets the Dream of Nebuchadnezzar

Monday, November 13, 2017

A Canticle of Praise

If we want to seek God, we do well to begin with praising God. In the Northern Hemisphere as we bring in the harvests from a season of plenty, we reflect on one who praises God well.

The story of Daniel is well-known to us.  He and his comrades were taken to the Babylonian court, as were many of the talented young Jewish men, and there he interprets king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.  When he is graced with the gift of a vision from God, he reveals the mystery of the king’s dream. Daniel wisely acknowledges the source of his talent and so he properly and immediately thanks and praises his God with these beautiful verses.  They are ones that we might recite each morning and each evening at the rising and the closing of our day.

God is wise and powerful!
    Praise God forever and ever.

Daniel brings to full potential not only himself but also the Jewish nation . . . in a creative, saintly way.  He takes no care for his own circumstances – which are at the minimum unpleasant and at the worst life-threatening – because he knows that God will protect and guide him.  Daniel is only concerned about fulfilling the part of God’s plan which he has been called to enact.  He pushes himself toward the potential planted in him by God.  So do the saints.  So may we.

Let us praise God as Daniel does.

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power are God’s.

What an awesome God we have.  Let us join him and the community of saints as we seek to know ourselves better, to share ourselves better, to heal ourselves and others better.

God reveals deep and hidden things and knows what is in the darkness, for the light dwells with God.

Let us open to the light of the revealed Christ.  Let us put that light on a lampstand for all creation to see.

To you, O God . . . I give thanks and praise, because you have given me wisdom and power.

Amen.

Adapted from a Favorite from November 1, 2007.

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Psalm 120Prayer for a Returned Exile

Soldiers marshaling people for a march

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Today we consider this prayer by those who returned from captivity and exile to find their holy Temple and city in ruins. Today we also consider our own response to the challenge of rebuilding, and the gift of transformation. Adapted from a reflection written on May 18, 2009.

There is a cycle of Psalms that pilgrims began to sing when they made their journey to Jerusalem each spring.  This is the first of the fifteen Songs of AscentPilgrims to this day still refer to this journey as an ascent – a going up – to Jerusalem.  The holy city was God’s dwelling place, the new Sinai, the place where the Ark of the Covenant was kept in the temple’s Holy of Holies guarded by huge gold statues of cherubim – fierce and loyal winged celestial creatures.

Not only is this psalm an anthem of thanksgiving for having been rescued, it is also a petition for protection against the bands of attackers who lurked along the Jerusalem route to waylay and rob the innocent.  The victim who is helped in the Good Samaritan parable is on the road to Jerusalem.  The priest and the Levite pass by the wounded man and do not help him.  If they are on their way up to Jerusalem, they will not want to break their fast or become impure in any way before entering the Temple.  They leave the man in the ditch to be helped by the Samaritan.  Joseph and Mary leave the protection of their clan to travel alone back to Jerusalem in search of the lost child Jesus.  He is found with the elders of the temple discussing scripture.

Several years ago we reflected on this prayer during one of our Noontimes, and we spent some time with the following citation from the St Joseph Edition of Psalms.  “Human beings are born to be pilgrims in search of the Absolute, on a journey to God.  We advance by way of stages, from the difficulties of life to the certainties of hope, from the dispersion of cares to the joyous encounter with God, from daily diversions to inner recollection”. 

When we make our Easter journey toward Pentecost, we feel a certain vulnerability.  We have experienced friendship with Christ, and we have witnessed his death.  He has returned and we are joyful; yet he speaks of going away to send us the Advocate.  He reminds us that his love can never leave us.  We hear his words and experience this love; yet we feel that there is something more . . . there is something missing.  We lack an ingredient to an important lesson.

We have returned from exile with Christ’s resurrection.  His act of humility and love has set us free.  Let us thank him for our deliverance.  Let us ask him to protect us against the bands of marauders that assault our days and nights as we journey home.  In joy, we make our Prayer of Ascent.

From the MAGNIFICAT evening prayer last night, we pray: Make our love a sign of your presence in the world!

For all who live lives of loveless loneliness: may we embrace them in our communities of love.  Make our love a sign of your presence in the world!

For all who have mistaken power and possession for love: may they discover the truth through the witness of Christian believers: Make our love a sign of your presence in the world!

For all who have died: may they live forever in the kingdom of God’s love: Make our love a sign of your presence in the world!

Amen.

THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. Print.

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Evening.” MAGNIFICAT. 17.5 (2009). Print.  

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Psalm 9: The Book of God’s Wonders

Monday, March 6, 2017psalms9_2-31

The MESSAGE version of this psalm speaks to us in our core. Anyone who has been wronged, anyone who has suffered injustice of any kind, anyone who looks for refuge in the storm of life will smile as they read these verses.

I’m thanking you, God, from a full heart, I’m writing the book on your wonders. I’m whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy; I’m singing your song, High God.

What are the miracles of our relationship with God will we want to enter into the Book of God’s Wonders?

The day my enemies turned tail and ran, they stumbled on you and fell on their faces. You throw dirty players out of the game, wipe their names right off the roster. Enemies disappear from the sidelines, their reputation trashed, their names erased from the halls of fame.

We look for the patience to allow God’s plan to blossom and flourish.

God holds the high center, God sees and sets the world’s mess right. God’s a safe-house for the battered, a sanctuary during bad times. The moment you arrive, you relax; you’re never sorry you knocked.

We pray for the hope we will need to remember God’s promise of safety, and we pray for the courage to knock at heaven’s door as Jesus tells us we must.

Sing your songs to Zion-dwelling God, tell God’s stories to everyone you meet: How God tracks down killers yet keeps an eye on us, registers every whimper and moan.

We pray for the fortitude to weather the storm, knowing that although the horizon is dark, God navigates our lives.

psalm-9_18Be kind to me, God; I’ve been kicked around long enough. Once you’ve pulled me back from the gates of death, I’ll write the book on Hallelujahs; on the corner of Main and First I’ll hold a street meeting; I’ll be the song leader; we’ll fill the air with salvation songs.

We pray for the courage to thank God in public and to share the stories we list in the Book of God’s Wonders.

They’re trapped, those godless, in the very snares they set, their feet all tangled in the net they spread. They have no excuse; the way God works is well-known. The cunning machinery made by the wicked has maimed their own hands.

We remember to intercede for those who would harm us.

The wicked bought a one-way ticket to hell. No longer will the poor be nameless—no more humiliation for the humble.

We ask for mercy for our enemies, and the grace to step away from the temptation to seek revenge.

Up, God! Aren’t you fed up with their empty strutting? Expose these grand pretensions! Shake them up, God! Show them how silly they look.

We ask God to steer us clear of all pretension. We ask that Christ lead us in the ways of the just. And we ask that the Holy Spirit abide in us forever, as we proclaim the wonders God has wrought for us.

When we use the scripture link and the drop-down menus to compare other translations of this Psalm, we discover that we have a great deal to record in The Book of God’s Wonders, and to share with all the world. 

 

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Colossians 3:15-17: Be Thankful

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Colossae Ruins

Colossae Ruins

Today we take a portion of Paul’s letter to the people of Colossae and we apply it to our own lives as we once again learn to . . .

Be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly and . . . be thankful.

Teach and admonish one another in wisdom and . . . be thankful.

Sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs and . . . be thankful.

Live with gratitude in your hearts and . . . be thankful.

In word and deed and in everything you do . . . be thankful.

In the name of the Lord, Christ Jesus . . . be thankful.

Amen.

When we explore other translations of these verses, we discover that a new sense of gratitude settles into our bones and sinews . . . so that we might live out God’s call to thanksgiving each day.

For more posts on gratitude, enter the word into the blog search bar.

Click on the post photograph to see more images and to learn more about Colossae

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1 Thessalonians 3:9-13: An Adequate Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 6, 2016givethanks-desktop

We enter the month in the U.S. when we traditionally offer thanks for full harvests and healthy lives. This is a time when we ask what our gratitude means, how we best express it, and how we might best offer our thanks to God.

What would be an adequate thanksgiving to offer God for all the joy we experience?

We too often rely on ourselves alone when we tackle obstacles and solve problems. We must remember to include God in all our equations.

We do what we can, praying away, night and day, asking for the bonus of seeing your faces again and doing what we can to help when your faith falters.

Like the Thessalonians, we find that God is our best bulwark against the storm, the most reliable defender and protector.

May God our Father himself and our Master Jesus clear the road to you!

Like the Thessalonians, we find that God’s love can heal all injury and convert all harm.

And may the Master pour on the love so it fills your lives and splashes over on everyone around you, just as it does from us to you.

thanksLike the Thessalonians, we discover that the love we experience multiples as we share it.

May you be infused with strength and purity, filled with confidence in the presence of God our Father when our Master Jesus arrives with all his followers.

Like the Thessalonians, let us give more than adequate thanks for the presence of God in our days and nights, for the work of Christ during our highs and lows, for the love of the Spirit in good times and bad.

For more reflections on Thanksgiving, search The Noontimes blog using the category cloud in the right-hand sidebar. 

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Psalm 30: Thanksgiving – Part VII

Sunday, October 2, 2016 giving-thanks-for-your-life

Adapted from a Favorite written at the beginning of a new year, January 3, 2009.

Thanksgiving for Deliverance

When we are in the valleys of life it is difficult to feel the hope of regeneration; so when we feel the sense of relief after delivery we will want to dwell in that sensation of rebirth for a while . . . and we will want to give thanks.

When days are dark we try to remember that liberation from anxiety and a sense of uselessness too often overtakes us, and then we remember that release is what the Savior comes to give us with an open and eager heart.

When days are bright and we revel in the ease with which challenges are met and overcome, we might focus on a keen awareness of those moments, taking into our consciousness the swell and ebb of those feelings. In this way we will know how to petition God when the sky grows dark.

We do not want to become complacent.

We concentrate on verses 7 to 11 and we know that we have lived too many days of assumed ease.  We have put our heads on pillows too many nights without saying Thank you, I love you.  We have forgotten to fully appreciate the one who always saves.  We know this now; and so we will make a conscious effort to put all things into perspective before falling to sleep . . . no matter the worry or crush of the day. Verses 12 and 13:

You changed my mourning into dancing;

          you took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.

With my whole being I sing endless praise to you.

          O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.

Amen.

This might be our bedtime prayer for the year . . . and perhaps for years to come.

 

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Psalm 52: Thanksgiving – Part VI

Saturday, October 1, 2016OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Giving thanks for the Deceitful Tongue

In this Favorite from September 21, 2008 we find that thanksgiving finds us even when we encounter lies and deceptions.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

The image of the olive tree is used often in the Old Testament.  Either the fruit or its oil was present at every meal in Jesus’ time.  The tree is evergreen and grows anywhere it can get a foothold, even on rocky hillsides.  “It is no wonder it assumed an almost mythical character.  The tree became a symbol of fertility (Ps. 128:3), beauty Jer. 11:16; Hos. 14:6), divine blessing (Deut. 7:13), peace and bountifulness (Gen. 8:11), and it was inextricably associated with Jesus (the Mount of Olives [Mark 14:26; John 8:1]).” (Achetemeier 782)

The olive tree serves as an apt model for the life of a Christian.  It takes hold where it can; its fruit and oil sustain, light, heal and anoint.

I will praise you always for what you have done.

We so often turn to God in time of sorrow and trial.  We must remember to praise God in thanksgiving when we are blessed.

I will proclaim before the faithful that your name is good.

We so often think that when things go well we have been clever, “on top of things”, and well-prepared.  We must remember to give God credit for the good in our lives, for without God we have nothing.  God is the one who ordained us with our aptitudes.

The first portion of this psalm asks Why do you glory in evil, you scandalous liar?  It is a question we pose when we discover that someone we trust has been untruthful in such a way that our relationship has suffered.

The second portion of the psalm describes how God will strike down the liar while the righteous jeer.  From a New Testament standpoint, we know that compassion and Christ-like witness are the proper responses to an evil act.  Still, we can empathize with the pent-up anger expressed in this Old Testament view.  That is why it is all the more important to look at the third portion.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

It reminds us that after we have done all possible to rebuke a sinner, we must place our trust in God.

I will praise you always for what you have done.

It reminds us to thank God for the blessings in our lives, for the evil turned to good.

I will proclaim before the faithful that your name is good.

It reminds us to tell the wonderful story of our own conversion so that others may also be converted.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

It reminds us to trust God, to love as Christ loves, to endure, to hold on, and to be faithful to God forever.

Like an olive tree in the house of God, trust in God’s love forever.

Achetemeier, Paul J. HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE DICTIONARY. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996. 782. Print.

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Esther 10 and F: Thanksgiving – Part V

Friday, September 30, 2016

Jean Francois de Troy: The Triumhp of Mordecai

Jean Francois de Troy: The Triumph of Mordecai

A Favorite from October 6, 2007.

Mordecai’s Dream Fulfilled

A Favorite from October 6, 2007. To read the epilogue (Esther F), consult the New American Bible (NABRE) using the scripture link above. 

When we explore Esther’s story, we discover God’s gift of goodness.

How many times has this kind of rescue happened in small ways in our lives that we have given momentary thanksgiving and moved on to our next petition in our list of dreams?  How many times have we quickly curtsied or bowed as we said a hasty “Thank you” before rushing on to out next request?  We must always make the time to give full and abundant thanks to God.  For has not God’s goodness been overflowing to us?  We must pass along these stories to those who follow.  For have not these stories been passed along to us?  We must, like Mordecai who realizes that his highest hopes have been born out of God’s providence and mercy, gather together with joy and happiness before God that we may celebrate.  We must rejoice in the goodness of God for only this gladness and joy will carry us forward to New Life in the fullest.

When we spend time with the story of Esther, Mordecai, Haman and Ahasuerus, we open our hearts to thanksgiving. We open ourselves to the Spirit. 

Click on the image above to learn more about the characters in this very human story, or visit: http://www.moshereiss.org/messenger/15_esther/15_esther.html

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