Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Thursday, July 30, 2020

pearls[1]Romans 12:9-18

Recipe

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.  Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.  Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.  Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.  Bless those who persecute [you], bless and do not curse them.  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.  Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.  Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.  If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.

If we are ever in question about where happiness lies, we have our answer here.  Paul gives us a simple recipe for how to turn harm to goodness.

God says: My faithful servant Paul has written out a clear recipe for your happiness.  It is like a string of beautiful pearls; look at each one and examine it.  Spend time today with each of these ideas.  If you are quite occupied, choose a few that puzzle or trouble you and turn them over in your mind and heart.  This recipe for contentment will serve you well.  Return to this circle of gems as often as needed.  Carry them with you wherever you go.  Touch them. Ponder them. They are a gift to you this day and all days.  You may hold them close or pass them along to another.  In either case, they remain forever yours.

Pieter Brueghel de Jonge: Pearls Before Swine

We often look for quick fixes and sure solutions.  Once we surrender our will to God, this kind of struggling ceases to nag at us.  Once we begin to live by the recipe Paul records for us The Way becomes a bit more smooth.  Once we take these words into our hearts, we find that peace settles into us like a welcome guest whom we urge to stay the night.


We might want to spend time with Matthew 7:6 in which Jesus reminds us that we do not want to cast our pearls before swine . . . we want to remember that our recipe for loving as Jesus loves includes the holding of our relationship with Christ as holy. 

Images from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_7:6 and https://www.karipearls.com/pearls-before-swine.html


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Colossians 3:15-17

Faces_of_Christ[1]In One Body

Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.  And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

In this modern age we often discuss being in or out of control.  We struggle with understanding how much our genetics govern our behavior; we conduct studies and gather research about parenting and how to best nurture the human spirit.

God says: I have come to dwell among you in the form of the man, Jesus.  I live in you and you live in me. When you spend time with me – truly spend time – you come to know me better with each minute and hour.  When you dialog with me – truly dialog – you grow in wisdom. Dwell in me richly that your hands and feet and lips and mind and heart move and act in me.  Admonish one another lovingly.  Give thanks continually.  And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the Father.

Through human history we see that humankind prefers to be in control and we like to think that we govern our own destiny or at least have a hand in forming our circumstances.  We are most comfortable when we dictate conditions to others.  We are also content to follow blindly if questioning our goal and means makes us a bit too uncomfortable.  When we are in one body with Christ the conflicts and struggles that surround us resolve themselves well and sometimes easily.  When we live and act in one accord with Christ our petty differences and obstacles disappear as if they never existed.  When we give thanks to God through Christ in all we are and do, our need to control everyone and everything will cease.

Enter the words Mystical Body in the blog search bar, choose a reflection, and spend some time in a dialog with God.


Image from: http://blog.adw.org/2011/01/what-is-the-church/


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

DGT ST AL MASS LIBOActs 10:9

Liturgy of the Hours – Part II

Peter went up to the roof terrace to pray at about noontime.

Sext is the traditional noontime prayer and those who are frequent visitors of The Noontimes gather petitions to send on to God.  This pause in the middle of the day can steady frayed nerves and give us courage.  Pausing to relieve the tensions we experience in the living of ordinary lives, we place the burden of our worries precisely where they belong . . . in God’s capable and loving hands.

The None or Nones prayers are gathered at 3:00 p.m. and when we read scripture carefully we discover that the apostles maintained the Jewish tradition of going up to the Temple at this hour to pray.  In Acts 3 we read a delightful story of God entering into Peter and John’s lives in an amazing way when they go up to the temple area to pray at the three o’clock hour of prayer.  We modern-day disciples are given the chance to join our prayers with others as this mid afternoon hour moves from east to west around the globe . . . and to ask for our own amazing experience.

Sext at noon and None as we reach the middle of the afternoon, these prayer intervals interrupt the denser part of the work day and ask us to pause either for a sliver of a moment or for a half hour or hour, whatever is practical in our lives.  Sext and None, keeping us anchored as we bring our work to God. Sext and None, guiding us through hectic and perhaps tense hours. Sext and None . . . preparing us for our return home to take refuge before night closes us in.

These two afternoon intervals, along with their sisters in this rhythmic cycle of prayer, bring to us an opening to God’s presence in a special way.  Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, Nones, Vespers or Evensong, and ComplineThese invitations to join the faithful in prayer lifted to the Creator are ours.  These opportunities each day and night as a call to bring our sorrows and joys to God are ours.  These petitions and offertories we bring forward as our hopes and dreams regularly and faithfully are the heartbeats of the Spirit that unite us.

Whenever and wherever possible let us pause, if even only for a moment, at these appointed times to join our sisters and brothers in Christ because in this way we will come to more completely understand that we are never alone. In this way we more intensely feel that we are always accompanied.  And in this way we more fully join the chorus that rises like incense to God in a powerful cascade of love and prayer.


We can spend time on with The Story of the crippled beggar at the Beautiful Gate in Acts 3.

Image from: http://dailytimewithgod.com/?p=3907

To read about research that investigates the power of prayer, go to: http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,193084,00.html


Monday, July 27, 2020

Ephesians 5:19-20

Liturgy of the Hours – Part I

breathe[1]Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and praying to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father. 

The liturgical observation of Canonical Hours has its origin in the old Judaic tradition of praying seven times in the twenty-four hour cycle as Psalm 119:164 tells us: Seven times a day do I praise you. With the rise of Christianity and its spread through the Roman Empire, these seven prayer intervals, or eight if both Prime and Lauds are prayed at separate intervals, have come to us through the ages.  We have spent time reflecting about Lauds, Vespers and Compline.  Today we take another look at how we might join our voices at other times of the day and night when we know that millions around the globe are praying.  In this small way we take our large and little problems to God . . . to find solace and peace in troubled times.

The Night Watch Prayer is sometimes referred to as Matins and is prayed at any hour between 2 a.m. and sunrise.  We know that the early apostles prayed throughout the day and night as we read in Acts 16:25-26: About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God as the prisoners listened, there was suddenly such a great earthquake that the foundations of the jail shook; all the doors flew open, and the chains of all were pulled loose. When we awake in the middle of the night there is a certain comfort in remembering this story of the jailed disciples whom God miraculously freed.  We also find a certain peace in offering our petitions when we know that millions in other time zones gather during their waking hours to pray the daytime offices.  In this way we join our own prayer to the cascade of prayer lifted to God without ceasing. 

The Prayer of Terce is traditionally prayed at 9:00 a.m. at the time when modern-day employees typically arrive in their offices.  If we find ourselves in difficult workplaces we might seek a few trusted colleagues who will agree to pause at an appointed morning hour to quietly petition God for the repair of the broken places in our offices, and to give us the insight we need to better understand the cold hearts and stiff necks of stubborn co-workers.  This agreed upon appointment with God does not require that we physically gather; the mingling of our prayers from our separate cubicles or offices in a common call for goodness is pleasing to God who loves to see faithful children come together in any way they can to ask for justice and mercy.

Matins, early in the morning when we cannot sleep or when we awake, and Terce, as the working part of our day begins . . . we must remember God in all we ask.  We must call on God with all we say.  And we must live in God in all we do.

So let us join our voices with the millions that rise to God at Matins or Terce, and let us be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and praying to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.   Amen.


The Benedictus, Magnificat and Compline posts earlier this week describe other times in the cycle of prayer or conversation with God.  Tomorrow, the prayers of Sext and None  For more information on fixed hour prayer, this constant dialog with God at regular intervals, go to: http://www.explorefaith.org/prayer/prayer/fixed/index.php  


Sunday, July 26, 2020

deadsea[1]Matthew 18:19-20

The Isaiah Effect

I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. 

In his publication THE ISAIAH EFFECT, Gregg Braden “combines research in quantum physics with the words of the prophet Isaiah and the ancient Essenes” to illustrate that when we come together to petition God in common prayer we find a “correlation between the offering of the prayer and a shift of the events in question beyond coincidence – the prayers had measureable effects”.   The name Isaiah means “the Lord saves: and this prophecy was written at a critical time in the history of the people of Israel.   The universal message brought to us through this prophet is one of salvation”. (Braden, Editor’s Note)

God says: You send me endless petitions and this is as it should be.  I created you. I know your needs.  I know your desires.  I love to transform your life and open miracles to you.  I want to save you in every way each day.  It is true that when you agree to pray at the same moment each day it does not matter if you are physically in the same space. I also created space and I can adapt it to my ends.  It is also true that if the events of your day cause you to miss or even forget your prayer appointment with your friends, you can offer your petition when you realize the missed hour.  I created time and this also I can bend to my will.  I only ask that you agree to gather in Jesus’ name to fold your prayers together in offering.  Leave the rest to me.  Walk in The Way I am showing to you. 

We study God’s universe and develop themes and theories that we call quantum physics.  From these studies we understand that there are more dimensions than the three we experience of pitch, yaw and roll.  We also understand that time it not as linear and unyielding as we like to think.  When we are willing to step out of our own time and space in order to step into God’s world of possibility, we are rewarded.  Let us commit to making a prayer appointment with friends or family members who have a common petition . . . let us send our petitions forward to God . . . and let us be patient enough to witness God’s Isaiah Effect.


Braden, Gregg.  THE ISAIAH EFFECT. New York: Harmony Books. 2000. Print.  Editor’s Note.

Explore the world of the Essenes and read a FRONTLINE article by clicking on the image above or going to: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html

Sandals found in the Caves at Qumran

Sandals found in the Caves at Qumran

For online access to the Great Isaiah Scroll discovered in the Qumran caves in the 1940s and 1950s, go to: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah_video

To move around the scroll, click on it, and move the cursor above the citation for the English Masoretic translation at: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah#66:6

For seven interesting facts about The Dead Sea, viait: https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/nature/intriguing-things-you-didnt-know-about-dead-sea

To read about The Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran, and for a video visit to the vault where they are stored, go to the Israel Museum’s Shrine of The Book at: http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/dss_video

Visit with The Community Scroll and watch the video to see how the early Qumran sectarians wrote the word God in their manuscripts.  http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/community_video

To understand the concepts pitch, yaw and roll, and for a visual illustration of their intertwined movements, go to: http://howthingsfly.si.edu/flight-dynamics/roll-pitch-and-yaw

For a site which shares Bible citations about the power of prayer, go to: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-awesome-bible-verses-about-the-power-of-prayer/


Saturday, July 25, 2020

6157010118[1]John 13:34

The New Commandment

I give you a new commandment: love one another.  As I have loved you, so should you love one another.

This is so simple and yet so complicated.  This is so clear and yet so foggy.  This is so down-to-earth and yet so mystical.  Jesus is quite clear about how we are to live and why. All else stems from this one commandment of love.

God says: I know that when you see or hear these words you are perplexed.  Many of you are looking for something more vertical and less horizontal, with layers of rules and bureaucracy, with rating systems and hierarchy, but your relationship with me is as simple as this law.  Others want only comfort and drifting forgetfulness but my love is wider and deeper, and more intense than a mere longing.  I know that you look for guarantees, escape hatches and safety values, but none are needed here.  Life with me is really this simple.  Love one another. Put away your anger and hate.  Put aside your gossiping and comparing.  I love each of you.  Deal with your greed and envy.  Laziness and pride are tools you do not need for the work you complete in my vineyard.  I call each of you and you need only this one quality: Love.  It is all.  It is everything.  It is more than enough.  All else stems from this one practice I long to see you embrace.  Love one another as I have loved you.  It is all I ask of you.  It is the only command I give to you.  And yet it is everything.

We humans tend to over-complicate our relationship with God.  We spend lifetimes seeking wisdom and knowledge when all we need to know is walking with us in the person of God all the while.  We spend hours obsessing and harboring when all we need do is forgive, trust God and live in the Spirit.  We spend years alternately ignoring and anguishing about who and what Jesus is while the risen Christ takes up our heavy yoke with us each day.  God gives us this one command.  There is really nothing more we need do.

In John 8:1-11, the Pharisees ask Jesus a question as they try to entrap him.  Read the story to see what happens when Jesus bends to write on the ground with his finger . . . and imagine what he wrote.  Then imagine where you are standing and what you are thinking . . . and tell this story to someone else today.


Image from: http://www.christianbook.com/as-have-loved-you-bulletins-100/pd/117078


Friday, July 24, 2020

Anna and Jesus

Anna and Jesus

Luke 2:36-38

Never Forsaken

There was also a prophetess Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage, and then as a widow until the age of eighty-four.  She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer.  And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem. 

Simeon is not the only holy voice who recognizes the Messiah in the infant Jesus.  Simeon and Anna are “Israel in miniature, poised in anticipation of the new”.  (Mays 932)  Yet despite the celebration of the moment there is a recognition of the suffering that will also take place.

God says: I do not want to dampen your joy or bring you sorrow.  I send Anna because I know that in your journey pain will always accompany rejoicing; and I want Anna to remind you that even when you believe I have duped you . . . you will have consolation.  I will never abandon you even though the harsh times may cause you to think that I will not return.  I will never leave you even though you may believe I have.  I want you  to know that I need not return to you . . . for I  have never left.  I am with you always. 

Anna’s appearance after the words of Simeon remind us that “Jerusalem will reject [Jesus] and will instead follow a way that will lead to disaster (19:41-44).  They will seem forsaken by God, but Anna is a reminder that the disaster is not God’s last word: Jesus remains for Jerusalem a sign of hope”. (Barton 930)

Enter the word hope into the blog search bar and explore other reflections that remind us of God’s constant presence in his precious gift of Jesus to the world.


Barton, John, and John Muddiman. THE OXFORD BIBLE COMMENTARY. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2001. 930. Print.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 932. Print.


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Luke 2:29-32

Compline

My eyes have seen the salvation which you have prepared in the sight of every people: a light to reveal you to the nations.

In the tradition of The Liturgy of the Hours the Canticle of Simeon is sung as part of Compline or Night Prayer.  For the entire prayer, go to the Bible Gateway site linked in the citation above and explore the various interpretations of these verses.  For the story of Simeon, read Luke 2:22-35.

God says: Simeon is a faithful servant who waited patiently for the fulfillment of my promise that he would see the messiah before death came to him.  Just as Mary and Joseph were presenting the child, Jesus, in the Temple, this loyal servant saw in this family what I see, a trinity of hope, love and faith, promise, mercy and constancy.  Simeon also saw that the lives of these three people would be full of deep sorrow and great joy.  Simeon spoke words that I hear in waves from the faithful as they prepare to retire for the night.  Join yourself with them as you prepare for bed.  It is such a short prayer that it will not tax you.  Turn away from the cares of the world for a brief time and pray these verses.  You sleep ever so much better for having joined Simeon to visit with me.

Another faithful servant waited patiently for the appearance of God Among Us.  Tomorrow, the story of Anna . . .


Image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon.jpg


Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Mary's greatness quoteLuke 1:46-55

Magnificat

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. 

In the tradition of The Liturgy of the Hours the Magnificat is sung as part of Vespers, or Evening Prayer.  For the entire prayer, go to the Bible Gateway site linked in the citation above and explore the various interpretations of these verses.

God says: Imagine what I hear when so many voices are raised to me each evening with these words of Mary.  It is most pleasing to hear the babel of your many languages and even more pleasing to hear the petitions you lift up to me as you pray.  Do not worry if you find that the details of your life call you away at the appointed Evensong.  As best you can, pause for a moment to remember me and our Mother Mary who bravely stepped forward so that I might come to live among you.  Just say the word “Magnificat” with deep intention before you move into your evening.  I will unite your word with the other prayers that fly to me. Remember always how much Mary loves you as the sisters and brothers of Jesus.  And remember always that I also love you.

These words of Mary express the hope of all.  Let us spend a few moments of our precious time to unite ourselves with her and those millions of others who lift these verses to God each day as the evening closes in.


Image from: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Society-of-Our-Lady-of-the-Magnificat/270422953001042

To read more about Mary’s own Prayer by Fr. John A. Harden, S.J., go to: http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=7340

To visit with a homily about this prayer by Msgr. Charles Pope and to reflect on an image of Elizabeth greeting Mary, go to: http://blog.adw.org/2010/12/the-magnificat-is-a-bold-prayer/

%d bloggers like this: