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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’


Matthew 8:14-17: Casting Outjesusheals-300x298

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Those who suffer from leprosy, those who are scorned and separate. Those controlled by circumstances beyond their reach. Jesus interacts with all, no matter their status or condition, and for this we are grateful for how are we to know when we will number among them? Today we watch as Jesus ministers to those possessed by the forces of other worlds, those driven by powers from other dimensions, those tortured by fears and anxieties that live within.

When we realize that we are in a relationship that takes us beyond our depth, let us ask God to guide us home.

When we feel we are pushed beyond limits that are already stretched too far, let us ask Jesus to cast out our fear.

When we believe we are beyond healing and peace, let us ask the Spirit to bring us restoration and serenity.

He took our infirmities, he bore our diseases . . .

As Christ heals so many among us with the hope of Easter resurrection, we give thanks for this great casting our of worry and pain

He cast out spirits with a word and cured all who were sick . . .

As Christ steps into shoes that we find too large and shoulders burdens we find too heavy, we give thanks for this great love that so eagerly casts out the pain and sorrow of the world.


Image from: http://wonder.oca.org/2014/09/23/except-through-prayer-and-fasting/

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Tuesday, March 1, 2022evergreen in snow

Psalm 147:12-20

Praise

Tomorrow we begin the season of Lent, a time when the earth shifts moods with the changing seasons. In the northern hemisphere the promise of spring and the Easter Passion hover amid the snow-covered trees while all of creation anticipates new burgeoning and promise. In the southern hemisphere autumn prepares us for winter as we gather harvests, snug in and burrow down, resting in the nurturing strength of the covenant promise. No matter our mood or circumstance, Lent offers us an opportunity to renew, re-touch, and re-encounter the risen Christ. Lent gives us a way to examine and re-define. Lent brings us a fresh wind and a new heart. Today we pray with Psalm 147 as we prepare for Lent, and look forward to the fulfillment of the Good News.

Glorify the Lord and offer praise to your God . . .

Today we give thanks for both our blessings and obstacles, realizing that grace arrives with our sufferings as well as our joys.

Who has strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your children within you . . . ?

Today we give thanks for our progeny and our future, looking forward to the events that bring us into union with God.

Who has brought peace to your borders, and filled you with finest wheat . . . ?

Today we give thanks for all the harvests in our lives, for the opportunity to both give and receive God’s plenty that graces the earth.

The Lord sends a command to earth; God’s word runs swiftly! Snow is spread like wool, frost is scattered like ash, hail is dispersed like crumbs; before such cold the waters freeze. Again the Lord sends God’s word and they melt; the wind is unleashed and the waters flow . . .

National Geographic: Night sky in Patagonia, Argentina

National Geographic: Night sky in Patagonia, Argentina

And so, we pray,

Today we give thanks for all that we receive, knowing that we are asked to share these gifts from the Lord. Today we give thanks for all that we experience, knowing that we are called to love one another. Today we give thanks for all that is to come, knowing that The Lord has peace and joy in great store for us. Today, with all of creation, we give thanks and praise to God. Amen.

Tomorrow, Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.


For everyday words of encouragement, click on the evergreen tree above or visit: http://everydayencouragement.org/2014/02/23/god-bends-down-to-hear-your-prayers/

For more beautiful images from National Geographic, click on the image of the night sky in Patagonia, or visit: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/tree-stars-patagonia/

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joySaturday, November 6, 2021

Tobit 13

Joy and Praise

We move further into the Old Testament looking for stories of joy that might surprise us. If today’s story calls you to search further, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today we come to the end of the Book of Tobit.

Tobit dies at the age of 112 and he was given a burial with honor. After regaining his sight he lived in prosperity, giving alms and continually blessing God and praising the divine Majesty.  In Chapter 13 we find his Song of Praise, a hymn of thanksgiving from one who was once in the abyss but who now understands that God was with him throughout his long travail. Understanding the valuable gift of God’s presence . . . Then Tobit composed this joyful prayer . . .

Lippi: Tobias and the Archangel Raphael

Filippino Lippi: Tobias and the Archangel Raphael

Let us join Tobit in our own song of thanks.

Blessed be God who lives forever . . .

Where once we saw sorrow we now find joy.

Praise with full voice . . .

When once we were timid now we are bold.

In the land of my exile I praise him . . .

When once we were apart we are now united in Christ.

Praise the Lord for his goodness . . .

Where once we saw pain we now find thanksgiving.

A bright light will shine to all parts of the earth . . .

Where once we saw darkness we now perceive Christ’s light.

My spirit blesses the Lord . . .

When once we felt sadness we now experience joy

Blessed be God who has raised us up . . .

And blessed be God who sustains us. Amen.

Spend time with Chapters 11-14 of Tobit today and discover why and how the people in this story celebrate.


For more information about anxiety and joy, click on the image above or visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/

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joySaturday, October 23, 2021

Leviticus 9

Joy and Ministry

From time to time we will visit scripture to look for stories about joy that will surprise us in a number of ways. If you wish to explore other stories in which joy astonishes us, click on the word Joy in the categories cloud in the blog’s right hand sidebar and choose a reflection, or enter the word Joy in the blog search bar. You may also want to visit the Joy for the Journey blog at www.joyforthee.blogspot.com to see how joy surprises you there. Today our story is from the Book of Leviticus.

Whenever we practice formal religious rites, experience God in nature, or find God among family and friends, we will always find ministers of joy. In today’s story we read about joy experienced by God’s people who wander in the desert looking for the promise of safety and security. We watch as Moses designates priests who will act as intermediaries for the faithful, and we wonder if we ourselves might be priests to one another. We examine our willingness in being conduits of joy to the world. And we reflect on our own capacity for joy.

Reubens; Sacrifice of the Old Covenant

Peter Paul Reubens: Sacrifice of the Old Covenant

Wherever we find the God of joy, we will also find those willing to tell how they have been redeemed by God’s love. In today’s story from this book of laws and restrictions, we ponder on the freeing power of joy and its ability to overcome all obstacles. We consider how we find joy in other places, times and people and how joy is always present – although often hidden – in times of deepest sorrow; and we reflect on how we might reveal the healing presence of joy to ourselves and one another.

desert tentHowever we find joy like that described in today’s story about these ancient people in the celebration of life and thanksgiving, we will be moved to open the windows and doors of surprise for ourselves and one another. We remember how we long for joy in times of sadness or exile. We recall how the burning presence of joy can heal and save. And we determine to bring the loving salve of God’s joy into the narrowest places of our lives each day.

And so we pray . . .

Let us call on God’s living presence in any hour of despair or pain.

Let us offer up to God any arid landscape we experience today.

Let us minister to one another with shouts of great celebration as we recognize God’s desire to bring joy to even the tiniest moments of our lives. 

And let us revel in the loving surprise of God’s joy and presence and like the faithful we read about today, let us cheer loudly as we fall down in great bows of delighted reverence for God. 

Amen.


For more about anxiety and joy, visit: http://riselikeair.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/anxiety-joy-a-journey/ 

Reubens image from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sacrifice_of_the_Old_Covenant_Rubens.jpg

Temple image from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shemini_(parsha)

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Monday, October 11, 2021

Psalm 115

metal-texture-silver-gold-scratchedSilver and Gold

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands.

From footnotes, This is “a response to the enemy taunt, ‘Where is your God?’ . . . [I]t ridicules the lifeless idols of the nations, expresses a litany of trust of the various classes of the people in God, invokes God’s blessing  on them as they invoke the divine name, and concludes as it began with praise of God”.  (Senior 726)  True silver and gold are trust in the work of the Lord’s hands. There is no need to exact revenge.

Yesterday’s first reading at Mass was another look at the character of silver and gold.  In Wisdom 7:7-11 they are seen as useless as the lust for power and control because all truly good things come from God, and God values our prudence and humility above supremacy.  I prayed and prudence was given me; I pleaded and the spirit of wisdom came to me.  I preferred her to scepter and throne, and deemed riches as nothing in comparison with her, nor did liken any priceless gem to her; because all gold, in view of her, is a little sand, and before her, silver is to be accounted mire. 

When we feel ourselves struggling to gain an upper hand or to mercilessly wield authority that has been vested in us, we must give God thanks for the goodness we have seen; and we must turn to songs like this one that remind us of our proper place in the universe: The heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth is given to us . . . It is we who bless the Lord. Hallelujah! 

Amen. 


A reflection written on October 12, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite. 

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.726. Print.   

Image from: http://www.goldingot.org.uk/gold-and-silver/

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parent-worthyWednesday, October 6, 2021

1 Thessalonians 2:11-13

God’s Eternal Call

As you know, we treated each one of you as a father treats his children, exhorting and encouraging you and insisting that you conduct yourselves as worthy of the God who calls you . . .

We linger with the thoughts that Jeremiah’s words bring to us in the 21st Century. This prophecy continues to move us millennia after it was first spoken. Each of us has experienced exile from a loved one or a loved place. Each of us has known the devastation of corrupt leadership and betrayal. Each of us has received God’s call to live in a manner worthy. Before we allow the words of the prophet to cease their resonating power, let us reflect on the power of God’s persistent, endless love.

God’s Eternal Call

This stillness of separation nurtures sweet embers of hope . . . for God is near.

The darkness of rejection gives way to a rising spark of confidence . . . for God is at hand.

Vertigo of displacement, sting of betrayal, agony of deception . . . consumed by God’s burning desire to live within.

Overcome not by darkness but by the piercing light of God’s love.

Fire of courage sweeps through dry tinder of exile.

Flames of resolution rise up to greet the call.

Anger, revenge, corruption . . . disappearing in the conflagration of God’s indwelling.

Hope, fidelity, love . . . living in a manner worthy of God’s eternal call. 

St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians – and he reminds us – that despite trials and suffering, God’s word is at work in us. This word will not be extinguished. This words breaks forth in the darkest of times. This word is the unceasing presence of God’s fervent call. Let us live in thanksgiving of this worthy indwelling.

And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving not a human word but, as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you . . .


Image from: http://antiochcofc.org/#/worthy-of-gods-call/4556896195

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give_thanks_with_a_grateful_heartWednesday, September 22, 2021

Psalm 138

Hymn of a Grateful Heart

I thank you, Lord, with all my heart. I bow low toward your holy temple; I praise you name for your fidelity and love.

God says: I know that you are grateful but it is good of you to tell me. Keep in mind that you are my temple so remember to care for yourself even as you care for others in my name.

You have exalted over all your name and your promise. When I cried out, you answered; you strengthen my spirit.

God says: I am always with you although you may not sense it. I smooth many obstacles for you each day and when you meet the obstacles that frighten you, know that I am with you. You cannot fail. There is nothing to fear.

The Lord is on high, but cares for the lowly and knows the proud from afar.

God says: My prophet Jeremiah tried to tell the leaders of my flock that they had erred. They did not listen. You are prophets in your own day and you warn of danger; yet you are also ignored. I see your exhaustion but I am telling you that you need not expend yourself totally. Do what is right. Listen to my word and share it. When darkness arrives I am with you. My light will pierce that darkness and all truth will be revealed.

Though I walk in the midst of dangers, you guard my life when my enemies rage. You stretch out your hand; your right hand saves me.

happy grateful peopleGod says: I know that you are grateful and it is good of you to tell me. My promise is genuine. My compassion is complete. My hope is eternal. My love is trustworthy. You are made in my image and so I look for the truth and integrity I planted in you in the moment I first thought of you.  

The Lord is with me to the end. Lord, your love endures forever. Never forsake the work of your hands!

God says: There really is no end for you are eternal. Rest in me today and allow these words to seep into your sinews. Relax with me today and let the words and hope of my prophet Jeremiah console you. Abide with me today and reflect on this prayer. I am with you always and everywhere. You are the work of my hands. I cannot forget you. I will not abandon you. I will always guide and protect you. Of this you may be sure.


Compare different versions of Psalm 138 through the scripture link above. Choose other versions with the drop down menus and spend some quiet time with God. Allow God’s word to seep into your bones. Give all of your fears, anxieties and worries to God. And offer up a hymn of thanksgiving from a grateful heart.

To see and hear the Westminster Abbey Choir sing Psalm 138, go to YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNqvpM2MFYM 

Image from: http://pastorfergus.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/this-sunday-were-giving-thanks-at-st-pauls-together-for-gifts-to-share/ 

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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Chronicles

King-Solomons-Temple

King Solomon’s Temple

For a number of days we have wandered through the chapters of Chronicles much as the Hebrews wandered through the Sinai desert. We know our goal and where it is likely to be found. We know who guides us past calamity and who protects us from devastating harm. We have considered where and how to build our temples and to whom. We have reflected on the meaning of achievement, endurance, defeat, success and exile. We have considered the value of passing along our faith stories and of recording the joy of God’s presence in our lives. We have examined time and the role it plays in our perception of self and God. Ultimately, we arrive in a place and moment when we can no longer deny that we are created out of love, for love, by love. Ultimately, we come to understand that our lives are our own sacred chronicle and that this history-of-self is our song of thanksgiving to God.

Let us spend some time today to reflect on who we find in our own faith story. What family members or friends have called us to remain in God? When does our story begin? When do we run along the heights of happiness and when do we run through dry valleys? What separates us from God? How and why are we able to return? When does Christ act in a specific way to heal our broken-ness? When do we feel abandoned or alone? And when do we feel the presence of the Spirit so strongly that it cannot be denied?

As we move through our days, let us pause to celebrate our commitment to the story we say we are living. As we move through our nights, let us reflect on specific words or images as we record our story of faith and salvation. And let us decide to share our story with fellow travelers, just as the Chronicler does.


Image from: https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-asia/first-temple-crowning-achievement-king-solomon-and-home-legendary-ark-covenant-021683

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Monday, June 21, 2021

1 Chronicles 16

The Ark Comes to Jerusalem

david dances before the ark

Robert Leinweber: David Dancing Before the Ark

Here – and also in 2 Samuel 6 – we see David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem amid celebration and festivity. The presence of God brings a response of joy and thanksgiving from the people. The priest blesses both the occasion and the faithful; David cavorts with elation; a meal is served. The people worship God because the Ark containing sacred text, sacred food and the sacred blooming staff has taken up residence. These people feel invulnerable, joyful and grateful.

Within each of us is the place where God dwells and where scripture flourishes like Aaron’s staff. We are sustained by the new desert manna: the body and blood of Christ. We take this dwelling with us on our desert journey. We too might leap for joy and bow down in reverence and happiness. We too might bring the Ark to Jerusalem. There is no obstacle to knowing God’s presence except the obstacles we ourselves set up.

Give thanks to the Lord, invoke his name.

God is the originator of all that is good and holy.

Glory in his holy name; rejoice, O hearts that seek the Lord!

We can offer up all that sorrows us when we come into the presence of the Lord.

Look to the Lord in his strength; seek to serve him constantly.

We honor God when we perform his works rather than our own.

Give to the Lord . . . bring gifts and enter into his presence.

The best offering to God is that of ourselves. We carry to him the burdens of our day, our attempts to do his bidding.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, for his kindness endures forever.

We do not need to build an ark to house our sacred reminders of God’s presence for we already possess it. It is our hearts that hold all sacredness holy.

We do not need to build a temple to God for it is already built. It is the temple of our bodies.

We do not need to offer burnt sacrifices to God for they are already present in any sorrow we experience.

So let us bring the burnt remnants of our losses, let us give thanks for God’s providence and care, and let us rejoice in the knowing that we are created for love by love.

David brings the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem to place it in the tent set aside for Yahweh.

Let us lay our burdens on the altar of our lives . . . and like David, let us leap and dance for joy.


Adapted from a reflection written on February 21, 2009.

Image from: https://www.hippostcard.com/listing/as-david-dancing-before-the-ark-robert-leinweber-00-10s/17276478

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