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Evening Prayer – 6 April 2020

Deer outside of the Condo

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

Another day of virtual worship and fellowship

Another day of reflection and preparation

This Holy Week is indeed unusual

Walk with us Lord, during these challenging times

And may we also walk with you down the road to the cross

Help us to reflect, study, and learn

Help our faith to grow in these demanding times

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Hope – John Valters Paintner

“Ezekiel gives the people what they need during the Exile: hope. They may have lost God’s favor, their land, and their Temple . . . but they are not completely lost. There was a way back. Ezekiel doesn’t promise them that it will be easy, just that it is possible.”

 John Valters Paintner, MTS,The Online, Self-Study Retreat ~ Exile and Coming Home: An Archetypal Journey through the Scriptures 

Recall a time in your life that felt completely hopeless, that turned out to be just a new beginning.

Unselfish Love – A Reflection

A painting of Archbishop Oscar Romero in Balmy Alley in San Francisco, California

As I ponder Holy Week and the journey of Jesus towards the cross I am struck by a number of things. Even though he would be betrayed by his friends, he never stopped loving them. Doesn’t this reflect the grace of God which says that love is not earned but rather is freely given without cost?

I have been reading and hearing stories about so many people who are quietly stepping up to the plate during this Pandemic to do what they are called to do. Yes they are paid (not always very well mind you) but what they do each and every day can’t be measured in dollars. Despite the low pay, they step up to the plate to serve.

As I hear about first responders, medical care providers, and restaurants and grocery store workers who are dying from COVID-19 it breaks my heart. Often without adequate protective gear they went into the trenches day after day for you and for me. Self-sacrificing love of the type which Jesus talked about in John 15:13-14 — “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

Only while Jesus was talking about laying one’s life down for one’s friends, didn’t he lay down his life for so many more? Yes, Jesus laid down his life for all. While I have used this passage when officiating at funerals and memorial services for military members who were killed in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq, and so many other places around the world; this applies equally to the folks I mentioned who are dying while helping this nation stay safe and well fed. They truly died for strangers. What greater or more selfless love is there than that? I truly believe these are examples of unselfish love which we can all learn from and even make a part of our daily living.

In the opening chapter of No Man Is an Island, Thomas Merton said the following about such love: A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy…True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared. There is no end to the sharing of love, and, there for, the potential happiness of such love is without limit. Infinite sharing is the law of God’s inner life. (p. 3)

As we walk towards Passover, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday may we pause to reflect on how we can be agents of God’s extravagant love to one another and to strangers. That is how love is shared, dear reader… without cost and extravagantly…even with strangers and yes, even with enemies.

Holy Monday revisited

I wrote this blog last year… it bears repeating as we begin the journey to the Cross….

Holy Monday – A First Person Reflection in the Ignatian Way

Holy Week, Monday: Jesus Weeps Over Jerusalem

A beautiful reflection to begin Holy Week. Thank you, Malcolm ❤️

Malcolm Guite

https://lanciaesmith.com

This strange Holy Week has begun in tears: tears of frustration, tears of lament, and for so many who have been cruelly bereaves, tears of grief. It’s hard to see through tears, but sometimes its the only way to see. Tears may be the turning point, the springs of renewal, and to know you have been wept for is to know that you are loved. ‘Jesus Wept’ is the shortest, sharpest, and most moving sentence in Scripture.

I have a God who weeps for me, weeps with me, understands to the depths and from the inside the rerum lachrymae, the tears of things.

This sonnet, and the others I will be posting for Holy Week are all drawn from my collection Sounding the Seasons, published by Canterbury Press here in England. The book is now back in stock on both Amazon UK and USA The book is now…

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Evening Prayer – 5 April 2020

The sun has set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

We began the journey with our Lord today

From the parade of Palm Sunday to the torture of the cross

As we walk this journey with you, Jesus

May we learn more about our own perseverance when guided by you

In these unusual days of COVID-19 may we seek your presence

Guide us through the Valley of the Shadows

Help us to serve you and all of your children

Lord, in your mercy, hear this our prayer

Dona Nobis Pacem et in Terra

Grant Us Peace on Earth

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…

Courage – A Reflection

The view from our Condo Deck.

Today has been another long, yet productive day. We spent the morning preparing for and offering our Midday Prayer from the PCCR Chapel over Zoom. The afternoon and evening were spent preparing for additional worship services for the days ahead. I tried to isolate myself from the news and headlines but it was difficult to ignore. So much that is offered up as courage is really cowardice. Putting Grandparents lives on the line to protect the economy? Really? I seem to recall Jesus saying you cannot worship both God and Mammon. Sadly some are making that choice blatantly and it is not courageous.

Yet in the midst of this all, I hear so many stories of true heroism from our Doctors, Nurses, Nursing Assistants, and Med Techs as they care for the public often to the danger of their own well-being. Medical care specialists standing watch with patients who are dying because the family members aren’t allowed in because of the dangers posed by COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. These compassionate women and men step in to be family for those who cannot have family beside them as they take their final breath. I know some of those medical folks by name and writing this brings tears to my eyes and an ache to my heart.

How can we do anything but dig deep within our hearts and souls to bring up the light, love, compassion, and tenderness that God calls us to share with EVERYONE. Instead of griping because a church won’t be open for Easter or a National Park is closed to protect the at-risk population in the community around the park, why don’t we try a little tenderness and compassion…

As I spent some time listening to music, reading, and working with Denise; I found the following words of Thomas Merton quite relevant. Without courage we can never attain to true simplicity. Cowardice keeps us “double minded”—hesitating between the world and God. In this hesitation, there is no true faith—faith remains an opinion. (Thoughts in Solitude, p. 24)

What is courage? It is the courage to think of others before ourselves… it is the selflessness that repairs the breach and reaches out to those in need without questions about so-called worthiness. Dear reader, we need to courageously step out and confront the selfishness of so many in this land. We need to show them the better way… the way of love, the way of hope, the way of grace, the way of peace… May we step up to the plate and do just that as we seek to love God and ALL neighbors… to Do Justice, Love Kindness/Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God.