PRAYER: Prayer Of Confession (BCW 1)

February 16, 2016

From Book of Common Worship Eternal God, in whom we live and move and have our being, whose face is hidden from us by our sins, and whose mercy we forget in the blindness of our hearts: Cleanse us from all our offenses, and deliver us from proud thoughts and vain desires, that with reverent and humble hearts we may draw near to you, confessing our faults, confiding in your grace, and finding in you our refuge and strength; through Jesus Christ your Son. [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For A Lenten Journey by Francis of Assisi

February 12, 2016

Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God, give us miserable ones the grace to do for you alone what we know you want us to do and always to desire what pleases you. Inwardly cleansed, interiorly enlightened and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit, may we be able to follow in the footprints of your beloved son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and, by your grace alone, may we make our way to you, most high, who live and rule in perfect trinity and simple unity, and are glorified God almighty, forever and ever. [...]

PRAYER: Prayer For The Beginning Of Lent by Pope John XXIII

February 11, 2016

O Lord Jesus, you who at the beginning of your public life withdrew into the desert, we beg you to teach all men that recollection of mind is the beginning of conversion and salvation. Leaving your home at Nazareth and your sweet mother, you wished to experience solitude, weariness, and hunger.  To the tempter who proposed to you the trial of miracles, you replied with the strength of eternal wisdom, in itself a miracle of Heavenly grace. It is Lent. O Lord, do not let us turn to “broken cisterns,” which can hold no water, nor imitate the unfaithful servant or the foolish virgins; do not let us be so blinded by the enjoyment of the good things of Earth that our hearts become insensible to the cry of the poor, of the sick, of [...]

PRAYER: Ash Wednesday by Christine Odell

February 10, 2016

From Companion to the Revised Common Lectionary Gracious God, we would grieve with you over the sins of your world: the sin of warfare that leaves a young, strong man with no sight and no hope;Silence the sin of injustice that leaves a dissident woman in prison tortured, degraded and betrayed;Silence the sin of greed that leaves a swollen-bellied child weakly wailing with hunger.Silence Gracious God, we would grieve with you over the sins of our world. We pray for a true repentance, a turning of hearts and minds and lives. God, create a pure heart for us: give us a new and steadfast spirit. Gracious God, we would grieve with you over the sins of humankind: the sin of selfishness that leaves us seeing only our own needs, blinding us to [...]

PRAYER: Eight Ways To Pray During Lent

February 4, 2016

From Loyola Press What do we do when we’re facing an upcoming big event, celebration, or special occasion in our lives? We prepare for it. Holy Week and Easter are “big events” in the liturgical year of the church and in the spiritual life of a Christian. So, as Christians, we prepare spiritually for these through the forty days of Lent. This means that, during Lent, we rededicate ourselves to prayer. There are as many ways to pray as there are pray-ers in this world, but a few prayer methods can help us in particular to spiritually prepare ourselves during Lent: 1. Make your abstinence a prayer-in-action. As Catholics we are called to give up something for Lent. Chocolate, coffee, that extra helping of dinner, one less hour of [...]

EASTER: Saved By A Rockette — Easters I Have Known, by Kathleen Norris

April 10, 2015

From The Cloister Walk Let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten your labors.  You should sing as wayfarers do – sing, but continue your journey.  Do not be lazy, but sing to make your journey more enjoyable.  Sing, but keep going. (St. Augustine) A dark plaid, deep reds and browns.  My favorite dress.  Soft cotton, no scratchy lace.  Buster Brown shoes.  An occasion; my mother has set my hair in rags overnight and in the morning she lets me brush out the curls.  Then we go to a department store in downtown Washington, DC, where along with other children, I have tea and cookies with the Easter Bunny.  I have the photograph to prove it. I love singing in the cherub choir at the First [...]

PRAYER: A Change Of Words

April 9, 2015

When the visions came, right before the beginning of Lent, I was neither surprised nor upset by them. There would be a change in the way my day was laid out.  No longer would there be periods of prayer throughout the day.  No time would be given to morning prayer, blended with the first period of contemplative prayer.  Or for the playful time that I called noon prayer: listening to scripture, reading thoughtful bits by a wide range of writers, listening to music.  No rosary. No compline.  No Thomas Merton. Instead, there would be study.  One of the studies would be forgiveness, with an emphasis on those people for whom I carry unforgiveness like stone pillars encircling my heart.  Then there would be an even more intense, more [...]

EASTER: Easter Sermon, by John Chrysostom

April 9, 2015

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord! Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages! If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay. For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the [...]

EASTER: A Faith That Loves The Earth by Karl Rahner

April 7, 2015

From The Mystical Way in Everyday Life It is difficult to express in worn human words the mystery contained in the joy of Easter.  If the mysteries of the gospel can enter the smallness of our human comprehension only with great difficulty, putting them into human words involves even greater difficulty.  The Easter message is the most human message of Christianity.  It is the reason we have such a hard time understanding it.  For what is the most true and obvious, in short, the easiest, is also the hardest to live out, to do, and to believe.  This is the case today because we have accepted the silent and hence undisputed assumption that religion is solely about a deep feeling of the heart and an advanced spiritual life, which we [...]

EASTER: Urbi Et Orbi Message by Pope Francis

April 6, 2015

From I Ask You to Pray For Me Dear brothers and sisters in Rome and throughout the world, Happy Easter!  Happy Easter! What a joy it is for me to announce this message: Christ is risen!  I would like it to go out to every house and every family, especially where the suffering is greatest, in hospitals, in prisons. . . . Most of all, I would like it to enter every heart, for it is there that God wants to sow this Good News: Jesus is risen, there is hope for you, you are no longer in the power of sin, of evil!  Love has triumphed, mercy has been victorious!  The mercy of God always triumphs! We, too, like the women who were Jesus’s disciples, who went to the tomb and found it empty, may wonder what this event means.  What does [...]

PRAYER: Easter, Our Marriage Ceremony, by Hippolytus

April 6, 2015

You have protected us, Jesus, from endless disaster. You spread your hands over us like wings. You poured your blood over the Earth, Because you loved us. The anger which we deserved you turned away from us And restored us to friendship with God. The heavens may have your spirit, paradise your soul, But the Earth has your blood. We celebrate the coming of your Spirit always: The Spirit leads the mystic dance throughout the year. But Easter comes and goes Power came from Heaven to raise you from death, So that we and all creatures could see you. All living things gather round you at Easter. There is joy, honor, celebration, delight. The darkness of death is driven away. Life is restored everywhere. The gates of Heaven are thrown open. In [...]

EASTER SERMON: Easter — Not Magic But Mystery, by J. R. Burkholder

April 5, 2015

We are standing in the darkness before the dawn – facing the tomb.  It is empty.  Where is the light of Christ? From the very first, men and women have been baffled by the claim that Jesus was risen from the dead.  He is not here, for he is risen. Thus the Gospels tell of mixed and contradictory emotions – fear and great joy, – and diverse responses: when the eleven came to Galilee, we are told that some worshiped and some doubted. Luke’s account puts it even more bluntly; the words of the women witnesses “seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” In John’s Gospel we walk through the struggle of doubting Thomas  – and who doesn’t at some point identify with Thomas?  Why should [...]

EASTER: The Exultet

April 5, 2015

(The Easter Proclamation) Rejoice Heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God’s throne! Jesus Christ, our King is risen! Sound the trumpet of salvation! Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your King! Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever! Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy, echoing the mighty song of all God’s people! It is truly right that with full hearts and minds and voices we should praise the unseen God, the all powerful Father, and his only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. For Christ has ransomed us with his blood, and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin to our [...]

PRAYER: It Was In This Word’s Passion That, by Catherine of Siena

April 3, 2015

the fire hidden under our ashes began to show itself completely and generously by splitting open his most holy body on the wood of the cross. And it was to draw the soul’s affection to high things, and to bring the mind’s eye to gaze into the fire, that your eternal Word wanted to be lifted up high. From there you have shown us love in your blood, and in your blood you have shown us your mercy and generosity. In this blood you have shown how our sin weighs you down. In this blood you have washed the face of your spouse, the soul, with whom you are joined by the union of the divine nature with our human nature. In this blood you clothed her when she was naked, and by your death you restored her to life. O agreeable, peaceful [...]


March 28, 2015

From The Fruits of the Spirit “Though I give my body to be burned,” said Saint Paul, “and have not love, I am nothing.”  I do not as a supernatural being exist.  And now he gives us another and much more surprising test of spiritual vitality.  Though you feel an unconquerable love, joy, and peace, though you are gentle, long-suffering, good in all your personal relationships, though you are utterly faithful in your service of God – in the end the only proof that all this is truly the fruit of the Spirit, Christ in you and not just your own idea, is the presence of the last two berries on the bunch: not showy berries, not prominently placed, but absolutely decisive for the classification of the plant. [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Eight — Jesus Meets The Women Of Jerusalem, by Henri Nouwen

March 25, 2015

From Walk With Jesus The Nicaraguan women weep over the destruction of their people, their land, and their homes.  Their children, whom they nursed and brought up with tenderness and affection, suddenly lie dead before them.  Their husbands, with whom they shared life’s hardness and beauty, are suddenly taken away to unknown destinations.  Their land is ruined, their crops burned, their houses bombed.  And so they weep.  Their tears are tears that well up from their innermost being.  There are no words, no explanations, no arguments, no meaningful reflections.  War, violence, murder, and destruction need tears, many tears.  The questions, “Why?  By Whom?  For what purpose?” have no answers. The world would be [...]

STATIONS OF THE CROSS: Seven — Jesus Falls For the Second Time, by Henri Nouwen

March 24, 2015

From Walk With Jesus The poor farmer in Brazil is completely exhausted.  He has worked on the land for hours, days, weeks, and months to earn enough for himself and his family to have a decent meal.  But after many years of hard labor nothing has improved.  The crops are poor because of the exhausted soil he has to work.  He cannot compete with those who can afford modern agricultural techniques to improve the land.  The money he receives for his produce is so little that he cannot even pay off the debt he has incurred to keep his wife and children alive.  And every year the situation gets worse.  He faces the possibility of having to leave his little farm and join the millions of poor in the slums around the large cities.  There [...]

POETRY: The Face Of Pontius Pilate by J. Barrie Shepherd

March 31, 2014

From Faces at the Cross I had no business going there today; disastrous had I been recognized, although in that beggar’s robe, disheveled, dirt smeared look, I doubt anyone would have believed that I was the Roman Procurator— not even if I bellowed my name—Pilate— at the top of my lungs. On the other hand, I couldn’t stay away, had to see for my own self what kind of ending that young Jew would make of all his trials, betrayals, and buffetings. Yes, it may seem ridiculous, but I almost half believed that there would be some kind of miracle, that a deliverance would take place. No, not a rescue by his followers, they were a pathetic lot by all accounts, but rather an angelic intervention— yes, something of that sort. [...]

PRAYER: Stations Of The Cross, by Jon M. Sweeney

March 31, 2014

From Almost Catholic “Oh dear, it’s very difficult being a Catholic.” “Does it make much difference to you?” “Of course. All the time.” “Well, I can’t say I’ve noticed it. Are you struggling against temptation? You don’t seem much more virtuous than me.” “I’m very, very much wickeder.” (Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited) One of the most tenacious of Catholic devotions, the Stations of the Cross are usually represented as a series of fourteen pictures or sculptures hanging at eye level that represent the scenes of Jesus’s final hours, from his condemnation by Pilate to the placing of his body in the tomb.  Walking them in a church or outdoors or (God, please, one day) in Jerusalem on the path [...]

PRAYER: Prayers Of Confession For Lent (Third through Fifth Weeks of Lent) by David N. Mosser

March 24, 2014

From Prayers for Lent and Holy Week Third Week in Lent Prayer of Confession As we move through Lent, O God who is gracious beyond our ability to conceive, help us, as we journey, to recognize those other people who are on their journey too. Save us from insensitivity to the tangible and indefinable hurts of those people who walk past us each day as they too search for truth and meaning.  Forgive our sins – even the sin that clings so close and subtle that we scarcely know it is there.  Remove our guilt and lead us in lives of daily commitment to the highest and the best we can know.  Remind us that the greatest journey we will ever make is the trip from our minds to our hearts.  Send your spirit of healing upon us so that we can [...]

POETRY: Five Poems For Community by Helen Steiner Rice

September 4, 2013

People’s Problems Everyone has problems in this restless world of care, Everyone grows weary with the crosses they must bear. Everyone is troubled and their skies are overcast As they try to face the future while still dwelling in the past. But people with their problems only listen with one ear, For people only listen to the things they want to hear, And they only hear the things they are able to believe, And the answers God gives they’re not ready to receive. So while the people’s problems keep growing every day And humans try to solve them in their own willful way, God seeks to help and watches, waiting always patiently To help them solve their problems, whatever they may be So people of all nations may at last become aware That [...]

PRAYER: Pastoral Prayers For Lent (Fourth and Fifth Week, and Palm Sunday) by David N. Mosser

March 18, 2013

From Prayers for Lent and Holy Week Fourth Week in Lent Dear God, we praise you and ask you to help us, at least for the time it takes us to pray, set our minds on your blessings, and give up feeling sorry for ourselves.  You have blessed us with the gift of life – surrounded us with friends, trusted us with responsibility, provided for our needs, and set your love over us.  In the quiet of this moment, Lord, we pause to remember those whose sacrifices have secured the goods that we enjoy – parents, teachers, soldiers, inventors, scholars, pioneers, and prophets.  But mostly we remember Jesus Christ – his selfless life, his voluntary death, his victorious resurrection, and his continuing power to save.  We pray for those who [...]

SERMON: Christian Cricket by Martin Thornton

March 14, 2013

From A Joyful Heart: Meditations for Lent Apology is necessary to those who do not understand cricket, more especially perhaps to possible readers from across the Atlantic Ocean.  I much enjoy the great American ballgames, their particular brands of football, ice hockey, and basketball.  Golf, tennis, swimming, and athletics are thoroughly international, while Saint Paul’s askesis analogies are confined to running and boxing.  Why not use one or other of these less esoteric games as analogy for the organization, function, individual-corporate interplay, and liturgical devotion of the Christian church?  The answer is because, as illumination and insight into all this complicated theology, the cricket analogy is unique and [...]

POETRY: The Healing Touch by Helen Steiner Rice

February 27, 2013

Before You Can Dry Another’s Tears — You Too Must Weep! Let me not live a life that’s free From “the things” that draw me close the Thee— For how can I ever hope to heal The wounds of others I do not feel— If my eyes are dry and I never weep, How do I know when the hurt is deep— If my  heart is cold and it never bleeds, How can I tell what my brother needs— For when ears are deaf to the beggar’s plea And we close our eyes and refuse to see, And we steel our hearts and harden our minds, And we count it a weakness whenever we’re kind, We are no longer following the Father’s Way Or seeking His guidance from day to day— For, without “crosses to carry” and “burdens to [...]

PRAYER: Psalm 51, my prayer

October 19, 2012

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offence. O wash me more and more from my guilt And cleanse me from my sin. Most beloved Father, I kneel before you. My heart is heavy. I come before you, naked and alone. I carry with me only my sorrow. My offences truly I know them; My sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; What is evil in your sight I have done. I turned away from you, my Lord, My feet again and again trod the lost reach of my failures. It is a path of stone. Crushing and crushed, I find no way back. That you may be justified when you give sentence And be without reproach when you judge O see, in guilt I was born, A sinner was I conceived. Separation from you is my [...]

SERMON: Homily On The Beginning Of The Holy Season Of Lent (On fasting) by John Chrysostom

March 19, 2012

I am pleased and delighted to see the church of God adorned today with the throng of her own children, and to see you all coming together with great joy.  I mean, whenever I look upon your beaming faces, I take it as an infallible sign of the satisfaction you feel at heart. — As the wise man said, “The face betrays the joy of the heart.”  So naturally I myself arose this morning with more than the usual enthusiasm since I was to share with you this spiritual happiness and I wanted to become a herald for you of the approach of Lent — the medicine, I might say, for your souls.  Like a loving father, you see, the Lord of us all, in his desire that we be cleansed of the sins we have committed with the passing of time, desired a [...]

PRAYER: The Great Tomorrow, by Helen Steiner Rice

December 13, 2011

There is always a tomorrow. Tomorrow belongs as much to you as it does to me. The dawn of a new day means the dawn of a new life. We cannot peer into its storehouse, but the very impenetrable mystery which enwraps the every-approaching tomorrow is the one thing that keeps the fires of hope constantly burning. No matter what our yesterdays have been, tomorrow may be different. As long as we have life, the fires of hope will not die out; the flame may burn low, but the thought of a new day, the flame which seemed dead leaps forward and the sparks once more fly upward to spur us on. Even if our today is filled with sadness and defeat, who can foretell what the next day will bring to us? Let us all eagerly await what destiny will deal us. We [...]