Creation: channels of God’s love

World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation

Prayer of the Day 
from Pope Francis’ Laudato Si

Father, we praise you with all your creatures.
They came forth from your all-powerful hand;
they are yours, filled with your presence and your
tender love.
Praise be to you!
Son of God, Jesus,
through you all things were made.
You were formed in the womb of Mary our Mother,
you became part of this earth,
and you gazed upon this world with human eyes.
Today you are alive in every creature
in your risen glory.
Praise be to you!
Holy Spirit, by your light
you guide this world towards the Father’s love
and accompany creation as it groans in travail.
You also dwell in our hearts
and you inspire us to do what is good.
Praise be to you!
Triune Lord, wondrous community of infinite love,
teach us to contemplate you
in the beauty of the universe,
for all things speak of you.
Awaken our praise and thankfulness
for every being that you have made.
Give us the grace to feel profoundly joined
to everything that is.
God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the
weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to protect all life,
to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!
Amen.

Quote of the Day

The story of creation presents us with a panoramic view of the world. Scripture reveals that, “in the beginning”, God intended humanity to cooperate in the preservation and protection of the natural environment. At first, as we read in Genesis, “no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up – for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground” (2:5). The earth was entrusted to us as a sublime gift and legacy, for which all of us share responsibility until, “in the end”, all things in heaven and on earth will be restored in Christ (cf. Eph 1:10). Our human dignity and welfare are deeply connected to our care for the whole of creation. — Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew joint statement

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Pray every, every, every day

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Old Testament reading we are told that the Lord’s house is a house of prayer and a house for all peoples. Foreigners are welcome to join themselves to the Lord. And in the Gospel passage it is a pagan woman, rather than a Jew, who comes to Jesus and asks for healing for her daughter. She is persistent in her request, willing to engage the Lord in banter, which Jesus uses to display the foreign woman’s great faith. He goes so far as to invoke the Jewish cultural view of her: she is the equivalent of a dog. Jesus did not view this woman as a dog. We know better. If anything, during this exchange, Jesus has repudiated the Jewish cultural notion of looking upon others as less than human or not worthy of God’s love and mercy. The epistle sheds a some light on this: God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.

Jesus breaks cultural barriers and customs, showing that we all have a claim on God’s love. In yesterday’s reading the “outsiders” were the children, who were annoying the disciples. The adults wanted to push them aside, get them out of the way. In today’s reading, the outsider is both a pagan and a woman. Jesus has come to elevate and acknowledge the worth of each and every one of us, regardless of our heritage, our gender, our age, or any other aspect of ourselves that may differentiate us from others.

When it seems that God is not answering our prayer, we must not go away defeated, but engage him all the more.

Quote of the Day
Into the Deep: Finding Peace Through Prayer by Dan Burke

Some time ago my youngest brother, who is a bit baffled by my faith, asked me an important question: “Dan, do you pray every day?”

I replied, “Yes.”

He asked, “Every, every day?”

Again I said, “Yes.”

He then asked again but with an emphasis in his tone that reflected some measure of disbelief and a demand for an absolutely honest answer. “Every, every, every day?”

A light went on in my head, and I realized what he was really asking me. “Dennis, you don’t understand—I don’t pray because I am holy; I pray because I am not.” I continued, “I am not capable of living a life without God. This is why I pray every, every, every day.”

The idea of my own incapacity to live even a single day without prayer is not new or unique to me. One of the most oft-quoted sayings in the history of Christianity is St. Augustine’s line in his Confessions, “…our heart is restless until it rests in you.” The reason this is cited so often, even more than a thousand years after it was written, is that it rings true across all cultures and throughout all time. Any heart open to God says “yes” when it hears this beautiful expression. We know in the depths of our being that this is true. The reason it is true is revealed in the full quote, which reads, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

St. Augustine recognizes that our hearts are restless to the degree that we fail to orient all that we are to God. Our restlessness comes from a disorientation of our hearts. To the degree that we give ourselves  to God in prayer, the restlessness will begin to subside. To the degree that we give ourselves to God, we fulfill the purpose of our existence; we know union with God and thus know the peace and joy that enable us to face and overcome whatever comes our way.

If your heart is restless like mine, there is a path to peace and joy available to you. This path can only be found in and through prayer.

Scriptures of the Day

Old Testament: Isaiah 56:1, 6–7

Thus says the LORD:
Observe what is right, do what is just;
for my salvation is about to come,
my justice, about to be revealed.

The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD,
ministering to him,
loving the name of the LORD,
and becoming his servants—
all who keep the sabbath free from profanation
and hold to my covenant,
them I will bring to my holy mountain
and make joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and sacrifices
will be acceptable on my altar,
for my house shall be called
a house of prayer for all peoples.

Responsorial Psalm: 67:2–3, 5, 6, 8

May God have pity on us and bless us;
may he let his face shine upon us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
among all nations, your salvation.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May the nations be glad and exult
because you rule the peoples in equity;
the nations on the earth you guide.
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

May the peoples praise you, O God;
may all the peoples praise you!
May God bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth fear him!
R. O God, let all the nations praise you!

Epistle: Romans 11:13–15, 29–32

Brothers and sisters:
I am speaking to you Gentiles.
Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles,
I glory in my ministry in order to make my race jealous
and thus save some of them.
For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world,
what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
Just as you once disobeyed God
but have now received mercy because of their disobedience,
so they have now disobeyed in order that,
by virtue of the mercy shown to you,
they too may now receive mercy.
For God delivered all to disobedience,
that he might have mercy upon all.

Gospel: Matthew 15:21–28

At that time, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out,
“Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!
My daughter is tormented by a demon.”
But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her.
Jesus’ disciples came and asked him,
“Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.”
He said in reply,
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
But the woman came and did Jesus homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”
He said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.

Prayer

May  Jesus heal us individually and collectively as a nation of wrong notions about our brothers and sisters, and unified in Christ, may we live in peace and joy. May all find welcome in our houses of prayer.

Question of the Day

So how is your prayer life? Do you pray every, every, every day?

Pray for faith & freedom in America

Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the oldest Marian Feast, returns every year in the heart of summer. It is an opportunity to rise with Mary to the heights of the spirit where one breathes the pure air of supernatural life and contemplates the most authentic beauty, the beauty of holiness. The atmosphere of today’s celebration is steeped in paschal joy. “Today”, the antiphon of the Magnificat says, “the Virgin Mary was taken up to Heaven. Rejoice, for she reigns with Christ for ever. Alleluia”. This proclamation speaks to us of an event that is utterly unique and extraordinary, yet destined to fill the heart of every human being with hope and happiness. Mary is indeed the first fruit of the new humanity, the creature in whom the mystery of Christ – his Incarnation, death, Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven – has already fully taken effect, redeeming her from death and conveying her, body and soul, to the Kingdom of immortal life. For this reason, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, the Virgin Mary is a sign of certain hope and comfort to us (cf. Lumen Gentiumn. 68). Today’s feast impels us to lift our gaze to Heaven; not to a heaven consisting of abstract ideas or even an imaginary heaven created by art, but the Heaven of true reality which is God himself. God is Heaven. He is our destination, the destination and the eternal dwelling place from which we come and for which we are striving. — Pope Benedict XVI, August 15, 2008, homily

Question of the Day

For what are we striving?
Is our gaze on our eternal dwelling place? And our movement toward it?

54-Day Novena for Our Nation 2017 Begins Today!NovenaForOurNation2017

Heed the call of Our Lady of Fatima, and pray the rosary daily for peace. Pray also for your own conversion and growth in holiness.

The infinite and silent now of God

Feast of Saint Dominic

Quote of the Day
Excerpt from Meditations on Saint Dominic’s Postures of Prayer
by Father Vladimir Koudelka

The second posture of prayer: prostrate on the ground

Dominic lies stretched out on the earth (prostratio), because he is
formed out of earth and belongs to the earth. He knows that he is
dust, yet is loved by God, so that dust would be able to praise God. He
abandons himself to God, demanding nothing of Him. That makes
him quick to learn and obediently open to the Holy Spirit, who—on
account of Dominic’s humility—leads him to the Truth. He does not
set himself as the measure of things, but measures all things by the
Absolute, in whom he completely confides himself in his weakness.
With faith in the Absolute, he loudly calls out, weeps and begs on
behalf of his brothers, the ailing church, and the stricken world.

I lie stretched out on the floor and try to wish for nothing, to ask
for nothing. I contemplate my helplessness and my vulnerability,
but also the infinite and silent now of God, to whom I make myself
over. Or I try—in the spirit of the old liturgical Clamor (the loud
crying out)—to place before my eyes the concrete distress of the
Church, the world, the abused environment, of my fellow man,
and my own neediness as well, and to shout this need out loud.
I bring all things—my fellow man, events, and myself—into
relationship with God in boundless trust, without wishing for my
own solutions. My gaze is not set on gifts requested, but is directed
toward the prayer itself, so that I may enter into the plans of God.
In the intercessory prayer born out of reliance on God, I show
my solidarity with the needs of the world and the Church. I do
that following the example of the incarnated Son of God, in whom
God showed himself in solidarity with these needs and with me,
and turned Himself toward us. The requests of God and his plans
of salvation become mine as well. I desire and I await that which
God desires and awaits. This transforms me in my heart, and my
prayer becomes a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Through prayer I am not
excused from my responsibility for the ideal world and the healthy
Church. Only when I concretely commit myself to the needs of
my environment and the world around me will I become—like
Dominic—one of God’s coworkers.

Lord, teach me to pray

God alone can teach us how to pray

Quote of the Day
excerpt from chapter 4, How to Pray by Father Jean Nicolas Grou

Notice yet one important point. If when you are meditating or reciting vocal prayers, you feel yourself strongly impressed with the presence of God, and you enjoy a certain sweet calm, and are inwardly drawn to silence, this is a sign that the Holy Ghost is taking special possession of your soul, and that He is communicating to you, on trial as it were by the way, the gift of mental prayer. Then you must be silent and suspend the exercise of your faculties, remaining calm and passive under the operations of the Holy Ghost. For when He acts in a way that is thus sensibly felt, we must in no way disturb His action, but give ourselves up to it by a very simple inward act of consent. If this action of the Holy Ghost were to last some time, or become more frequent, after having asked the advice of some one experienced in the spiritual life,  you would have ground for believing that you were called to real mental prayer and would be obliged to follow the call. In order that we may have the dispositions requisite for receiving the gift of mental prayer, three things are necessary: humility, simplicity, and docility.

In the first place constant humility in everything relating to prayer is indispensable. We must be always willing to depend on the Holy Ghost; we must not rely on our own efforts to acquire devotion, but expect all from God. We must believe ourselves unworthy of His favours, we must not desire them too eagerly, we must not be envious of the souls to which they are granted, we must remain in our own nothingness, and be content to remain there, as in our proper place, we must not aspire to anything exalted. Better would it be for us to pass our whole life in humility and vocal prayer, than that we should conceive the least esteem of ourselves, or prefer ourselves to others on account of our sublime gift of prayer. The greater number of souls whom God has raised from the ordinary path never desired this grace, or thought of it, and did not know in what it consisted. But they were humble. Their first feeling was one of astonishment that God should have deigned to cast a look on them; in calling them to this familiar converse with Himself, God above all proposed to Himself to make them perfect in humility, and if they had not corresponded to His designs they would have fallen lower than they were before.

Simplicity is the true note of all prayer, and nothing pleases God more. He does not wish so much studied preparation in his service; all is spoilt when devotion is reduced to a system, and so much careful arrangement is thought necessary. After all we must ever go back to the Holy Spirit; He alone can teach the right way to converse with God, and when He takes possession of a soul, the first thing He does is to withdraw her from all methods taught by men.

…Oh! how much is accomplished by doing nothing of ourselves, but relying on God to do all in us!

Prayer of the Day

O my divine Savior! Again I beseech Thee, more earnestly than ever, to teach me to pray. Place in me both the remote and proximate dispositions for the prayer of the Holy Ghost. Make me humble, simple, and docile; grant that I may do all in my power to become so. What will my prayer be if the Holy Ghost does not pray with me? And if my prayers are not well said, what will my life be? If it is not a life of sin, still it will be in danger of becoming so, and in any case full of imperfections and subject to heaps of venial sins.

Come, O divine Spirit! come and dwell and act within me. Take entire possession of my understanding and my will; direct their exercise not alone at the time of prayer, but at all times. I can neither glorify God, nor sanctify my soul without Thee. Amen.

[chapter 4, How to Pray, Grou]

An increase of love

God alone can teach us how to pray

Quote of the Day
excerpt from chapter 3, How to Pray by Father Jean Nicolas Grou

The third quality of prayer is that it must be loving.

God wishes to be no less loved than respected, and the Holy Ghost who is the eternal love of the Father and the Son, inspires no prayer that is not all love, or that does not tend to produce it. Love it is, or at least the desire of love, that should lead the Christian to pray: love should be the final object or the very subject-matter of prayer; and an increase of love should be its fruit. Even when the fear of the judgments of God is the determining motive of the prayer of either the sinner or the just man, still love must always be the end we aim at, and if love does not in some measure enter into our prayer, either as a motive or end, it is not inspired by the Holy Ghost.

This comes back to what I have just said; namely, that it is the heart that prays, and consequently that loves, or aspires to love.

When a sinner asks for the grace of conversion is it not the same thing as asking God the grace to love Him? If his heart be really touched, will he not experience a certain feeling which is a beginning of love? There will be warmth, soul, life in his prayer; if it were cold or indifferent the Holy Ghost would have no part in it. If a just man prays from an impulse to pray, with much greater reason will his prayer be loving, for it is nothing but charity carried out in practice. If his heart were cold and insensible, it would be a sign that grace was not working in him at that moment.

Prayer of the Day

Alas! Lord, I have but too much reason to reflect on my own way of prayer, that so I may condemn and reform it. I do not find in my prayers any of the qualities essential to prayer. Scarcely do I say a single prayer with proper attention; I bring to it a dissipated mind and a cold heart. I show Thee too little respect, either interior or exterior, and still less love. My confidence is weak and wavering, I always have a secret fear that Thou wilt not grant my prayer, I do not do justice to Thy bounty, nor approach Thee as the best of Fathers. Hence comes the want of patience and perseverance. I want to obtain what I ask for, all at once, and without any delay; I give up correcting my faults, practicing virtue and imploring Thy help for this end, because I am not all of a sudden as perfect as my self-love would wish me to be. How can I become good if I pray so badly?

O my Savior! teach me to pray, no longer in my own way nor according to any human methods, but according to the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. May He animate my prayer, and ask in me with the unspeakable groanings mentioned by Thy apostle! Amen.

[chapter 3, How to Pray, Grou]