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Monday, November 30, 2015

aware, monday

Monday, November 30

Opening Prayer: Loving God, I sense that all is your creation and everything, and all of us, are being drawn back toward your loving heart.  Help me to be a person of peace, to speak about it in an uneasy world, and to live it among the people you have put into my life every day.  Light in me a desire to prepare for your coming to stand in the darkness, waiting, eager and filled with joy.  Amen. (Creighton University Online Ministries)

Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Journal: How have you recognized God recently in community?  What words from today’s Scripture make something come alive in you?  How does God want to use the community of faith to show his presence in the world?  How does yours?

God is always present to us.  The greatest thing we can do in life is to teach ourselves to be always present to God.  The small, routine tasks that fill every day spent in the care of others may seem to be a barrier to this, but they need not.  They may in fact be turned into one of the finest of spiritual disciplines, a special sacrament of the routine through which what to others appears the most ordinary and mundane of tasks is revealed to be a sacred act, an act of prayer.  Prayer is nothing more or less than this, being present to God.  And so this is a spirituality that makes all of life into prayer, a prayer of love, a prayer of help for others, a prayer of courage.  It is a prayer that spans a lifetime, a prayer of great beauty. (A Way in the World by Ernest Boyer, Jr.)

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to recognize you today in those around us.  Help us to see you and hear you through them, through their stories, and even through their needs.  Help us not to miss you, and the way you are trying to be present to each of us.  Amen.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

aware, sunday

Sunday, November 29 (First Sunday in Advent)

Opening Prayer: Lord God, only you can see into my heart and know that under all the busy-ness of my life, there is a deep longing to make this Advent one that welcomes you more deeply into my own life.  My heart desires the warmth of your love and my mind searches for your Light in the midst of the darkness.  Help me to be a peacemaker this Advent and to give special love to those who disagree with me.  Give me the strength and courage to forgive those who have hurt me.  Help me to free my heart from the prison of my anger and hurt.  Amen. (Creighton University Online Ministries)

Scripture: Luke 21:25-36

Journal: What signs around you tell you that the kingdom of God is near?  What signs within you?  What do you think God wants to grow in you during this Advent season?  How are you like the fig tree?

     Recognizing is such an important part of the spiritual life; recognizing what is going on within or beneath or beyond what we are able to see, and beginning to pay attention in such a way that we are actually able to really see both where God is present and what he is up to in the comings and the goings of our lives.  But recognizing does not come automatically, it requires something of us.  It requires us to stop living on the surface of things, to slow down enough to pay attention, to make space in our lives to reflect and to pray, and to train our souls—and thus our eyes—to look deeper into things. (Becoming by Jim Branch)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to learn the lesson of the fig tree.  Help us to have keen eyes, and hearts, to recognize where you are at work during this season, both around us and within us.  Come, Lord Jesus!  Amen.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

commitment, saturday

Saturday, November 28

Opening Prayer: God unto whom all hearts are open and unto whom every will speaks, and from whom no secret thing is hidden, I pray You cleanse the intent of my heart with the ineffable gift of Your grace, that I may perfectly love You, and worthily praise You.  Amen. ~The Cloud of the Unknowing

Scripture: Joshua 24:14-24

Journal: How do the words of Joshua 24 speak to your life today?  What disturbs you?  What encourages you?  What challenges you?  What invites you?

     We, who have heard the call of our God to a life of entire consecration and perfect trust, must do differently from all this.  We must come out from the world and be separate, and must not be conformed to it in our characters or in our lives.  We must set our affections on heavenly things and not on earthly ones, and must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, surrendering everything that would interfere with this.  We must walk through the world as Christ walked.  We must have the mind that was in Him.  As pilgrims and strangers, we must abstain from lusts of the flesh that war against the soul.  As good soldiers of Jesus Christ, we must disentangle ourselves from the affairs of this life as far as possible, that we may please Him who hath chosen us to be soldiers.  We must abstain from all appearance of evil.  We must be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven us.  We must not resent injuries or unkindness, but must return good for evil, and turn the other cheek to the hand that smites us.  We must take always the lowest place among our fellow-men; and seek not our own honor, but the honor of others.  We must be gentle and meek and yielding, not standing up for our own rights but for the rights of others.  We must do all that we do for the glory of God.  And, to sum it all up, since he who hath called us is holy, so must we be holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)


Closing Prayer: Most Holy God, you demand our all, let us give you nothing less than that, by the power of your Spirit working within us.  Amen.

Friday, November 27, 2015

commitment, friday

Friday, November 27

Opening Prayer: I ask you, Lord Jesus, to develop in me, your lover an immeasurable urge towards you, an affection that is unbounded, longing that is unrestrained, fervor that throws discretion to the winds!  The more worthwhile our love for you, all the more pressing does it become.  Reason cannot hold it in check, fear does not make it tremble, wise judgment does not temper it. (The Fire of Love by Richard Rolle)

Scripture: John 6:41-67

Journal: Why do you think that many of his “disciples” thought that the hard teaching was too much and decided no longer to follow Jesus?  What do you think was so hard about it?  Is there a hard teaching that Jesus is trying to communicate to you these days?  What is hard about following him right now?  What is your response to his question?

Reflection: Meister Eckhart wrote: "There are plenty to follow our Lord half-way, but not the other half.  They will give up possessions, friends, and honors, but it touches them too closely to disown themselves."  It is just this astonishing life which is willing to follow Him the other half, sincerely to disown itself, this life which intends complete obedience, without any reservations, that I would propose to you in all humility, in all boldness, in all seriousness.  I mean this literally, utterly, completely, and I mean it for you and for me—commit your lives in unreserved obedience to Him.  (A Testament of Devotion by Thomas R. Kelly)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to be more committed to your kingdom and your glory than I am to my own.  Give me the strength and the courage to choose your hard and demanding way, rather than a life of ease and comfort.  Help me to feed on you, rather than feeding on the things this world has to offer.  Amen.

Thursday, November 26, 2015


Thursday, November 26 – Thanksgiving Day

Opening Prayer: We thank you, most Loving God, that you have chosen us to be your very own.  We thank you for your presence and your promises and your provision that you pour out upon us each and every day.  We are so grateful, O God, for your good gifts and your abundant grace, which we do not deserve.  And most of all we thank you, Lord God, for Jesus, your Son and our Savior.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 118:1-29

Journal: What are you thankful for this day?  Write a thank you letter to God today telling him all of the things you are thankful for.

     For if you go poking about the world, intent on keeping the candle of consciousness blazing, you must be ready to give thanks at all times.  Discrimination is not allowed.  The flame cannot gutter and fail when a cold wind whistles throughout the house.
     Thanksgiving, thanksgiving.  All must be thanksgiving.
     It took thirty-eight thousand Levites to give thanks to God in David’s day; every morning and every evening the shifts changed.  Four thousand were needed just to carry hacked carcasses of cattle, and another four thousand were needed to sing about it.  The place reeked of blood, was soaked in blood.  The priests stood around gnawing and chewing and giving thanks.  They did not cross-stich their gratitude on samplers to frame and hang on the wall.  They wrote their thanks in blood on the doorposts every year.
     Thanksgiving is not a task to be undertaken lightly.  It is not for dilettantes or aesthetes.  One does not dabble in praise for one’s own amusement, nor train the intellect and develop perceptual skills to add to his repertoire.  We’re not talking about the world as a free course in art appreciation.  No.  Thanksgiving is not a result of perception; thanksgiving is the access to perception. (And the Tress Clap Their Hands by Virginia Stem Owens)


Closing Prayer: Thank God because he’s good, because his love never quits.  Tell the world, Israel, “His love never quits.”  And you, clan of Aaron, tell the world, “His love never quits.”  And you who fear God, join in, “His love never quits.”
     Blessed are you who enter in God’s name—from God’s house we bless you!  God is God, he has bathed us in light.  Festoon the shrine with garlands, hang colored banners above the altar!  You’re my God, and I thank you.  O my God, I lift high your praise.
Thank God—he’s so good.  His love never quits! (Psalm 118:1-4, 26-29, The Message)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

commitment, wednesday

Wednesday, November 25

Opening Prayer: Lord, take my lips and speak through them; take my mind, and think through it; take my heart, and set it on fire.  Amen. (Little Book of Prayers by W. H. Aitken)

Scripture: Psalm 31:1-5

Journal: What do the words into your hands I commit my spirit mean to you today?  What does it mean to commit your spirit to God?  How do you need God to be your rock, refuge and fortress right now?

     This abandonment is the very heart and essence of Christian prayer, and it has nothing in common with strategy and second-guessing.  It is the pray-to-win mentality turned inside out, and yet it is not a pray-to-lose mentality.  It is prayer that has moved beyond intending, directing, steering, second-guessing God.  It is the dancer moving completely in the rhythm of the partner, prayer that is utterly freeing because it is completely at one.  Utterly beyond asking, beyond the anger that rattles heaven’s gate.  Prayer that does not plead, wants nothing for itself but what God wants, it is the will-not-to-will, rooted in grace, that makes it possible to be abandoned, free, and then (by some further miracle) able to act with a semblance of coherence and freedom even when completely surrendered to and possessed by the loving will of God.
     And it is this abandonment that is meant when we are told to drop our nets and follow him; to pause not to bury our dead fathers or tell our wives we will be traveling for a while; it is in this abandonment that we sell all. (Clinging—The Experience of Prayer by Emilie Griffin)


Closing Prayer:  Lord, you know me better than I know myself.  Your Spirit pervades every moment of my life.  Thank you for the grace and love you shower on me.  Thank you for your constant, gentle invitation to let you into my life.  Forgive me for the times I have refused that invitation, and closed myself off from you.  Help me in the day to come, to recognize your presence in my life, to open myself to you, to let you work in me, to your greater glory. Amen. (The Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

commitment, tuesday

Tuesday, November 24

Opening Prayer: O Jesus, who has taught us that not all those who say Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only such as do the will of you Father, whose lives correspond with their belief, grant us a truly Christian spirit, a Christina heart, and guide us in the paths of a Christian life.  Grant that I may become detached from all things and in all things seek you alone.  Grant that I may direct all my knowledge, my whole capacity, all my happiness, and all my exertions, to please you, to love you, and to obtain your love for time and eternity.  Amen. (The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis)

Scripture: Matthew 7:21-27

Journal: What does commitment to Jesus really consist of?  What does it really look like?  Where are you in your commitment to Jesus?  Where is he drawing you deeper?

No man ever receives a word from God without instantly being put to the test by it.  We disobey and then wonder why we don’t go on spiritually. (My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)

When Jesus brings a thing home by His word, don’t shirk it.  If you do, you will become a religious humbug.  Watch the things you shrug your shoulders over, and you will know why you do not go on spiritually.  First go—at the risk of being thought fanatical you must obey what God tells you. (My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the strength, the courage, and the wisdom to not only call you Lord, Lord, but also to do what you say.  Help us to be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deluded ourselves.  Amen.

Monday, November 23, 2015

commitment, monday

Monday, November 23

Opening Prayer: Lord, I am yours; I do yield myself up entirely to you, and I believe that you do take me.  I leave myself with you.  Work in me all the good pleasure of your will, and I will only lie still in your hands and trust you.  Amen. (The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith)

Scripture: Mark 10:17-31

Journal: Where do you find yourself in this story?  Where is God asking you to release something that is significant to you and follow him?  What is your response?

     It’s a really good question actually.  One that each and every one of us, if we’re completely honest, has had run through our minds a time or two.  What do I have to do to get to heaven?  What’s it really going to take to get me in? 
     Maybe the rich young man was looking for a minimum requirement, or maybe he was hoping for a response that indicated he (being healthy, wealthy, and wise) was already in, I’m not sure.  But I do know that he did not get the answer he expected.  I really believe that deep in his own heart and soul he was thinking that surely he, of all people, was going to be okay.  I mean if he wasn’t in, who was?  Even the disciples were thinking that.  But the ways, and the words, of God are never so predictable. 
     Jesus looks deeply into the young man’s heart and quickly puts his finger and on the real issue.  He immediately identifies the main area of belief that needs to be brought to light and dealt with before faith could become a real possibility for this young, wealthy, and powerful man.
     “What’s it going to take?  Everything!  Everything you’ve got.  I want it all.”  And that is what Jesus requires of each of us as well.  Simply put, there’s no such thing as coming to Jesus half way.  It’s all or nothing.  There is no minimum investment, no minimum requirement.  He wants all of us—all of our heart, all our life, all of our attention, and all of our affection.  He wants to be our treasure, not one of many treasures. 
     He calls us, as he did the rich young ruler, to leave everything behind and come and follow him.  This rich man walked away sad, unwilling to allow Jesus to be his all.  What about you? (Reflections by Jim Branch)


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, be my all.  You will settle for nothing less.  Help me let go of everything that might pull, hinder, or distract me from giving my full affection to you.  Amen.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

commitment, sunday

Sunday, November 22

Opening Prayer: Write your blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart, there to remain so engraven that no prosperity, no adversity, shall ever move me from Your love.  Amen. (Little Book of Prayers by Thomas A Kempis)

Scripture: Luke 10:57-62

Journal: What does it mean to be fully committed to Jesus?  What was the issue with each of the three would be followers?  How can you relate to each of them?  What is God saying to you through them?

     A man says to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus tells him that they won’t be staying in the best hotels.  Apparently that had never occurred to the man.  We never hear from him again.  Jesus then says to a second man, “Follow me.”  This man agrees but insists on conditions.  He has something important that he has to do first.  Jesus dismisses him.  Following Jesus isn’t something we put off until we have first done what we want to do.  Then a third man steps up and says that he is ready to follow Jesus—but not quite yet.  Jesus says, in effect, “Never mind.  It’s now or never.”  It turns out that the man is not ready after all.
     Jesus has barely begun his journey through Samaria to Jerusalem before he has picked up three followers.  But they haven’t gone a dozen paces before each of them has dropped out.
     We get the message: following Jesus doesn’t take place on our terms.  We follow Jesus on his terms.  (Tell It Slant by Eugene Peterson)


Closing Prayer: My God, I wish to give myself to thee.  Give me the courage to do so. ~Francois Fenelon

Saturday, November 21, 2015

the beatitudes, saturday

Saturday, November 21

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, Prince of Peace, help me this day to experience the peace that only you can give, so that I may help spread that peace, and pass that peace, and make that peace wherever I may go.  For when peacemaking becomes my vocation, then I can rest in your presence and your peace as your son.  Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:9 

Journal: What is a peacemaker?  What does it look like in our world?  Why do you think peacemakers will be called sons of God?  Could it be because that is what their Father looks like?  What would it look like in your life to be a peacemaker?  What are the situations in your life that need someone to speak, or make, or bring peace?

What we are called to is a life of peacemaking in which all that we do, say, think, or dream is part of our concern to bring peace to this world,” he explained. “Just as Jesus’ command to love one another cannot be seen as a part-time obligation, but requires our total investment and dedication, so too Jesus’ call to peacemaking is unconditional, unlimited, and uncompromising. None of us is excused! Peacemaking is a full-time vocation that includes each member of God’s people. (Peacework by Henri Nouwen)

Peacemaking belongs to the heart of our Christian vocation.  Peacemaking is a full-time task for all Christians.  Peacemaking has become the most urgent of all Christian tasks. (Peacework by Henri Nouwen)


Closing Prayer: Oh Lord God, Today I am called to be a peacemaker, but I am unfit for the task.  By nature I am a peace-faker and a peace-breaker, so I myself need help.  Others ask me to understand and guide them, but my ears are dull, my eyes are dim,
and I lack the wisdom they need.  But you, Lord, have all they need, so I come to you for supply.  Make me fit for your purposes, so I might serve them and honor you.  Cleanse me from my own sin so I will not add to their problems; take the logs from my eyes, so I can remove the specks from theirs.  Fill me with your Spirit so they may benefit from your fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Give me wisdom from above so I might be pure and peace-loving, considerate and submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. ~Ken Sande

Friday, November 20, 2015

the beatitudes, friday

Friday, November 20

Opening Prayer: I beg of You, my Lord, to remove anything which separates me from You, and You from me.  Remove anything that makes me unworthy of Your sight, Your control, Your reprehension; of Your speech and conversation, of Your benevolence and love.  Cast from me every evil that stands in the way of my seeing You, hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching You; fearing and being mindful of You; knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing You; being conscious of Your presence and, as far as may be, enjoying You. This is what I ask for myself and earnestly desire from You. ~Peter Faber

Scripture: Matthew 5:8

Journal: What does it mean to be pure in heart?  Why do you think the pure in heart will see God?  What is it about purity of heart that allows someone to see God?  Could it be because when we are pure in heart there is nothing to hinder our vision of him?

     The Beatitudes are foundational attitudes of the spiritual life and they give form to it as a whole.  They are responses to the human aspiration to experience the blessed life, or what St. Catherine of Genoa calls the “instinct for beatitude.”  They are invitations from a personal God to each of us as persons, calling us to the destiny of peace and joy.  These eight attitudes involve all that we have been, all that we are, all that we shall become.  They communicate a living expression of the divine direction of each human life.
     The Beatitudes preserve the wisdom of the formation tradition, a wisdom we can rely upon in the ebb and flow of changing times.  They provide a solid foundation on which to build our life of faith.  When we live the Beatitudes in and with the Lord, we become liberated persons in the fullest sense.  We follow the path of purgation until, with Jesus, we are filled with the peace of surrender to the Father and led by his Spirit to new depths of intimacy with the Indwelling Trinity.  These ways of going to God offer us a truly holistic pattern of formation that involves our entire existence from birth to death and beyond. (Blessings That Make Us Be by Susan Annette Muto)


Closing Prayer: O Lord my God, give me a pure heart; purge me of everything that would stand in the way of my ability to see you and to know you.  Amen.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

the beatitudes, thursday

Thursday, November 19

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, full of mercy and grace, thank you that you are our merciful and faithful high priest (Hebrews 2:17).  Thank you that you do not treat us as our sins deserve, but pour out your divine mercy upon us instead.  Therefore, may we always do the same.  May we be merciful as you are merciful, because when we are being merciful, we are being like you.  Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:7

Journal: How aware are you of your need for mercy?  What impact does that have on your ability to be merciful?  What does it look like to be merciful?  Is that a word you would use to describe your life and relationships?  If not merciful, what word would you use to describe the general attitude of your heart in relation to others?

     O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
     I am impressed by my own spiritual insights. I probably know more about prayer, meditation and contemplation than most Christians do. I have ready many books about the Christian life, and have even written a few myself. Still, as impressed as I am, I am more impressed by the enormous abyss between my insights and my life.
     It seems as if I am standing on one side of a huge canyon and see how I should grow toward you, live in your presence and serve you, but cannot reach the other side … where you are. I can speak and write, preach and argue about the beauty and goodness of the life I see on the other side, but how, O Lord, can I get there? Sometimes I even have the painful feeling that the clearer the vision, the more aware I am of the depth of the canyon.
     Am I doomed to die on the wrong side of the abyss? Am I destined to excite others to reach the promised land while remaining unable to enter there myself? Sometimes I feel imprisoned by my own insights and “spiritual competence.” You alone, Lord, can reach out to me and save me. You alone.
     I can only keep trying to be faithful, even though I feel faithless most of the time. What else can I do but keep praying to you, even when I feel dark; to keep writing about you, even when I feel numb; to keep speaking in your name, even when I feel alone. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen. (A Cry for Mercy by Henri Nouwen)


Closing Prayer: Blessed be the Lord!  For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.  The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.  Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever. ~Psalm 28:6-9

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

the beatitudes, wednesday

Wednesday, November 18

Opening Prayer: You called, You cried, you shattered my deafness.  You sparkled, you blazed, You drove away my blindness.  You shed your fragrance, and I drew in my breath, and I pant for You.  I tasted and now I hunger and thirst.  You touched me, and now I burn with longing for your peace. (Confessions by St. Augustine)

Scripture: Matthew 5:6

Journal: What is your soul hungry and thirsty for these days?  What is the level of your hunger and thirst for righteousness?  Do you realize that that is the deepest longing of your soul?  What does it look like for Jesus to satisfy that hunger/thirst?

     “Are you thirsty?” said the Lion.
     “I’m dying of thirst,” said Jill.
     “Then drink,” said the Lion.
     “May I—could I—would you mind going away while I do?” said Jill.
     The Lion answered this only by a look and a very low growl.  And as Jill gazed at its motionless bulk, she realized that she might as well have asked the whole mountain to move aside for her convenience.
     The delicious rippling noise of the stream was driving her nearly frantic.
     “Will you promise not to—do anything to me, if I do come?”  said Jill.
     “I make no promise,” said the Lion.
     Jill was so thirsty now that, without noticing it, she had come a step nearer.
     “Do you eat little girls?” she said.
     “I have swallowed up girls and boys, women and men, kings and emperors, cities and realms,” said the Lion.  It didn’t say this as if it were boasting, nor as if it were sorry, nor as if it were angry.  It just said it.
     “I daren’t come and drink,” said Jill
     “Then you will die of thirst,” said the Lion.
     “Oh dear!” said Jill, coming another step nearer.  “I suppose I must go and look for another stream then.”
     “There is no other stream,” said the Lion. (The Silver Chair by C. S. Lewis) 


Closing Prayer: O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.  I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace.  I am ashamed of my lack of desire.  O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee;  I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. (The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

the beatitudes, tuesday

Tuesday, November 17

Opening Prayer: Lord, give us to learn from Christ to be gentle and lowly in heart, that we may find rest for our souls; and that herein the same mind may be in us that was also in Christ Jesus.  Lord, conceal pride from us, and clothe us with humility; and put upon us the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in your sight is very precious. Amen. ~Matthew Henry

Scripture: Matthew 5:5

Journal: What does the word meek mean to you?  Do you see it as a positive or a negative word?  Why?  Why do you think Jesus calls us to be meek?  What does that look like?

     “Blessed are you.”
     No stranger words ever startled the ears of the poor, the humble, the meek, the mourning.  What had been considered a curse is proclaimed a blessing!  A living death is called “a more abundant life.”  Bad news becomes “Good news.”
     The beatitudes are Jesus’ self-portrait, the most personal description we have of Him in the Gospels.  They are the timeless image of Christ. (Surprised by the Spirit by Edward Farrell)


Closing Prayer: My Father, for the truth Jesus gave me concerning your Kingdom, I express my moving thanks.  Be in me increasingly that your Kingdom, your rule, may guide my decisions, inspire my will, and determine my actions.  Amen. (Deep is the Hunger by Howard Thurman)

Monday, November 16, 2015

the beatitudes, monday

Monday, November 16

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to mourn over the things that break your heart, that one day we might be comforted by your Spirit and your Presence in our lives for all eternity.  Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 5:4

Journal: Where are you mourning in your life right now?  How are you receiving comfort from God?  What do you think God wants us to mourn over?

     Digory kept his mouth very tight shut.  He had been growing more and more uncomfortable.  He hoped that whatever happened, he wouldn’t blub or do anything ridiculous.
     “Son of Adam,” said the Aslan.  “Are you ready to undo the wrong that you have done to my sweet country of Narnia on the very day of its birth?”
     “Well, I don’t see what I can do,” said Digory.  “You see, the Queen ran away and—“
     “I asked, are you ready,” said the Lion.
     “Yes,” said Digory.  He had had for a second some wild idea of saying “I’ll try to help you if you’ll promise to help about my Mother,” but he realized in time that the Lion was not at all the sort of person one could try to make bargains with.  But  when he had said “Yes,” he thought of his Mother, and he thought of the great hopes he had had, and how they were all dying away, and a lump came in his throat and tears in his eyes, and he blurted out:
     “But please, please—won’t you—can’t you give me something that will cure Mother?”  Up till then he had been looking at the Lion’s great front feet and the huge claws on them; now, in his despair, he looked up at its face.  What he saw surprised him as much as anything in his whole life.  For the tawny face was bent down near his own and (wonder of wonders) great shining tears stood in the Lion’s eyes.  They were such big, bright tears compared with Digory’s own that for a moment he felt as if the Lion must really be sorrier about his Mother than he was himself. (The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis)


Closing Prayer: Help me O God,
Give me the courage to cry.
Help me to understand that tears bring
     freshly washed colors arching across the soul
     colors that wouldn’t be there apart from the rain.
Help me to see in the prism of my tears,
     something of the secret of who I am.
Give me the courage
     not only to see what those tears are revealing
     but to follow where they are leading.
And help me to see,
     that where they are leading me is home…
          (Windows of the Soul by Ken Gire)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

the beatitudes, sunday

Sunday, November 15

Opening Prayer:
From the heights we leap and go
To the valleys down below
Always answering to the call
To the lowest place of all
From the heights we leap and go
To the valleys down below
Sweetest urge and sweetest will
To go lower, lower still
(Hinds’ Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard)

Scripture: Matthew 5:1-3

Journal: What does it mean to you to be poor in spirit?  What does that look like?  How might we pursue a life of being poor in spirit?  What did Jesus mean when he said theirs is the kingdom of heaven?

     The teaching of the Sermon on the Mount produces despair in the natural man—the very thing Jesus means it to do.  As long as we have a self-righteous, conceited notion that we can carry out Our Lord’s teaching, God will allow us to go on until we break our ignorance over some obstacle, then we are willing to come to Him as paupers and receive from Him.  “Blessed are the paupers in spirit,” that is the first principle in the Kingdom of God.  The bedrock in Jesus Christ’s kingdom is poverty, not possession; not decisions for Jesus Christ, but a sense of absolute futility—I cannot begin to do it.  Then Jesus says—Blessed are you.  That is the entrance, and it does take us a long while to believe we are poor!  The knowledge of our own poverty brings us to the moral frontier where Jesus works. (My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers)


Closing Prayer: O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.  From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
     From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.  From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
     That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. ~Litany of Humility