Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Prayer for New School Year

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This month, many students and teachers are headed back to school. Pray on your own or with your children as they begin a new semester.

Prayers to Begin a School Year

God of wisdom and might,
we praise you for the wonder of our being,
for mind, body and spirit.
Be with our children as they begin
a new school year.
Bless them and their teachers and staff.
Give the strength and grace as their bodies grow;
wisdom and knowledge to their minds
as they search for understanding;
and peace and zeal to their hearts.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Monday, August 29, 2016

We are representatives of Christ together

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If there is one outer garment to choose that puts the whole ensemble together, says Saint Paul, it is love, "which binds everything together in perfect harmony." 

This is not a love simply based on feelings, but rather the self-sacrificing, outwardly focused love bound up in the Greek word agape. Love acts as the bond that holds the community together despite the circumstances and despite our individual faults, needs and hurts, and is the basis of our unity. It not only binds together all the other pieces of the new wardrobe perfectly, it creates a communal spirit that represents the body of Christ to the world -- a body in which the "peace of Christ" rules in the hearts of all. 

We are never just representing our individual selves; we are representatives of Christ together.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Be like Him

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As humble representatives of Christ our wardrobe includes the communal need for forgiveness. We must "bear with one another" and forgive each other as the Lord has forgiven us. When problems and disagreements arise in communities or families, forgiveness and patience with one another are essential.

We accept others for who they are, with all their faults and weaknesses, while spurring one another on to live up to the image of God within each of us. We were created to represent God's image and to engage together in God's mission for the world. Forgiveness allows the community to live that image and mission fully in the present world despite our tendency to act like the sinners we are. 

We need not present a fake, superficial image to the world, but rather our authentic, broken, forgiven and forgiving selves living together with the goal of being more like Jesus, the perfect image of God.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Humble yourself

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Our Scriptures teach us that we are God's "chosen ones, holy and beloved" by him. Saint Paul urges us to put on clothing that will re-create us as representatives of Christ. That wardrobe includes compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Each of these pieces is designed for life in community, recognizing that life in the kingdom is all about putting others ahead of yourself. It's the exact opposite of the old life of self-serving idolatry, in other words. It's a reinvention of the self as a servant who presents himself or herself to the world as a humble representative of Christ.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Prayer for Discerning a Vocation

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Prayer for Discerning a Vocation

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know my self,
and the fact that I think am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that, if I do this,you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will not leave me to face my perils alone.
-Thomas Merton

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Papal Thoughts

Pope Francis waves to pilgrims at the Angelus on Sunday August 21, 2016 - AFP(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis on Sunday said “life is not a video game or a soap opera; our life is serious and the goal to achieve is important: eternal salvation.” Speaking to pilgrims gathered for the Angelus prayer in St. Peter's Square, the Pope focused on the theme of eternal salvation and referred to the day’s Gospel reading in which a man asks Jesus how many people will be saved. “It doesn’t matter how many,” the Pope noted, “but it is important that everyone knows which is the path that leads to salvation.” And the door to salvation lies in Jesus, he said, and we can cross the threshold of God's mercy through love, and by overcoming pride, arrogance and sin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Create a Sharing society

There are countless blessings to those who give of themselves wholeheartedly without any cost. God's grace and power are the unexpected benefits with one that is truly giving -- offering gifts of time and talent along with money.

Throughout history, Christians have worked to create a sharing society. In such a community, Christians share because they want to share, not because they are forced to share. They are active in the marketplace, working hard and always looking for what they can do next. They put people ahead of profits, and they try to avoid the worship of money. They discover that giving has unexpected benefits, including powerful testimonies and experiences of the grace of God.

But since we Christians were among the first to pool our resources in Jerusalem, we should always be on the lookout for ways to build a sharing society in new and even more powerful ways.