A moment of contemplation for yourself or on behalf of others on everything from the life-altering to the mundane.


Prayer: A conversation with The Higher Other who lives within each of us. An invitation to vent, to re-think, to ask, and to rest.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Prayer for the surgery of Fr. Ricardo Frohmader

by request of his faithful and loving parishioners

Holy God of all that is Healing and Healthy, 
we ask Your special grace upon Your Faithful Servant, Fr. Ricardo Frohmader of the Mission of St. Alban's in the Diocese of Guatemala. Comfort him in Your sacred embrace as he undergoes back surgery on April 1. Grant the surgeon clear sight, steady, and blessed hands. Fill the nurses and the operating room with the restorative energy of the Holy Spirit. Enfold Ricardo's spouse Mari and their children with Your soothing and hopeful Presence. Gather the prayers of parishioners and friends from close by and from far and wide as a protective canopy of love. Grant that the curative compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ will speed Ricardo's recovery and we will soon again be the benefactors of his ministry among us.   
Oramos para que en el nombre de Jesucristo para una recuperación rápida. Amen.   


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in anyway. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Prayers for Lent, Day 23: Give Up, Take On, Pray


Humor is, in fact, a prelude to faith; and laughter is the beginning of prayer … Laughter is swallowed up in prayer and humor is fulfilled by faith. 
                    ~ Reinhold Niebuhr* 1892-1971


             I read once that, if Christianity is so wonderful, why do Christians often look as though they're sucking lemons? Especially in this penitential season of Lent, some of us might be taking it all so seriously that we miss the lightness, the joy, and yes, the humor in life as a Christian.  Had a good laugh lately?  Start with a smile...


Jesus,
     there's so much about my relationship with you that I've been taught should be quiet, restrained, sober, and even meek. I've memorized "The Don't List" - don't do this, don't do that...even though there have been times when I have done a little of the don'ts...but now that I think about it, surely You had fun with friends, enjoyed a good dinner, and even laughed out loud. I'm starting to realize that I might be less likely to do things on the don't list if I lighten up and experience the wonder of the gift that Your life has given me. For today, I'll give up feeling deprived in Lent. I'll take on finding one thing to laugh out loud about that is good-spirited, delightful, and soul satisfying.  I'll pray a thanksgiving for the living legacy of Faith that fills me with eagerness to be a happier reflection of life with You.  amen.

*Reinhold Niebuhr was an American theologian, ethicist, and professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York City for more than 30 years. Two of his most influential books are Moral Man and Immoral Society and The Nature and Destiny of Man. Along with an extensive biography and body of work, Niebuhr was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1964, the highest US civilian award.  After working with labor and working classes, in 1944 he wrote The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness in which he said, "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." His theo-philosophical perspective became known as Christian Realism. Niebuhr is best known for his "Serenity Prayer" although most often it is only the first few lines that people know.  Following is the complete text as he is said to have written it:

God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 22: Give Up, Take On, Pray


What exactly IS The Christian Ideal?
If you Google the phrase you'll get directed to the Chesterton* quote and untold numbers of sermons about "it." Off the top of your head, you may be confident that you know all about it, "Well, of course it is...." So, how do you define it as a way of life? Why does Chesterton say it's difficult? Write it out. What happens if (when?) you stray from the Ideal? Be specific - points off for vague responses!

Jesus, Beloved of God,
     You are the Christ, the Anointed One, the Son of God, the Son of Man. We are the Christians who have signed on to follow You, to live our lives as You have taught us. You did give us all we need to know in Matthew 22:33-40** which is pretty clear:  Love God with everything we have and love everyone - friend, not friend, and stranger - as ourselves. Sounds easy enough ~ I guess if we can really do that we've pretty well covered the original 1-10 list.  Well, I quietly admit there are days when I'm not loving anyone very much and many other days when I watch to see how I measure up with the ways other Christians appear to be following You.  That can be discouraging on a variety of levels. For today, I'll give up looking around to see what everyone else is doing and take on the "trying" part a little more diligently. I'll pray to find my path through The Christian Ideal and when I hit a bump or two or have a cranky day, I'll "try" to remember to pray againamen.


*G.K. Chesterton [1874-1936] born in London and baptized as an Anglican, studied art and literature harboring a desire to be an artist. He fell into journalism and then began to write in earnest penning more than 80 books, hundreds of short stories, and more hundreds of poems.  He's widely known for his Priest-Detective Father Brown character, which, dramatized for television, still plays on PBS in the US. A lay theologian and philosopher, he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1922. Poet, playwright, political commentator, literary and art critic, he was known for his wit and humor and use of paradox. His faith was deep and his practice devout enough to warrant a telegram of condolence from the Pope "To the English People" at his death. Just one more of his innumerable quotable quotes that feels quite contemporary: The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of the Conservatives is to prevent the mistakes from being corrected.  

**Matthew 22:33-40 [NRSV]
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”



Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 21: Give Up, Take On, Pray



I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least.  
                ~ Walt Whitman* 1819-1892




Where do you discover God in your life - in the woods, on a river, in the mountains, in the living room, on the highway, in church?  Have you ever experienced a moment when you were certain you understood God?   

Almighty, Mystical, Divinity,
     When I was a child, You were in every room, every sunrise, every blade of grass, inside, outside, and all over; and, I understood You, or at least the wonder of You and, who I was to You. And then I grew up - sort of. Where did You go?  Some days it's a struggle to find You anywhere and I'm more uncertain of You than ever.  Oh, wait, maybe I'm the one who went...
hmmm...SO...for today I'll give up trying to find You anywhere else but here because everywhere I am is here. I'll take on accepting that You are a mystery that doesn't need to be deciphered or comprehended. I'll pray. And then I can move forward because You are always here and I don't need to know why.  amen.


*Walt Whitman is an icon of American poetry, especially for his Leaves of Grass written and revised over nearly 40 years. Also an essayist, journalist, and humanist, Whitman believed that all religions were equal and although he remained a religious skeptic, he did believe that the human soul is immortal and always in a state of progression. A fascinating person, his biography is too extensive for this space but well worth the exploration. He continues to be one of the most influential American poets.  




Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 20: Give Up, Take On, Pray


Prayer  is a...nongeographic space that one enters at one's own peril, for it houses God during those few moments of one's presence there, and what is there will most surely change everything that comes into it....Ever traveling as we travel, moving as we move, prayer grips like home, until the heart belongs nowhere else and the body can scarcely function apart from them both. Prayer is dangerous and the entrance way to wholeness.  ~ Phyllis Tickle* 1934-


How do you pray?  There are many ways - some use formally constructed prayers written by others, some pray spontaneously in a group.  Some pray in silence and alone.  What are the reasons for your prayers - intercessory (on behalf of others), thanksgiving (for blessings in life), petition (request for yourself), penitence (you're sorry for something), to give praise to God without asking or expecting a return?  How do you want to pray? Step one: Dear God, [fill in the rest here]...

Dear God,
       Sometimes I find it difficult to know what to say to You even though I don't seem to have a problem talking to anyone else. What words are best? What should I be saying? Do the words matter? 
       For today, I will give up trying to pray the way I think is correct and take on speaking to You from my heart.  I will pray to share sacred space with You, often. Is it true that I can be transformed by engaging with You regularly? That does feel a little dangerous but, You are God, what better danger can there be?  amen.




*Phyllis Tickle is an accomplished author and lecturer whose focus is primarily religion and spirituality. She has served as a teacher, professor, and an academic dean and as an editor for St. Luke's Press, Peachtree Publishers, and Publishers Weekly. Her best known works are The Great Emergence - How Christianity is Changing and Why and her series on The Divine Hours.  An Episcopal lay woman, Ms. Tickle lives in Tennessee with her husband.
  
Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Prayers of the People: The Ultimate Oil Treatment, 4th Sunday in Lent

for Sunday March 30, 2014, Readings: 1 Sam 16: 1-13, Ps 23, Eph 5:8-14, Jn 9: 1-41

The ritual of Anointing is as ancient as human life itself. This symbolic rite is still known across all cultures, religions, and ethnicities in every corner of the Earth. Perfumed oil has been used to establish and confirm a monarch, to welcome a guest, to mark a child as Christ's own forever, to promote physical and spiritual healing of the sick, exile demonic possession, and to honor the body of one who has died. Some practices use herbal pastes, scented water, and even yogurt.  
      The name "Christ" derives from the Greek word Χριστός (Khristós)   meaning "The Anointed One." 
       Beyond the sacramental, spiritual, and symbolic, as a universal ceremonial from the beginning of time, perhaps it is that the act of anointing taps something primal in us and deeply connects us to all who have gone before and all who are yet to come. Our comfort from  and to the ages.  


LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

LEADER: ~ Eternal Shepherd, our One True Light, You chose David in his youth and us from our births knowing our full potential. You see beneath the surface of our flesh and know the hidden longings of our souls. Lead us out of the blindness of self-pride to the clarity of eyes opened to life in You.

                             Anoint our eyes to see You more clearly.
RESPONSE:  Anoint our hearts to follow You more nearly.

~ Eternal Shepherd, our One True Light, illuminate the paths of justice and mercy that the leaders of this world might follow. Awaken their inner vision to see themselves as You see them, so they may begin to shepherd their own flocks with integrity and principle. We pray especially for: add your own petitions.

                      Anoint our eyes to see You more clearly.
                      Anoint our hearts to follow You more nearly.

~ Eternal Shepherd, our One True Light, attend those who are suffering with physical or emotional trials and calm those who give them care. Enfold them with Your radiance and grant them the peace of Your green pasture while they heal. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                       Anoint our eyes to see You more clearly.
                       Anoint our hearts to follow You more nearly.

~ Eternal Shepherd, our One True Light, we long for those who have left us to live in Your House forever. Let Your promised comfort embrace all who are weeping in the shadow of grief. We pray especially for all those who have been lost in earthly tragedies on land, on the sea, and in the air, and for: add your own petitions

                        Anoint our eyes to see You more clearly.
                        Anoint our hearts to follow You more nearly.

~ Eternal Shepherd, our One True Light, exhilarate the spirits of those who guide Your Church so they may lead us on our journey to You and we may all be released from sin and darkness. We pray especially for: add your own petitions

                          Anoint our eyes to see You more clearly.
                          Anoint our hearts to follow You more nearly.

The Celebrant adds: Timeless, abiding, immutable Pastor, Your goodness and mercy overflows our cup of life when we choose the blessings You set before us. Grant our eyes to open and our hearts to see the table of Love You have prepared for us. We ask this through Jesus our Savior and the Spirit of all that is Holy, who live and reign with You, one God, forever and ever. Amen.




Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Prayers for Lent, Day 19: Give Up, Take On, Pray



"One of the most significant negative habits we should be aware of is that of constantly allowing our mind to run off into the future...Carried away by our worries, we’re unable to live fully and happily in the present. Deep down, we believe we can’t really be happy just yet—that we still have a few more boxes to be checked off before we can really enjoy life."
                               ―  Thích Nhất Hạnh* 1926-


              It’s one thing to hope for and plan for the future. It’s another thing to live in it before it arrives and, in so doing, miss all the opportunities of today to smile, appreciate, enjoy. Even in the darkest of times, light will shine through the clouds. How many times have you played the game of: once the car is paid off….once the kids are through college….once the new roof is on….once the dentist bills are paid….once the house is fixed up, paid off, sold….once we retire….THEN we'll be able to…… Take moments you have in the NOW and the THEN will take care of itself.

Dear God of Maybe Someday ~
           All this business of "live for today and tomorrow will take care of itself" is all well and fine but I have bills to pay, income to worry about, repairs that can't wait for the house and the car and even the teeth and, and, and.... [once again: insert long, s l o w, d e e p, breath here]. Ok, all right, for today I will give up looking so far ahead that today is gone before I know it. I will take on setting the cell phone timer to go off once an hour for 6 hours and when it does I will take one, long, slow, deep breath and take 30 seconds to look around me and notice something I haven't noticed before whether in my immediate surroundings or outside of a window. Or, I will look at a picture of someone I love and smile and be glad to have him or her in my life. I will pray to be aware of and to be thankful for all the good moments that I have in this day.  I will thank You, Dear Lord, and remember that Life is a gift, as someone once put on a tacky plaque, that's why we call it the present. amen.



*Thích Nhất Hạnh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, peace activist, teacher, prolific author, and poet who was once nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  He has written and lectured extensively on the connections between Buddhism and Christianity in such works as "Living Buddha, Living Christ" and "Going Home, Jesus and Buddha as Brothers." He studied comparative religion at Princeton University and was appointed lecturer in Buddhism at Columbia University.  He currently lives in a monastery in the South of France but travels frequently around the world to lecture.



Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.
 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 18: Give Up, Take On, Pray


Our Savior is our true Mother in whom we are endlessly born and out of whom
we shall never come.     
~ Julian of Norwich* 1342-ca 1416  

      Few of us can claim personal experience with unconditional love either received or given. Perhaps a moment with a child, even a pet, but such a rarefied occasion is fleeting and fragile.
      Yet there are those times when even the strongest of us needs the all-ecompassing embrace of one who requires nothing in return, has no expectations, and wants only to care for and comfort, nurture and love us.  Whisper in your heart to the One and know.

O Great Nurturer, Comforter, and Soother,
       Some days I want too much from others and they want too much from me. I'm certain that I try to meet the expectations of them and I often feel that they leave me alone in the dust of frustration. I can easily dig myself deeper and deeper into the ditch of resentment. For today I will give up feeling aggravated when I think my needs aren't being met. I will take on meeting others where they are, doing as I'm able to do with and for them, and let go of open (or secret) expectations of any kind of return for my efforts. I will pray to release myself from inward annoyance, outward irritation, and turn to You for sustenance, reassurance, and refreshment. amen.


* Julian of Norwich, was an English Anchoress (a hermit who lived in, and was sometimes permanently enclosed in, a small cell attached to a wall of the church whose life consisted of daily devotions, prayer, devotional reading, and writing). She is considered to be one of the most important mystics in all of Christianity. Her manuscript of Revelations of Divine Love - also known as the Short Text - is thought to be the oldest surviving book written in English by a woman.  She is probably best known for her words that with God, "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well."




Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 17, Give Up, Take On, Pray


Psalm 23 speaks to us in the simplest of terms that belie the intricacy of its depth. The symbolism in this well-known Psalm is far more complex and fascinating than just the obvious image of a guy walking down a lane with a big staff and a dog, or the pretty girl of nursery rhymes with a bow on her crook as the sheep dutifully follow.  
      The demands on real living shepherds are constant and endless.  Sheep are peculiarly needy and helpless creatures, quite restive, and even self-destructive at times. They can stand still for hours or bolt into stampede because an apple drops unexpectedly from a tree. The shepherd must keep continuous vigil against disease, insect infestations, predators, pecking order fights, escape artists, water and food supplies. Sheep will NOT lie down unless they are completely contented and secure. A special oil mixture that the shepherd prepares and swabs around the sheep's head and nose keeps deadly insects from burrowing and causing panic and disease, and the sheep is calmed for a bit. Then there are shearing and lambing seasons...*
         Taken line by line in this Psalm we can see, feel, and almost hear Jesus, our Shepherd, here with us, reviving, caring, comforting, and anointing. Watching over us, preparing our table, restoring us.  Nothing we need is withheld.  A Good Shepherd's job is never done.


Most Gracious and Vigilant Shepherd,
      How much of my life I have known the words of this lovely little Psalm ~ but have I paid attention to them?  Have I understood what they really mean in my life?  They're so familiar that when it comes time I recite them with a matter-of-fact monotone voice without even listening to myself.  But for today, I will give up taking for granted that You ARE the Shepherd who restores my soul and anoints my heart when I call on You. I will take on reading this Psalm carefully and slowly at least twice.  I will pray these words with conscious intention, recognizing the important message that Christ Jesus IS my shepherd.  I will read it one time as a prayer for myself, emphasizing the parts that do refer to me:  The Lord is MY Shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes ME lie down in green pastures and leads ME beside still waters......
       And then, I will read it once more (at least). Only this time I'll add the name and appropriate pronouns of someone I know as an intercessory prayer. And I will carry the image of Jesus leading us, comforting us, anointing us as we walk toward dwelling in the House of the Lord forever. I think I will call this, Psalm 23.1amen.


Psalm 23  (format from the Book of Common Prayer)

The LORD is Anna's shepherd;
She shall not be in want.

He makes Anna lie down in green pastures
and leads her beside still waters.

He revives Anna's soul
and guides her along right pathways for his Name's sake.

Though Anna walks through the valley of the shadow of death,
She shall fear no evil;
for you are with her;
your rod and your staff, they comfort her.

You spread a table before Anna in the presence of those
who trouble her;
You anoint her head with oil,
and her cup is running over.

Surely your goodness and mercy shall follow her all the days
of her life,
And Anna will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Amen.


*I commend to you a charming and interesting little book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by W. Phillip Keller, for a closer look at the connections between the Psalm's descriptions and real life sheep farming.


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 16: Give Up, Take On, Pray




         In a lifestyle so governed by cell phone reminders, social requirements, social media interactions, job intensity, crazy traffic, bad weather, home maintenance, laundry,  grocery shopping, meal providing, school events, exercise, sometimes church, sports tv, Xbox, online shopping, all while wearing headphones for music and streaming videos and all too rarely a full night's sleep ~ it's no wonder we have difficulty turning off all of the external stimulants of life (and perhaps a few imbibed) and finding a truly quiet moment.  How about our children? 


Guardian of my Soul and Spirit,
         The outside noise is filling me on the inside and shutting You out. I'm so easily distracted by all of the demands and opportunities of "outside" life. Please call me back from the brink of spiritual implosion. For today, I will give up 15 minutes of external stimulation and take on sitting alone, quietly, with no agenda but breathing in and breathing out. Yes, I know there's lots of other stuff to do but I will let the thoughts come in and go out.  I will let go of the thoughts that want to stick around for analysis. When the timer goes off to signal the end of the time, I will pray for the willingness and follow-through to look for guidance on meditation and the development of an interior/spiritual life.  I need the space, quiet, freedom, and connection with You to help assuage the craziness of the "outside." I know it will feel awkward at first but maybe if I just try on the 15 minute thing for awhile, it will help me cope better with the other 1,425 minutes in my day.  amen.  



Evelyn Underhill 
English Mystic
1875-1941
          Evelyn Underhill was one of the most widely read authors on Christian mysticism, religion, and spiritual practice in the early years of the 20th Century.  She began her writing with satirical poems moved to novels of heroic mystical journeys, and onto readable treatises on mysticism and The Spiritual Life.  Prominent in the Anglican Church, she was the first woman to give lectures to Anglican clergy as well as the first woman to lead spiritual retreats. Recognized as a theologian, Underhill sought to reconcile the spiritual realm with everyday realities that are in opposition to the Divine but redeemed when revisited with a lens of divine radiance.  Not at all proclaiming reclusiveness as a path to spiritual wholeness she said: "It seems so much easier in these days to live morally than to live beautifully. Lots of us manage to exist for years without ever sinning against society, but we sin against loveliness every hour of the day."

      Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 15: Give Up, Take On, Pray


I
Am
A Hole
In A Flute

That the Christ's Breath
Moves Through - 

Listen to This
Music.

~ Hafiz 1320-1389*

O Breath of God,
        waft through my body, permeate my soul, fill my consciousness to overflowing and let me breathe You into the World. For today I will give up the oblivion of mindless breathing and take on the wonder of inhaling and exhaling with purpose beyond the obvious. I will stop and notice several times today as I breathe in with intention and breathe out with awareness. I will pray at those moments to experience the Radiance of Christ entering in and the humility of conveying the Glory of Christ as I release His music to the world around me. amen.




*Hafiz (Shams-ud-din Muhammad) was a beloved poet of 14th century Persians and his mystical verse has come down through the ages influencing the work and lives of Goethe and Ralph Waldo Emerson, both of whom translated his work. Arthur Conan Doyle had his character Sherlock Holmes quoting Hafiz and Johannes Brahms used several lines in his own compositions. It has been said that in difficult moments, Queen Victoria also went to the work of Hafiz. The quote above was translated by Daniel Ladinsky in his book, A Year With Hafiz.



Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 14: Give Up, Take On, Pray

       When suddenly you seem to lose all you thought you had gained, do not despair. You must expect setbacks and regressions. Don't say to yourself "All is lost. I have to start all over again." This is not true. What you have gained you have gained....When you return to the the road, you return to the place where you left it, not to where you started.  ~ Henri Nouwen 1932-1996*


            We all have or will have or know those who have those moments in life - the loss of someone integral to your everyday life, a job loss, significant health challenges, or whatever causes you to fall into hopelessness. There is a time and a need to grieve these losses and be surrounded by those who care for you and who give you hope. Take the time it takes yet do not grieve for the sake of grief. Find the help you need when you realize that you have fallen into despair. Life is precious and short; live on this earth for those who cannot, and get back to the road of this life even if you are limping and bruised. The sun will shine again when you let it.


Dear God of my broken heart,
       I have had the times when it is all I can do to open my eyes and face another day and when I longed to hide myself in the black of night that matched the darkness of my grief. Give me the eyes to see when another is in the merciless grip of pain and sorrow and let me be a quiet comforting presence of hope. For today I will give up living in the shadow of yesterday and take on living in the light of today. I pray for the peace to walk down my road, give encouragement to others, and live my life giving thanks for each breath I am given. amen.


  
*A Dutch-born Catholic Priest with a doctorate in Psychology, Henri Nouwen was a prolific writer on the subject of spirituality. He wrestled with clinical depression throughout his life and it informed his abilities for his writing, teaching, and pastoral care. After teaching appointments with The Menninger Clinic, University of Notre Dame, Yale Divinity School, and Harvard Divinity School, he accepted the position of Pastor for a L'Arche Community for the developmentally disabled near Toronto, Canada. His books such as Wounded Healer, The Way of the Heart, and The Return of the Prodigal Son remain widely read and deeply held by people of all faith expressions.



Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 13: Give Up, Take On, Pray

"You must before your God 
appear to Give an account of 
your transactions,
And how you spent your time, 
            when here.”
     ~ The Rev. Absalom Jones  1746-1818

     Absalom Jones was born into slavery in Sussex County, Delaware in 1746. When sold to a Philadelphia store owner at 16, he learned to read, write, and work for the wages that eventually allowed him to purchase his and his wife's freedom. The short version of his extensive biography is that he became the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church in the US, founded several churches, multiple organizations to aid freed and runaway slaves, and a Literary Circle. 

      His words above may sound trivial at first glance, but when measured against the institution of slavery these words become profound and should reverberate within us all.  
      On New Year's Day in 1808, Jones said the following in his sermon giving thanksgiving for the passage of the Abolition of African Slave Trade Act by the US Congress: 

Let not our expressions of gratitude to God for his late goodness and mercy to our countrymen, be confined to this day, nor to this house: let us carry grateful hearts with us to our places of abode, and to our daily occupations; and let praise and thanksgivings ascend daily to the throne of grace, in our families, and in our closets, for what God has done for our African brethren.


      His graciousness may be considered premature inasmuch as slavery itself was not abolished in the US for 55 more years. And so, as those supporters of slavery then and now, we each will give the accounts of our own transactions while on this earthly plane. As for me, I ought to be too busy taking my own inventory to account for the transactions of others.  

O Loving and Forgiving God,

     Through the inspiration of Your true servant Absalom, we find the graciousness, joy, and reconciliation that should be the hallmarks of every Christian life.  For today, I will give up counting up the faults of others and take on re-framing my thoughts from judgment to tolerance; my actions from thoughtless to reconciling. I will pray for the insight to acknowledge my own faults, the contrite heart to make amends, and the wisdom to think first of God before I act on my own.  amen.  


The Rev. Absalom Jones is celebrated by the Episcopal Church in the U.S. on February 13.




This reprise was originally posted in March 19, 2014.




Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Prayers of the People: "Well", There's a Deep Subject; 3rd Sunday in Lent

for Sunday, March 23, 2014
Readings:  Ex 17:1-7, Ps 95, Romans 5:1-11, John 4:5-42

Have you ever been thirsty - really, really thirsty? Hot summer day, cutting the grass, playing golf, volleyball on the beach...so, what did you do? Into the kitchen, turned on the tap, reached in the fridge, opened the cooler, or paid a vendor for a bottle of spring water? Imagine you are 50 days' walk away from all you knew in a life so bad you are willing to be lured by the promise of new beginnings out of all the misery you've been living in.  All you have to do is follow the leader across the desert.  He says he knows the way.  And suddenly you realize there's no water - seriously, there's NO WATER, no well in sight, no streams or oases...how would you be talking to the leader?
              Jesus, stops by the local well to get a drink as part of the life and times. But he's on "the other side of town" where no respectable Jews would go and strikes up a conversation with one of those people and, a woman!  WWYD?  What Would You Do - if you were desperately thirsty and in a place you don't feel you belong in? Would you simply trust that God will keep you safe?
              Much of the world's people today have no clean, safe, supply of water.  Poorly maintained wells, drying and polluted streams, even miles to walk to get barely enough to carry back for just today.  Think about it the next time you let the hose run on the lawn, or the bathroom tap as you brush your teeth, or throw half a bottle of unfinished spring water into the trash. And, mostly, think about your desert moments in life - is God your Living Water for consolation and hope, or just the leader you blame and complain to?



LET US, GOD’S PEOPLE, PRAY

LEADER:  ~ O God, Navigator of our souls, we lead our own souls into the parched desert of gloom and the arid wilderness of discouragement when we turn from the path of Life that leads to You. Guide us back to the gushing Rock that washes away all fear, anguish, and uncertainty. 
                        
                        Lord of Living Water,
RESPONSE:  Quench our thirst for Your salvation

~ O God, Navigator of our souls, the depth and breadth of human misery in our world through war, abysmal poverty, power mongering, prejudice, and natural disaster is invisible by choice to many of us. Grant our local and world leaders clarity of vision and enlightened perspective for a cooperative spirit of common purpose and global redemption. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                         Lord of Living Water,
                        Quench our thirst for Your salvation

~ O God, Navigator of our souls, pour Your love into those who are seriously ill, in pain, or in despair and for those who minister to their needs. Let them feel immersed in Your grace and blessed by enduring hope.  We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                         Lord of Living Water,
                         Quench our thirst for Your salvation


~ O God, Navigator of our souls, we weep for our loss and mourn those who have left us even as they thrive in Your everlasting Life.  Dry our tears and bathe our hearts with Your healing mercy as we seek a trickle of ease in our lonely journey without them. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                        Lord of Living Water,
                        Quench our thirst for Your salvation

~ O God, Navigator of our souls, refresh the spirit of those we have called into leadership for Your Church. May their faith in You course so strongly in their hearts that they are sustained and renewed with the courage of their convictions. We pray especially for:  add your own petitions

                         Lord of Living Water,
                        Quench our thirst for Your salvation

The Celebrant adds:  God Almighty, LORD of Heaven and of All the Earth, Jesus is our proof of Your love for us and the model for how to live in an inclusive community of faith.  Let us rid the world of prejudice and hate by reconciling ourselves with others, drowning the seeds of injustice, and returning kindness and tolerance for real or perceived insults and injuries. We ask this through Jesus our Messiah, and the Holy Spirit our Sustainer, who live and reign with You, One God, fount of all that is infinite and eternal.  Amen.




Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.


Prayers for Lent, Day 12: Give Up, Take On, Pray


“God not only demands but needs our cooperation on the spiritual [as well as] the material plane. The Cross Bearer of the universe, as He passes in our midst, does not act for us, but in us.”
   ~ Vida Dutton Scudder 1861-1954*

 A paradox of Creation is that it is complete but not yet finished. God in the Trinity, as Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, calls us into a spiritual relationship and as earthly co-creators, acting in us to continue the work of salvation in our world. So, do you feel more special now, or, more scared? A little of both?

Holy God of Mystery and Majesty,
       I feel overwhelmed at all You have entrusted to me. I want to live up to all of Your expectations even while I'm not sure I'm living up to my own. For today, I will give up the pursuit of material satisfaction as a principal goal of life. I'll take on trying to see Your Creation ~ the world around me, the street I live on, the people I know and those I don't, the every-day actions I take ~ as You want me to see. I pray to always know that You are within me and that I will move through this life with intention and purpose, caring and carrying Your love through all that I do. amen.



*Vida Dutton Scudder holds October 10 on the US Episcopal Liturgical Calendar as a Feast Day.  Professor of English Literature at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, she was one of the first two American women admitted to the graduate program at Oxford University. In addition to teaching, she was an author and a welfare activist in the social gospel movement. She was a founder or organizer of many groups involved with Christian socialism, trade/labor unions, and Boston's Denison House, the third settlement house in the US. In 1888 she joined the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross, Episcopal women dedicated to intercessory prayer and social reconciliation. At her retirement from Wellesley she was given the title of Professor Emeritus and among other honors went on the become the first Dean of the Summer School of Christian Ethics at Wellesley and the first woman to be published in the Anglican Theological Review.



Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 11: Give Up, Take On, Pray


      In the 5th Century, a 16 year-old Roman Briton was captured by Irish pirates and served as a slave for 6 years before his escape back to home.  He credits the time of captivity for his significant spiritual experiences that resulted in conversion to Christianity. 
     After being ordained, Patrick returned to Ireland later in life to preach the message of God in the Trinity, convert, and baptize. As a foreigner who refused the patronage of the Kings, he endured much opposition and was without legal protection. He wrote about beatings, being tied up with chains, periodic imprisonment, and threats of execution. 
        Through it all he Christian-ized many of the early Celtic worship practices, including the sacred symbol of the shamrock that, it has been said, he used to explain the Trinity.
      The famous St. Patrick's Breastplate, also known as the Cry of the Deer, is a prayer poem attributed to him that has been set to music in a variety of ways.  Many of the hymnal versions use only a small portion of the lyrics and it often contains several separate melodies and rhythms within the one hymn. The work with or without music has a cadence of an almost Druidic incantation which the people of his time would have understood.  It isn't often that we see the entire piece and so it is included below, followed by a YouTube rendering of one musical setting. 
      Despite all the myth, fact, and legend, Patrick has had a profound impact as Ireland's Patron Saint, slightly ahead of Brigid and Columba, and is known throughout the world.

Mo Dhia, (My God),
       Your Servant Patrick taught the native Irish people the One-ness of God in the Three-ness of the Trinity. For today I will give up 15 minutes of my time to take on reading and sitting with the power of the words of his prayer poem. Perhaps I can pick a different smaller portion of it to work with each day this week as "I arise..." I pray to feel the strength of the Breastplate, the armor of my Faith, in my body, mind, and soul, now and always.  amen.   

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.


I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth with His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.


I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In the predictions of prophets,
In the preaching of apostles,
In the faith of confessors,
In the innocence of holy virgins,
In the deeds of righteous men.


I arise today, through
The strength of heaven,
The light of the sun,
The radiance of the moon,
The splendor of fire,
The speed of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of the sea,
The stability of the earth,
The firmness of rock.


I arise today, through
God's strength to pilot me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's host to save me
From snares of devils,
From temptation of vices,
From everyone who shall wish me ill,
afar and near.


I summon today
All these powers between me and those evils,
Against every cruel and merciless power
that may oppose my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul;


Christ to shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that there may come to me an abundance of reward.


Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.


I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.


The Deer's Cry/St. Patrick's Breastplate




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Friday, March 14, 2014

Prayers for Lent, Day 10: Give Up, Take On, Pray


If I have achieved anything in my life, it is because I have not been embarrassed to talk about God.
                 ~ Dorothy Day* 1897-1980

      How often do you talk about God in your every day life?  There are many people, good church-going folks, who have difficulty discussing God, Jesus, religion, and/or spirituality in "normal" conversation.  It's one of the "taboos" of  polite conversation learned early - "Never discuss religion or politics" ostensibly because it leads to conflict and discomfort in relationships.  Perhaps it sets us up for debates on right and wrong theologies. Maybe there's an element of proselytizing that we are anxious about giving or receiving.  Or, it's just a matter of appropriate time and place.  What about privately - to yourself?  Do you talk to God - in joy and thanksgiving, blame and anger, frustration and supplication?  When is it right to talk about God?  What would you say?

O God, Holder of my soul, 
         I come to You in my quiet and alone time to speak of my wants, desires, and needs, for myself and for others.  I speak to You during worship along with all the others as we lift our voices in prayer and response.  But speaking about You to others outside of the Church's footprint has never come easy to me.  I worry too much about not knowing enough to hold off debates, or being perceived as some kind of "holy roller."  You don't need me to plead Your cause but I would like to be less constricted in doing so. For today, I will give up being embarrassed in talking about my relationship with You. I will take on finding at least one moment, as a start, outside of Church, to say some small thing about my relationship with You in a conversation with another person, even if only in a casual remark.  I pray to You for the right words at the right moment, and, for me to make things less difficult for myself and others than You would have them be. amen.

            *Dorothy Day was a primary founder of the Catholic Worker Movement in the 1930s, a pacifist nonviolent organization that continues to aid the poor today. She began and continued as editor of The Catholic Worker newspaper from its founding in 1933 until her death drawing contributors such as Daniel Berrigan and Thomas Merton. She wrote passionately about women's rights, free love, and birth control early in her life but in the 1940s, she became an Oblate in the Order of St. Benedict. An oblate is a lay person unprofessed as a monk or nun who makes a commitment to a specific Rule of Life - often called a Third Order.
                      In 2000, Pope John Paul II titled Day "Servant of God" as a person whose cause for Sainthood has been opened. She has been named "a person Worthy of Commemoration" in the US Episcopal Church whose guidelines allow for an official remembrance in the liturgical calendar no sooner than 50 years after death but local observances are encouraged. Day's extensive biographical history is quite amazing in its breadth and depth. She would never have thought of herself as a saint,  but she was most certainly was a force to be reckoned with.


Please feel free to request a prayer to be composed for a particular concern or topic for posting in this space. You may leave your request in the comments section or contact me directly at Leeosophy@gmail.com All compositions remain the property of the owner of this blog but may be used with attribution as long as they are not sold or charged for in any way. Requestors will remain anonymous.