Category Archives: prayer

Psalm 25:1-10

I’m going to memorize this.

Prayer for Guidance and for Deliverance

Of David.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.
Be mindful of your mercy, O Lord, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Deo Gratias


Deo Gratias is Latin for “Thanks be to God.Remembering to give thanks for all of our blessings, big and small, helps us to find God in our everyday moments and gives us an attitude of gratitude!” Colleen at Thoughts on Grace has organized this meme and you can contribute by clicking here. This week I’m thankful for:

  1. Pope Francis’ book The Joy of the Gospel. I read a little each day and it uplifts and enlightens me. His writing is full of love, joy and wisdom.
  2. Health. With so much talk of the measles, I’m happy to be healthy and able to go out and visit my aunt.
  3. That I had the time and opportunity to finish my script and overcame the problems with my printer so that I could send it off to a television producer who agreed to read it. It takes a miracle to get something read and newcomers have such poor odds at breaking in to television so I’m thankful that someone would read it. Please pray for the story’s success.
  4. Pumpkin croissants. A new delectable breakfast treat from Trader Joe’s.
  5. The Great British Baking Show. It’s a wonderful program the whole family can watch. I’ve learned so much about baking–and creativity.

By Sandra

A friend posted this on Facebook. Just beautiful.

I went to a Charismatic prayer meeting at my mom’s church tonight — and got to hear a beautiful homily by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, the pope’s pastor, who’s visiting from Italy. (One friend stayed with Mom, and another went with me, and that info is for family members who might be wondering… ) He talked about being the Body of Christ, helping the needy and poor, about having “Eucharistic amazement”… He brought up Scriptures that talked about when Jesus’ followers saw Him after the Resurrection, but didn’t realize who He was until He called their names — and how, until we get to know Him personally, we basically just walk around knowing about Him, and not realizing He really is alive and with us forever, and that His image is in every person we meet. He said that when He calls our names, that’s when we truly start to live. I heard another pastor on television this week say that since Scripture says He speaks in a “still small voice,” like a whisper, and since it’s a whisper, the only way you can truly hear Him is to get close…to learn about Him and meet Him personally. Love that… After the meeting, they had prayer teams, and we prayed for my mom, my aunt, and friends who have been ill. Maybe we can’t always be His hands and feet in person, especially for loved ones in other states, but the Holy Spirit transcends time and space and connects us anyway…

O Mores, O Tempora

I was checking out Pope Francis’ twitter feed and couldn’t believe the foul comments posted under his Christmas tweet.

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I will not spread the crudity, but will say that after the shock of the offensive messages I glimpsed I did say a quick prayer for those who are so lost that they need to attack Christianity and a man who has no record of misdeeds.

It’s a low time for American society and religion is under attack.

Christian Church Burning

I’m praying for the Christians and the churches burned in Egypt. God is with you. Stay strong.

Many newspapers had neglected the stories of these attacks. Finally, we’re getting more news, such as this NPR piece.

Phil 4: 4-7

I started reading Anne Lammott’s newest book and she mentions this is her favorite scripture passage:

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Of many things

St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius of Loyola (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Facebook someone asked for essays on the Jesuit concepts of consolation and desolation. Here’s something I found while waiting for the Ask the Librarian for Loyola.

IN SOME WAYS I am an old-school Jesuit. In a succession of assignments and apostolic responsibilities, I have lived by St. Ignatius Loyola‘s perplexing maxim that he preferred a man of self-denial to one of prayer. I am scandalized, but only slightly, by some young Jesuits’ need for the spiritual satisfactions of direct pastoral experience. One of the first lessons Ignatius learned during his hermit period at Manresa was to forgo what he called the consolations of prayer and to reduce his physical austerities for “the good of souls.” Ignatius, one of the great Spanish mystics, loved prayer; but he encouraged detachment from its satisfactions and even advised sacrificing time from prayer for the sake of uniting oneself to God’s will in bringing spiritual progress to others.

I learned that lesson in a different way early in my Jesuit life, as a novice at Calvary Hospital for the Cancerous Poor in the Bronx. The first patient I was assigned to look after was a big-boned Irishwoman known for her cheerfulness, who was suffering with a brain tumor.

Veronica was everyone’s favorite patient. But for the two weeks she was in my care, she was ill and sedated. It was as if she were comatose. She sipped her water, swallowed her food, but uttered not a word. The first response I received from her came the day I introduced her to my replacement. She said, “I know you. You have taken care of me. Thank you.” It was as if she arose from the dead with words to pierce my soul.

That experience of the value of an emotionally unrewarding task stayed with me afterward, sustaining me in difficult tasks and hard times. Doing God’s work serving humanity is often without immediate satisfaction. It does not require spiritual consolation to sustain it. Mother Teresa, after the vision that led her to found the Missionaries of Charity, is said to have prayed in desolation the rest of her life. She once said, “When I meet Jesus, I will say, ‘I loved you in the darkness.'”

I thought about spiritual consolation and its absence recently as I read Karen Armstrong‘s autobiography, The Spiral Staircase (2004). A prolific writer on the history of religions, Armstrong spent seven years as a nun in a community whose rule was inspired by St. Ignatius, our Jesuit founder. The version of Ignatian spirituality imparted to Ms. Armstrong focused on breaking the will, but without “the mysticism of service,” Joseph de Guibert’s description of Ignatius’ apostolic charism. Such a spirituality is bleak enough; but in addition, Armstrong reports, in the course of seven years in the convent, she did not enjoy one moment of spiritual consolation.

I do not have a particularly vivid prayer life, but I cannot imagine what it would be like to be deprived of all spiritual consolation. “I never felt caught up in something greater,” Armstrong writes, “never felt personally transfigured by a presence that I encountered in the depths of my being.” She could not even still herself, she reports, “to wait on God.” Only 20 years later and after a life filled with disappointments, did she have her own metanoia, as she wrote her well-known History of God (1993). Then she understood “true religion” as a practice that opens the heart to others. “The habit of empathy,” she wrote, “had to become part of my life, and it had to find practical expression.” Her transformation had begun. She experienced what Alfred North Whitehead describes as one of the fruits of prayer, “the love of mankind as such.” Her most recent book, The Great Transformation (2006), an interpretation of the origins of the world religions, has as a key theme the primacy of compassion and nonviolence in the growth of religious consciousness.

Over the years, I had some memorable moments of prayer: when, for example, after a personal crisis I rediscerned my Jesuit vocation, or when, as I prayed in a mountain meadow over “the lilies of the field,” I felt God’s providence at work. But mostly my consolations have been unspectacular, what St. Ignatius describes as “every increase of faith, hope, and love, and all interior joy that invites and attracts to what is heavenly and to salvation of one’s soul by filling it with peace and quiet in its Creator and Lord.”

That said, I am all the more in awe of those, like Mother Teresa, who do beautiful things for God deprived of even these everyday sorts of consolations. My respect for Ms. Armstrong’s often inspiring scholarship is all the greater knowing how her insight was wrested from her own peculiar darkness. And I wonder at God, who gives light to some and not to others and accompanies us all in darkness as well as light.

America’s editors are pleased to welcome Margaret Silf as our newest columnist. Her essays will appear monthly under the banner Reflection Place. An internationally known spiritual writer, she will also bring a British and European perspective to our pages.

Drew Christiansen, S.J.


Christiansen, Drew. “Of many things.” America 3 July 2006: 2. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 June 2013.

Pentecost Novena (May 10- May 18)

Are you still celebrating Easter?  In these final weeks of the Easter Season I invite you to prepare for Pentecost which is May 19th.    From May 10-18th participate in a Pentecost Novena.  Each day pray for the graces you need from the Holy Spirit at this time in your life.  

For the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Blessed Spirit of Wisdom, help me to seek God. Make Him the center of my life and order my life to Him, so that love and harmony may reign in my soul.

Blessed Spirit of Understanding, enlighten my mind, that I may know and love the truths of faith and make them truly my own.

Blessed Spirit of Counsel, enlighten and guide me in all my ways, that I may always know and do Your holy Will. Make me prudent and courageous.

Blessed Spirit of Fortitude, uphold my soul in every time of trouble or adversity. Make me loyal and confident.

Blessed Spirit of Knowledge, help me to know good from evil. Teach me to do what is right in the sight of God. Give me clear vision and firmness in decision.

Blessed Spirit of Piety, possess my heart, incline it to a true faith in You, to a holy love of You, my God, that with my whole soul I may seek You, Who are my Father, and find You, my best, my truest joy.

Blessed Spirit of Holy Fear, penetrate my inmost heart that I may ever be mindful of Your presence. Make me fly from sin, and give me intense reverence for God and for my fellow men who are made in God’s image.

Blessed Holy Spirit, at this time I particularly ask for this spiritual gift   ……………… (name the gift you need right now) and for your guidance as I deal with ………………….. (name something you are dealing with right now)


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, enkindle in them the fire of your Love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and You shall renew the face of the earth.  Let us pray. O God, You have taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy comfort. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Eric Metaxas: Faith Journey

A fabulous YouTube video that’s intelligent and meaningful with great animation.

Goshen’s Lenten Devotionals

Goshen College puts together some great devotionals in Lent and Advent that really are great springboards for reflection. here’s one from this week by Michael Sherer, information technology services director

As human beings, we are designed by God with appetites. Our creaturely drives for food, water, sleep and sex keep us alive and sustain the species, but we are obviously far more complex than that. George Otis, Jr.’s “Life Appetites Test” lists 35 possible appetites, and I think he missed a few! Who of us can claim that our own appetites are always in balance and healthy? They compete with and even replace one another. Any dieter knows that eating is often not about hunger. Teens have sex for a raft of reasons that are not sexual. Drugs and alcohol are dangerous in part because their addictive powers can overwhelm other important and socially redeeming appetites.

The season of Lent is an annual reminder that we are by nature not in balance, and that by giving something up we can better focus our attention on God. North American culture has little room for asceticism, and I would argue, little room for God either. We have 35+ appetites ready to take the place of our need for God and a 24/7/365 consumer culture ready to sate them.

In today’s passage, Psalm 63, David speaks to us across time, space and culture about his relationship with God. And he does it in terms of appetites. David thirsts for God. God’s love satisfies him as much as the richest food. He thinks about God all night long in bed (instead of sleeping? while sleeping?). In the process, David frames his relationship with God as a powerful appetite. God’s love is better than life! It’s no accident that this Psalm was written in the desert, a barren place barely able to support life, but with a long tradition of stimulating spiritual reflection. In that place, where hunger and thirst are never far away, David stimulated his appetite for relationship with God. His writing conveys a spiritual capacity that far outstrips my own, and I admire it. I want it. Lent provides me with the opportunity to work at it.

SCRIPTURE: Psalm 63:1-8 (NRSV)
A Psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah.
O God, you are my God, I seek you,
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.