Tag Archives: prayer

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. For a chance to spend time with my youngest sister who’s visiting for work.
  2. For my writing to be selected for an opportunity to make an oral proposal to a producer. It’s always a long shot to get a job writing for TV so I welcome prayers.
  3. For a chance to have lunch with all four of my former colleagues last week. We worked together n the ’90s and have still kept in touch.
  4. For another chance to see my friend Luzanne, whom I haven’t seen in 15 years. I’m delighted to say we still had plenty to talk about.
  5. For young priests like Fr. Joshua Johnson (see post below) whose faith and spirit I hope will show young people how relevant and true the Christian faith is. It seems that while his communication style is contemporary, his theology is tested by time.

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.

For Lent

Sunday at mass the priest offered a list of Lenten practices that are more trans-formative than, say giving up chocolate.

Fast from worry; feast on God’s providence.
Fast from complaining; feast on appreciation.
Fast from pessimism; feast on optimism.
Fast from hostility; feast on tenderness.
Fast from unrelenting pressures; feast from unceasing prayer.
Fast from judging others; feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from fear of illness; feast on the healing power of God.

Fast from words that pollute; feast on speech that purifies.
Fast from discontent; feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger; feast on patience.
Fast from personal anxiety; feast on the fullness of truth.
Fast from bitterness; feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern; feast on compassion.
Fast from discouragement; feast on hope.

Fast from gossip; feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm; feast on prayer that sustains.
Fast from thoughts that weaken; feast on promises that inspire.
Fast from apparent darkness; feast on the reality of light.

From The New York Times

Something to be thankful for, Anne Lamott’s writing:

Thank you, God, or whatever you call yourself, if you are really there at all, and if you have a nice sense of humor (on which I am banking), for the family you gave me.

I grew up wanting a normal family that said prayers and went to church, but thank God you mostly ignored my menu choices, because instead I got left-wing intellectuals. I got parents who worshiped at the temples of James Joyce and Willa Cather, John Updike and John Cheever, Dorothy Parker and Evelyn Waugh — whom, until I was 12 or so, I imagined as a nice Midwestern lady out in a garden who rolled her stockings down around her ankles when the Wichita sun grew too hot.

I wanted an Eastern blue blood PTA mother, but thank you for a Liverpudlian who studied classics in college. She could quote Aristotle — and W. B. Yeats and Doris Lessing, and had long, beautiful, dark hair.

My dad wrote like a dream and looked like a Kennedy. They married and had three children. We grew up on Homer, E. B. White, Edith Hamilton and dictionaries, so we could learn where various words had gotten their humble and exhilarating starts in life.

Thank you for a father who made his living as a writer, such as that living was. But would it have killed you for us to have one single year when my parents didn’t worry about the bills month to month — O.K., wait. Never mind.

Thank you for a dad who got up at 5:30 every morning, rain, flu or hangover notwithstanding, who taught me the habits of writing: that you sit down at the same time every day, and you just do it, scribble away scratchily on legal pads, tap tap tap away on the old Olympia. You had to slide in a sheet of carbon paper between the original and the copy, and you didn’t whine. No one was making you do it — it was a privilege, for the few, we happy few.

Bill Zindel

My parents’ unhappy marriage would turn out to be the stuff of most great literature. They’d started out with a quest. They had wanted to be lords of their own castle, free of their parents finally, grown-ups together. And they had this magic time where everything worked, all that beauty and youth and brilliance and hope and sex. But the differences and wounds grew too big, and the specter and bright promise of having children brought them only a temporary state of unity.

All those parts and pieces of them spiked out and imploded, and nightmare parts banged, lurched, dove and floated all over the small apartment and then the small rental homes, and then the first and only home they ever owned. But through it all, there were books, and wine. Eugene O’Neill said that man is born broken, and the grace of God is glue. Books and wine were our glue, and so also our grace.

Thank you for parents who read to us every night — Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott — and who limited TV, which we three kids were completely bitter about back then but which turned us into voracious, lifelong readers. The rustle of pages was our family’s most sacred sound, our hymns, about wolves, and pioneer children, the little Japanese peach boy, the talking animals of Aesop, and then, oh, my God, Dr. Seuss.

Thank you, Betty McKegney, for letting me be your big girl helper at our tiny local library every Thursday night, when our family came to pick out books for the week. It was our musty cathedral, our mosque, stuffed from floor to ceiling with old books and magazines. People with allergies need not enter. I loved stamping the due dates on the old library cards, ca-chunk.

The planes and boats of my family were paper, between hard covers, flat sheets from which sprang fully formed worlds of people sort of like us; magic carpets that let us see from up above and be blown away on the winds to castles, planets and plantations, and then delivered us back, somehow stunned and calm and changed, all at once.

Chapter books were my salvation, in the same way as Jesus was for other kids. Our family was always broke, but my parents always shelled out our version of a monthly bar bill for Scholastic paperbacks. Thank you, Astrid Lindgren; when you gave us Pippi Longstocking, you gave me life. I read the book like I read the first issue of Ms. magazine 10 years later. The experience was like Helen Keller breaking the code for the word “water.” I wanted to race around spreading the good news. I could breathe again, forever. There was going to be a spot for me in this joint, the earth, after all. It was never going to be a great match for someone as bright and strange as me, but books were going to make it survivable.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you for giving my family all those Roger Tory Peterson field guides. Tramping around those Northern California woodlands and fields, sharing one pair of binoculars, consulting the field guide to see if the bird with the yellow feathers and red spots on its wings was a starling, a nuthatch or even a rare cedar waxwing. Those were the hours when my family functioned as a unit — was fully alive, in focus, in awe. Those were the walks when I really began to notice and appreciate the details: the beauty of black things against the green — the fields of cows on the way to Stinson, white egrets in the wetlands, red-winged blackbirds anywhere.

You could talk to my father about any author, because writers back then took it upon themselves to study at the feet of the masters, instead of getting M.F.A.’s. I’d sit with my father in his study and ask about Beowulf, Virginia Woolf, Samuel Beckett and Flannery O’Connor, and J. D. Salinger, Shirley Jackson, Allen Ginsberg and Robert Heinlein, writing so gorgeous, heartbreaking, hilarious, lovely and sometimes shocking, that you might get startled in the good way, like splashing in cold water instead of lowering yourself down into a warm bath. You would recognize yourself in the prison, or placidly gathering rocks for the lottery, and you’d awaken: wow.

Books and The New Yorker were the collagen that kept my parents together for close to three decades, but eventually and badly, they parted ways. My mother got all the M.F.K. Fisher books. My father got the first edition James Thurbers.

Thank you for helping them be friends again from 3,000 miles away by the time he died in his mid-50s. One of us read “Sailing to Byzantium” at his memorial service at sunset on the Bolinas Ridge, and my mom did a lot of the cooking for the gathering afterward. It might have been a book party except for the weeping.

Everyone grieved for the man they had lost, but they’d also lost a valued writer, another travel guide in this nutty and harrowing journey of life. Writers show us the glades we’d somehow missed, the trickling voices of streams, the eyes of a barn owl watching us. We couldn’t always see this in our own lives, but a writer like my father revealed a shape and movement amid it all, layers, meaning, perspective, joy, because he paid such careful attention, and paying attention is about the biggest redemption there is. And that was always our prayer.

A Prayer among Friends

From the Writer’s Almanac

by John Daniel

Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive
with one another, we walk here
in the light of this unlikely world
that isn’t ours for long.
May we spend generously
the time we are given.
May we enact our responsibilities
as thoroughly as we enjoy
our pleasures. May we see with clarity,
may we seek a vision
that serves all beings, may we honor
the mystery surpassing our sight,
and may we hold in our hands
the gift of good work
and bear it forth whole, as we
were borne forth by a power we praise
to this one Earth, this homeland of all we love.

Needing Some Catechism

I love Outnumbered, the BBC family sitcom. Yes, Karen gets her facts messed up, but I like that they show religion, even how nowadays so many just kinda know what they’re talking about.

Lenten Devotion by Goshen College

This lent I’m reading these devotionals sent Monday through Friday by the community at Goshen College. Each day a student,  professor or staff member offers a personal reflection guaranteed to make you ponder.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 8:31-38 (NRSV)

31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” 34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. 36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? 37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? 38 Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Please read the Scripture again before you start reading this devotion. Did you read it? OK, I trust you. Notice the depth of Jesus’ statement, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” The Message translates it this way; “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how” (emphasis mine).

Two verses earlier, Peter approached Jesus. This was just after he found out that Jesus must be killed. This did not sound appealing to Peter. Peter loved Jesus. Peter knew that Jesus loved him. Peter was comfortable with this love relationship. Peter felt threatened with the thought of suffering. Jesus responded with comparing Peter to Satan. Whoa! I don’t know about you but being compared with Satan is not what I want from my loving Savior.

Often times we have our own plans of how our walk with Christ should work out. We build safe lives, consuming Christ’s love but not allowing it to flow out of us. We do not lose our lives for Christ’s sake or the Good News.

Often times Christians are like Peter. We love telling Jesus that he is wrong and that our way is best. We become comfortable with the love that we have experienced but are uncomfortable with the conflict that comes because of the controversy of the Gospel. But Jesus calls us to lose ourselves for this controversy.

By Nate Manning, a senior interdisciplinary major from Middleville, Mich.