Tag Archives: blessed

Cardinal Newman Celebrates

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 21, 2017

cross - carved

Cardinal Newman Celebrates

John Henry Newman appears for a second time in this anthology of spiritual excerpts. Yes, he was originally an Anglican priest. While still an Anglican, Cardinal Newman preached some sermons in Oxford that were gathered in several volumes. These excerpts show Newman celebrating both Christmas and Easter.

In the Christmas sermon, Newman expresses joy. Yet, a solemn, serious joy. More subdued. He certainly refers to the seriousness of life, for it is a burden to live through. “For one day we may put off the burden of our polluted consciences, and rejoice in the perfections of our Saviour Christ, without thinking of ourselves, without thinking of our own miserable uncleanness, but contemplating His glory, His righteousness, His purity, His majesty, His overflowing love.” [1]

Yes, Newman acknowledges that we ought to commemorate this great Festival! Blessed by angels in heaven and godly people on earth, he invites everyone to come and contemplate that Divine Mystery, come to earth.

In the Easter sermon, Newman begins with the “Gift of the Quickening Spirit. He moves to the wonderful events immediately following. Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed. Christ is within us, without us, dispensing blessings and granting sufficient grace to His church universal.

Yes, celebrate! Yes, there is joy at the empty tomb. As Richard Foster adds, “…the final word of Christian witness…is reserved for Easter: “Christ is risen.” He is risen indeed.” [2]

 

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000, 330.

[2] Ibid, 333.

New Year’s Eve/Day Prayers

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 31, 2016

people-in-prayer

New Year’s Eve/Day Prayers

This is a marvelous way to use our church doors in prayer in this new year.

Come with me, back to the doors of our sanctuary. We can offer prayer, asking that these doors welcome many visitors during the coming year and that all who come through the doorway be blessed.

I am going to write on our church doors with prayers for all who will come through the doors this year (worshipers, visitors, brides and grooms, parents bringing babies to be baptized, families and friends coming to bury their dead, members of community groups which will use the facilities).

Please, I encourage each of you, each household, to repeat this in your own homes.

God of doors and homes, bless this place (or, home) this year and every year.

Bless all who come and go through this door, both those who live here and those who visit.

May all who enter through this door come in peace and bring joy.

May all who come to this door find welcome and love.

May the love and joy in this place overflow and spread into the community and the world. [1]

 

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] http://worshipingwithchildren.blogspot.com/2013/11/new-years-day-years-b-c.html New Year’s Day, Including children in the congregation’s worship, using the Revised Common Lectionary, Thanks to Carolyn C. Brown, 2013.

Frail is My Vessel, and the Ocean is Wide

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 22, 2015

St. Augustine icon

Frail is My Vessel, and the Ocean is Wide

I live in the middle of North America, and far from either coast. Yet, I live near one of the largest inland lakes—Lake Michigan. Since I was a child, I have been intrigued by stories, poems and other writings about ships, boats and other vessels. Yes, I have been on smaller boats. Yet, not in a storm. I only vaguely understand how frightening that must be.

This prayer moved me deeply. It uses the continuing metaphor of the people of God traveling “the tempestuous sea of this mortal life.” I know a little about boats, and I would like to learn more. Yet, I can well understand feeling tempest-tossed in the middle of a rough storm.

Today’s prayer is about Protection. This prayer is attributed to St. Augustine (354-430). It comes under the section “Deliver Us from Evil.” (Prayer 413, page123) [1] What follows is a portion of this prayer:

“Watch over us who are still in our dangerous voyage; and remember such as lie exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations. Frail is our vessel, and the ocean is wide; but as in Thy mercy Thou hast set our course, so steer the vessel of our life toward the everlasting shore of peace, and bring us at length to the quiet haven of our heart’s desire, where Thou, O our God, are blessed, and livest and reignest for ever and ever.

Lord, I am in the middle of this dangerous voyage (or trip), as Augustine says. (Even though it is on land, in my case.) Oh, don’t I know about the various troubles and temptations that beset me! I know, full well, what a frail vessel—or casing—in which my soul is contained. Yes, Lord, the ocean—this world—is wide. Dangerous, full of rocks on which I might very well come to grief.

Dear God, thank You that You are steering me towards safe harbor and a quiet haven. I know I am not there yet. However, You have promised to remain at my side. With me, beside me on this dangerous voyage. Thank You for Your company, Your presence, Your protection. Thank You for Augustine and his promise that You will bring us to our heart’s desire. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayer.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 123.

We Pray to Rest in Peace

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, August 6, 2015

slum street image

We Pray to Rest in Peace

I am blessed. I mean, particularly blessed. I live in a relatively quiet neighborhood. I have few interruptions to my sleep. (That is, other than a garbage truck that comes down my alley twice a week, shortly after seven o’clock in the morning. But, those are First World problems.)

I noticed that one of the last petitions of Evening Prayer was this: “Guide us waking, O Lord, and guard us sleeping; that awake we may watch with Christ, and asleep we may rest in peace.“ I notice that some people have difficulty in getting to sleep, falling asleep, remaining asleep, or something similar. As prophesied. (Check out the accompanying bulletin.)

I know that in countless places around the world, people have lots going on when and where they live. That means, when and where they fall asleep, too. That also means disturbed sleep, not to mention frightened people. Neighborhoods that are downright dangerous, not to mention unpleasant to traverse.

Just think: countless people are afraid of where they live, because of the possible danger and damage that might quickly spiral out of control. Sometimes that danger might be young toughs walking the streets. Or, young soldiers walking the streets. Any time, day or night.

My heart breaks for those who are frightened, even traumatized, this night. Dear Lord, gracious God, come alongside of all those who are afraid of internal upset. Comfort all those who are fearful to show their faces outside of where they live. And Lord, I offer special prayers for all of those who live out in the open;.who have no homes. Please, God, we pray earnestly. Hear our prayers! Amen, and alleluia.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Visit the website http://dailyoffice.org/ to find out more about Morning and Evening Prayer!

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, October 9, 2014

Jesus loves me, this I know

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

As I was praying this morning, I read some more of a passage in the New Testament. I’ve been working through this extended passage for some three weeks. (With a hesitation/break included. You can read more about it in my previous blog post. http://wp.me/p43g3i-5u)

In my reading today, the scripture passage ended with 1 John 4:16a. I especially focused on the words of the first section of this verse. “So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.” I reflected on the fact that I came to realize, very early, that God loved me.

I grew up in an unchurched home in Chicago. My parents were born and raised Catholic, but they chose not to raise their children in any particular church. I still—to this day—don’t know exactly why I started to attend the Lutheran church in my neighborhood on the northwest side of Chicago, but I did attend, from a young age. And, I was blessed to be taught about God’s love by the pastor of that church. God is the Good Shepherd, One who loves me and takes care of me. (Thank you, Pastor Wold!) I learned that God’s love was “deep and wide,” and that “Jesus loves me.” I learned much more as I went through confirmation class, too.

This morning, I continued to reflect on how I came to begin to understand the amazing, boundless love of God. I also thought of people who don’t have a positive experience with God. Or, God’s love. They grow up with the idea of a punishing God. Or, a capricious God. Or, with absolutely no idea of God at all. This reflection brought me to tears. I realized how blessed I was, having had a concept of a loving, caring God in my life! This probably helped me through my turbulent teenage years. I shudder to think what my teens and twenties would have been like . . .

And now, knowing God intimately for as long as I have, I can no more think of a life without God than a life without breathing. Thank You, God!

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for leading me to You. I can’t even remember how I came to You, at first, but I did start. And, I kept attending church. Even though I wended and wandered in my way, even though we might not be faithful in gathering with Your flock, that doesn’t make any difference. You love us! You keep drawing us closer and closer to You. Thank You, Lord! Thanks for those lessons I had early in life. And, thanks for the continued assurance of Your love, caring and nurture. It’s in Jesus’ blessed name we pray, amen.

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

Prayer? Service? How About Both, Combined!

matterofprayer blog post for Friday, February 28, 2014

BK have to show love

Prayer? Service? How About Both, Combined!

Did you know that I have another blog? It’s called A Year of Being Kind (also found on wordpress.com). I have been industrious, as far as the other blog is concerned. I’ve been writing posts on it every day since the beginning of January. I mentioned the other blog at the end of December in this space, when I planned to kick off the blog on New Year’s Day 2014. Two months have gone by already. Really, where does the time go?

Does anyone relate to having struggles with prayer? I have been rigorously honest about mine, speaking regularly about struggles in my practice of prayer. Up and down, sometimes more regular, sometimes less. I’ve tried praying with a number of different prayer books, and several different kinds of spiritual discipline practices. But somehow, I just wanted something else, something besides the usual schema of prayer books. To recap what I said at the end of December, I determined to begin a daily practice of acts of intentional service, kindness and love—as in, each and every day. Thus, A Year of Being Kind: 365 Days of Service.

This is a departure from my usual acts of prayer. Almost like I’m stretching a little-used muscle, repeatedly. It’s not that I don’t do acts of service, because I do! Yes, I have the spiritual gifts of helps, encouragement and mercy, in abundance. But this intentionality is what is new. Different.

I am now two months into this Year of Being Kind. Not surprisingly, I am finding a rhythm in my days. I don’t necessarily go searching for an intentional act of service to do each day. Instead, I find God bringing them to me. Sure, I’ve been open to them, asking, praying for God to show me fresh opportunities to be kind—each and every day. (or night, as the case may be) They have been showing up on my doorstep, by my gym locker, on my phone line, at the grocery store.

Does anyone reading this blog need some spiritual “oomph” in their lives? A helpful boost? Perhaps my Lenten Calendar of Service might help. It’s called 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. You can sign up for it here, at your right. Or, check out Facebook. I have two pages called Matter of Prayer and A Year of Being Kind. You can sign up for the Lenten Calendar of Service there, too. I would love to hear from you!

If you choose to accept this challenge of service, I would like to hear from you! You can expect something blessed and amazing to happen during this Lenten season. As you go through this calendar of service, God can and WILL show up. Bet on it. I’d like to know about it, and I will certainly share those God-incidences on my blog. And if—as I hope—I have too many to write about on my blog, I’ll post them to my Facebook page, too. Remember, God may be calling you to 40 Days & Ways of Service.

Let’s pray. God, thank You for this idea of A Year of Being Kind, for these 365 days of intentional service for You. I pray for all those who are considering 40 Days & Ways to Be Kind. I realize You call individuals to separate practices. If they—we choose to celebrate and practice other disciplines, bless us all. Prosper our times of prayer and meditation. Whatever our prayer and spiritual practices, as we prepare for Easter, may Your richest blessings be ours. For us and our loved ones. Amen.

@chaplaineliza

Gratitude List

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, January 4, 2014

forest and rainbow

Gratitude List

God, I haven’t intentionally written a gratitude list for some time. Several of my friends and acquaintances write gratitude lists on a regular basis. It’s definitely a worthwhile practice! However, I have never gotten into that particular habit.

Still, I have written them on occasion. A gratitude list came to my mind for some reason this evening. I will take advantage of my being at the computer. I’ll start writing my list.

I am grateful for good health—for me. Without that, life would be very different. I am grateful for my husband and family. My husband is a wonderful, interesting, intelligent, straight-forward person, and I thank God for him. My family—three lovely daughters and one good-looking son—is a joy and a blessing to me. (Even though the second two are still teens.) All are healthy, all inquisitive, all intelligent. I love my children and am so grateful for them.

I am grateful for friends, for acquaintances, even for people I see on an occasional basis but don’t know their names. These people are touchpoints and my foundation, and without them my life would be infinitely poorer. I am grateful for the varying places in my life, my community, my church, my workplace. These are all the scenery and backdrops for my life.

I am grateful for our snug condominium and the fascinating, diverse town where we live. I am grateful for the excellent public transportation system in our town (linking us to downtown Chicago—the big train is four blocks from our house, the Elevated train two blocks away, and a bus stops on the corner). I am grateful for employment—my husband full-time and me part-time. I am grateful for a working car and for money for gas and car expenses. I am grateful for computers (plural—we have several laptops).

I am grateful for food to eat, extra food in the cupboards, clothes and shoes to wear. I am grateful for enough. I am grateful for a piano (thank you, Grandpy!), for music—in general, and for the gift of being able to make and enjoy many different varieties of music. I am especially grateful for the endless inventive and creative nature God has given to humans so that they might compose music, write books and produce artwork of all kinds. I am grateful that I have the use of all of my limbs and my physical capabilities, and I show my gratitude by going to the gym on a regular basis. Sure, I have complaints. Gripes. Things may even be significantly wrong, or at least not to my liking. I wonder what God is doing, sometimes! But if I look at the big picture, my life is amazingly blessed.

Let’s pray. Thank You, God, for blessing me and my family with such abundance. Thank You for graciously providing for our needs, one day at a time. Forgive me for my gripes and complaints, even though You pour out your abundant blessings on us, new every morning. Thank You for the gift of Your grace and Your glory poured out upon us. I know I can never thank You enough, but I can try. Thank You again.

@chaplaineliza