Tag Archives: friendship

Active, Gathering in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, November 30, 2016

candles-prayer-color

Active, Gathering in Prayer

Lots of things going on.

I spoke at a panel discussion at the mosque in on Sunday, November 20, called “Empowering Diverse Voices.” This was to encourage groups who are feeling marginalized. I was asked to bring two action steps to the audience that evening.

In preparation for that evening, I turned to Matthew 5 and found where Jesus said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Accordingly, at the panel discussion, I called for people to come together for a Gathering for Prayer and Mutual Support (Build Bridges, Not Walls). It will be on Monday, Dec. 12 from 7 to 8 pm at St. Luke’s Church in Morton Grove.

The second action step, as I promised at the panel on Nov. 20, is a draft of an open letter from leaders of houses of worship to our local civic leaders. Many wish to show friendship and commitment to all people in these communities in the Chicago suburbs. Our neighborhoods and communities are diverse and multi-cultural. This letter contains a declaration that we—leaders of houses of worship—stand together against fear, animosity and hatred to promote harmony, peace and love for all in our local neighborhoods.

Please, if you feel nudged by God, pray for many from this diverse community to attend, and for many to be encouraged by us joining together in prayer.

And, consider joining with me in prayer on the second Monday of December. Pray for our leaders—local, regional and national. Pray for our neighborhoods and communities. And—keeping the words of Jesus from Matthew 5 in our minds—pray with love for those who are angry with us, who are mean to us, and who disagree with us.

Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.

@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

Prayers of Thanks and Support

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, October 29, 2016

suitcase-microsoft-clip-art

Prayers of Thanks and Support

Ever have a time away or out of state that made you get out of sync, off kilter, or just plain too distracted? Too much going to pray? That was me, during the past couple of days.

Prayer is a good thing. I have not been praying much lately, but I do think it’s a great resource. A communal gesture, and a way for us to communicate with the Almighty. Now that I’ve come back from a visit to the East Coast, I hope things revert back to normal, soon.

Meanwhile, I would like to thank those who prayed for me while I was traveling. Much appreciated! (Now, if we might be able to pray for the Cubs…)

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for a safe journey. Help me to get back into the swing of things and dig into work. Thank You for friends who lift me and my trip up to You. I have a busy month ahead of me, and I badly need Your help. Thanks for everything you do for me, as well as for my friends and acquaintances. I bow down before you on the recommendations, the listening, the miracles, most of which I am not even aware of. Thank You, so much.

What more can I say, God? Except, thank You so much.

@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

Prayers of Thanksgiving? Wonderful Peace Breakfast!

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, October 21, 2016

 

breakfast-shot-3-eric-ponders

(Photo Credit: Eric Ponders, The North Shore Voice) (www.FaceBook.com/MGVoice)

Prayers of Thanksgiving? Wonderful Peace Breakfast!

 

Ever have one of those days? Or, weeks? Maybe even, one of those months? Yeah—me, too. When I invited many of the same village and religious leaders to a second Peace Breakfast, some of them told me that they unfortunately could not attend. The past few weeks have been extremely busy—for everyone!

We met again, this morning. We met, again, to talk about next steps towards peace, friendship, and cooperation, in this wonderful and diverse suburb of Chicago. And, we came up with some great ideas!

Some backstory: several people around the table pointed out that there was a good deal of fear, anxiety, and general uncertainty in portions of the population in our area. How can we reach out to them, in a proactive, useful and needed way?

As one local media member (Eric Ponders) reported, “Proactive initiatives for community outreach were discussed, including strategic plans, combining resources, more encompassing events with multiple communities, pooling our resources – potentially programming as well as funding, creating a grass roots initiative, communication strategies for outreach and facilitation & more!”

Yes, looking at what we discussed, we could say that we discussed public health. Alternatively, we could say we discussed funding and community strategy. I prefer to look at it another way. The village and religious leaders gathered there discussed ways to lower fear, anxiety, and uncertainty; we discussed ways to promote family- and community-building, finding ways to work together across neighborhoods, villages, and townships.

Did we find ways to pursue peace? Promote friendship and harmony in the midst of a very diverse population in our area? I think we did. So, YES. This morning’s Peace Breakfast was a wonderful next step, indeed.

Thanks, God! A great, big praise to You for Your assistance.

(Thanks as well to Eric Ponders, who is also known as North Shore Voice.)
@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

Interfaith Walk for Peace, and More

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, September 24, 2016

instrument-of-your-peace-dove

Interfaith Walk for Peace, and More

Today was the Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace. An event that I have been working on and hoping and praying for, for a bunch of weeks. Such a great response for the Interfaith Walk! All ages, strollers, someone in a wheelchair. Wonderful cross-section of the community in Morton Grove walking with us today.

As I went from one group of walkers to another, I heard bits of conversations—friendly, encouraging talk between diverse people. People from different places and from different faith traditions.

I heard many people today looking forward to another Morton Grove Interfaith Walk for Peace next September! With a nearby suburb having a Peace Festival this weekend as well, I can envision a North Shore Peace Initiative—especially if many of us talked to friends about Interfaith Walks in other, neighboring suburbs of Chicago.

Just think. If people built bridges of peace, friendship and harmony. Just imagine. Less ignorance and misunderstanding. What a wonderful place the Chicago area could be.

Such an awesome start! Let’s keep the conversation going. Dear God, let it be so! Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers for peace, harmony, and an end to conflict and violence. Amen.

Peace.

@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

PEACE: Belonging/Positive Environment

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 29, 2016

peace dove

PEACE: Belonging/Positive Environment

As I continue on my Pursuing PEACE Project, I include another two personal definitions of PEACE.

(Thanks, Oakton Community College, for allowing me to come in to the cafeteria and set up a table. Thanks, members of the Oakton Christian Fellowship, for sitting with me and providing a welcome, too.)

Two students had wonderful definitions. I thought Matthew’s was awesome! Sadly, he did not have time to stay and explain why he put down the definition he did. Here is his personal definition: “PEACE is a positive environment and open, in a peaceful place.”

Kayla’s personal definition also was along similar lines: “PEACE = feeling belonging in your family and community.”

As I asked her to explain more about that point of view, she said earnestly, “It’s when you feel PEACE within yourself. Also, when you feel connected to others, and they support you.”

Thinking about both Matthew’s definition and Kayla’s definition, I get the idea of a big, wide, open, spacious place. A peaceful place. A place where I—and everyone else who is there—have no need of fear or anxiety. A place of belonging. A place where there is no time pressure or hurry-scurry, or deadlines. A place where everyone is positive, friendly, nurturing, and encouraging. (And, the best part is, people are all that way naturally.)

A place like that would be marvelous. Almost, heavenly. (I wonder whether heaven will be anything like that?) Dear Lord, gracious God, please show me—show us the way to get to a place like that. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

(Thanks to both Matthew and to Kayla. Blessings on your schoolwork!)

@chaplaineliza

(Reminder: I will be posting more from the young people at St. Viator’s High School later this week, after Easter. Have a great Spring Break and a joyful Easter celebration!)

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

Through Two Women

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, December 12, 2015

Icon of the Visitation

Icon of the Visitation

Through Two Women

It’s true. The Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament are heavily male-centered. When I think of the events listed in both testaments, the bulk of the activities involve men (with the occasional boy). Even the few women listed are almost always spoken of in relation to a man: Abraham’s wife, Sarah; Judah’s daughter-in-law, Tamar; Samuel’s mother, Hannah; Mordecai’s cousin, Esther; Aquila’s wife, Priscilla; Jesus’ mother, Mary.

Today’s reading in this Advent meditation is about Mary, though. Mary and her cousin Elizabeth. Henri Nouwen says, “God has come to [these two women] to begin the salvation promised through the ages. Through these two women, God has decided to change the course of history.” [1]

Not only does God shake the earth and change history through these two women, but God does it in a way that lifts up community, togetherness, and friendship.

Yes, Mary helped Elizabeth become more understanding of what it meant to be the mother of “the prophet of the Most High.” (Luke 1:76) And, Elizabeth not only aided Mary in learning more about what it meant to be the mother of “the Son of the Most High,” (Luke 1:32) but also to draw together in community. In friendship. In relationship, one with another. Yes, both were pregnant. And both assisted each other in a positive, encouraging, helpful way.

Today is the feast day of our Lady of Guadalupe. Whether we observe this feast day with special thanksgivings or acknowledge it as a day to remember Mary, the mother of Jesus, I suspect Fr. Nouwen would encourage us in carrying out the Advent Action of today’s meditation. “Offer gentle assistance to someone in your environment who is in need: of praise, of a good word, of day-brightening laughter.”

@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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 28.

Prayer Guide to Simple Serenity

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, November 2, 2015

Prayer Guide to Simple Serenity

sunset footprints

“ … praying only for knowledge of [God’s] will for us and the power to carry that out.” – Second half of Step Eleven.

My will? My will is often “self will run riot,” as one of the common sayings in recovery goes. Isn’t that the truth? Who else can admit that? Left to myself, my will—my ego—my hubris can get me in trouble faster than a speeding bullet.

So, how do I start to repair my mixed-up will? I pray for God’s will to help me. I pray for the power to carry out God’s will. The next right thing, the next loving thing. This course of action will bring me to God’s will. And, as my reading for today tells me, “God’s will guides us to simple serenity.”

Ah, serenity. So many people wish for it! And, so few people actually get it in their lives.

The rewards of serenity, sobriety and friendship are great. I have the opportunity to offer God’s care and encouragement to others, instead of hiding out in my own room. I have the possibility of sharing myself and my life with God (or, as some in recovery might say, my Higher Power).

Dear Lord, gracious God, Step Eleven has such wisdom, and such common sense. Help me to follow the path laid out for me through Your gracious support and encouragement. Help me to do the next loving thing.

@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

Breaking Bread Together? Priceless.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, July 16, 2015

LOVE our God is love

Breaking Bread Together? Priceless.

Breaking bread together means so much. Meals shared in common were a sign of friendship, acceptance, fellowship. Still are!

I was so moved by this modern verse (taken from Luke 5): “You joined in the banquet given by Levi,/accepting all who were present.” [1] Similarly, Jesus willingly invited Himself to Zaccheus’ house for dinner—see Luke 19.

From what I see in the Gospels, this was Jesus’ standard operating procedure. The religious leaders of His day criticized Him for regularly eating with sinners, and hanging out with tax collectors. (Wait—that’s just what Levi and Zaccheus did for a living!)

“Eid Mubarak!” Going one step further, I wish all who are celebrating a peaceful and blessed Eid. Celebrating through eating together, breaking bread, and feasting.

I know some may suggest that “Jesus didn’t mean to welcome those people!” Like sinners, or tax collectors, or prostitutes. Or Pharisees, or . . .

You see what I mean? Jesus accepted ALL who were present. God bless all those who wish they were eating at God’s table. Like me.

Dear Lord, thank You for being so welcoming and accepting of anyone. Period.

@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] Praying the New Testament as Psalms, Desmond O’Donnell, OMI, and Maureen Mohen, RSM, (United States of America: ACTA Publications, 2002.), 134.

The Divine in You, the Divine in Me

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, June 29, 2015

Moonrise over water - photo credit Bell of Compassion

Moonrise over water – photo credit Bell of Compassion

The Divine in You, the Divine in Me

This chapter of Handbook for the Soul opened with several challenging paragraphs. Not exactly difficult to understand, but my take-away message was pretty much what I used to title this post.

I had difficulty connecting with Betty Eadie. At first. Yes, she talked about several things I have a great deal of interest in! Near death experiences. Spiritual understanding. Quiet place within. But—can I say that her foundational premise is one I can’t truly grasp? (I think I can.)

However, that’s not the end of it! I mean, the end of Eadie’s chapter. After the initial page or page and a half, I got on board. Really and truly.

Eadie started talking about the different ways different individuals use to get in touch with that quiet place within. Or, openness. I use many of these same ways. To get in touch with God as I understand God. I have noticed that several of these are widespread, all over the world. In many different manners of approaching God, or the Eternal One, or the Divine Spirit. Or, whatever your people or group wishes to call this One.

“Our relationships with other people can also help us grow in spiritual understanding,” [1] said Eadie. So, what I get from this is that growing in spiritual understanding is not just a solitary activity. No, we require relationship. That is friendship and fellowship from like-minded others. (Even not-so-like-minded, if that’s the case!)

I hope my relationships with many are responsible for bringing some peace and serenity into this world. God willing, that’s 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] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995.), 182.

A Thankfulness List

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, May 27, 2015

thank You Lord

A Thankfulness List

I am sad that May is drawing to a close. With the end of May comes the end of our reflections on Ignatian spirituality. The book Inner Compass is such a rich source of material for these posts! As Margaret Silf says, this meditation and prayer time can be done each night, and can draw the happenings of the day together.

The second step is Thankfulness. “Remember with thanksgiving the gifts of God to you today. . . . Be still in the memory, and offer God your thanks in your own way.” [1] Silf mentions such varied things as a meeting with a friend, a friendly shop assistant, a job done or a problem solved, a warm memory or a falling leaf. These various gifts, and so many more.

I am thinking of my “new best friend,” Joani. She and I hung out (as my teenage son would say), and then went for a fantastic dinner tonight. I am so grateful for her, and her friendship. Truly, Joani is a gift from God.

It’s true. I so seldom can see clearly when I am in the middle of things. And, boy, I do feel like I am wandering in a dark wood, more often than not. Or, is it a dark and foggy place, where I only can see a step or two ahead of me, even though I am holding a lantern to illuminate my way?

God helps me to keep my harried life together. (Usually.) I find that thankfulness is closely related to gratitude. A thankfulness list is similar to a gratitude list. Even when I can only see a little way in front of me, chances are that I also see things in my life for which I am thankful. Grateful. And, that can only help me in meditation and prayer.

Dear Lord, as I consider being thankful (or, grateful), help me to count each and every blessing You send my way. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayer.

(By the way, check out Joani’s blog at http://unorthodoxunhinged.com/ – it’s all good.)

@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] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 59.