Tag Archives: new life

Compassion, Born of Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, October 21, 2018

compassion, cursive

Compassion, Born of Prayer

“If your compassion is born of prayer, it is born of your meeting with God who is also the God of all people.” [1] Wow. Father Nouwen certainly has a way of hitting his points home. And I mean, hitting me right between the eyes.

As the election and campaign rhetoric here in the United States heats up more and more, I notice the opposing parties becoming more and more nasty. I have even seen some candidates use inflammatory language toward others who have different skin color, or countries of origin, or the opposite side of the train tracks. Would Fr. Nouwen’s definitive statement (quoted above) inflame matters even further?

As I read this page, Henri Nouwen clearly states that when his readers “fully realize that the God who loves you unconditionally loves all your fellow human beings with the same love,” [2] then and only then does a new way of living open to any of us who have this realization.

Alas, as sinful, fallen humans, we can be terribly nasty to one another, and even get violent. The precise reasons why do not matter. It is the inner garden of love—that of intimate prayer—that Fr. Nouwen talks about. Hiding and skulking does not do any good. Unless you and I take the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with meeting God intimately in prayer, we could quite possibly miss this marvelous chance. We could completely miss this intimate relationship that God offers freely, to anyone who opens themselves to God.

This intimate conversation with a loving God, therefore, “means a simultaneous conversion to the other persons who live with you on this earth.” [3] Fr. Nouwen reels off a varied list, among whom are the worker, the prisoner, the farmer, the sick, the oppressor, the oppressed, the patient and the healer—in short, just about any person you might think of. In other words, ALL people. Every person. God is a God for ALL people.

I pray for all people who are divided, in terms of politics, at this election time of the year. I pray that people may rise above the division and the inflamed rhetoric, and seek the face of God. I pray that we might fully realize that God is, indeed, a God for ALL people. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.



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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] With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 2005), 94.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 95.

Prayer? Praying into the Center.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Holy Spirit as a dove -  Orthodox Church mosaic

Holy Spirit as a dove –
Orthodox Church mosaic

Prayer? Praying into the Center.

I still am at the very very beginning of this marvelous book. I can’t seem to get past this beginning part. I re-read the portion of the first chapter where Margaret Silf discusses prayer the way St. Ignatius spoke about it in the Spiritual Exercises.

“Prayer is Sabbath Time.” Time to separate myself from the hectic hustle and bustle of everyday life. Prayer is meant to be a calming interlude, yes. Yet, much more. Prayer is meant to be a foundation for my day, for my night, at any and all times. Prayer is an act of transformation.

“Prayer is time taken out of the linear journey of our days, and it is also our most profound reality. When we pray, we move inward to our God center.” [1]

While I’m able to discuss prayer in general, I am having a bit of a problem approaching the specific suggestion for prayer at the end of the chapter. Perhaps that is why I am reflecting again and again on the material in this chapter, and not charging ahead to the prayer and reflection.

I know I have been able—in the past—to pray using this passage. A passage from Luke 1, where the angel Gabriel announces the pregnancy and upcoming birth to Mary. However, I am shying away from it this time. Perhaps I need to find out additional things from the very first chapter. We’ll see, I’m sure.

Meanwhile, I’m still dancing around this Annunciation passage. God, in Your mercy, reveal one or two insights to me from these words of Dr. Luke. Whenever I get to this passage, anyway.

Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for giving me such wonderful children. I have a slight glimpse, a bare inkling of what Mary heard, one fine day in March. Help me to be a good pray-er, especially when praying about people and their families.. Thank You, God, for the biblical account of Mary and the angel Gabriel. For, that is what this Annunciation passage is all about. New life, new birth, new glimpses of You. Help us to reach for You, in all that we do.


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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 4.

Easter Monday, the Labyrinth, and Spring

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Monday, April 6, 2015

Tiffany studios - Resurrection window

Tiffany studios – Resurrection window

Easter Monday, the Labyrinth, and Spring

Monday. The day after Easter. I took today for my day off, since I had worked hard for most of Holy Week. It’s one of the facts of my position, seeing as I am the pastor of a small church.

I took the opportunity to go to a convent nearby in Chicago, and walk on their outdoor labyrinth this morning. I heard a great deal of bird song as I walked. A sign of new life, if I ever heard one. A sign of the coming of spring

This evening, I read from the liturgical day book. I read a passage from the Gospel of John, the raising of Lazarus. Reflecting on that reading, too. Awesome opportunity to show the earth shaking power of God.

Praise God, no matter what. Praise God, whether wandering far away, or walking the labyrinth. Praise God. Jesus is risen! He is risen, indeed.


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

(Check out #40acts; doing Lent generously at www.40acts.org.uk )

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .