Tag Archives: trauma

Prayer, and the Holy Family

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 30, 2018

Refugees - Jose, Maria y Jesus

Prayer, and the Holy Family

Yesterday, December 29th, was the Feast of the Holy Family—Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. I have become more aware of the feast days in the Church since I have been reading and praying with my Episcopal friends for a number of years, on www.dailyoffice.org. This is an online webpage and prayer site out of the Diocese of Indianapolis. It’s run by my friend and online Vicar Josh Thomas, and I have found my prayer life and liturgical appreciation growing by leaps and bounds. (I am sure that makes my Episcopal friends rejoice.)

Not only have I become even more aware of the movement of the liturgical year (which I was aware of before, only now even more so), I also have become familiar with several Catholic friends, through my chaplain connections and online friendships. Although I do not know Fr. James Martin, SJ, I am a devoted follower of his on Twitter. Not a single day goes by that I do not “like” or “retweet” one of his thoughtful, mindful posts; especially two of his posts, one from earlier this week, and the other today for the Feast of the #HolyFamily.

The first post is from December 26th, and runs as follows:

James Martin, SJ‏   @JamesMartinSJ Dec 26  “How sad that so many people are blaming the parents of migrant children for their deaths! Their parents are fleeing to a safer country precisely to protect their children. One might as well blame Mary and Joseph for fleeing to Egypt to protect their son Jesus (Mt 2:13-22).”

The other post ran yesterday, and was retweeted today:

James Martin, SJ‏ @JamesMartinSJ Dec 29  On the Feast of the #HolyFamily, let’s remember all members of the human family: the refugee, the migrant, the internally displaced person, the unborn child, the homeless person, the LGBT person, the incarcerated person, the person at the end of life. All are members of God’s family

Fr. Martin posted a number of other heart-breaking posts in the past few days, mentioning the Feast of the Holy Innocents on Dec. 28th, the death of children at the United States-Mexico border, and other continuing, horrifying injustices occurring here in what is known as a “Christian” country.

While I acknowledge that many hold different political points of view, I am also a mother. I am also a pastor and a former hospital chaplain. I have a heart that breaks regularly, seeing trauma, horror, heartbreak, fear and danger in so many places—including on the U.S.-Mexico border. Including among those incarcerated by agents of the U.S. Federal government for duly presenting themselves at the border as fleeing refugees. I cannot help but think that Jesus’s heart is breaking, too.

Dear Lord, gracious God, forgive us all, including those dear ones who are incarcerated. Help us—all of us, no matter where we were born—to come to You in spirit and in truth. You love everyone, no matter what country we came from, or from which side of the tracks we grew up. This is such a deep divide, and such a heavy burden. Help us come through these fiery trials and ford these rivers of sorrow. Thank You for Your presence, and Your promise that You will never forsake us. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

@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

Meditation, Prayer and Wartime, Part Two

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, July 4, 2017

man praying, in pew 2

Meditation, Prayer and Wartime, Part Two

The year was still 1942. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote more to several seminarians he had been responsible for training several years before, in Finkenwalde. Hardship, tumult, injury and even death had visited many of those young men. Bonhoeffer’s words were warm and heartening, despite the hardship, deprivation and trauma of war.

True, he tells these former seminarians that “Our previous ordered life has been broken up and dissolved in these present days, and we are in danger of losing our inner sense of order, too.” [1]

I have never been under such duress, fear and trauma as these young men who had gone through battle, trauma, fear and live enemy fire. However, I know a little about trauma and fear, from other, difficult home front situations. Hard, painful (and pain-filled) times were often these young men’s regular accompaniment.

Yet—and, yet—Bonhoeffer speaks of meditation (and its companion, prayer) as a stabilizing force in these men’s lives. ”Meditation can give to our lives a measure of steadiness; it can preserve the link to our previous existence, from baptism to confirmation to ordination…it can be a spark from that hearth fire that the congregations want to keep tending for you at home.” [2]

People often crave some semblance of order, of sameness, of that link to the previous existence, especially when everything else is up for grabs. Especially in times of conflict, hardship and war, certain people run straight into the waiting arms of God. To the desire and relief of many, they find “Meditation is a source of peace, of patience, and of joy; it is like a magnet that draws together all the forces in our life that make for order….Have we not all a deep perhaps, unconfessed, longing for such a gift?” [3]

How long, O Lord, how long? How long until You come alongside of us and fill our hearts with peace, patience and joy? How long until You penetrate each soul and spirit with Your love for Yourself and for others (both friends and foes)? Dear Lord, gracious God, thank You for Your promises, put forth in such a winsome way by Herr Pastor Dietrich. Thank You for Your nurture and care for all of Your creation. In Jesus’s name we pray, amen.

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 42-43.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

Adolfo Quezada, Confession and Compassion

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, April 18, 2017

compassion heart

Adolfo Quezada, Confession and Compassion

Adolfo Quezada is a licensed professional counselor in California. He has published several books, and is a loving, caring, supportive counselor. He specializes particularly in depression, anxiety, grief and trauma. He also leads prayer retreats.

As I alluded to in the title of this post, Quezada is all for letting go of what happened in people’s individual lives. There is the negative side: things people have said, done or thought. Quezada recommends: “Make restitution as best you can in ways that bring healing and restore harmony to your life and lives of those you have hurt.” [1]

I read Quezada’s profound statement, “When you accept God’s love, you also accept God’s forgiveness.” [2] This is truly life-changing, for some people. People who feel that whatever they might have done was so terribly awful that God would never forgive them, and—guess what? God really will forgive us. Even more so than flawed parents who sometimes interfere with their children and even reject them, God will never, ever reject us.

Then, I noticed this gut-wrenching statement: “Reconsider your expectations. Examine the demands you make on yourself. Are they realistic? What do you base them on?” [3] Ah, so painful. So much pain in these few words. God will help us all with those faulty, unrealistic expectations. We all can gain access to God’s immeasurable, bountiful love and mercy.

I can—we all can—experience God’s love. Generous and unconditional. Do you feel unworthy? Or, perhaps, disgruntled at someone, so you have something blocking you from God’s love? Nevertheless, God loves you. Abundantly, immeasurably, marvelously, God’s love lasts forever. Amazing love and grace and mercy.  Alleluia.

@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), 246.

[2] Ibid, 247.

[3] Ibid.

Thank God for Freedom

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, November 24, 2015

gift - greatest gift is recovery

Thank God for Freedom

I thank God for freedom. Freedom from unmanageability. Freedom from negativity. Freedom from stress, drama and trauma.ne

I thank God for the freedom to be truly me. Freedom to experience hope, healing and gratitude.

Many addicts and alcoholics in recovery have been given a new life. A new chance, a new opportunity to live life to the full. The Higher Power helps those in recovery gain a spiritual perspective on living. God as I understand God helps me realize that each new day is a gift from that same God.

How do I know what to do, spiritually speaking as well as in real life? How do I receive these good gifts? I know! I could try one day at a time. That works for good things as well as for those not-so-good things. As the meditation for today from Keep It Simple mentions, “each day we keep learning, we keep growing.” [1]

Here is another quote from the Prayer for the Day: “Higher Power, You set me free. Now teach me to stay free. Guide me, for keeping my freedom is a big task.” [2]

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 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

[1] Keep It Simple: Daily Meditations for Twelve-Step Beginnings and Renewal. (Hazelden Meditation Series) (San Francisco: Harper & Row Publishers, 1989), November 24 reading.

[2] Ibid.

Showing Up—Faithful in Prayer

matterofprayer blog post for Tuesday, June 24, 2014

FAITH bridge between me and where God takes me

Showing Up—Faithful in Prayer

For years, I have been struggling with being faithful in prayer. It’s not that I find prayer a drudgery. Or, a task I would rather not do, but feel I ought to do. I do enjoy prayer. Really, I do!

However, for years (for decades, even), I have had difficulty with the showing-up-part. God and I have had lots of conversations about this. I have come before the Lord, metaphorical hat in hand, and said “sorry” more times than I can count. Sorry that I was not more regular in prayer. Apologized that I let the whole day (and evening) slip away again, and only came to God really late at night, when I was half asleep on my feet.

Thank goodness something changed. I still don’t know quite what, but it was something I can’t really put my finger on. It was last fall. A really turbulent time in my personal life. Not that I haven’t had other turbulent times in my life before that, because I have. Many. I am no stranger to stuff happening. All manner of trauma, from all kinds of directions.

God has seen me through several decades of this drama. Or, trauma. Or, what have you. However we describe it. Yes, I have been an intermittent pray-er. I love prayer! I have felt so close to God—in such a warm, intimate relationship that I could hardly wait to get back to prayer! But . . . I could never be anything near consistent.

Until last fall. I was using a prayer guide, and doing well. Most days in the week. And then, it got to be almost every weekday. November slipped into December, and I continued with another prayer guide—an Advent reading book of devotions.

Then, 2014 started. I felt led to begin my other blog, A Year of Being Kind (365 Days of Service). On those days that I didn’t pray, I began to feel as if something were missing. Seriously. Yeah, this is me saying this, God. Remember our previous conversations, years ago? When I would come before You, asking forgiveness about my sporadic prayer life? (Yeah, I thought You might remember.)

What do I think about my prayer life right now? I need to suit up. Show up. And whenever, wherever I come into the Lord’s presence, God will be there. God is faithful. I am heartily glad that God is not as sporadic as I have been. Or still am.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for being faithful. Your faithfulness is not only to me, but it is to all generations. Thank You for being there for me—for us. Even though I am so often sporadic in attendance, You aren’t. Help me to continue in regular prayer. Regular conversation and communion with You. Thanks for letting us know how important it is to suit up and show up. In Your grace, mercy and love we pray, Amen.

@chaplaineliza

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net