Desires in Advent

December 5th, 2021 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

St. Augustine believed that life could be seen as a lifelong acting out of our fundamental desires.

If that is true, then the season of Advent can be when we reflect on our fundamental desires. We may think that we have many desires, but they may be rooted in one or two more basic ones.

For instance, a person who seems to be fixated on wealth or power may, underneath, be motivated by his or her desire to be secure and safe from the vagaries of life.

A person whose desire in life is to be perfect and without flaw or weakness
may, more basically, be desiring to be admired or loved.

Someone who desires to love others may be showing a deep desire to contribute to the health of the world and reach out to others in need.

Advent allows us the time and space to name and own our fundamental desires, asking God to confirm them or to help us adapt and change them. If the former, we regard them as God’s gifts to us; if the latter, as our gifts to God.

Variety in Prayer

November 27th, 2021 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Years ago I was told that no two snowflakes were exactly the same; each snowflake was unique. I think that holds true for prayer, as well. No two people will pray in exactly the same way. Our prayers will be unique, shaped by our personality, what’s going on in our lives and hearts, even how we are feeling physically, mentally, or emotionally on any give day. St. Ignatius tells us to bring our selves to prayer just as we truly are.

In our prayers, we can praise God, thank God, seek help for ourselves or others, express sorrow for our failings and sins as we ask God’s forgiveness. We are free to use our own words or rely on prayers that are written down. We can also use helps like the rosary, litanies, or the lists we keep of the people and intentions we wish to pray for. Prayer can be private and individual (“me” prayers) or communal ones that we offer with others (“we”prayers).

The choices we have are rich and many, and include imagining ourselves in a gospel scene, repeating a line or two from the Bible and letting it really sink in, or just sitting quietly in God’s presence. And St. Paul tells us that even when we don’t know the how to pray on a particular occasion or in a particular circumstance, we can rely on the Holy Spirit’s helping us by praying in us, with us and for us (Romans 8:26 and 27) as God wishes.

REMEMBER (a thought for Lent)

February 15th, 2021 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

In my growing up and middle adult years, the message of Lent was clear and unambiguous. As we were marked with the sign of the cross on our foreheads, we were told, “Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return.” Fragile and mortal, we are made from earth and destined to return to the clay from which God formed us.

It is a truth we need to accept . . . but not the WHOLE truth. We are, indeed, dust, but not ONLY that. For God has breathed his own life into us and has made us so much more than dust. The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins says we are also “immortal diamond.” Both truths are to be accepted and honored.

So, this Lent, I hope to give myself to the discipline of remembering — to recalling the times when I have been blessed with hope and grace, when some of my dreams have not worked out but also when they have beyond my wildest expectations. I want to remember the times when I have struggled with my faith as well as when my faith was the only thing that kept me afloat. And I wish to remember people who have formed me by their love and whom I have loved in return.

To live each day with time set aside for remembering what I am, who I am, and whose I am would be, I think, a fine way to spend Lent and prepare for the joy of Easter.


December 26th, 2020 Posted in writing | No Comments »

Down the centuries,  Christians have prayed using  litanies.    At this season of the year, I share with you the following:


God, you love the world and all you’ve made —

Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, you sent your Son to share our life—

Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, you waited for Mary’s “Let it be” to begin the human life of your Son—

Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, you rejoice in Jesus’ humanity—

            Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, your Son shared the struggles and fears all humans have—

             Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, your Son felt the love and joys that humans feel—

              Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, your Son called  ordinary men and women to be his followers—

               Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, your Son always affirmed your abiding mercy!

                 Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always!

God, your Son promises us he will always be with us; may we, here and in Heaven, always be with Him!

Have mercy on us, and keep us close to you always! Amen.

Our Father. . . Hail Mary . . . Glory be

Hope Springs Eternal

November 14th, 2020 Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Our lives, especially the lives of those with Christian faith, are meant to be marked by hope. Hope is a deeply personal virtue and a public one as well, for St. Peter tells us we should always be ready “to give an explanation to others for the hope that lies within us.”

We may be tempted to think that hope is a kind of temperament, and that some of us are just naturally hopeful and optimistic while others are not. But I believe that hope is less about our disposition and more about our beliefs.

For a believer, hope comes from the conviction that each of us lives under the watchful gaze of a protecting and loving God who never forgets or abandons us. And we remember the example of Jesus’ prayer at the end of his life as he was commending his life and spirit into the hands of his Father, trusting that his Father would accept the gift and make it fruitful.

We don’t achieve hope only by our own efforts. Living with hope is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we need every day, some days more than others. And it is a gift the Spirit is pleased to give us, if only we ask for it in faith.