Prayer

“For the happy man prayer is only a jumble of words, until the day when sorrow comes to explain to him the sublime language by means of which he speaks to God.” 

― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to relight my votive candle. Until now the wax would have melted without lighting the wick. I’d forgotten how the glow of light illuminating Mary’s face helps calm my restless and sometimes anxious soul.

Right now there seems to be so much heartache around me–both on a personal level and as I observe the unrest in this country I love.

I can’t help but think of that sociology or psychology experiment where an infant monkey was denied physical contact and how that tiny little one failed to thrive both physically and emotionally. Are we on an entire world scale collectively failing to thrive because of our isolation from each other? Is our fearful withdrawal creating another type of illness just as dangerous as “the Covid?”

I’m not sure of the answer. After so many months of uncertainty, I don’t know who or what to believe. I find myself watching hours, days, and months march by with only more uncertainty ahead. I wonder what our future holds as colder weather moves in with all the usual viruses meeting up CV-19 and its mutated cousins. 

I do know the power of prayer so my votive candle has returned to my favorite spot on our back patio. It is here I visit daily to pray. It is the only thing I know for sure I can do to help. 

Join me.

God our Father, giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for your glory and dwell among your people.

Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
Amen.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Re-calculating

“Some things cannot be taught; they must be experienced. You never learn the most valuable lessons in life until you go through your own journey.” 

Roy T. Bennett

Writing these past few  months has been nearly impossible.

From what I’ve read I don’t think I’m not alone.

Part of my problem is I’m a born helper.

Because I’m retired, I couldn’t be there to help during this pandemic. Watching CV-19 make its way around the world and across our country has been very difficult. All my life I’ve been a caregiver. Watching from afar did not/does not set well with me.

I felt old and useless. That, my friends, was and is a very hard pill to swallow.

Little did I know this was just the beginning. More “stuff” was on the way, held back by one little line of rocks precariously balanced along the rim of a very deep canyon fed by a river that grew more turbulent by the day.

As I sat on the sidelines, naively debating whether or not it was best practice to wear a mask in public, one senseless act of power courtesy of an OFFICER OF THE LAW in Minneapolis, pushed those proverbial stones away, releasing decades of damed up frustrations and emotions.

I’m not feeling very well prepared to write about this but my heart says get something out there.

As usual, my recourse is to turn to prayer.

My prayer of choice today is this beautiful prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas,
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana.

Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.

For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.

In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.

We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate Mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.

Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

 

 

 

 

Warnings

“Fear is a part of life. It’s a warning mechanism. That’s all. It tells you when there’s danger around. Its job is to help you survive. Not cripple you into being unable to do it.” 

Jim Butcher, Dead Beat

These days our world changes by the hour.

I’m torn between limiting my exposure to world events and wanting/needing to know all the latest developments. Do I get my news first thing in the morning and dampen my entire day or do I wait until the evening and risk a restless night?

I’ve chosen the evening which means I can listen with a glass of wine.

I’m not relying on that alone, though. I’ve added a second coping mechanisim–prayer.

It’s my usual practice to fall back on my Catholic background. This experience is no exception.

I am thankful I have Pope Francis to lean on right now.

Pope Francis’ Prayer to Mary during the coronavirus pandemic 

O Mary,

you always shine on our path

as a sign of salvation and of hope.

We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,

who at the cross took part in Jesus’ pain, keeping your faith firm.

You, Salvation of the Roman People,

know what we need,

and we are sure you will provide

so that, as in Cana of Galilee,

we may return to joy and to feasting

after this time of trial.

Help us, Mother of Divine Love,

to conform to the will of the Father

and to do as we are told by Jesus,

who has taken upon himself our sufferings

and carried our sorrows

to lead us, through the cross,

to the joy of the resurrection. Amen.

Under your protection, we seek refuge, Holy Mother of God. Do not disdain the entreaties of we who are in trial, but deliver us from every danger, O glorious and blessed Virgin.

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

Hanging On

“Worry is most often a prideful way of thinking that you have more control over life and its circumstances than you actually do.” 

June Hunt

These past few weeks have been a roller coaster ride for all of us.

Hang on, my friends. I’m thinking we’ve entered unmapped territory.

In my sixty plus years on this planet I’ve seen Americans pull each other up and through a lot of unimaginable things. I have faith in us and believe we can do anything–especially when we add prayer.

“..when someone says “please pray for me,” they are not just saying “let’s have lunch sometime.” They are issuing an invitation into the depths of their lives and their humanity- and often with some urgency. And worry is not a substitute for prayer. Worry is a starting place, but not a staying place. Worry invites me into prayer. As a staying place, worry can be self-indulgent, paralyzing, draining, and controlling. When I take worry into prayer, it doesn’t disappear, but it becomes smaller.” 

Sybil MacBeth, Praying in Color: Drawing a New Path to God

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Deb Henderson, for letting me use one of your wonderful pictures today. You are always so generous. I wish you and your family many blessings. 

Mom Prayers

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.” 

Soren Kierkegaard

In this self proclaimed year of “self,” I’ve found great comfort in prayer.

For me, the most soothing are the prayers I remember from my childhood–those prayers practiced and memorized while sitting beside my mom. Today, as I’ve done for the past sixty-something years, I began my day with the following:

Good Morning, dear Jesus, this day is for you. I ask you to bless all I think, say, and do. Amen.

Angel of God

My guardian dear

To whom God’s love

Commits me here

Ever this day

Be at my side

To light

To guard

To rule

To guide. 

Amen.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

 

Learning About Prayer

“Lord, make me a blessing to someone today.” 

Jan Karon, At Home in Mitford

A big part of my morning reading includes prayers and affirmations–some traditional and some less formal and more modern. Regardless of the format, I was beginning to understand there are many different ways to pray.

I’m not sure why I thought a prayer had to be this long, formal written collection of words. I think it’s a hold over from those prayers my sisters and I had to memorize when we were growing up Catholic.

As usual, I’ve made the simple very complicated.

Today when I pray my prayers are more like having a conversation with an old friend–a friend who knows all about me and loves me anyway.

One of my favorite prayer suggestions comes from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s, Simple Abundance, the reading dated January 24:

“Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you…If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troubles for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it. ~Emmet Fox

A powerful set of blessings that I learned from the teachings of Stella Terrill Mann, a Unity minister who wrote during the 1940s, encourages us to greet the morning with the affirmation ‘Blessed be the morn for me and mine.’ At noon declare, ‘Blessed be the day for me and mine,’ and in the evening, invoke this prayer: ‘Blessed be the night for me and mine.’ As you about your work at home or int eh office, affirm, ‘My work is a prayer for good for me and mine.’ These affirmations of good will bring many blessings into your daily life, as they have in mine.

Then start to count your blessings.”

I don’t think God cares about formality, word choice, or the length of our prayers. Like anyone who loves us, He is pleased we’ve taken the time to reach out and talk with Him.

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” 

Meister Eckhart

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks, Sue and Al Rogers, for letting me use your picture as part of my story today. I love you.

Creative Reading

“There is creative reading as well as creative writing.” 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

My morning reading ritual is evolving very well and becoming a vital part of my day.

Exposing myself to several different authors at one setting seems to help me stay focused and adds another level of appreciation for the ideas presented by each writer.  Sometimes what I read seemed to be on the page especially for me.

Here are two examples:

From Suzanne Giesemann’s book, In The Silence:

“A strong prayer issued on one’s behalf remains in effect, for you have set it in motion. It gathers energy when joined by the prayers of others. You may add fuel to this creation as you wish, but there is no need to do so constantly. We say again, once created, so it is.”

From Deng Ming-Dao’s, 365 Tao Daily Meditations

“Worry is an addiction

That interferes with compassion

Worry is a problem that seems to be rampant. Perhaps it is due to the nature of our overly advanced civilization; perhaps it is a measure of our own spiritual degeneracy. Whatever the source, it is clear that worry is not useful. It is a cancer of the emotions–concern gone compulsive. It eats away at body and mind.

It does no good to say, ‘Don’t think about it.’ You’ll only worry more. It is far better to keep waling your path, changing what you can. The rest must be dissolved in compassions. In this world of infants with immune deficiencies, racial injustice, economic imbalance, personal violence, and international conflict, it is impossible to address everyone’s concerns. Taking care of yourself and doing something good for those whom you meet is enough. That is compassion, and we must exercise it even int he face of the overwhelming odds.

Whenever you meet a problem, help if it is in your power to do so. After you have acted, withdraw and be unconcerned about it. Walk on without ever mentioning it to anybody. Then there is no worry, because there has been action.”

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”

Albert Einstein

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

 

Thank you, Kimberlee Salimeno. Once again you’ve allowed me to use your beautiful photo for my story. I love you. 

Evening Thoughts

If you sit down at set of sun

And count the acts that you have done,

And, counting, find

One self-denying deed, on word

That eased the heart of him who heard, One glance most kind

That fell like shushing where it went—

Then you may count that day well spent. 

But if, through all the livelong day, 

You’ve cheered no heart, by yea or nay—

If, through it all

You’ve nothing done that you can trace

That brought the sunshine to one face—

No act most small

That helped some soul and nothing cost—

Then count that day as worse than lost. 

~George Eliot

I am…

B…simply being. 

~Peace~

A Friday Prayer

If anyone has hurt me or harmed me

knowingly or unknowingly in thought,

word, or deed, I freely forgive them.

   And I too ask forgiveness if I have hurt

anyone or harmed anyone knowingly or

unknowingly in thought, word, or deed.

      May I be happy

      May I be peaceful

      May I be free

      May my friends be happy

      May my friends be peaceful

      May my friends be free

      May my enemies be happy

      May my enemies by peaceful

      May my enemies be free

      May all things be happy

      May all things be peaceful

      May all things be free. 

                                           ~Buddhist Prayer, The Little Book Of Prayers

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Distractions

“A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.” 

Lemony Snicket, Horseradish

Today, I discovered why I have a problem cleaning my office.

Other than the fact I work better with some disorganization to my work area, I realized the problems begin with the first step of my cleaning process–putting away the books on my desk.

This initial step starts a cascade of stumbling blocks, each one creating its own level of distraction.

Before putting things away, I need to sort the books on my desk, creating the first of many decision points. Am I done with this book or do I want to grab more quotes? Once the decision is made, I search for an empty space on the shelves…pushing the book into the tight space, I spy a book I’ve been looking for and have on my list to read in the next week…grabbing that book and starting a new stack on my desk my eyes flash onto another book needed for quotes I want to put in a card this week…with that thought my mind jumps to maximum attention—where is that card?…that nagging question nibbles at my thought process as I scan the shelves, realizing I will have to redo at least one shelf in order to put books away…as my eyes roll upward there is movement outside the office window. It’s our mail person…

The list of distractions goes on and on…my desk is less organized now than it was when I started.

I may not have achieved all I wanted but I did succeed in finding a prayer to share today.

I’d read this prayer written by Thomas Merton years ago. At the time I was comforted by the fact even Merton felt lost and uncertain at times. Today when I picked up my, The Little Book of Prayers, it magically opened to the prayer I’d hoped to find.

Ya gotta smile.

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think that I am following Your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this, You will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust You always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for You are ever with me, and You will never leave me to face my perils alone.   ~Thomas Merton

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~