Tag Archives: prayer

“starring” the prayers of others

24 Jul

Before we left on pilgrimage we gathered prayer petitions from parishioners, families, students, friends, co-workers and classmates. Yes, I said “classmates.” One of our pilgrims is a student in the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program of our Archdiocese. From her classmates she collected a huge stack of prayers, many of which were written in Vietnamese.

Mary Jo, a teacher at our SASEAS School, and her daughter Bridget, just weeks away from her wedding, cut and pasted all the prayers on heavy paper and created a real work of art.

All the prayers were folded into a book that was easy to pack and carry.

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The book opened up into a star shape that could rest right on the corner of the altar whenever we prayed.

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Cathy, the lay ministry student, kept the prayers with her at all times. Here she touches the prayers to the rock of Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, joining the cries of many to the cry of Jesus to his Father.

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The prayers rested during Mass on the altar over the stone of the holy (and empty) tomb of Jesus.

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The prayers were with us as we celebrated Mass with the local Christians in the olive grove of the Cremisan Valley near Beit Jala (Bethlehem).

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On the Sea of Galilee we celebrated Mass at an outdoor altar on the edge of the water near the home of Peter and Andrew in Capernaeum. We opened up the prayers to God there as well.

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And the prayers were with us for the last time at Mass on the Mount of Beatitudes.

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We left all the prayers that we brought with the Sisters who live in the convent on the Mount of Beatitudes. Cathy and I were just starting to explain to one of the Sisters what we wanted to do, when she scooped them out of Cathy’s hands, “Tell the people that the Sisters will continue to pray for their intentions.” Sister knew what we wanted – and what our parishioners, families, students, friends, co-workers and classmates wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

her three children

20 Jul

It seemed that, while on pilgrimage, Michelle was always remembering her three children, and was always missing them. She often reminded the rest of us that she had three children, and was constantly reminding God, too. 

Whenever she was standing quiet, we figured she was thinking of her three children, missing them, and praying for them.

While at the Sea of Galilee, I handed her three stones, of three different sizes, one for each of her children: small, medium and large; youngest, middle and oldest. I suggested that she hold the stones, one by one, as he held her children in her heart, one by one. Start with the smallest stone, I suggested, while praying for your youngest child. Hold the smallest in your hand, tell God what your prayer is for your youngest, then toss the stone into the sea. Then take up the medium sized stone and your medium sized child; make the prayer and toss the stone. And finally, the largest and the oldest.

The four photos below capture the stages: the stone, the wind up, the toss and the ripple.

It made me wonder if the four photos capture the stages of our prayer. Do they represent four parts of prayer, or four movements in prayer, or  four things that are necessary for prayer, or four things that make a prayer a prayer and not just a thought? What do you think?

I have given each photo a caption, from the point of view of the stone. What caption would you give them, if the photos were not about the stone, but about the prayer?

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Part 1: the stone (notice the white bird flying near the water)

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Part 2: the wind up

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Part 3: the toss

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Part 4: the ripple

 

 

the prayer of the Lord

23 Apr

Father Elias Tabban, parish priest of Jaffa of Nazareth, Israel, visited with us in October 2013. Father prays the Our Father, the Lord’s Prayer, in Aramaic, the language in which Jesus prayed and taught his disciples to pray.

“Lord, teach us to pray.”

Lord's prayer in Aramaic

say often in family and in prayer

29 Dec

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For the feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, six things that we do well to say often in family: Please. Thank you. I’m sorry. I love you. You are wonderful. How can I help you?

Perhaps you think of the one in your family to whom you last said one of these, or the one to whom you would do well to say one of these six things: Please. Thank you. I’m sorry. I love you. You are wonderful. How can I help you?

Something dawned on me while I was coming up with the list.

I was shooting for five. The first four came easily: Please. Thank you. I’m sorry. I love you.

Something had me notice that they were the kinds of things that we often say in prayer. They matched three of the four “kinds” of prayer that we talk about: petition (please), thanksgiving (thank you) and contrition (I’m sorry; I love you).

The one kind of prayer that was missing was adoration. You know how we say to God, “You are wonderful. You just are.” Well, we can say that to someone in family, too, and we would do well to say that often to family. I had reached five.

But then I thought that there is something else we often say in family, “How can I help you? How can I help you accomplish what you are trying to do?” We can say that to God, too, “God, how can I help you to pull off what you are trying to make happen?”

It dawned on me that what we do well to say in prayer we would do well to say in family, and what we say in family we can also say in prayer.

So, which prayer best matches your emotions and desires at this moment, “Please, O God. Thank you, God. I’m sorry, God. God, I love you. O God, you are wonderful. God, how can I help you?

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