Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Intercessions ~ Twenty Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

August Peaches

The planet on which we live is a miracle of beauty and order./ We pray to love our earth-home/ as it is God's gift to us./ We pray to the Lord./ 

We pray for the people of central Italy,/ devastated by earthquake this week./ For the rescuers,/ helpers,/ the injured and the homeless./ We pray to the Lord.

In September/ Pope Francis will return to Assisi for the third time/ to join other religious leaders in a prayer for peace./ We link ourselves to him in this heart-desire./ For a just and peaceful world./ We pray to the Lord.

Monday is the Feast of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist./ For Christians who suffer/ and who risk death for believing in Jesus./ We pray to the Lord.

Keep our nation in your care,/ guide us in the ways of justice,/ kindness,/ hospitality and knowledge of you./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for those who married this summer/ and for the strengthening and safeguarding of families in every place./ For those who have the care of children./ We pray to the Lord.

Heal us/ and save us/ from oppressive words,/ spiritual blindness,/ cynicism,/ ignoring the poor and those who suffer./ Console the sick and strengthen those who care for them./ We pray to the Lord.

And for the those who have died,/ mindful of those who die with no prayer offered for them,/ who die in wars,/ by neglect,/ disaster or violence./ Strengthen and restore mourners./ And for the salvation of all./ We pray to the Lord.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Seeing And Then Praying

I didn't plant this sunflower beside the compost pile and along the edge of the woods. Maybe a bird dropped the seed there, or  a squirrel, chipmunk or mouse buried it in the leaves, intending to store it up for the winter time. But evidently the seed found the spot amenable: the soil moist and soft enough with sufficient light and warmth. And now it is blooming in the middle of August. Pure pleasure and surprise.

I must open my eyes for seeing, not walking around head down or keeping myself glued only to the areas where I work or where I want to go.

Remember the scene where Saul was struck blind on the road to Damascus and then was sent to Ananias who placed his hands over Saul's eyes. First Saul's eyes were opened and only then did he receive the Holy Spirit.
"Saul, brother, the Lord has sent me - Jesus who appeared to you on your journey here - so that you may recover your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Immediately something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got to his feet and was baptized. Then he took some food and regained his strength. Acts of the Apostles 9:18,19
Recently the world saw an online photo gone viral of a little, stunned and wounded, five year old boy sitting in an ambulance in Syria after rockets destroyed his family home. The boy's name is Omran. Did I see the picture long enough to find out what it's all about? And then did I see with my inner eyes my little Syrian brother, victimized by the horror of war?

Now the Holy Spirit can spark prayer in us:

Who created the idea of these killer rockets? Father forgive.
Who builds these rockets and bombs? Father forgive.
Who sells, who buys these murder-weapons? Father forgive.
Who is the man who gave the orders for Omran's village to be destroyed? Father forgive.
Who blew up Omran's house where his family lived? Father forgive.

Who are the people who think it's okay to bomb homes? Father forgive.
Who are the people who think, "Oops, collateral damage; well that's war." Father forgive.
Who dug frantically and rescued Omran and his parents and siblings? Bless them, Father.
Who's the man in the video who put Omran in the  ambulance? Bless him, Father.
Who drove the ambulance to the place where Omran's family was treated? Bless them, Father.

Was it a poorly supplied hospital where stressed doctors work? Bless them, Father.
Who tended to Omran's wounds? Bless them, Father.
Who gave Omran water to wash out his dust and blood-filled mouth? Bless them, Father.
Who told Omran's parents that their other son, Ali, was dead? Bless them, Father.
Who kindly reunited Omran with his family? Bless them, Father.

Who took in Omran's homeless family? Bless them, Father.
Who are the people looking after the ten million children of war? Bless them, Father.
Who are the people who know that war is a pro-life issue? Bless them, Father.
The last doctors of Syria are begging for hospital supplies? Bless them, Father.
Is anyone working to make this insanity stop? Bless them, Father.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Feast of Mary's Crowning

A Catholic would say that Mary is the first disciple because she was the first to say yes to Jesus at the Annunciation. Maybe we know this verse from the Letter of Saint James 1:12
The man who patiently endures the temptations and trials that come to him is the truly happy man. For once his testing is complete he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to all who love him.

So there's a crown reserved for each of  us, and Mary has gone ahead to receive her own: promised to those who love God

While heaven may be a place, "In my Father's house there are many dwelling places," (John 14:2) more importantly it is the enjoyment of the full presence of God. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux writes that the joy of heaven increased, when in the Assumption, souls heard Mary's voice as she stepped over into that full presence of God.

Someone might dismissively say: Oh that's so naive. Maybe. But that's because we usually think of naivete negatively, as lacking intelligence, seasoned wisdom and good judgment, being unrealistic and needing to get real. But the French word naive really means: innocence, unworldliness, trustfulness, just born, uncritical, natural and without guile.

The meaning of the word is very beautiful, such that, yes, we might rightly apply it to St. Bernard's vision of heaven: joy increasing at the sound of Mary's voice. Just delight!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Another Reason For Hope

Here's some good news. This summer four young men, Momika, Emad, Petros and Paul were ordained priests for the Syriac Catholic Church in Iraq.

The ordination took place in the Erbil Aishty refugee camp, home to 5,500 people who fled the ISIS take over of Qaraqosh, Iraq's Catholic Center in 2014. Their seminary having been closed during the attack, the four moved to Lebanon where they completed their theological studies. 

The makeshift sheet-metal church, which seats about 800, was packed with 1500 worshipers for the ordination. We can only imagine the joy these Christians felt that day: a bit of hope and strength restored. 

In a Catholic News Service interview, Father Momika said, "I want to stand with the refugees despite the danger to our lives. I want to give them power, hope and courage to continue their lives to stay in their homeland."

So here it is: when everything spelled violence and death, fear, sorrow and loss, these four were ordained priests. Like the lotus in the August 12th  post, sending out this splendid flower, up and out of the mud.

O Jesus, that we would be more joyful Christians.