Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Intercessions ~ Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Living in a dangerous world/ marred by violence and hatred,/ we entrust ourselves,/ our families,/ neighbors and parishes to God,/ asking for safety,/ and the change of heart God desires for each of us./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for all whose lives are disrupted by the vagaries of summer:/ drought,/ fires,/ floods,/ storms and heat./ And that we would care for one another/ not only in times of calamity, but everyday./ We pray to the Lord.

At the center of our Christian lives is the broken bread/ which is given away./ We pray for those who have no bread/ and that each of us who worship this weekend,/ would see to it/ for our part/ that someone is fed who would otherwise go hungry./ We pray to the Lord.

Wednesday is the Feast of Saints Joachim and Anna/ the parents of the Virgin Mary./ We ask the blessings of wisdom for parents around the world,/ and for the healing of families ruined by drug abuse,/ unemployment,/ anger or emotional problems./ We pray to the Lord. 

This Friday marks the start of the First World War in 1914./ We ask for world leaders who are intelligent and generously dedicated to creating a world that is at peace,/ which is a world of justice./ We pray to the Lord.

Our federal government is not functioning well these days;/ we ask for the healing of bitter partisan divisions,/ and behaviour that is foolish,/ prideful,/ disingenuous or dysfunctional./ Bless our leaders with a new desire to be of service./ We pray to the Lord.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Pilgrim Relics of Saint Nicholas

When Pope Francis met with Patriarch Kirill of  Russia in Cuba in February last year, Francis agreed to allow the relics of Saint Nicholas, Patron of Russia, to be brought to Moscow and St. Petersburg this summer. The saint's relics have been kept in Bari, Italy for over 900 years. 

There's lots of news about the United States and Russia these days. Maybe we can spiritually join the many thousands of believers in Russia and pray to Nicholas these summer months. 

Here is the Troparion (liturgical hymn) sung in honor of Saint Nicholas. Note: In Eastern icons the saint's head is large as it thinks the high and wonderful thoughts of  God. 

The truth of your deeds
has shown you to your flock
as a vessel of the faith,
an example of virtue
and a teacher of temperance. 
Wherefore by humility
you acquired greatness
and by poverty riches.
Father and Bishop Nicholas,
intercede with Christ our God 
that our souls may be saved.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Psalm 138 ~ Thanks for God's Goodness

When folks are asked, "What's your favorite psalm?" Psalm 138 comes in third place after Psalms 23 and 121. It's a prayer of mindfulness and gratitude for God's goodness. We might even learn it by heart. Click on the woodland path above to hear it read.

Verse 1: Notice the psalm says, I will give thanks..." Should we make anything of the world will? Maybe the psalmist is making a committment: "O God, all the way into the future, as long as I will live, you will have my heart." 

"Before the gods, I will sing your praises." The psalmist is thinking of little temple gods of carved stone and metal. But Americans have their own other gods: a political party, some politician's base, the military industrial complex, my to-die-for amendment, my "rights," the contents of the thingdom come stores...

Verse 2: "I will bow down at your temple." Bow down. This isn't a little nod of the head but a deep bow from the waist - what monks call a profound bow. A look-at-your-shoes bow. A get-down-on the-ground-head-to-the-floor bow. Why bow like this? Because God is faithful in love for us, who can be such spoilers. That's a very big love!

Verse 3: "Your word is above all things." God is always speaking God's Word.  I should be listening with the ears of my heart. You can't talk when you're bent over. You don't have the air for it. My father taught me to love words: God's Word is above all our yammering - our noisy, boisterous complaining. 

Verse 4: We may not always like what we hear - but God answers, and God gives strength. Many believing people can attest to that. The strength to hang in there while raising a family. The strength required to take care of the sick, the damaged, the elderly, the failing or dying. The strength not to quit on beating back an addiction. You name it.

Verses 5-6: All the earthly kings will praise God because they will learn the ways of God and see God's greatness. Instead of kings, we might substitute: presidents, senators, congressmen, governors, corporate heads, managers, supervisors...

Verse 7: A lovely contrast here - while God is high, God cares for the lowly. We can imagine God bent over the world's thrown away people, those hidden away in filth, despair and sadness. There are millions and millions of them. God sees the haughty from a distance - the ones who make policies, plans, deals and budgets that ignore the littlest and the voiceless.The haughty create the distance, not God.

Verse 8: The verse refers to God's right hand twice. It is a poetic image of God's omnipotence. So why doesn't God use his omni-power as I think he should? I'll have to ask God about that if heaven's beautiful gate is opened to me. Meanwhile, I let God be God. But for me, God's right hand means, God has me pulled in real close, the way parents do with their children when there's sadness, worry or danger. And the greatest danger for us? Anything that would cause us to become indifferent or hateful.

Verse 9: God doesn't abandon. Humans are fickle, bellicose, resentful, fearful, destructive, greedy consumers. But the psalmist testifies that God doesn't give up on us -  again - like those parents who don't give up on their children who can make some very wrong, even perilous choices. 

God created each of us as an original idea. Each person is created with a God-inspired purpose. A radio preacher-man said this week, "The two most important moments in our lives are: the moment when I was born and then, the moment when I discover why I was born."

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Intercessions ~ Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July ~ Lion Heart Tango Lily

Saturday is the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalen/ the Easter Witness/ and called the Apostle to the Apostles./ That our religious lives would be a spiritual way/ affording us enduring joy./ We pray to the Lord.

Christianity was never really embraced by Native Americans because they found the European Christians to be quarrelsome about religion./ We pray to find our peace in the blessed assurance of God's love for us in Christ,/ and thereby help to heal a fractious world./ We pray to the Lord.

For soldiers and civilians traumatized by war./ For people who are damaged,/ addicted or who live with special needs./ For the uneducated,/ unemployed,/ unwanted./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the repentance,/ healing and restoration of prisoners./ For those who have been victimized by crimes./ For the families of those imprisoned,/ remembering especially the children./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for those who worry for their loved ones,/ worry about money or job,/ worry about health care or the weakening of a relationship./ For their inner rest and reassurance./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for ourselves and for one another this week./ That we may grow in gratitude,/ patience and heart-awareness./ We ask for health,/ safety and strength where we are challenged,/ burdened or feeling weak./ We pray to the Lord.

Let us pray for the sixteen Marines who died this week in Mississippi./ For their fellows and their families./ We pray as well for soldiers and sailors all around the world,/ asking boldly for a world at peace./ We pray to the Lord.