Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Intercessions ~ Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Give purpose,/ joy and comfort to those who are despairing,/ or who feel no purpose in their lives,/ who may even be thinking of suicide./ We pray to the Lord.

Bless Pope Francis as he seeks to teach the world/ that holiness is the brightness of God's love,/ and that love is never idle/ but must accomplish wonderful things./ We pray to the Lord.

Bring to sobriety and mental clarity/ any who suffer from mental illness/ or who feel their lives have been claimed by darkness./ We pray to the Lord.

Guard the children being raised in unbelief./ Bless parents and guardians with gifts of patience,/ wisdom,/ light-heartedness and strength./ We pray to the Lord.

Offer heaven's light to politicians,/ where they have forgotten the common good,/ where they have placed party over country,/ where they take bribes,/ blame,/ lie or pander,/ where their votes leave people anxious and pained./ We pray to the Lord.

Again we pray for those suffering from the violence in Las Vegas,/ or in states afflicted by hurricanes and fires./ And may we never forget that in other countries/ this kind of loss and sorrow is felt everyday./ We pray to the Lord.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

O Jesus, I Have Promised

The text for this lovely hymn was written by John E. Bode (1816-1874). The tune was composed by William H. Ferguson (1874-1950) to celebrate the Confirmation of his son and daughter in 1866. The hymn is described as a "warm and personal expression of Christian commitment giving musical expression to St. John's Gospel 12:15-26 where Jesus says, "If anyone serve me, let him follow me, and where I am, there shall also my servant be."

One critic writes that the hymn is too personal, failing to mention  our membership in a larger Christian community and that the verses do not reflect that God has known us long before we have known God. But I would say it is unfair to expect a hymn, or poem, or book to say everything.

Let's contemplate these faces of Jesus as we listen carefully, and enjoy the gifts which poet and composer have shared with us. Oh, that our hearts would be changed for knowing and following Christ.

O Jesus, I have promised
To serve thee to the end:
Be thou forever near me,
My Master and my friend; 
I shall not fear the battle,
If thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway, 
If thou wilt be my guide.

O let me hear thee speaking
In accents clear and still,
Above the storms of passion,
The murmurs of self will;
O speak to reassure me,
To hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen,
Thou guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, thou hast promised 
To all who follow thee,
That where thou art in glory
There shall thy servant be;
And, Jesus, I have promised
To serve thee to the end;
O give me grace to follow,
My Master and my friend.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Byzantine Prayer of Thanksgiving After Holy Communion

Byzantine priest at Communion

Here is a very beautiful prayer that can be prayed after receiving Holy Communion - beseeching the God of our personal and communal transformation. Notice the words fire and burn appear a couple of times: "You are fire and burn the unworthy," and "Burn up the thorns of my sins."  There are more than a few Christians who love this kind of talk. They have in mind a fiery God who is perpetually in a bad mood and angry with a world he regrets having made. They imagine God reserving his blue flames for those who are not like them. How tiresome. To be sure, God is fiery, but God's only fire is love. I didn't make that up.
"Come Holy Spirit, 
fill the hearts of your faithful
 and kindle in them the fire of your love..."

Here's the Post Communion Prayer:

O You who give me willingly Your flesh for food, You who are fire and burn the unworthy, consume me not, O my Maker, but rather pass through me for the integration of my members, into all  my joints, my affections, and my heart. Burn up the thorns of all my sins. Purify my soul, sanctify my mind; strengthen my knees and bones. Enlighten my five senses. Establish me wholly in your Love.

And what would we look like if our five senses were enlightened  by the fire of God's love? And what would we look like if God's fire of love got into even our joints?

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Intercessions ~ Twenty Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Monday is World Food Day./ The world is on the move because of conflicts,/ political unrest,/ changing weather and food shortages./ We pray not only for the hungry world,/ but for the world of plenty./ May we be the creators of  that justice which leaves no one without food and potable water./ We pray to the Lord.

At Mass today/ St. Paul writes to the Philippians,/ "I am able to do all things in him who strengthens me."/ That we would be spiritually awake,/ and sufficiently still within ourselves,/ to know what it is God asks of us each day,/ and the willingness and generosity to do it./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the babies who will be born this week/ may they be welcomed and loved./ For the children who are born already addicted,/ or born into poverty or chaos./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the grace to change our minds about someone this week./ For gifts of perseverance,/ patience,/ and a teachable spirit./ We pray to the Lord.

For the state of California where vast and destructive fires are burning./ For the strengthening and protection of the brave people who fight fires./ We pray for those who have lost everything./ We pray to the Lord.

We remember in our prayer those who are ill,/ in chronic or debilitating pain./ For those who struggle daily with permanent handicaps,/ and those for whom there is no cure./ We pray to the Lord.