How broken must we all become, Holy Father, before we turn our eyes to You?
You are allowing separation and division to prevail all around us and throughout the world. The plagues of our time — both physical and spiritual — seem to multiply daily — Covid surely, but also the desecration of Your churches and statutes, the bright lines of division between advocates for life and death, between and within families — are forcing us to stand apart from others.
Yet, there are bright spots, aren’t there, Father? Small Catholic communities — in the way of the Benedict Option, possibly? — forming to pray with and support one another and our relationship with You.
Bless these gatherings, Father, and use them to conform us more and more to Your purposes.
Have you nothing to annoy you? My child, tell Me your annoyances, with every detail. Who has pained you? Who has wounded your self-love? Who has treated you contemptuously? Tell Me all, and then say that you forgive and forget; and I will give you My blessing.
I have a close friend, Holy Lord. You know her. You love her and long for her to be Your own, just as I do.
She and I disagree on so much—on how we view most of the world’s issues. She doesn’t believe in Your Son’s divinity. When I’ve tried to share my faith with her, she so strongly rejects my words — even going so far as to tell me not to talk “that way” — that I have since tried to avoid any direct mention of You or Your work in my life.
That happened a while ago, Father. But, I don’t know that I’m any better at describing You now. People who already believe understand. But, talking about You — trying to capture in words Your beauty and majesty — requires a whole different language…loftier concepts, better words, more precise images…or maybe that’s all wrong. Maybe, the key is in what I do, more than in what I say or how I say it. In any case, the solution so far is for us to speak of other things.
During this time of Covid 19 and self-quarantining, our conversations have seemed both more needed and more strained. She describes herself as stressed over these circumstances. I can hear her stress in her voice. Brittle, high pitched, hard-edged, frustrated.
I get it. I think all of us feel some of this, although I feel almost guilty at how reassured and consoled I have felt by Your constant Presence with me through it all. I’ve mostly felt energized and rejuvenated by this solitary retreat.
I long to ease her fears with my faith. I long to tell her that there’s something larger, stronger, higher out there — You, Holy Lord — who is in control and who loves her and who wants to help carry her burdens and ease her fears. But it seems as though even my joy — maybe especially my joy — upbraids her emotions even more deeply.
There must be better words — more patient, more kind, more comforting — than I seem to have for her. I’m sorry, Father. You’ve given me so much. I wish I could find a way to share it all with her.
Still, You’re in charge. So, I lift it up and leave it all in Your care…again and again.
When she abruptly hung up on our most recent conversation, I texted her to express my regret for our differences that have walled whole parts of ourselves off from one another. Since then, we’ve texted some. But we’ve not spoken. Baby steps, I guess. Ones we’ve taken on the same road traveled too many times before.
I texted her about planting my Mary Garden and sent her pictures. She loves to grow beautiful flowers and to paint and create beautiful things. I don’t know if she’ll ever engage in a real conversation with me about ‘why a Mary Garden?’ or what it means to me or why I planted it in May or why I prayed for Your blessing of it in my Rosary prayers. But, it is there for her to experience.
I pray that Your spirit moves in her and touches her heart. I don’t know what else to do, Father.
As to forgiving and forgetting, as You ask above of me? I’m not angry. I feel bad that she feels bad. I don’t know how to fix it. It feels as though my continuing to try to talk only exacerbates the situation.
So, forgive me, Father, and help me to wait in patience. And with this prayer help me to move to forget the pain of knowing there must be something more I could do, could have done, should say, should have said.
Thy will be done, Holy Lord, in Your time. Until then, I pray for Your mercy on her, and on me. I pray that You heal her wounds and me of mine, and that You save her from the snares of the Devil, as You save me each day. I pray that You free her, as You’ve freed me, from all that weighs her down and binds her from reaching her arms out wide and embracing the freedom of living her life in and through You.
And I pray that through Your grace and if it is Your will, I may recognize the opportunities You offer me in the future to tell her about Your work in my life.
As a post script, Father, and during this time of immense sadness for the pain and woundedness of our world and especially that of the family of George Floyd, I pray for Your mercy on all of us. I pray for Your healing and comfort for wounds inflicted throughout our time, both intended and untended. I pray that You save and protect all of us from the wickedness and the snares of the Devil. And I pray that You free us of our chains that we might live free of slavery to any will but Yours, oh heavenly Lord.
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.
As I meditate before Your most Blessed Sacrament, please bless me, Holy Lord, with Your presence and guidance.
Tell me about the poor whom you want to help, the sick whom you have seen suffer, the sinner whom you would convert, the persons who are alienated from you, and whose affections you wish to win back. For all recite a fervent prayer that comes from the heart; and surely the prayers are heartfelt which we say for those whom we love, and who love us.
Oh my Jesus. There are so many people hurting during this time. So many who, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs and their livelihoods and their income and their ability to support their families and their workers, who cannot pay their bills, who are standing by, impotently, watching their way of life dissolve.
Not our leaders, Lord. Not all those continuing to receive regular pay. They are insulated from the most difficult suffering by their on-going salaries and benefits that continue without interruption. Help these ones, in our luxury and our comparatively carefree lives, to be generous, to act with generosity and with mercy during this time.
But there are so many others, Holy Lord — the most vulnerable of our world, even before this pandemic — people, especially those with truncated educations, who are just getting started in life or in a fledgling career, hourly workers, part-time workers, farmers and ag workers, restaurant and other small business owners, whose success is so critical to the well-being of their employees, millions of people, gracious and loving God, who have no way out of this without all our help. And the front line workers — the doctors, nurses, and other health care providers, police, fire, EMTs — they do their work every day risking their own lives, leaving themselves and their families vulnerable to illness and death.
These are the ones who are carrying the burden of this time, Father. Along with the ill and dying, certainly, and in no way am I minimizing the pain and suffering of the ill and dying, but so, too, are these other ones suffering so immensely.
And their children, Holy Lord, the children. How will they emerge from all this without terrible scars? Some, maybe even many, will thrive in those stable homes with parents who love and care for them and are prepared to assume the responsibility of their education. But what about those whose parents are struggling with financial obligations they cannot keep, jobs that have evaporated, jobs, which may never return, housing threatened by eviction or foreclosure. Those families and their children who are imprisoned together in forced isolation, some without food, many already suffering in circumstances highly stressed before all this started — by excessive drinking and drugs, abuse, physical and emotional violence, children who are separated from a part-time parent or grand-parent or from friends. What of all these ones, dear Lord? What of them?
I don’t have answers for them or even the right questions, Father. But You do. You know what each needs, what our country and our world need. Please have mercy on all of these ones, Holy Lord, and our whole world.
Through Your Amazing Grace, please capture our attention, Father, and help us each find our way to You and through You to somehow righting this world that has been so sorely upended. ———- I place before you, also, Father, those special ones — You know who they are — from whom I am separated, whose reunion with me, with our family, is unlikely without Your holy intervention. Again, Father, I don’t know their needs well enough to even be specific in my prayers for them. And what I might deem to be their need may not, in fact, be their need in Your sight.
So I pray for their souls, Father, that You call to them, seek them relentlessly, and help them to turn to You, to give their lives over to Your plan and to Your way for them. Look upon them with mercy, Holy Lord, as I know You do in Your graciousness.
And in the meantime, until the broken can be made whole once again, help me to see in them the children You see, to love them as You do. ————- I also place before You our friend’s twin sister, who is and has been for several years now in severe, debilitating pain. Again, I don’t know her as You do, Holy Father, but I pray that You make her and them a miracle as only You know how to do, in Your mercy. ————- Finally, Father, there is so much evil and corrupting temptation stalking our world that lures unwitting souls every day to hatred and violence. Send Your angels of justice and protection to our aid and to the aid of Your truth. Strip these forces of their saccharine speech and their artifice, unmask them and expose their dark intent. And allow Your people a clear vision of their wretchedness that we may break free of their clutches and find our way, once again, to You.
I pray all these things in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
As with the whole of the last week, You have blessed us here with clear skies and warm weather. These blessings have been appreciated by everyone in our community and all our neighbors who are clearing and cleaning up debris, recovering after the treacherous tornadoes that attacked our area. So much devastation. So many lives lost. So many lives altered forever. I pray that You have them all in the palm of Your mighty hand.
My needs are so small by comparison. We were spared from the storm’s damage. But in its aftermath, I have had trouble concentrating on anything for long, trouble concentrating on You, Father.
You know. You’ve watched my struggle to be present with You in my Rosaries, at Mass, in my daily time with You. I’m sorry. My thoughts seem to have a mind of their own. How I should I act? How I should be helping? Who? Feelings of inadequacy, as I have tried to find ways to offer my help, ways that are relevant to others’ needs, ways helpful to their circumstance.
And I’ve worried for myself. Such a miserable worthless bit, am I, Father. Better to ask, how do I still my own chaos and neediness and simply be in Your presence?
I should be here on my knees with You praying for everyone. It’s always been my most useful work, yet it feels so small, such a little an offering, given from such safe and protected surroundings.
Still, You’ve already instructed me on this over and over in the past. My desire to offer big things, to help in big and tangible ways is my own ego whispering in my ear. You have most often wanted my prayers, been most responsive to my spiritual caring for others.
In this, too, Father?
So be it.
For whom do I pray? Where do I start?
I pray, Holy Lord, for all those poor and wretched human beings, who were homeless and outside when the storm passed through. Those who were terrified and lost and without a hand to hold or another’s heart to love them through the storm. I pray they felt then, and sense even now, Your loving spirit protecting them and consoling them in their confusion.
I pray for those who died, who sheltered as best they could, but still were crushed by the fury of the storm. I pray for their families and friends, who grieve and mourn their loss, I pray that You are with them and comfort them in their pain and loss. I pray for the souls of those departed, that You accept them into Your presence and loving care, as they find their way to You and Your peace.
I pray for those fearful and frightened, those terrorized by the rage and fury of the storm, who lost their homes, were ejected from the comfort of their shelter into the fury and the danger of the night, barefooted, bedraggled, newly homeless. I pray they draw closer to You as they receive Your love through Your Holy Spirit in their faith and their hope for the future; and through the loving care, the charity, of this community and their friends and neighbors and loved ones. I pray that You bless them with the knowledge and comfort of Your grace through the storm of their lifetime; and with the knowledge that, if through this storm, then surely, through any storm they may face.
I pray and give thanks for those whose immediate response was to act; those in whom You have placed gifts of knowledge and ability to act confidently and quickly in emergencies to protect people and property, identify needs, work immediately to board up windows, cut up downed trees, clear roads, disconnect downed power lines, if possible, until other professional emergency responders could be dispatched for the work of replacing power poles and transmission lines, restoring power, covering buildings whose roofs were ripped away, organizing debris for pickup and disposal. Those who came with chainsaws and trucks and bulldozers from hundreds of miles away and from next door to help, those receiving pay and those literal tens of thousands receiving only the comfort of knowing they acted through Your compassion.
I give thanks for the reporters who, at more personal risk than is often advisable, worked to let everyone know and understand what happened, what we could do, what we should not do, what is helpful, what is not…who reported the overwhelming abundance of Your love.
I give thanks for all those who took charge and organized the community response. There was such an outpouring of love and help and caring and aid that it was, at times, chaotic and confused, but it was out of the abundance of Your love, holy Lord. Even those who don’t know You well, yet, were acting from the Holy Spirit that You have given them. There has been no blue nor red, no Christian or Jew or Muslim, no Democrat or Republican, no hipster, rocker, or country crooner or, precious Lord, any ones other than those You created and loved into being. Those who, as a phoenix rising literally from ashes, stand strong. Hold us all close to You, Holy Father. Help us, I pray, and mold us into Your one perfect body here on earth, pleasing in Your sight, worthy of Your love.
I give thanks to You for all the generosity of businesses and celebrities who have given so generously of their resources — their time, their treasure and their talent — to rescue efforts. This is a special place. So many have said so. That the response here has been so overwhelming. Practically no one sat by watching, waiting for someone else to act. Everyone found something to do, some help to offer, some way to love.
I give thanks that You allowed us a chance to give and offer our helping hands. So little to offer; so much need; and yet, part of the larger body of benevolence and loving spirit of service.
And I give You thanks, Holy Lord, for helping me articulate these prayers, for placing them in my heart, for the grace of loving You and being loved so bounteously in return.
I give thanks that You have called me to prayer and time and again You have gently guided me to the knowledge that it is not my job to sort out the details of who and how and what and where, to be at the center, or to be the do-er of great things, but only to listen, to do what You ask, to love You and entreat You to do great things on behalf of those other ones whom You place in my heart through Your grace.
In this time, Holy Father,
This time of tornado destruction and recovery,
This time of plague of coronavirus Covid 19,
This time of global economic collapse being experienced worldwide,
This time of corruption and evil, which is overwhelming Your Church here on earth,
This time of Satan so skillfully and so deeply embedding his lies and deceit into the very fabric and sinew of Your creation, the creation that You named ‘good,’ even, ‘very good,’
This time which is described so completely by Your son, St. John the Apostle in Revelations, I pray that You come, Holy Lord, and save us this one last time for all time.
Reveal to everyone Your Most Beautiful Face, be our one and only true King, and bring peace — the peace that passes all our understanding — to our world.
It is in Your power, Holy Lord. Only Your power can heal and mend and put everything right again, that we might walk with You in the garden You planned for us from the beginning, that we might love You, delighting in all of Your creation, that we might know true contentment — even in our knowledge of good and evil — that we might know what it is like to live and love and have our being in the comfort and security of Your loving kindness.