Prayers and Reflections

Beginning the Day

Heavenly Father,
I offer you this day:
All that I think and do and say,
uniting it with what was done by Jesus Christ, your only Son. Amen.

Be With Us Today

Father in heaven,
you have given us a mind to know you,
a will to serve you,
and a heart to love you.
Be with us today in all that we do,
so that your light may shine out in our lives.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St Thomas More (1478-1535) 

Prayer for Acceptance

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous:
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not to heed the wounds;
to toil and not to seek to rest;
to labour and to ask for no reward
save that of knowing I do your will.
Amen.

Jacques Sevin SJ (1887-1951)

Prayer for Forgiveness

Lord God, our loving Father,
you know all my sins and failures,
my weaknesses and temptations.
I come to you with deep sorrow in my heart
for the wrong I have done
and for the good I have failed to do.
Forgive me,
accept me,
stengthen me,
now and always.
Amen.

Bishop David Konstant (b.1930)

Searching for God

One of the advantages and challenges of living in a country parish as a priest
is the silence and the loneliness.
And one has spent quite a lot of time in small churches on one’s knees,
seeking for God, trying to establish contact
and being rewarded by silence and the feeling of absence –
because it is we who are in Him
rather than He who is in any of our buildings or traps.

Being something of a naturalist myself,
I know how I have found a hare’s form on a hillside
and been able to put my hand in it and feel it still warm.
And this is my feeling of God.
We don’t actually find Him,
we find where He has been.
We find His still warm presence but He is absent.
And we find his footsteps and footprints
but we never actually come upon Him
because how can we?
If we could comprehend God then
we would be God ourselves.

R S Thomas (from an interview)

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By the Shores of Faith and Doubt

In the making of a television series that took him to various religious sites and festivals around the Mediterranean, the broadcaster Adrian Chiles found himself questioning his own religious faith: Not long after I came home I chanced upon a quote from Voltaire: “Doubt is an uncomfortable condition but certainty is a ridiculous one.” Well, I remain in the “uncomfortable” camp. I just don’t know how anyone can know The Truth for sure. So, where is my certainty? Is it an absurd position to say that it grows out of Catholic churches rather than the Catholic Church? By that I mean the only thing I know absolutely for sure is that something sort of magical comes over me when I walk into a Catholic church. Where it comes from, I know not. A priest might say it’s the Holy Spirit; my family, who are all atheists, would say I’m just a bit nuts. I don’t know. I don’t care actually. I just know it’s there. ~ from THE TABLET, 2 January 2016

Prayer for the New Year

Almighty God,
with you there is no beginning and no end,
for you are the source and destiny of all creation.
We thank you for your presence
in all the years of our lives –
through joy and sorrow, success and failure,
you have been with us,
the companion on all our journeys.
We thank you for the love of faithful friends,
the wisdom we have gained with experience,
the beauty of nature and your steadfast love.
We thank you for the New Year that awaits us
and we place all our trust in your protection.
Keep us and all our loved ones safe from danger,
take us by the hand and lead us on.  Amen.

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Advent Antiphon
Sr M CHARLITA, IHM

From Mary’s sweet silence,
Come, Word mutely spoken!
Pledge of our real life,
Come, Bread yet unbroken!

Seed of the Golden Wheat,
In us be sown.
Fullness of true Light,
Through us be known.

Secret held tenderly,
Guarded with Love,
Cradled in purity,
Child of the Dove,

COME!

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Lord,
may everything we do this day
begin with your blessing and continue with your help.
May everything we say this day
begin with your love and continue with your grace.
May everything we plan this day
begin with your inspiration and continue with your peace –
so that throughout our lives
all that we begin in you may by you be happily ended,
and all that we seek through you may be lovingly attended. Amen.
St Columban (543-615)

 

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore, I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
~ from Thoughts in Solitude by Thomas Merton

Nothing is so strong as gentleness;
nothing so gentle as real strength
St Francis de Sales

O Lord Jesus Christ,
on the Cross you cried out in anguish:
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
In that desert of the senses and the spirit,
in that desert which consumed everything in your heart,
your soul was still in prayer.
The dreadful wasteland of a heart devastated by suffering
became in you a solitary call to God.
O prayer of anguish,
prayer of abandonment,
prayer of unfathomable weakness,
prayer of a forsaken God,
let us adore you.
If you prayed like this, O Jesus,
if you prayed in such agony,
is there any abyss so deep we cannot call out from it to your Father?
Is there any despair so hopeless that it cannot become a prayer
by being gathered up into your abandonment?
In those words, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
you were able to say all that had to be said.
Teach me to pray those words
so that they become the words of my own heart.

Karl Rahner SJ (1904-1984)
from ‘The Heart in Pilgrimage’, edited by Eamon Duffy (Bloomsbury, 2014)

 

Lord,
may everything we do this day
begin with your blessing and continue with your help.
May everything we say this day
begin with your love and continue with your grace.
May everything we plan this day
begin with your inspiration and continue with your peace –
so that throughout our lives
all that we begin in you may by you be happily ended,
and all that we seek through you may be lovingly attended. Amen.

St Columban (543-615)

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Prayer of Abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only your will be done in me
and in all your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands without reserve
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

Originally an officer of the French Army in North Africa,, Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858–1916) was a priest living among the Tuareg in the Sahara in Algeria. He was assassinated in 1916 outside the door of the fort he built for the protection of the Tuareg. He is venerated by the Church as a martyr. His inspiration and writings led to the founding of the religious Congregation of the Little Brothers of Jesus. He was beatified on 13 November 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.

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A Litany of Thanksgiving

Let us give thanks to God our Father for all his gifts so freely bestowed upon us.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea. We thank you, Lord.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women, revealing the image of Christ, We thank you, Lord.

For our daily food and drink, our homes and families, and our friends, We thank you, Lord.

For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve, We thank you, Lord.

For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play, We thank you, Lord.

For the brave and courageous, who are patient in suffering and faithful in adversity, We thank you, Lord.

For all valiant seekers after truth, liberty, and justice, We thank you, Lord.

For the communion of saints, in all times and places, We thank you, Lord.

Above all, we give you thanks for the great mercies and promises given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord;

To him be praise and glory, with you, O Father, and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

(from the 1979 edition of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer)

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For Those Who Were Sexually Abused

Jesus, our brother and friend,
look with kindness and compassion
on those who were sexually abused.
You see the lost child within,
still crying alone in the darkness
where the hidden wounds of childhood
still hurt and make them afraid.
When they feel abandoned, give them hope,
when they feel ashamed, give them comfort,
when they feel unloved, give them faith,
and when they feel betrayed, give them peace.
In the power of your resurrection
may love triumph over fear,
light shine in the darkness
and their long reign of terror be ended.

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from Thomas Merton OCSO (1915-1968):

My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore, I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

from Thoughts in Solitude