To Newtown, with love

Oh Newtown.  How we wish we could turn back time and save your children, your teachers, your town.  In Newtown we have viewed a dark abyss, now punctuated by painfully petite coffins and children streaming into funeral homes.

Your grief is unbearable, yet you must bear it.   Remember that while you suffer and your days seem interminable, your children, your victims are wrapped in God’s warm and loving arms.  For you it is a lifetime until you meet again; for them, it is but a blink of God’s eye.  Today, their souls live and glow in the everlasting light of God’s love.  Through your prayers and their intercession, may you know this and feel God’s compassion.

You will never get over it, but somehow you will learn to live. Your righteous anger will be plentiful and just, but don’t let it eclipse your love for the people still here on earth with you.  I pray that with God’s grace and love, through the support of family, friends and community, you find comfort, strength and love.

The world will move on, too fast, beyond your tragedy.  The loss of innocent life everywhere, from senseless violence, war and other conflicts is far too common.  In this sophisticated and technologically advanced world, let us pray that we are smart enough to find ways to prevent such horrors.

Maybe a simple start, for us observers in particular: in honor of innocent lives lost, let us act as children want the grown-ups in their lives to act:  as ideal role models.  Let each of us engender and glorify kindness and love.  Keep violence as far from innocence as possible.

Newtown, may God give you solace and in your time, grant you peace.

Prayer for CT Victims

This prayer was posted by Fr. James Martin, S.J. (author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything) on his Facebook page.  Thank you, Fr. Martin, for giving us words for this difficult time.

Where were you, God?

We are crushed with grief, God.
We cannot bear to think of so many people killed.
We cannot bear to think of children being killed.
It is unthinkable to us, the worst tragedy.

Children.Where were you, God?
How could you let this happen?
Why is your world like this?
We are sad and angry and confused.But God, we know that you know what it means to have
A child die.
For your Son died a violent death.

And we know that your Son understands grief.
For he wept bitterly when his friend Lazarus died.
And he was moved with compassion when he saw suffering.
His heart broke like our hearts do.
He cried like we do today.

We know too that your Son raised Lazarus from the dead.
And that you raised your own murdered Son from the grave,
As a sign of the eternal life you have planned for us.
The life into which you now place the victims, whom you loved.
And love.

We know that you understand our terrible anguish.
You accept our bitterness and our confusion too.
And we know that your Son is beside us, weeping with us.

We know that you are still with us God, in the darkness.
In our compassion for the families and friends of the victims.
In the love that moves us to care for one another.
In the anger that drives us to put an end to violence,
As your Son tried to do in his time with us.

Most of all, eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
And let perpetual light shine upon them.

While You’re Waiting

You have a few extra minutes — waiting for the doctor or a bus or a meeting;  in line for a coffee or lunch.  Scan the phone?  Yes, I often do.  How about read a prayer mediation?  Sounds embarrassing, right? Yeah, I’ll just pull out that little Bible, IN PUBLIC, and let everyone know that yes, I’m thinking about GOD, right now.  You imagine people staring and thinking “Jesus freak!  I never would have guessed…”

Ok, Ok.  Have I got the resource for you:

Little Book

Little Book

The Little Books. The beauty of these small paperback booklets (published by the Diocese of Saginaw) is that the cover is completely plain:  no title, no picture, nothing.  No one knows what you are reading.  These six minute reflections are a brilliant way to increase your knowledge and your faith, not to mention improve your life.
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A bargain:  $3 to $4 for a single booklet or much less in volume.  My church buys them and gives it away (lucky me!).  Certain seasons are available in a children’s edition as well.  (Note that each season is a different color, so this year Advent is called The Little Blue Book.  Other seasons use a different color cover and corresponding title “The Little Purple Book” for Lent, etc.)  Can you tell I like these books?  They were a big help to get my prayer life moving.

Pray, pray, and pray some more.  Especially now:  it’s Advent, it’s the Year of Faith.  What are you waiting for?

A Better Gift

Galeries Lafayette store, Paris.Credit:  Benh LIEU SONG

Galeries Lafayette store, Paris. Credit: Benh LIEU SONG

Advent is upon us:  four weeks until Christmas!  Oh, the stress.  I just taught second graders that Advent is about preparing.  Yes, yes, my head screams:  buy presents for my three children, my husband, my brother and his children who are coming, order the turkey, decorate the house, the tree…

No.  I hear a quiet voice somewhere in my head.  Advent is the time to prepare for the real meaning of Christmas: Christ.  God.  Love.  Grace.

Thank you God, for the gifts you give us. Thank you for the wisdom and sacrifice of the ultimate role model, Jesus.  Help us try to give back to you, God by giving back to people around us.

One of the biggest gifts you can give is forgiveness. God forgives us. He expects us to forgive others.  Forgiveness is a great way to prepare your heart and open it to God.  Forgive for big and small things — your spouse fought with you, again?  Your co-worker said something unkind?  A waiter left you waiting?  Find forgiveness.

Credit:  Johann Jaritz

Step into their shoes.  Think what the situation seems like from their perspective.  Pray. Pray more.  Reflect on the fact God loves you, and calls you, by name.  God wants you to be a sign of his love.

David's Joy over Forgiveness, as in Psalm 32; Providence Lithograph Company

David’s Joy over Forgiveness, as in Psalm 32; Providence Lithograph Company

God loves them too.  So should you.  

Forgiveness is not easy, and not always immediate.  However, forgiveness is as big a gift to yourself as it is to those you forgive.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”

 

Tweets of Wisdom from the Pope

Nice to Tweet You:  From Pope Benedict XVI

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/Benedykt_XVI_%282010-10-17%29_4.jpg/166px-Benedykt_XVI_%282010-10-17%29_4.jpgCan you just imagine the Pope after a deep theological discussion:  hey, can I tweet that?  Now he may.

Follow Pope Benedict XVI on twitter at @Pontifex, a handle chosen because it means pope in Latin, as well as bridge builder, lending a suggestion of unity.

Tweets will start on December 12 and the Pope will tweet ‘as often as he wants’ said Greg Burke, the Vatican communications  adviser. Good to see the Church taking advantage of current communication tools.  Read more from the AP.