How I Pray

(This is an on-going list.)

Who I pray for (w/out naming names here):

  1. People I know personally and love and for whom I am profoundly grateful:
    1. My family: parents, spouse, siblings (4), in-laws (4), out-laws! (4), nieces (4), nephews (4), their spouses (4 + more soon?), great-nieces/nephews (whoo-hoo!) (4 + more some day?), myself;
    2. My current students and their parents;
    3. My former piano teachers (4), formative pastors/priests (4); other mentors
    4. Former “best-friends” (girl-friends): from childhood, college days, grad-school; abroad
  2. People I know personally and need to keep forgiving (people I could be tempted to “demonize”!):
    1. Former lovers; an abuser; bullies; “difficult” colleagues;
    2. Former friends whose core values have been revealed to be mostly diametrically opposed to mine (I can’t deny our contrary world-views, but I refuse to assume there is no common ground, because it is part of my world-view to know God can work in each of us at any time, and I am not their judge, and I pray I am not their stumbling block.)
  3. People I don’t know personally, but know OF them because of their work or status or position, and whether/not I agree w/ their work or approve of their position, I still pray for their Person:
    1. The unborn
    2. And their mothers
    3. People suffering because of war
    4. People suffering because of homelessness or lack of food or work
    5. All the world’s children
    6. And their parents (especially their mothers)
    7. People entrapped in sexual slavery or any form of abuse
    8. Religious and spiritual leaders
    9. Teachers (especially public school teachers)
    10. People working in the medical/health fields
    11. Government leaders
    12. Other people who pray: the hidden people who are never known yet love the world and give themselves to lift others up

What I pray for:

  1. Peace in people’s hearts, homes, nations, the world
  2. Merciful justice: sufficient social stability, respect for law, justice executed while tempered with mercy
  3. Love: that every person may experience being loved and belonging
  4. Wholeness in Christ: that every person may be drawn to the source of Love and come to know Christ personally
  5. Joy, eternal bliss!

When I pray:

  1. Morning
  2. Bed-time
  3. Meal-time
  4. Before and after things I do
  5. Frequently throughout teaching, practicing, relating
  6. Often (as meditation) when doing tasks that don’t involve other people
  7. In liturgy

Where I pray:

  1. At home
  2. In mass
  3. Where-ever I am!

How I pray:

  1. Silently, in my heart
  2. Out loud
  3. With and without formally written prayers
  4. With and without a rosary or other prayer aids
  5. With Scripture
  6. With music
  7. With and without words
  8. Sometimes with movement (spontaneous dance!)
  9. Communing with nature
  10. Communing with others, especially in liturgy

Why I pray:

  1. It’s how I Live
  2. It’s how I draw breath
  3. It’s how I commune with God
  4. It’s how I collect myself
  5. It’s how I am born into Life-in-Christ

Mantras (short phrases) I sometimes use (repeat while meditating or even tasking):

  1. Jesu juva!
  2. Soli Deo gloria!
  3. I trust You, Jesus.
  4. Praise be Jesus!
  5. Praise be Thee forever!
  6. Allelujah!
  7. Blessed be The Lord forever!
  8. Blessed be Thy Name!
  9. Abba-Jesus-Spirit, I love You!
  10. Thank You Lord!
  11. (sometimes my “mantra”) is just an image: usually of God and I embracing or dancing, moving in a circle w/ light and love emanating
  12. sometimes the image is of my interior “prayer circle” (developed from an Ignatian spiritual exercise and a vision I first had in 1985)

Good Mother

Dear Abba-Papa,

I’ve started reading a book that even with the first page has sent me into a scene of long-ago that somehow taps into my own history.  It is the nostalgia of child-with-mother.  Lord, I miss my mother.  I miss knowing her presence was gracing this earth.  Even when I wasn’t physically with her, I had a sense of her nearness, an inner fortitude I felt because of her example and her existence in my world.  I’m not finding the right words, but I’m sure it is the essential abiding experience every child feels from having had a Good Mother.  Thank You, Lord, for my mother.  Please bless her in Heaven with all Your most lavish Love and Grace and Beauty and Truth and Peace, whatever she needs to be whole and buoyantly fully alive.  Of course You do this for everyone, don’t You?  Isn’t that what Heaven is?  Being whole and fully alive in You?  What else could one want or need?  Even so, Lord, I am especially grateful for my mother, so I ask You to bless her!

And of course I ask you to bless my dad and all my loved-ones.  But today, right now, I thank You for my mother and wish for her every possible blessing.

Blessed be Your Holy Name forever and ever,

Amen!

Give us Courage

Our Father

Our Mother, Our Creator-Savior-Lover-Lord, Abba-Papa, My Soul’s Beloved,

Who art in Heaven,

And Who is in my heart,

Hallowed be Thy Name,

Oh precious Name of Jesus!  I adore Thee!  Holy God, Jehovah, Lord-of-all, praise be Your Holy Name forever and ever!

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,

Lord, I still don’t know what Your kingdom is.  I do know that it is first-born within our hearts.  But you also want us to live it: Thy will be DONE.  But it’s not always clear what Your Will is, and even when there is clarity, the way — the how-to-do — isn’t clear or accessible.  Lord, help us.  Lord, help me.  Help me to do the little steps You show me each day, and to trust that taking those little steps is good enough.

On Earth as it is in Heaven.

Here and now.

Give us this day our daily bread,

Lord, thank You for all the ways you bless and sustain me and my loved-ones.  Lord, I pray for those who don’t have what they need.  Help all of us humans to share better with each other.  Help me to be more generous whenever I have the opportunity.

And forgive us our trespasses

Lord, there are things I’ve done I know are sins, and for those sins I have always asked forgiveness, and I thank You with all my heart for Your forgiveness and for the forgiveness extended by others.  But what about those things that I don’t think are sins and yet someone else might not like or might disagree with about their merits as actions/choices.  I know we all experience those kinds of gray areas.  I find it to be a real challenge to make the choices that I know are absolutely right for myself at the time, but are not popular with others, and it’s especially difficult when those others are near me either geographically and/or emotionally.  So Lord, I thank You for forgiveness.  AND I thank You for courage.  I thank You and praise You that You have created us with consciousness and with a conscience.  Thank You that our conscience can be formed and developed.  Thank You for all the profoundly positive and healthful influences You have given me throughout my life.

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lord, help me forgive more and more deeply and completely.  Thank You for the spiritual freedom You give me when I truly let go of anything I need to release.

And lead us not into temptation,

Lord, what are my current temptations?  I need You to show me.  And when You do, help me deal with them and myself honestly and courageously.

But deliver us from evil,

Lord, I pray for the world.  I pray for all humanity, and all creation.  Lord, You know better than anyone how evil roams the world “seeking souls to devour.”  Deliver us, Lord, from all evil.  You have saved our souls; yet all creation longs for and awaits the completion of Your redeeming work.  Restore what needs to be restored.  Rebirth what needs to be born again.  Lord, come quickly.

For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,

Glory be to Thee forever and always.

Forever and ever.

With out end.

Amen.

Hallelujah!

Let it be within me

Our Father

(Mother, Creator, Thou, Lover-of-my-soul, Savior-Redeemer, Eternal-One, I-Am, my Author, One-God, Holy-One)

Who art in heaven

(Thou who is eternal and more present here and now than anything else)

Hallowed be Thy Name,

(Blessed are You, Lord God of all creation!  Blessed be the Name of the Lord!)

Thy kingdom come

(Lord, what is your kingdom?  Your kingdom here is service, and willingness to suffer without retaliation; what a kingdom!  But it is also joy and celebration: celebration of being.  Celebration of Creator-with-creature.  Thank You!)

Thy will be done

(Thy will: that is not always clear.  Live.  Love.  Let it be.  But the details are tough to discern at times.  Your will for me now seems to be Let go.  Thank You!)

On earth

(Lord, I am sorry we humans have messed up Your lovely garden.  You created, and it was Good.  But then we sinned, and screwed up everything.  And yet, “oh happy fault!” that brings me the cross, My Savior Jesus loving me beyond all measure.  What a savior, what a mystery, amazing grace, wondrous love, oh Lord my God I am not worthy to receive You but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.  Praise me Jesus.  Thank You, Abba-Papa.  Bless You Jesus.  Joy-joy Holy Spirit!  Thank You, Lord, that although I am only a sojourner here, and this earth is not my eternal home, and that you have prepared a place for me in heaven with You, even so, thank You for having created such a beautiful and wondrous world.  Please help me clean up my little corner.)

As it is in heaven.

(Heaven.  Sigh.  I so often think of heaven as “over there.”  But there are moments when I realize the threshold of heaven is all around me and within me.  The threshold of heaven.  I saw that door wide open with light pouring through when JG was dying.  I felt the door open and close when Dad passed through.  I felt Mom slip through a waiting open door.  Lord, have mercy.  These are realities too powerful for me.  Papa, I weep for remaining on this side.  But I thank You for glimpses into Home, and I thank You my loved ones are there.  Blessed be Your Holy Name forever and ever.)

Give us this day our daily bread

(Lord, what do I need?  You have given me so much.  I feel the need to write.  Can you give me bread for writing?  Can you give me my voice?  I so often get stuck on wondering why I find it so hard to speak.  But what is it I want to say?  So often others discount my perspective.  That is just not right.  But how is it I can’t rebut?  Do I not have the energy?  Do I not have the resolve?  Do I not have the words?  Sometimes I am simply just so very disgusted that anyone would have the gall to contradict me — when I am telling my memory of my experience.  Arguing.  What is it people are trying to achieve in arguing?  And with me?  I listen, long and attentively.  And then I speak.  Must I train others how to listen?  Probably.  Yuck.  I do this naturally and happily as a teacher.  But there are many (most?) times when, with a peer, I just want to be heard — as an independent equal; i.e. discipline your own ears!  Listen!  Hear me, without me having to do the work to open your ears!)

And forgive us our trespasses

(Forgive me when I haven’t listened to others or interrupted them, or not really heard them.  Forgive me for when I haven’t spoken up out of cynicism or disdain or fatigue.  Forgive me for depending on others to hear in order to speak.  Show me how to speak what I have to say, even if no-one listens.)

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

(Forgiving others… I’ve done so much of this, and yet it is rare that I get it done completely; I seem to need a multi-layered multi-faceted process.  It takes time.  I forgive and think I’ve forgiven, let go, but it’s just one layer.  Then I grow/ move-on and another layer reveals itself, and I have to forgive deeper and deeper.  I really hope to have forgiven everyone everything completely before I die.  Is this really possible?  I have to believe it is.  Jesus did it.  But He was God.  Yes, but His Spirit lives within me and is transforming me into the Person He created me to be, which is in His own Image: that means I was created with the capacity to forgive like God forgives.  Wow.  Oh my.  I just got dizzy.  What a terrific thought: terrifyingly full of responsibility, but also terrible in beauty.  Lord-God, what have You done!  You have given us Yourself!  Lord-God, have mercy on me.  Help me with each next little step.  Can I bear more than that?  Could You ever ask me to leap?  Yes, I bet You could.  Have mercy on me, Lord.  Jesu juva.)

And lead us not into temptation

(Here’s the thing about temptation: I don’t think You ever do “lead” us there.  We look and we desire, and then if we haven’t “fixed our eyes on Jesus” we often sin — we choose something other than You.  So what are these things that are not ours for the choosing?  Many of the things that “tempt” us are perfectly valid in their existence; the temptation is our lust for them, our lust to make them our own.  There really is very little that can be owned.  Even most resources are just on loan to us.  Certainly humans are never meant to be owned or objectified in any way.  Even animals are only for us to care-for.  So, what tempts me these days?  I suppose it would be to despair.  To become cynical?  Hmm…  I don’t think I’m really cynical; I’m too much of a Believer.  I don’t mean that in the religious sense; I mean that I am inherently one-who-believes.  I tend to seek and find what I can affirm; I embrace; I speak “Yes!” — much more than I ever denounce or reject or cast away.  Hmmm… maybe I do need to add “No!” to my vocabulary!  I’ve certainly been learning that I need to say no to certain people, certain things, certain ways of thinking…  But it almost always feels like a foreign language; there is a measure of pain to me, an experience of violence to my Person that I should have to define a barrier.  I long so much for boundless expanding.  I long to fly.  I long to become “one with the universe”!  Ha, ha.  It’s true.  But it’s so manic.  Naive?  I don’t know.  How else could I conceive of God?  Isn’t God boundless?  Isn’t God making “all things work together for good for those who love Him”?  Love.  Love has no limits.  Love can love even through the “no”s.  Ha!  Sounds like through the “nose”!  A bloody nose.  That’s boundless love.  Someone punches you in the nose, and you bleed, and you find a way to love anyway.  Sigh.  Lord Jesus, come quickly.  I am not up to this.)

But deliver us from evil

(Yes, there it is: the cry to deliver us.  Take us away from that which would destroy us; birth us into Being.)

For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory,

(For everything is Yours.  In You I live and move and have my being.  Everything was created through and for Jesus.  It’s all about You.  And I thank You.  What a relief!  Papa, I am grateful to be just one little spark darting about in Your glorious heavens.  Let me please You.  I do desire one thing:  to be one with You.)

Forever and ever.

(And even now.)

Amen.

(So be it; even within me.)

 

Catholic Commonalities

I am Catholic, Roman Catholic, and am interested in knowing what I hold in common with Catholics of other rites.  First, what do all Catholics mean by “Catholic”?  The word catholic means universal.  The Catholic Church describes herself as having “Four Marks.”  They are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic; this applies to all Catholic rites.  Wikipedia gives a great and succint explaination of what we mean by the mark “Catholic”:

Applied to the church, the adjective “catholic” means that in the church the wholeness of the Christian faith, full and complete, all-embracing, and with nothing lacking, is proclaimed to all people without excluding any part of the faith or any class or group of people.[15][16][17] The adjective can be applied not only to the church as spread throughout the world but also to each local manifestation of the church, in each of which nothing essential is lacking for it to be the genuine Church of Christ.[17][18][19]

If you want to read about this directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, read at least paragraphs #830-838.  You can find the CCC (starting at paragraph #811) on the Vatican website here.

As regards various rites within the Catholic Church, according to Catholic Answers:

Within the Catholic Church there are a number of individual churches, sometimes called rites. One of these is the Roman rite or Roman church. It includes most of the Catholics in the Western world. A Roman Catholic is a Catholic who is a member of the Roman rite.

There are many Catholics in the East who are not Roman Catholics, such as Maronite Catholics, Ukrainian Catholics, and Chaldean Catholics. These are all in communion with the pope, but they are not members of the Roman rite, so they are not Roman Catholics.

The Roman rite is not stricter than these other rights. They are equal. They all teach the same faith; it is only local customs that are different among them.

So two of the things all Catholics have in common are:

  1. We profess to be of the same One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
  2. We are in communion with the Pope.

According to…

Our Abba

When I pray “the Our Father,” the Lord’s Prayer, I take the “Our” very seriously.  I know that Abba is not only my Daddy, my Creator; I believe that Abba-Creator-Lord-God is everyone’s Daddy, the Creator and Lord of all that is, the One and only God.

So, surely, I must have something, at least one thing in common with all other people.  What are those commonalities?

  1. We are all and each created by the same God: Creator and Lord of all that is.
  2. We are all loved by God; God creates out of Love.
  3. We have all been redeemed by Jesus Christ salvific sacrifice on the Cross.  (It is up to us individually as to whether or not we accept this gift given to all.)
  4. Most things I could say about God would be “things we all have in common,” because God is Lord of all and Loves everyone and everything.

So what are the things about us, things we’ve chosen or affirmed, that I have in common with others?

As a Catholic, what do I have in common with other (non-Catholic) Christians?

  1. Most denominations and individuals who call themselves Christian would, without qualification, espouse the Nicene and Apostolic Creeds.  (How they interpret the Creed(s) varies both at the denominational level and as individual persons.)

So, let’s look at specific commonalities between Catholics and other Christian denominations who, although they all generally accept these creeds, might vary (sometimes significantly) in their interpretations.  Despite the differences, what do we hold in common?

Roman Catholics and other Catholics:

Catholics and other “high church” denominations (Episcopalian, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian):

Catholics and “evangelicals”:

Catholics and Anabaptists:

Catholics and “non-denominational” Christians:

Catholics and religious groups that call themselves Christian, but are generally not formally recognized as Christian by Catholics (and might be classified as “cults” such as Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, Christian Scientists):

What do Roman Catholics have in common with people of non-Christian faiths?

What do Roman Catholics have in common with faith-groups that generally stem from the Judeo-Christian culture, yet have rejected worshipping God?

What do Roman Catholics have in common with agnostics?

What do Roman Catholics have in common with atheists?

What do Roman Catholics have in common with people who don’t think at all in terms of God or religion or faith or belief, people who don’t think about the things I’m thinking and writing about here?

What do Roman Catholics have in common with people who, whatever they do or don’t affirm, hate Catholics and/or Catholicism?

What do Roman Catholics have in common with people who, regardless of what they say they do or don’t believe, actively and deliberately live in such a way that is diametrically opposed to Roman Catholic teaching?

These are the questions I want to examine and explore in a series of blog-posts.  Because there are so many and each one could merit a response longer and more in-depth than what I intend for this blog, I will take each question one at a time and explore it in terms of my personal experiences with persons of the specified groups.  Admittedly this will not be any kind of scholarly or official analysis or comprehensive comparison of the subject matter.  My interest is in finding what I truly (genuinely and consciously) hold in common with other people I have encountered so far in my life-time.

I hope that my readers might share with me (via the comments box) commonalities they have discovered between themselves and others of differing beliefs.  For the purposes of this blog, I am not interested in delving into the differences.  If you want to discuss or debate such, you can leave suggestions for such topics, but, please, ALWAYS be respectful and as kind as possible with your words.  I try to be very open-minded and especially open-hearted toward everyone, but if your words (or their tone) are abusive, I reserve the right to censor or reject them.  Thank you for your interest in exploring this with me!

 

 

 

Forgiveness

Our Father Who art in heaven

Dear Abba-Papa, I thank You and praise You that You are indeed in heaven, that You transcend everything, but that at the same time You are with us, You are imminent, You are nearer to us than we are to ourselves!  Bless You Lord!  This is such a comfort to me because I know that I can’t hold myself together.  In ever possible way, aspect, and degree, it is You that sustains me.  Bless You Abba!  Praise be Jesus!  Thank You Holy Spirit!

Hallowed be Thy Name

Lord-God, You reveal Yourself to us in many ways and by Your revelation of Yourself we have many names for You.  My favorites are simply Thou and Thee, Abba, Jesus, Creator, Savior, Redeemer, my soul’s Beloved, Father, Lover of my soul, LORD.

Thy kingdom come

Yes, Lord, may Your kingdom come in all its fullness.  Meanwhile give me the grace to be faithful to You even in the midst of this world that doesn’t recognize Your Lordship.

Thy will be done

And please conform my will to Your ever more perfectly

On earth as it is in heaven.

In my heart, mind, and actions, as it is in Christ’s

Give us this day our daily bread,

Lord, today I ask for freedom from anxiety, for focus, and a strong sense of purpose.

And forgive us our trespasses

Lord-God, I hope I never ever trespass against anyone the way(s) others have hurt me most deeply, yet I know I have sinned against You and against other people, and whether the sins be “big” or “small”, or however The Church would classify them, I ask for complete forgiveness.  I know Lord that You do forgive me, completely.  Please free me from all attachment to sin or bad habits, please wash me clean from all effects of sin.  Lord, I ask for Your complete and perfect Grace.  Abba!  I know this is what You want for all Your children!  This is why You came to us in Jesus!  Bless You!  Blessed be God forever!

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

Lord, You know I have to keep forgiving those who have hurt or harmed me the most.  I keep encountering ways the violation and the injustice of those old sins against me continue to hurt and harm me.  Help me Lord to ALWAYS trust You, and to turn EVERYTHING over to You.  There will be no justice in this world that can right those wrongs against me, but I do believe that You will make everything better than right in heaven, and even now You can make things whole within me.  Thank You Lord that nothing is impossible for You!  So Lord I release everyone to You.  May Your perfect will be done in each of us.

And lead us not into temptation

Protect me from complacency and from despair.

But deliver us from evil.

Lord, keep my soul always secure in Christ’s Hand.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,

Hallelujah!

Forever and ever.

For now and all eternity!

Amen.

And amen!

Confiteor

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault; therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

 

Glory Be

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit.  
As it was in the beginning, 
is now, and ever shall be: 
world without end.  
Amen.

This is my all-time favorite prayer.  The very first time I heard it (at the end of a priest’s informal prayer during a counseling session before I was Catholic), I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever heard.  I didn’t know it was a formal prayer.  I thought I had just witnessed the Holy Spirit inspiring Fr. C’s words.  Clearly, I wasn’t raised Catholic!