Pastoral Series

Prayer: Imitating Christ

Prayer: Imitating Christ One of my favorite prayers in all of history comes from Thomas à Kempis, the Dutch theologian from the 15th century, author of the best-selling spiritual classic (even today!) The Imitation of Christ: “Lord, in what can I trust in this life?  And what is my greatest comfort on earth?  Is it…

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Prayer: Open unto me

Prayer: Open unto me Howard Thurman, who died in 1981, was a calm, wise force during the Civil Rights movement, a widely admired theologian, and a pastor to thousands.  Many know his profound poem, “The Work of Christmas,” which was set to music in a stunning anthem our choir has sung. Thurman’s prayers appeal to…

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Prayer: Silence

Prayer: Silence As we grapple with the wonderful words the saints through history have prayed and shared with us, I continue to be struck by the way in which it isn’t the words, but it’s the lack of words, that make prayer.  As Mother Teresa put it, “God is a friend of silence.” This is…

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Prayer: Rebuilding

Prayer: Rebuilding As he lay dying on the night of October 3 into the wee hours of October 4, Francis uttered his last words.  “I have done what is mine to do.  Now it is up to you to do what is yours to do.” This is kind of a relief:  I don’t have to…

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Prayer: Footprints

Prayer: Footprints We have another prayer from St. Francis that very few people have ever seen.  It’s typical of him, and helpful for us: Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God, grant to us the grace to do for you what we know you want us to do.  Give us always to desire what pleases you. …

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Prayer: God’s will

Prayer: God’s will St. Francis was obsessed with the will of God, and in a fascinating way.  Ponder his prayer and all its forward thrust to its final phrase: Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, correct faith, firm hope, perfect charity, wisdom and perception, that I may…

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Prayer: Gyroscope

Prayer: Gyroscope Thanks for letting me linger on the prayer of St. Francis a bit longer.  Today I want to weigh lines 3, 4 and 5: Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, correct faith, firm hope, perfect charity, wisdom and perception, that I may do what is…

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Prayer: Enlightenment

Prayer: Enlightenment Giotto painted this fresco, depicting Francis kneeling as he did day after day before the crucifix in the crumbling church San Damiano, praying these words: Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord, correct faith, firm hope, perfect charity, wisdom and perception, that I may do what…

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Prayer: the Prayer of St. Francis

Prayer: the Prayer of St. Francis I want to spend some time with the prayer of St. Francis.  Not the one you see on posters everywhere, but the prayer Francis actually prayed day after day, for months, while kneeling before a crucifix in the little broken down church just outside Assisi called San Damiano. Most…

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Prayer: Ground Zero

Prayer: Ground Zero In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI visited Ground Zero, and prayed:  “O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us who gather today at this scene of incredible violence and pain.  We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here – heroic first-responders, along…

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