Will you come back to us, men of our hearts, to-night
In the misty close of the brief October day?
Will you leave the alien graves where you sleep and steal away
To see the gables and eaves of home grow dark in the evening light?
O men of the manor and moated hall and farm,
Come back to-night, treading softly over the grass;
The dew of the autumn dusk will not betray where you pass;
The watchful dog may stir in his sleep but he’ll raise no hoarse alarm.
Then you will stand, not strangers, but wishful to look
At the kindly lamplight shed from the open door,
And the fire-lit casement where one, having wept you sore,
Sits dreaming alone with her sorrow, not heeding her open book.
Forgotten awhile the weary trenches, the dome
Of pitiless Eastern sky, in this quiet hour
When no sound breaks the hush but the chimes from the old church tower,
And the river’s song at the weir,—ah! then we will welcome you home.
You will come back to us just as the robin sings
Nunc Dimittis from the larch to a sun late set
In purple woodlands; when caught like silver fish in a net
The stars gleam out through the orchard boughs and the church owl flaps his wings.
We have no fear of you, silent shadows, who tread
The leaf-bestrewn paths, the dew-wet lawns. Draw near
To the glowing fire, the empty chair,—we shall not fear,
Being but ghosts for the lack of you, ghosts of our well-beloved dead.
-- Winifred M. Letts (1916)
Friday, October 31, 2014
Thursday, October 30, 2014
This herring gull is in transition.
The tail, wings and back say adult herring gull; the spotted head says juvenile.
(The messy look is courtesy of high winds on Martha's Vineyard last week.)
These birds take three years to mature and they gradually go from very spotty and stripey to solid gray and solid white with just the polka dotted tail for an accent.
This reminds me of our children during that phase when they seemed to be more like adults in some parts while still like children in other parts (both physical and personality-wise).
There are days when I feel as if I haven't finished maturing, either. There are parts of me that aren't quite grown up yet. I can't decide if this is a failing or a good thing. Or at least a neutral "everybody is like that" thing. I certainly know that God's not finished with me yet.
20 Glory to God Gloria in excelsis
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to his people on earth.
Lord God, heavenly King,
almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
This is the harbor seal version of the old cat meme: if I fits, I sits.
Several of those guys were resting on rocks in the harbor at Woods Hole, Massachusetts last week. Thank goodness for sanctuary.
11 The Third Song of Isaiah Surge, illuminare
Isaiah 60:1-3, 11a, 14c, 18-19
Arise, shine, for your light has come, *
and the glory of the Lord has dawned upon you.
For behold, darkness covers the land; *
deep gloom enshrouds the peoples.
But over you the Lord will rise, *
and his glory will appear upon you.
Nations will stream to your light, *
and kings to the brightness of your dawning.
Your gates will always be open; *
by day or night they will never be shut.
They will call you, The City of the Lord, *
The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.
Violence will no more be heard in your land, *
ruin or destruction within your borders.
You will call your walls, Salvation, *
and all your portals, Praise.
The sun will no more be your light by day; *
by night you will not need the brightness of the moon.
The Lord will be your everlasting light, *
and your God will be your glory.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: *
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
What better way to come back from vacation than to announce the publication of this wonderful book?
The third and final volume of homilies and reflections, one for each liturgical year (or cycle), by a group of preachers (ordained and lay, from several denominations) who call themselves the Homilists for the Homeless, is printing right now. I am pleased to have been part of this project for all three years alongside such heavy hitters as Richard Rohr, Jim Martin, Rob Bell, and this year Martha Sterne, one of my heroes and mentors (and who baptized my children).
Click here to go to the publisher's website where you can preorder the book (and/or the other two books in the series - you can get a boxed set of all three), which we hope will be shipping within two weeks, just in time for the beginning of a new church year November 30th. Not only are they a great resource for preachers, but also the weekly reflections tied to the lectionary make for thought provoking devotional reading for anyone.
Remember, all proceeds from these books go to several charities that work to address both the needs of homeless people and the underlying causes of homelessness in our country. Also, we are proud that both of the previous books have won awards from the Catholic Press.
Thanks for your support!
Friday, October 17, 2014
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Almighty God, kindle, we pray, in every heart the true love of peace, and guide with your wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth, that in tranquillity your dominion may increase until the earth is filled with the knowledge of your love; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Bella plays her iPad game. The red dot appears and moves around and she has to catch it. She likes this game, brought to her by my friend Brenda. Also she learned that if she just sits on the iPad, she scores a lot of points.
Hope you have some fun in your day today!
Almighty God, we thank you for making the earth fruitful, so
that it might produce what is needed for life: Bless those who
work in the fields; give us seasonable weather; and grant that
we may all share the fruits for the earth, rejoicing in your
goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, October 13, 2014
O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make us always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that we, remembering the account that we must one day give, may be faithful stewards of your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
But still, for many of us, the outer darkness, a place beyond regular darkness I guess, is where we do not find God. Many of us experience the absence of God in the outer darkness.
I’ve been in the outer darkness before. And I experienced it as being profoundly disconnected - not only from God but from everyone. I experienced it as a place where I was numb, a place where everything was dull and I was tired and hopeless. I was bound. I think the absence of hope was probably the worst part of being in that outer darkness all alone.
In his letter to the Romans, St. Paul asks, “Who will separate us from the love of God?” And he goes on to say that he is convinced that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God.” But when I hear that I sometimes think, “yeah, but I, I myself, can separate myself from God, even if God will not separate from me.” And sometimes that’s just what I do.
John of the Cross describes the dark night of the soul as the place where we go through the kind of pain that accompanies true growth into spiritual maturity. It can be painful to grow, I know, and you probably do, too. I remember as a little girl the pains in my legs that woke me during the night - my mother described them as “growing pains.” According to the Mayo Clinic, even though this is a real thing, “growing pains” aren’t actually caused by growth. The Mayo Clinic declares that growth actually doesn’t hurt. But I beg to differ. Physical growth may not hurt, but personal and spiritual growth that requires shucking off of our outer shells that leaves us feeling naked and vulnerable most certainly can. Sometimes I think that the way I end up in that outer darkness is that I wish to avoid that growth, and that’s why I feel so numb and alone.
Most of us who experience the outer darkness didn’t mean to go there. We don’t really want to be there. We just end up there because the world has become too much and we are in pain as we try to cope with it.
Jesus knew something of that outer darkness. That’s where he ended up for a while himself, cast there by those who were offended by his message of love for all people, his habit of breaking down barriers, his teaching that everyone belongs to God and that God is about healing and reconciliation and not about violence. Jesus was abandoned and cast out for a time, too. And he felt forsaken. But he wasn't forsaken.
And so, even though I feel alone and numb when I am bound in that outer darkness, I am not really alone. I am not ever really alone. Because there is no place where God will not go to be with me, nor with you. Not even the outer darkness.
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Friday, October 10, 2014
O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
O God our heavenly Father, you have blessed us and given us
dominion over all the earth: Increase our reverence before
the mystery of life; and give us new insight into your purposes
for the human race, and new wisdom and determination in
making provision for its future in accordance with your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and
rest we shall be saved, in quietness and confidence shall be
our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee,
to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou
art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
O God, your unfailing providence sustains the world we live in and the life we live: Watch over those, both night and day, who work while others sleep, and grant that we may never forget that our common life depends upon each other's toil; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
O gracious Father, who openest thine hand and fillest all things living with plenteousness: Bless the lands and waters, and multiply the harvests of the world; let thy Spirit go forth, that it may renew the face of the earth; show thy loving-kindness, that our land may give her increase; and save us from selfish use of what thou givest, that men and women everywhere may give thee thanks; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or
weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who
sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless
the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the
joyous; and all for your love's sake. Amen.
O God, our heavenly Father, whose glory fills the whole creation, and whose presence we find wherever we go: Preserve those who travel [in particular _______________]; surround them with your loving care; protect them from every danger; and bring them in safety to their journey's end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sunday, October 5, 2014
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, October 2, 2014
Almighty God, who hast promised to hear the petitions of those who ask in thy Son's Name: We beseech thee mercifully to incline thine ear to us who have now made our prayers and supplications unto thee; and grant that those things which we have faithfully asked according to thy will, may effectually be obtained, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth of thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of your faithful people is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before you for all members of your holy Church, that in their vocation and ministry they may truly and devoutly serve you; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.