The Feast of Epiphany is Wednesday, January 6. Epiphany celebrates the revelation of Christ to the world, as epitomized by the visit of the Magi. This week, we have a blessing for Epiphany.
God has called you out of darkness,
into his wonderful light.
May you experience his kindness and blessings,
and be strong in faith, in hope, and in love.
Because you are followers of Christ,
who appeared on this day as a light shining in darkness,
may he make you a light to all your sisters and brothers.
The wise men followed the star,
and found Christ who is light from light.
May you too find the Lord
when your pilgrimage is ended.
This week’s Advent prayer is from Karl Rhaner, S.J. (1904 – 1984), a German Jesuit priest and theologian.
Now God says to us
What He has already said to the earth as a whole
Through His grace-filled birth:
I am there. I am with you.
I am your life. I am your time.
I am the gloom of your daily routine. Why will you not hear it?
I weep your tears – pour yours out to me.
I am your joy.
Do not be afraid to be happy; ever since I wept, joy is the standard of living
That is really more suitable than the anxiety and grief of those who have no hope.
I am the blind alley of all your paths,
For when you no longer know how to go any farther,
Then you have reached me,
Though you are not aware of it.
I am in your anxiety, for I have shared it.
I am in the prison of your finiteness,
For my love has made me your prisoner.
I am in your death,
For today I began to die with you, because I was born,
And I have not let myself be spared any real part of this experience.
I am present in your needs;
I have suffered them and they are now transformed.
I am there.
I no longer go away from this world.
Even if you do not see me now, I am there.
My love is unconquerable.
I am there.
It is Christmas.
Light the Candles! They have more right to exist then all the darkness.
It is Christmas.
Christmas that lasts forever.
Las Posadas is a tradition among Spanish-speaking people that reenacts the journey of Joseph and Mary as they sought shelter in Bethlehem. Following is a traditional Posadas prayer.
Divine and eternal Word, who descended from the Father into the heart of the ever Virgin Mary, your love for humankind leads you to Bethlehem where you are born at midnight in a poor and humble stable.
In truth, thousands of angels accompany you on this journey, and yet we, whom you came to save and lead to that Bethlehem of eternal joy, stubbornly turn away from you.
Forgive us, God and Lord of the universe, and help us to walk alongside Mary and Joseph, thus giving us the courage to fight against and triumph over every adversity. Amen.
This week’s Advent prayer is from the theologian and author Walter Brueggemann.
In our secret yearnings
we wait for your coming,
and in our grinding despair
we doubt that you will.
And in this privileged place
we are surrounded by witnesses who yearn more than do we
and by those who despair more deeply than do we.
Look upon your church and its pastors
in this season of hope
which runs so quickly to fatigue
and in this season of yearning
which becomes so easily quarrelsome.
Give us the grace and the impatience
to wait for your coming to the bottom of our toes,
to the edges of our finger tips.
We do not want our several worlds to end.
Come in your power
and come in your weakness
in any case
and make all things new.
Yesterday marked the first day of the Advent season. We are now preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus. We’ll begin the season with this prayer by theologian and priest Henri J. M. Nouwen.
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do and seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!’
In honor of Thanksgiving, we pray this beautiful prayer from Howard Thurman (1899 – 1981), a theologian, mystic, philosopher, and civil rights leader.
In Your presence, O God, we make our Sacrament of Thanksgiving.
We begin with the simple things of our days:
Fresh air to breathe,
Cool water to drink,
The taste of food,
The protection of houses and clothes,
The comforts of home.
For all these we make an act of Thanksgiving this day!
We bring to mind all the warmth of humankind that we have known:
Our mothers’ arms,
The strength of our fathers,
The playmates of our childhood,
The wonderful stories brought to us from the lives of many who
talked of days gone by when fairies and giants and diverse kinds
of magic held sway;
The tears we have shed, the tears we have seen;
The excitement of laughter and the twinkle in the eye with
its reminder that life is good.
For all these we make an act of Thanksgiving this day.
Today’s prayer comes from Mechthild of Magdeburg (ca. 1207 – ca. 1282), a German mystic and a Beguine. She was one of the first mystics to write in German rather than Latin. Her feast day is November 19.
O burning Mountain,
O chosen Sun,
O perfect Moon,
O fathomless Well,
O unattainable Height,
O Clearness beyond measure,
O Wisdom without end,
O Mercy without limit,
O Strength beyond resistance,
O Crown beyond all majesty:
the humblest thing you created sings your praise.
St. Augustine (354-430) wrote this prayer to the Holy Spirit:
Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my thoughts may all be holy.
Act in me, O Holy Spirit,
That my work, too, may be holy.
Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit,
That I love but what is holy.
Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit,
To defend all that is holy.
Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit,
That I always may be holy.
Yesterday, Nov. 1, was All Saints Day, when we commemorate all the saints of the church, those that are known and those that are unknown. In our prayer for the week, Martin Luther King, Jr. gives thanks for the saints and foreparents that have preceded us in the faith.
Oh God, our gracious, heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the creative insights in the universe. We thank Thee for the lives of great saints and prophets in the past, who have revealed to us that we can stand up amid the problems and difficulties and trials of life and not give in. We thank Thee for our foreparents, who’ve given us something in the midst of the darkness of exploitation and oppression to keep going. And grant that we will go on with the proper faith and the proper determination of will, so that we will be able to make a creative contribution to this world and in our lives. In the name and spirit of Jesus we pray. Amen.
This week’s prayer is from Thomas à Kempis (ca. 1380-1471), a Dutch-German monastic, priest, and spiritual writer. He authored one of the most popular devotional treatises of all time, the Imitation of Christ.
O Lord my God, be not far from me; my God, have regard to help me; for my thoughts and fears have risen up against me and afflict my soul. How shall I pass through them unhurt? How shall I break them to pieces? My hope and my only consolation is to flee to you in every tribulation, to trust in you, to call upon you from my inmost heart and to wait patiently for your consolation. Amen.