Today’s prayer comes from the Book of Common Prayer, collect 24.
Almighty God our heavenly Father, you declare your glory
and show forth your handiwork in the heavens and in the
earth: Deliver us in our various occupations from the service
of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in
truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of
him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy
Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday Favorites is back after a break of several weeks. We hope you are keeping well and sane. This week, Prasanta Verma and I have some beautiful posts, podcasts, and videos for you. They include thoughts on navigating the pandemic in our spiritual and writing lives, suffering and the church, and the ancient spiritual practice of remembering our death. We hope these words bless you this week. Be well!
Ask A Spiritual Director via Kimberly Pelletier and Samuel Ogles (Pandemic Series Part 2: How do I deal with people who think differently than me about this pandemic?)
Reading Hope in Trying Times with Barbara Brown Taylor via Writing for Your Life (thoughts on the pandemic, online experiences, and books)
Memento Mori: Memento Vivere via Raymond (Randy) Blacketer (remembering our death so that we can remember to live)
The Tender Way via Marlena Graves (God doesn’t cause our suffering, but uses it to change us)
Can the Church View Disabled Bodies as Jesus’ Body? via Amy Kenny (it’s time for the church to start treating people with disabilities as full members of the body of Christ)
Writing the Pandemic: Your Morning Walk with Sophfronia, May 1, 2020 via Sophfronia Scott (taking small steps in our writing lives during this time)
Today’s prayer comes from St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033/4 – 1109). Let’s pray with him for all who are afflicted and distressed.
We bring before Thee, O Lord, the troubles and perils of people and nations, the sighing of prisoners and captives, the sorrows of the bereaved, the necessities of strangers, the helplessness of the weak, the despondency of the weary, the failing powers of the aged.
O Lord, draw near to each; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wednesday, April 29, is the Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena, a Dominican laywoman, mystic, mentor of popes, and church reformer. Her prayers and spiritual writings continue to inspire us today.
For our prayers this week, I’m featuring two recent videos in my series, “The Prayers of St. Catherine of Siena.” Each is a burst of encouragement and hope that we need during this time.
In the following prayer, St. Catherine asks God for help in responding to our neighbors with love and generosity–perfect for this time of pandemic:
And in our second prayer, Catherine reflects on how God has given us his own nature, which is fire:
I hope these prayers bless you this week!
Today is the Feast Day of St. Anselm of Canterbury, (1033 – 1109), a Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher, and theologian. We are praying one of his meditations:
Lord, because you have made me, I owe you the whole of my love; because you have redeemed me, I owe you the whole of myself; because you have promised so much, I owe you my whole being. Moreover, I owe you as much more love than myself as you are greater than I, for whom you gave yourself and to whom you promised yourself. I pray you, Lord, make me taste by love what I taste by knowledge; let me know by love what I know by understanding. I owe you more than my whole self, but I have no more, and by myself I cannot render the whole of it to you. Draw me to you, Lord, in the fullness of your love. I am wholly yours by creation; make me all yours, too, in love.
Given what has come upon us — the pandemic, social distancing, uncertainty, isolation — I wanted to put some encouragement into the world. I’ve begun a video series in which I read a prayer, or a portion of a prayer, by St. Catherine of Siena, the 14th-century mystic, lay Dominican, church reformer, and Doctor of the Church. The first two readings are posted below.
Catherine’s prayers are beautiful and passionate, and I hope they will encourage you during this difficult time. I’m especially moved that St. Catherine so often prays for mercy and salvation for the entire world.
In this first prayer, Catherine pleads for mercy for the world:
The following prayer is very short and is a personal plea for God to renew our spirit:
Blessings and peace to all of you!
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817) is well known for her novels about English mores and manners but also wrote three prayers that echo the form and style of the Book of Common Prayer. Although they are intended to be evening prayers, I think that the fragment quoted below helps to set a good tone for the coming day.
Teach us, Almighty Father, to consider this solemn truth, as we should do, that we may feel the importance of every day, and every hour as it passes, and earnestly strive to make a better use of what Thy goodness may yet bestow on us, than we have done of the time past.
Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week’s faves have been specially chosen by Prasanta Verma and me to help us get ready for Lent. During Lent, we journey into a kind of darkness: we go into the desert, we go into the darkness that Jesus experienced, we go into a place of sorrowing and repentance. This place is necessary to help us prepare for new life.
Today’s posts help us explore darkness in our lives — and to find God there. He will not leave us alone in the inky places.
Read, and be blessed.
When You’re Not Feeling Very #Blessed via Kate Bowler and Jan Richardson (when you’re not feeling #blessed, you need a blessing)
The Breath of God via Keren Dibbens-Wyatt (on being enfolded by God even in weakness)
Black Space, Dark Matter via Sarah Rennicke (to be in the shadows is still to be seen, met, and formed by God)
4 Reasons Why You Need a Sabbath Journey for Lent via Shelly Miller (Lent is an opportunity for God to reveal how he’s been at work in your life)
Ash Wednesday via T. S. Eliot (listen to Eliot read his poem aloud)
Last Curtain via Rabindranath-Tagore (a poem about life and death)
Today’s prayer comes from Howard Thurman (1899 – 1981), a theologian, mystic, philosopher, and civil rights leader:
Open unto me—light for my darkness.
Open unto me—courage for my fear.
Open unto me—hope for my despair.
Open unto me—peace for my turmoil.
Open unto me—joy for my sorrow.
Open unto me—strength for my weakness.
Open unto me—wisdom for my confusion.
Open unto me—forgiveness for my sins.
Open unto me—tenderness for my toughness.
Open unto me—love for my hates.
Open unto me—Thy self for my self.
Lord, Lord, open unto me!
Today’s prayer comes from Evelyn Underhill, a 20th-century poet, spiritual author, and theologian.
Give me, O Lord, I beseech you, courage to pray
for light and to endure the light here,
where I am on this world of yours,
which should reflect your beauty but which we
have spoiled and exploited.
Cast your radiance on the dark places,
those crimes and stupidities I like to ignore and gloss over.
Show up my pretensions, my poor little claims and
achievements, my childish assumptions of importance,
my mock heroism.
Take me out of the confused half-light in which I live.
Enter and irradiate every situation and every relationship.
Show me my opportunities, the raw material of love,
of sacrifice, of holiness, lying at my feet,
disguised under homely appearance
and only seen as it truly is, in your light.