Great Is God’s Faithfulness

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
~ Lamentations 3:22-23

No matter the struggles, challenges and obstacles you have in your life, wake up every morning and know that each day is a new opportunity to bask in His love and compassion. No matter your circumstances, His love is there, never failing, new every morning.

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In the Silence You Find God

It is hard to find Christ in crowded places.
We need solitude.
If your heart is attentive,
God allows himself to be seen.
In the crowd you find noise,
in the silence you find God.

Do not be afraid
To throw yourself on the Lord!
He Will not draw back
And let you fail!
Put your worries aside
And throw yourself on him:
He will welcome you,
And heal you.

Saint Augustine Confessions 8.11

A Prayer to Mark World Aids Day

Lord, make me an instrument of peace:  

What concrete steps can we take to promote peace and reconciliation in situations of conflict, violence and sexual exploitation to help reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS and promote a culture of peace and reconciliation?

Where there is hatred, let me sow love:  

How can we create welcoming communities of faith for persons living with HIV/AIDS and those affected by AIDS and eliminate all instances of discrimination and social stigma?

Where there is injury, pardon:  

Do we hold those who are living with HIV/AIDS as evil, immoral persons?   How can we set them free and allow them to discover the face of God in their current situations?

Where there is division, unity:  

Do our fears and prejudices lead us to commit acts of violence against our sisters and brothers living with HIV/AIDS?

Where there is darkness (untruth), light (truth):  

Can we preach and speak about HIV/AIDS openly, exploring its origins, its impact, and the fears we have about it?   Can we begin to speak the truth in the light, in our parish communities, our religious houses, and everywhere?

Where there is doubt, true faith:  

Can we reach out to one another, particularly our brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS, in a way that restores faith in God?   Can we draw upon the power of resurrection to remove all fears, fears of contagion that lead us to reject or withdraw our love and support from persons living with HIV/AIDS?

Where there is despair, hope:  

How are we fostering communities of hospitality, receptivity, and healing where our brothers and sisters can find ‘home’, a place of welcoming and love.

Where there is sadness, new joy:  

Do we recognize the power and grace in our brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS?   Do we allow ourselves to be ‘evangelized’ and transformed by the witness of our sisters and brothers living with HIV/AIDS?

 

 

“Black Friday” Inspiration

Yesterday, the Friday after Thanksgiving, I found myself at the Mall in Columbia, MD. I knew it was “Black Friday” , but I had no choice. Chai, my wife’s “lovely” dog, enlisted my glasses as a chew toy, and I was blind.

The mall was a madhouse, and maybe not just figuratively:

A 2006 Stanford University study has concluded that compulsive overspending or overshopping is a legitimate disorder that affects approximately 6% (17,000,000) of the U.S. population and that men and women suffer about equally.

It is unnerving that Americans cannot seem to do anything that does not involve buying something. We have developed a culture which tells us that everything there is of value comes to us from outside ourselves. We have accepted and embraced a consumerism that sells itself as normal, and the hard-earned byproduct of democracy and freedom. Recently, the government scolded that we are somehow less patriotic if we are not spending everything we can. The “Holiday Season”, is now more about “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” than Christmas. It has become more a time for gratuitous consumption than for religious worship or family gatherings.

While I was shaking my head at my brothers and sisters at the mall, it struck me that I am no different. I, like them, have fallen victim to the belief that fulfillment will come from outside rather than from within. This ailment reveals itself not only in our long Christmas lists and in our shop-till-you-drop Christmas shopping, but also in our lack of compassion and action for those less fortunate. This has got to change.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.
~~ Mahatma Gandhi

Whenever I start preaching (some might say whining) about what’s wrong, that quote always jumps to the front. I am stepping off to make a change.

Christmas will come whether I get everyone the right present or not. What I have to offer those I love (that is all of God’s children) is not the most advertised gift but the most loving gift, myself.

I pledge to give more gifts this Christmas, than ever before. In addition to simple material gifts, I will offer gifts of my time, my love, and my prayers. I will give anonymously, spiritually and gratefully.

Top Ten Things For Which I Am Thankful

10

Thank you Lord, for every night I lie down in a comfortable and safe home. But, an estimated 100 million people worldwide are homeless.

Lord, I pray for all women and men, boys and girls who are homeless. For all these people, I pray that you will provide shelter, security and hope.

 

9

Thank you Lord, for there is always plenty to eat in my house. But, so many in this world lack and struggle daily for sustainable nourishment.

Lord, I pray for those who, right now, are feeling the pain of physical hunger and the anguish of malnutrition. Lord, fill them and energize us all for the task of feeding our hungry brothers and sisters on your behalf.

 

8

Thank you Lord, for in my country I enjoy great freedom. Though I have many grievances with our leaders and institutions, I truly appreciate the honor and opportunity it is to be an American.

Lord, I pray that You grant us the grace to fearlessly contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations.

 

7

Thank you Lord, for I live in a loving, safe and nurturing community. My family is blessed to live in a “village” dedicated to raising wonderful children — where people care about others — where people pitch in to help when things get rough — where it’s safe to let the kids play around outside.

Lord, I pray that folks get the understanding that life is a lot easier when you are part of a network of friends, family, community, and neighborhood. Touch the people, so together in Christ they may find a new sense of purpose and life in their community.

 

6

Thank you Lord, for I am blessed with good health in mind and body, while many people have a serious illness which keeps them from enjoying a full and happy life.

Lord, I pray that you look with favor on those who are weak and failing. Obtain for them health in mind and body, or the strength to accept all suffering in union with Christ.

 

5

Thank you Lord, for I am blessed with many friends. In times of trouble, I have always had friends who were there to help me.

Lord, I pray that you bless my friends. In their waking and in their sleeping, in their laughter and in their tears, surround them with your love until the end of their days.

 

4

Thank you Lord, for my family. God has given me a wonderful extended family, which just keeps on extending.

Lord, I pray that you bless my family. Endow them with the riches of your blessings, surround them with your love until the end of their days.

 

3

Thank you Lord, for my children. My greatest blessing is my four wonderful children. They truly “light up my life.”

Lord, I pray, that You grant parents all the virtues we need to lead the children by word and example in the ways of wisdom and piety. One day, with them, may we enter into the joys of our true and lasting home with You.

 

2

Thank you Lord, for my wonderful wife, who knows me better than anyone else, yet still loves me more than anyone else.

Lord, I pray that you help me, and all husbands, to love our wives, sacrificially, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her.

 

1

Thank you Lord, for Your Son, Jesus. No one ever loved me like Jesus. He loved me so much that he was willing to die, that I might have everlasting life.

Thank you, Jesus.

 

Dear Lord,

Thank you for all of your rich blessings. Help us to share what you have given us with those who are less fortunate than we are.

Amen.

Count Your Blessings

Count Your BlessingsCount your blessings, this is such a simple charge. Yet in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, stopping to be grateful and count our blessings is something we tend to overlook.

Counting our blessings, instead of the losses and focusing on the positive aspects of life can help in shifting attitudes and life challenges. Sonja Lyubomirsky, an experimental psychologist at UC Riverside, found that people who once a week wrote down five things they were grateful for were happier.

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to stop, remember to count your blessings, give thanks and be grateful for all your blessings.

~ Les

 

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessing instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

~~ Irving Berlin

 

Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your blessings
See what God has done

~~ Johnson Oatman

What Would You Do?

 

An earlier post, How to Surf the Web and Help the Poor, addresses this conflict, God’s call to us and presents a few easy ways to help.