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

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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?

 

 

Dying Young, Violently and Black

I have posted twice on the death of professional football player Sean Taylor. But I feel compelled to discuss it once again, from a slightly different perspective.

One of my favorite columnists Michael Wilbon is being lambasted in the blogosphere for his column titled “Dying Young, Black”. His colleague at the Washington Post, Leonard Shapiro is getting his share also for “Taylor’s Death Is Tragic but Not Surprising”.

Both Wilbon and Shapiro are my age, in fact Wilbon and I were college chums. While these two “old school” journalists’ columns may have been tactless and untimely, they are clear expressions of the frustration so many of us “old school” folks feel.

We find ourselves in a time when young men, especially young black men, glorify and glamorize violence. They “embrace it, claim it, and refuse to divorce themselves from it,” regardless of their success or new circumstances. It appears throughout our culture via music, TV and language, and manifests itself in real lives and deaths:

Black Americans accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population in 2005 but were the victims of about 15 percent of all of the nonfatal violent crime and about 49 percent of all homicides, according too the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Blacks were victims of an estimated 805,000 nonfatal violent crimes (rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault and simple assault) and of about 8,000 homicides during 2005.

When I learned that Taylor had been shot and critically wounded, I discussed it with my 14 year old who is a big fan, then offered and posted a prayer for Taylor and his family. As I watched the coverage after his death I heard quotes like, “A ridiculous and unnecessary tragedy” and “This is the worst imaginable tragedy,”

All true, but what about…

  • 240 homicides in Miami-Dade County last year, 46 of whom were teenagers or younger
  • 170 killings in the District of Columbia in 2007
  • a 102 per 100,000 Population Homicide Rate for Black Males 18-24 (by comparison, it is 12.2 for white males of the same age)

All of those statistics are some mother’s child. While I am sure the outpouring of grief and shock in response to Taylor’s death is heartfelt and sincere, I am also confident that were it not for his prowess on the football field, Taylor’s passing would probably have been just another head counted in the growing tally of dead young black men.

Prayer for Sean Taylor and Family After His Passing

Heavenly Father, Comforter and Protector, I come asking You to watch over Sean Taylor. Please take the soul of this young man into Your arms, comfort him and welcome him home, into Your eternal kingdom.

Lord, I ask that You touch his family, friends and fans. Grant them the graces necessary to shoulder this cross. Although it appears to be the darkest of times, let them realize Your Light of Love shines upon them and that Your children grieve with them and pray for them.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Following is the post from the evening of November 26, 2007, as we all prayed and waited for God’s will.

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

~~ Romans 15:13

Dear Heavenly Father, full of grace and love, I come to ask your comfort for Sean Taylor and his family of relatives, friends and fans.

Thank You Father for your mercy and healing power. If it is your will, heal our brother, bless his soul and lead him to be the person that you have made him to be.

Thank You Father, that through Your Son Jesus there is a place prepared for all of Your children. If it is Your will to bring our brother home, take away the fear in his heart; let him find peace in Your grace, comfort in Your love, and strength in Your mighty power over death.

The family, friends and fans of Sean are of heavy hearts because of the tragedy that has befell Sean.

Thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know our pain and sorrow intimately, as well as the path through this dark shadow. May we lay our fears at your feet. As it says in Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Thank you Father, for the comfort found in Your presence. Send us Your peace Lord; the peace that passes all understanding. Don’t let us waiver and doubt. As we wait and watch, lead us to do so in faith. Comfort us as our grief seems to overpower us. You are a good, just and loving Father, don’t let us grow bitter in this shadow of death.

Thank You Father for Your righteousness. We trust that You will do what is right; what is loving. Whether in death or in life Your will is accomplished and You are sovereign. May we know Your presence, Lord. Keep us ever aware of Your loving hand guiding us through all things.

In the name of Jesus,

Amen.

Prayer for Sean Taylor and Family

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May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

~~ Romans 15:13

Dear Heavenly Father, full of grace and love, I come to ask your comfort for Sean Taylor and his family of relatives, friends and fans.

Thank You Father for your mercy and healing power. If it is your will, heal our brother, bless his soul and lead him to be the person that you have made him to be.

Thank You Father, that through Your Son Jesus there is a place prepared for all of Your children. If it is Your will to bring our brother home, take away the fear in his heart; let him find peace in Your grace, comfort in Your love, and strength in Your mighty power over death.

The family, friends and fans of Sean are of heavy hearts because of the tragedy that has befell Sean.

Thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know our pain and sorrow intimately, as well as the path through this dark shadow. May we lay our fears at your feet. As it says in Psalm 23:4: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Thank you Father, for the comfort found in Your presence. Send us Your peace Lord; the peace that passes all understanding. Don’t let us waiver and doubt. As we wait and watch, lead us to do so in faith. Comfort us as our grief seems to overpower us. You are a good, just and loving Father, don’t let us grow bitter in this shadow of death.

Thank You Father for Your righteousness. We trust that You will do what is right; what is loving. Whether in death or in life Your will is accomplished and You are sovereign. May we know Your presence, Lord. Keep us ever aware of Your loving hand guiding us through all things.

In the name of Jesus,

Amen.

Prayer for Bangladesh

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Heavenly Father, who in Your great love and compassion hears the prayers of all Your people and is ever-present with those who walk in the shadow of death. I offer my prayers for all who suffer loss and devastation due to the Bangladesh cyclone disaster.

Grant peace and happiness, for those who have died.
Heal those who are injured.
Comfort those who mourn.
Give hope to those whose hope has been taken away.

Unite the local communities together in love and prayer.
Help them care well for each one another.

Strengthen the will of the world community to pray and generously give help and aid.
Inspire us to show compassion and caring in practical and abundant ways.

Bless the earth.
Bring peace and harmony to the lands, to the sky and to the waters.
Let the earth be calm.

For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered and died for the life of the world.

Amen.

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Click here to help.

How to Surf the Web and Help the Poor

More than 200 verses in the NIV Bible refer to those who are “poor” or “oppressed.”

We know God loves all people equally. Yet there is special place in God’s heart for the poor and vulnerable as evidenced throughout the Bible:

Leviticus 23:22 | Psalm 12:5; 140:12; 146:7-9 | Proverbs 19:17; 21:13

Isaiah 3:14-15; 25:4 | Zechariah 7:9-10 | Luke 1:52-53 | James 2:5

God’s compassion is most evident in tender attentiveness toward poor women and children:

“You shall not abuse any widow or orphan. If you do abuse them, when they cry out to me, I will surely heed their cry”
~~ Exodus 22:22-23

God identifies with the poor so strongly that caring for them is a way of expressing our love for God.

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord”
~~ Proverbs 19:17

but,

“those who oppress the poor insult their Maker”
~~ Proverbs 14:31

So what are YOU doing. I know, I know, you’re busy, maybe a little apprehensive about volunteering at the shelter. But, if you are reading this post you have Web access and the Web has made it easy (an understatement) to help, for free.

There are many sites that allow you to give money to them by simply clicking on a button and then viewing advertisers. The advertisers pay a small amount to the charity when you view their ad so you are able to donate to a cause of your choice without spending a cent of your own money. Some even make it fun (FreeRice.com).

The links below are just a few, check these out, surf for others that might touch your heart more. Remember:

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
~~ Matthew 25:39-41

FreeRice.com

CharityClickDonation.com

The Hunger Site







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