Tag Archives: trust

New Series of Advent Video Reflections

5 Dec

I’d like to pass on this example from a new series of Advent video reflections that feature the beautiful artwork of Brother Mickey McGrath. The promise is that a new reflection will be posted each day throughout the Advent season. The focus of this particular video is his painting “The Annunciation.” Enjoy, be inspired, and you are certainly encouraged to share this!


An Appropriate Prayer for Election Day: “Step Back And Take the Long View”

2 Nov

On this day of the 2010 mid-term elections, I am shortly going to fulfill my civic and spiritual duty by voting my conscience. I will then join others in the effort to encourage other citizens to do the same by making phone calls and/or canvassing neighborhoods. As I embark, I frankly find my characteristic optimism in danger of giving way to despair concerning the probable outcome of this election as I envision the possibility of a rather bleak future for my children and country. Clearly at stake in this election is the election of officials that will assert their power to stem the tide of racism and xenophobia, economic and ecological calamity, the threat of assaults on civil rights and basic freedoms, and an almost certain roll back of some of the much needed health care reforms.

Deep down I realize that, regardless of whatever the immediate voting results might be, I am seeking to join myself with a larger current of grace and providence that trancends not only myself, but even the army of good people involved in effecting positive political change. In the end, as a Christian it is incumbent on me to humbly seek God’s Kingdom and will. Victory is assured. No effort born of a love of Truth and Justice, and motivated by a compassionate concern for my fellow human being and creatures of the earth, will be in vain. I must abandon my fears and renounce even the fruits of my own efforts, patiently trusting in God’s grace to guide this mess to his own end.

Today, then, I offer a prayer written by Roman Catholic Bishop Kenneth Utner for a homily read by Bishop Deardon in 1979. It was preached shortly after the assignation of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who had been assassinated in El Salvador for his stance in solidarity with the poor of that country against the rich and powerful there. The prayer so reflects the spirit and tone of Romero’s own spiritual vision, it is often erroneously attributed to him. With a little adjustment, I find it a perfect prayer to make my own.

It helps, now and then, to step back and take a long view.

The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is even beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of saying
that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith.
No confession brings perfection.
No pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the church’s mission.
No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about.
We plant the seeds that one day will grow.
We water seeds already planted,
knowing that they hold future promise.

We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation
in realizing that. This enables us to do something,
and to do it very well. It may be incomplete,
but it is a beginning, a step along the way,
an opportunity for the Lord’s grace to enter and do the rest.

We may never see the end results, but that is the difference
between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.
We are prophets of a future not our own.


Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th)

4 Oct

St. Francis of Assisi

I wanted to be sure and not miss adding a post to mark this important feast. I haven’t had the time today to compose a regular entry as I would have wished. So what I decided to do is simply place here for your reflection and prayer two readings I have chosen as the focus of my own prayer and reflection today. It is my intent to follow this up with my own written reflection to share with you tomorrow.

Perhaps the fact that I couldn’t get around to writing a full-blown post is a good thing! I am inviting and encouraging each of you reading my blog to meditate on these readings and subsequently share with us your own personal reflections in the form of a comment here.

St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), as you probably know, is not only honored as a saint by Christians everywhere, be they Roman Catholics [like myself] or Protestant, Anglican, or Orthodox, but he is likewise honored and embraced as a holy man by countless others beyond the boundaries of Christianity, including many Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and even atheists!

Thus, in his honor, I present to you these two readings for you to ponder, as  I believe that they each capture important elements of his spirit that I would like to emulate. Taken together, these readings provide us with windows into the soul of a mystic who, because of his spiritual poverty, lived in a continual state of spiritual wonder and joy, ever attuned to the closeness of God’s presence in creation around him:

READING #1: An excerpt from Thomas Celano’s “Life of Blessed Francis”

In every work of the artist

he praised the artist;

whatever he found in the things made

he referred to the Maker.

He rejoiced in all the works of the hands of the Lord

and saw behind things pleasant to behold their life-giving reason and cause.

In beautiful things, he saw Beauty itself;

all things were to him good.

“He who made us is the best,” they cried out to him.

Through his footprints impressed upon things

he followed the Beloved everywhere;

he made for himself from all things

a ladder by which to come even to his (i.e., God’s) throne

…for that original goodness

that will be one day all things in all,

already shown forth in this saint

– all things in all.

(Celano, CXXIV, 269-270)


Most high, all powerful, all good Lord!
All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing.

To you, alone, Most High, do they belong.
No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.

Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures,
especially through my lord Brother Sun,
who brings the day; and you give light through him.
And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars;
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and beautiful.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air,
and clouds and storms, and all the weather,
through which you give your creatures sustenance.

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water;
she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.

Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten the night.
He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.

Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth,
who feeds us and rules us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.

Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you;
through those who endure sickness and trial.

Happy those who endure in peace,
for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.

Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whose embrace no living person can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin!
Happy those she finds doing your most holy will.
The second death can do no harm to them.

Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks,
and serve him with great humility.

*Alternately, here is a marvelous video adaptation of St. Francis’ Canticle that you might find to be a good supplement to the above reading of the prayer . . .


27 Sep


I sit in ineffable silence

Like a silver birch tree

On the banks of a flowing river

Whose leaves shiver

Like a thousand sequins

As moonlight dances

Across windswept water

To Music so sweet!

— © Thomas Webber  8/13/2010

Thomas Merton Quote: A Guide to the Perplexed

24 Sep

Here is a short spiritual aphorism from Thomas Merton that I am mulling over this day, a day when the swelling tide of life makes me feel as if I am being tossed about:

“God makes us ask ourselves questions most often

when he intends to resolve them.

He gives us needs that He alone can satisfy

and awakens capacities that He means to fulfill.

Any perplexity is liable to be a spiritual gestation,

leading to a new birth and mystical generation.”

— Thomas Merton from his “Signs of Jonas”