Make me always busy in your service

Les femmes saintes, James Tissot, via Wikimedia Commons
 
Lord, I make you a present of myself.
    I do not know what to do with myself.
So let me make this exchange:
    I will place myself entirely in your hands,
    if you will cover my ugliness with your beauty,
    and tame my unruliness with your love.
Put out the flames of false passion in my heart,
    since these flames destroy all that is true within me.
Make me always busy in your service.
Lord, I want no special signs from you,
    nor am I looking for intense emotions in response to your love.
I would rather be free of all emotion,
    than to run the danger of falling victim once again to false passion.
Let my love for you be naked, without any emotional clothing.

St Catherine of Genoa, 1447-1510, Italian Catholic mystic
 
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Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, 
preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. 
He took his twelve disciples with him, 
along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. 
Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; 
Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others 
who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.

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What can I say to you, my God?

Holy Trinity, Lawrence OP, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
 
What can I say to you, my God?
 
Shall I collect together all the words
    that praise your holy Name?
 
Shall I give you all the names of this world
    —you, the Unnameable?
 
Shall I call you
    “God of my life,
    meaning of my existence,
    hallowing of my acts,
    my journey’s end,
    bitterness of my bitter hours,
    home of my loneliness,
    you my most treasured happiness”?

Shall I say:
    “Creator, Sustainer, Pardoner,
    Near One, Distant One, Incomprehensible One,
    God both of flowers and stars,
    God of the gentle wind and of terrible battles,
    Wisdom, Power, Loyalty, and Truthfulness,
    Eternity and Infinity, you the All-merciful,
    you the Just One,
    you  – Love itself?”
 
Karl Rahner, 1904 – 1984, German Jesuit Priest
 
__________________________
 
 
Then Moses said to God, 
“If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 
    ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ 
and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ 
what shall I say to them?
 

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Holy Spirit, make us whole

image
O Holy Spirit, who delves into all things,
    even the deep things of God and the deep things of man,
    we ask you to penetrate the springs of personality 
        of all who are sick in mind, 
        to bring them cleansing, healing, and unity.
Sanctify all memory, dispel all fear, 
    bring them to love you with all their mind and will,
    that they may be made whole 
    and glorify you forever.
Give special skills and tender hearts to all who care for them,
    and show them how best to assist in your work of healing and wholeness.
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.
 
George Appleton (1902-1993) & Timothy Dudley-Smith (1926-) Anglican Bishops
 
______________________________
 
 
So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. 
Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.
Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”

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building a people of power

mosaic / music4life / pixabay
 
God the Holy Spirit
Like a Mother, you have brought forth
And in your infinite power
You are building a people of power.
You have continued to sustain us in our daily struggles.
In the midst of much exploitation and injustice,
    cause us not to be silent.
Like you did to the timid and fearful disciples
    give us the boldness to proclaim your righteousness and justice.
 
May you cause us to unite in making your truth known and experienced.
May your fire from heaven
    consume our greed and self-centeredness
    so that all we have may be held in common.
Spirit of truth and power, we are not afraid
    of being misunderstood
    as being out of our mind
As this was done by your early disciples.
 
complied by Claudio Carvalhaes, professor of worship in New York City
 
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On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.  
Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, 
    and it filled the house where they were sitting.  
Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared 
    and settled on each of them.
 And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit 
    and began speaking in other languages, 
    as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

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ever looking for Christ’s return

image, Donatas Dabravolskas, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
 
O SON OF GOD AND SON OF MAN,
You were incarnate, suffered, rose, and ascended for my sake;
Your departure was not a token separation
     but a pledge of return.
Your Word, promises, and sacraments proclaim your death
    until you come again.
That day is no horror for me,
    for your death has redeemed me,
        your Spirit fills me,
        your love animates me,
        your Word governs me.
I have trusted you and you have not betrayed my trust;
     I have waited for you, and have not waited in vain.
You will come to raise my body from the dust,
    and re-unite it to my soul,
    by a wonderful work of infinite power and love,
    greater than that which bounds the ocean’s waters,
        ebbs and flows of the tides,
        keeps the stars in their courses,
        and gives life to all creatures.
This corruptible shall put on incorruption,
    this mortal, immortality,
    this natural body, a spiritual body,
    this dishonored body, a glorious body,
    this weak body, a body of power.
I triumph now in your promises,
    as I shall when they are performed,
    for the head cannot live if the members are dead;
Beyond the grave is resurrection, judgment, acquittal, dominion.
Every event and circumstance of my life will be dealt with – 
    the sins of my youth, my secret sins,
    the sins of abusing you, of disobeying your Word,
    the sins of neglecting minister’s admonitions,
    the sins of violating my conscience – 
        all will be judged;
And after judgment, peace and rest, life and service,
    employment and enjoyment, for your elect.
O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return.
 
 
_______________________________
 
 
And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 
    so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, 
    will appear a second time, not to deal with sin 
    but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

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to ascend with Jesus

L’Ascension / Gustave Doré 
 
Lord, why should I doubt any more,
    when you have given me such assured pledges of your love?
First, you are my Creator, I am your creature,
   you are my Master, I your servant.
But hence arises not my comfort: you are my Father, I am your child.
   “You shall be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty.
Christ is my brother:
    “I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God,
     but, lest this should not be enough,
     your maker is your husband.”
Nay, more, I am a member of his body, he my head.
Such privileges – had not the Word of truth made them known,
   who or where is the man that dared 
   in his heart have presumed to have thought it!
So wonderful are these thoughts 
    that my spirit fails in me that their consideration, 
    and I am confounded to think that God,
    who has done so much for me,
    should have so little from me.
But this is my comfort, that when I come to heaven,
    I shall understand perfectly what he has done for me,
    and that I shall be able to praise him as I ought.
Lord, having this hope, let me purify myself as you are pure,
    and let me be no more afraid of death,
    but even desire to be dissolved and be with you,
    which is best of all.
 
Anne Bradstreet, c. 1612-1672, New England poet and Puritan
 
_________________________
 
 
For now we see in a mirror dimly,    
    but then face to face. 
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, 
    even as I have been fully known.

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let me reflect your love

image / James Tissot / Wikimedia Commons
 
Thank you, dear Lord, for your love and care for me
    evidenced in so many ways.
Thank you for pardoning the sins I have committed this day;
    thank you for the opportunities to show love well used this day;
    thank you also for sins avoided on account  of your guidance and restraint.
Let it be my single ambition, my God, to honor you 
    in every thought, word, and deed;
    and make me bold to invite all people around me to honor and love you as well.
Your love toward me is so patient, so tender, 
    even when I provoke you with my disobedience.
Give me such an appreciation of your love for me
    that I show the same patient and tender love to my neighbor,
    especially when he or she opposed me.
Sit us within me a zeal to do all in my power,
    whether in prayer or deed, 
    to promote the safety and happiness of my neighbor;
    make me active to comfort and relieve all those whom you entrust to my care
    by bringing me into contact with them.
Lord, help me to be peaceful rather than argumentative;
    help me to be quick to forget an injury and be reconciled to my neighbor,
    mindful of how many times you have forgiven my provocations.
After your own example, make me glad to give good in return for evil,
    and thus share in the triumph of your love.
In all my dealings with my fellow human beings,
    let me reflect your love, your generous spirit,
    your desire to do good both to the just and the unjust.
You have so valued each person that you sent your Son for each and every one.
Implant, therefore, such a compassion in my heart for people.
    that I will eagerly seek out how I may win them to your love.
 
David A. de Silva, Methodist professor
 
_____________________
 
 
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.
God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

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to wage peace instead of war

image / Scott Akerman / CC by 2.0
 
Dear Lord, awaken the people of the earth and their leaders 
    to the realization of the madness of the nuclear arms race.  
Today we mourn the dead of past wars, 
    but will there be anyone to mourn the dead of the next one?  
O Lord, turn us away from our foolish race to self-destruction; 
    let us see that more and more weaponry indeed 
    means more of a chance to use it.  
Please, Lord, let the great talents you have given to your creatures 
    not fall into the hands of the powers and principalities 
    for whom death is the means as well as the goal.  
Let us see that the resources hidden in your earth 
    are for feeding each other, healing each other, offering shelter to each other, 
    making this world a place where men, women, and children of all races 
    and nations can live together in peace.
 
Give us new prophets who can speak 
    openly, directly, convincingly, and lovingly 
    to kings, presidents, senators, church leaders, 
    and all men and women of good will, 
  prophets who can make us wage peace instead of war.    
Lord, make haste to help us.  
Do not come too late!
 
Henri J.M. Nouwen, 1932 – 1996, Dutch-born Catholic priest and author 
 
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He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore.

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Create in me a clean heart

image / pixabay 

 
I thank you, my dear God,
    that I have learned not to begin faith by my own efforts, 
    nor attempt to destroy my sin with my own repentance.
I might do this before other people
    and be acceptable to the world and its judges.
But with you, O God, there is an eternal wrath 
    which I cannot satisfy,
    and before it I would despair.
Therefore I thank you that Another 
    has seized and carried my sins 
    and has made atonement for them.
 
With joy I wish to believe this.
It seems so very right and comforting to me.
But I cannot believe it by myself,
    and I find no power in me to convince myself.
I cannot comprehend it as I ought.
 
Lord, lead me, help me.
Give me the power and the gift to believe.
I plead, as did David:
    “Create in me a clean heart, O God,
        and put a new and right spirit within me.”
I am unable to create a new and clean heart: it is your work and creation.
I cannot create the sun and moon
    and make them rise and shine brightly in the heavens
    any more than I can make the heart clean and give myself a right spirit,
    a strong and firm frame of mind that is unbending and unwavering
    and that will not doubt or mistrust your Word.
 
Help us daily to increase in faith.
Though the world should topple and all conspire against us,
    and though the devil were to destroy every creature,
    grant that I may not fall.
By your divine help let me remain in the Gospel.
Amen.
 
Martin Luther, 1483 – 1546, German Reformer
 
______________________________
 
 
Create in me a clean heart, O God,

    and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

as we follow you down the Road to Calvary

Old Jerusalem Ramparts / Utilisateur:Djampa, CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikimedia Commons
 
O Christ, as we walk through the land that you loved,
    in the country where you lived and taught,
    grant us the grace and wisdom to see clearly
          and understand deeply
    that all you suffered was for the sake of redeeming humanity.
Through your life, death, and resurrection,
    you have made it possible for us to have life,
    and have it more abundantly.

O Christ, as we follow you down the Road to Calvary,
   Guide us to become active participants, not curious bystanders.
O Christ, as we stand with the mourners at the Cross,
   Give us the love that can forgive those who trespass against us.
O Christ, as we witness the new life given to us
        through your Resurrection,
   Empower us with faith to act and spread the Good News.

Palestinian women of Jerusalem 
Prayers Encircling the World

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Luke 23:26-27

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, 
    who was on his way in from the country, 
    and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 
A large number of people followed him, 
    including women who mourned and wailed for him.

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