Monday, November 30, 2015

Please let this be my final prayer... (Edwidge Danticat)

  Throughout the month of November, we have been sharing Monday posts helping us to remember the souls that have passed before us.  In May 2015, the Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat wrote a piece on the occasion of her mother's death in which she imagines what her mother's final prayer might have been.  It begins as follows:

Dear Lord,
  Please let this be my final prayer, my very final prayer.  Let there be no more need for me to ask anything else of you and of this sometimes shaken and sometimes troubled but beautiful earth.  Please let this be the last time I think of you, before we see each other face-to-face, light-to-light, wind-to-wind, or sky-to-sky, or however we will be. I can't wait.  I can't wait to see what I will be: what colors, what shade, what light pillar, what rainbow, what moonbow, what sunbow, what glory, or what new sky.  Please let me now accept all of this.  As I have already accepted this world and all that it is and has been.  And please let the world go on.  Let the sun still rise and set.  Let the rain still fall, quiet and soft at times, hard at other times.  Let the oceans be still or roar, as they always have...
To read what follows, click here.

During the month of November, we remember All Souls...
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Saturday, November 28, 2015

An act of love (Dorothy Day)

     An act of love, a voluntary taking on oneself   
of some of the pain of the world,  
increases the courage and love and hope of all. 

 --Dorothy Day 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sunday Gospel Reflection, November 29, 2015: May the Lord make you increase and abound in love...

Does our fear get in the way of our love?

At first glance, our readings this week might seem dark.  In Luke's Gospel, Jesus speaks of a time of fear-filled, chaotic upheaval, the second coming, a time when we will be called to stand before the Son of God who will judge our behavior, our very lives.  But Jesus also encourages his listeners not to let fear stand in the way of faith:  we are meant to look forward to this second coming because, as believers, we have faith in God's mercy.  We can live, then, in hopeful expectation of the parousia.  Jeremiah's prophecy is also ultimately one of hopeful expectation:  that the people of Israel might be a whole people again, united and unified.  In order for this to happen, though, they must live in expectation of God's mercy:  he shall do what is right and just in the land.  Living in right relationship, the people shall themselves receive a new name:  justice.

But what does it mean to live in right relationship while we're waiting for the return of the Lord?  Psalm 25 suggests we should follow the path God follows:  Teach me your ways, the psalmist prays.  What are those ways?  Kindness, constancy, faithful love:  these are all ways of behavior, ways of being towards one another, that help us to live the love God offers us, love we can then offer to the world.  This is the crux of Paul's message to the Thessalonians:  And this is my prayer:  that your love may increase ever more and more...  Universal love is a reflection of Christ, the universal king; the call of Christianity is to manifest this love for all -- which we can all do, for all, so long as fear doesn't get in the way of our love for other.

This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Help me to remember... (A Prayer for Thanksgiving)

          O God, when I have food, 
       help me to remember the hungry. 
       When I have work, 
       help me to remember the jobless. 
       When I have a comfortable home, 
       help me to remember those who suffer 
       from the cold or from the heat. 
       When I am without pain, 
       help me to remember those who suffer. 
       In all this remembering, 
       help me to destroy my own complacency 
       and bestir my compassion. 
       Make me concerned enough to help 
       by word, deed, and prayer, 
       those who cry out for what I so often take for granted. 

(A mealtime blessing offered during a gathering of New England Catholic superintendants and principals, and posted by Fr. James Martin on Facebook, July 24, 2012.)

Have a Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving 
from Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church,
Mill Valley!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder (G. K. Chesterton)

  You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in ink.

  Thanks are the highest form of thought, and gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
--G. K. Chesterton

Happy Thanksgiving to all from Our Lady of Mount Carmel!
Do join us on Thanksgiving Day for Mass at 9:30am...
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Filled with love for God (St. Francis de Sales)

      This is what God requires of us; that among all our loves His must be the most heartfelt, dominating over our whole heart, the most affectionate, possessing our entire soul, the most general, using all our powers, the most lofty, filling our entire spirit, and the most firm, calling forth all our strength and vigor.  Because by it we choose and elect God as the supreme object of our spirit, it is a love of supreme election, or an election of supreme love. . . Love of God is love without a peer, because God’s goodness is goodness without an equal.  Hear, O Israel, your God is the sole Lord.  Therefore, you shall love Him with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength.
--St. Francis de Sales

Monday, November 23, 2015

Journey's End (Annie Lennox)

  Lay down  
Your sweet and weary head  
Night is falling  
You've come to journey's end  
Sleep now  
And dream of the ones who came before  
They are calling  
From across the distant shore  

Why do you weep?  
What are these tears upon your face?  
Soon you will see  
All of your fears pass away  
Safe in my arms  
You're only sleeping  

What can you see
On the horizon?
Why do the white gulls call?
Across the sea
A pale moon rises
The ships have come to carry you home

And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
All souls pass

Hope fades
Into the world of night
Through shadows falling
Out of memory and time
Don't say: We have come now to the end.
White shores are calling
You and I will meet again
And you'll be here in my arms
Just sleeping


And all will turn
To silver glass
A light on the water
Grey ships pass

Into the West

During the month of November, we remember All Souls...

To hear Annie Lennox sing this song, click on the video below:
--Annie Lennox
(Lord of the Rings soundtrack)

Saturday, November 21, 2015

If I have this divine life in me (Thomas Merton)

   If I have this divine life in me, what do the accidents of pain and pleasure, hope and fear, joy and sorrow matter to me?  They are not my life and they have little to do with it.  Why should I fear anything that cannot rob me of God, and why should I desire anything that cannot give me possession of Him?

--Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation, ch.22
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