December 10, 2012

Prayer for today – an Advent reflection for the second week of Advent

In the second week of Advent, we reflect upon the joyous reunion of the two kinswomen, Mary and Elizabeth. Mary has traveled to the hill country to the house of Zecharia and Elizabeth, whose child will be known to the world as John the Baptist. Each is aware that she is carrying a child of destiny. At Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth feels her child leap in her womb. She welcomes Mary with the words that have become familiar to us in prayer: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” The women cling to one another in mutual support. God has plans for great things to happen through them. Mary’s response to Elizabeth is the great canticle we know as “The Magnificat.” “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,My spirit rejoices in God my Savior; for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel, for he has remembered his promise of mercy,The promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.” In Advent we sing our own songs of praise for the great things God has done for us and through us. We sing in thanks for the calling to serve in the ministry of health care—for there are many in our communities who need us. Imagine a health clinic where children are receiving back-to-school physical exams and vaccinations. The boys and girls hide their anxiety by teasing each other and claiming not to be afraid of needles. The clinic nurse notices that one child’s shoes are too small and that another appears hungry. One little girl needs glasses, and a little boy has trouble hearing. There is so much to do for these children—so much is needed to assure them a healthy future. God has plans for great things to happen through the work of our hands. John the Baptist called to the people to “make way” for the Lord who is coming. God calls to us, as God called to Mary and to Elizabeth: “Make way—and rejoice.” This advent reflection comes from the Catholic Health Association of the United States. To listen to a podcast of this Advent reflection, click on the link below.2012_Advent_Second_Sunday.mp3 (6.15 mb)
December 3, 2012

Prayer for today - an Advent reflection for the first week of Advent

Advent, a time of preparation and patience, has been called “the season that teaches us to wait for what is beyond the obvious.” It is a time to hope and to trust. The Gospel of Luke tells the story of the Annunciation, that turning point in human history, when the Archangel Gabriel announces to Mary, the Virgin, that she is to be a mother. Startled and awed by the angel’s message, the practical girl responds by asking, “How can this be?” “Nothing is impossible with God,” Gabriel replies. He tells Mary of God’s plan: “The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the most high will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” Mary replies, “I am the Lord’s handmaid. Let it be as you have said. I accept it.” With acceptance and trust, Mary begins the waiting time in anticipation of the holy child’s birth. Like Mary, we spend much of our lives anticipating the joyous, fearing the painful and trusting in the power of God to see us through. Think of the people who wait in emergency departments, surgery waiting areas, doctor’s offices and clinics. They sit quietly, or they pace the floor. Some hold their smart phones, checking email, playing games, passing the time.  Some observe the strangers around them. Others stare inward, as in a state of suspension. Every person is the center of an important story waiting to be played out. Imagine in your mind’s eye a birthing unit—the staff tenderly caring for a young woman, hardly past childhood, who has had no prenatal care—they comfort and assure her. They carefully check the baby’s vital signs. She trusts them to be with her in her need, and she knows that her life will be changed forever by this birth. When have you waited lately? How do you wait? Have you waited in an airport—passing the time by watching other travelers? Have you hoped that someone would call?   Have you anticipated a letter or an invitation? How do you fill your waiting time? Do you give in to anxiety? Do you take time to pray? Advent’s rituals remind us to slow down and wait. We light a candle each week. We join with others in prayer and song. We yearn for the birth of Mary’s child. We wait, we trust and we ask: “Where have I been? Where am I now? Where am I going? How will I spend my life?  What truly matters?” Advent invites us to trust, to wait, to listen, to be surprised and to be open to the Good News. This advent reflection comes from the Catholic Health Association of the United States. To listen to a podcast of this Advent reflection, click on the link below. 2012_Advent_First_Sunday.mp3 (7.39 mb)
November 26, 2012

Prayer for today

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 fractionof the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work.Nothing we do is complete, which is a way of sayingthat 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.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 differencebetween the master builder and the worker.We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.We are prophets of a future not our own.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 liberationin realizing that. This enables us to do something,and to do it very well.Amen. - A reflection on the anniversary of the martyrdom of Bishop Oscar Romero
November 19, 2012

Prayer for today

O GOD OUR CREATOR,from your provident hand we have receivedour right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.You have called us as your people and given us the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God,and your Son, Jesus Christ.Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit,you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospelto every corner of society. We ask you to bless usin our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.Give us the strength of mind and heartto readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;give us courage in making our voices heardon behalf of the rights of your Churchand the freedom of conscience of all people of faith. Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father,a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughtersgathered in your Churchin this decisive hour in the history of our nation,so that, with every trial withstoodand every danger overcome –for the sake of our children, our grandchildren,and all who come after us –this great land will always be “one nation, under God,indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
November 12, 2012

Prayer for today

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything he has given us—and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.- Thomas Merton
November 7, 2012

Prayer for today

LORD, bless us in our searching and our questions: The way to wisdom, enlightenment and peace, the way to our hearts. May the Lord bless us in our gifts: These are God’s providence to the world to ennoble it, to enrich it, to bring it to love. LORD, bless us in the yearnings of our hearts: No matter how subtle, they are energy urging us forward in our quest for God and for others. May the Lord bless us in our vision:No matter the climb it is a mountain peak calling us to experience God.
October 29, 2012

Prayer for today

To have hope is to believe that history continues open to the dream of God and to human creativity. To have hope is to continue affirming that it is possible to dream a different world, without hunger, without injustice, without discrimination. To have hope is to be a courier of God and courier of men and women of good will, tearing down walls, destroying borders, building bridges. To have hope is to believe in the revolutionary potential of faith, is to leave the door open so that the Spirit can enter and make all things anew. To have hope is to believe that life wins over death. To have hope is to begin again as many times as necessary. To have hope is to believe that hope is not the last thing that dies. To have hope is to believe that hope cannot die, that hope no longer dies. To have hope is to live. - Missionary Sisters of St. Charles Borromeo
October 22, 2012

Prayer for today

Lord, you have called us each by name and drawn us together in your love. Be with us now as we give our lives to you and your people. Lord, hear your servant’s simple prayer: When we are weak, be our strength; When we doubt, be our faith; When we are discouraged, be our hope; When we are lost, come and find us: When we are hungry, be our food; When we are thirsty, be our drink; When we are in darkness, be our light; When we are sad, be our comfort and joy. Let us feel your touch in all we say and do. Let us grow and blossom in your love. Grant us this lord, and there is nothing more to want until we see you face to face.
October 15, 2012

Prayer for today—Celtic Fire

Lord of our heart, give us vision to inspire us. Lord of our heart, give us wisdom to direct us. Lord of our heart, give us courage to strengthen us.Lord of our heart, give us trust to console us. Lord of our heart, give us love to mission us. Lord of our heart, give us grace to root our lives in You.   - Robert Van de Weyer
October 8, 2012

Prayer for today

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received,how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me food to eat,I was naked and you clothed me,I was homeless and you took me in.’Hungry not only for bread—but hungry for love,naked not only for clothing—but naked for human dignity and respect,homless not only for want of a room of bricks—but homeless because of rejection.This is Christ in distressing disguise.”- Mother Teresa

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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