January 23, 2013

Prayer for today - scriptures for a time of transformation

We have confirmation of what was said in prophecies,
and you will be right to depend on prophecy.
Take it as a lamp for lighting the way through the dark... [More]
January 7, 2013

Prayer for today

There is a life force within you that translates into action   And because there is only one you, this life force is “unique.”If you block it, it will be lost,But if you let it flow through you, the world will be a better place. Let us pray… God of life and shepherd of all we are meant to be,guide us as we seek to find our “unique” and to express it fullyin our lives and in our work.May we do what we can each day,as impeccably as possible,   and then be at peace,     for the results are in your hands.Amen. - adapted from A Grateful Heart, Conari Press
December 31, 2012

Prayer for today

We finish 2012 with a prayer written for Advent,but appropriate to finish the year and prepare for the new year... The Winter Journey of Adventin this time of darkness,we choose to look toward the Light.In this time when so many suffer, we choose faith, not despair: we choose the work of compassionate justice.As we move through Advent together,hungry for transformation, for hope,our steps themselvestransform us, nourish us.We are on constant pilgrimage,moving to the heart of things,reaching beyond what any one of uscan reach alone.The brightness of the Incarnationguides us as we continue,with the promise of the Prince of Peaceas the bright star in these dark nights.Amen.(by Jane Deren, from Education for Justice)
December 24, 2012

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

This is the fourth week of Advent, and as we light another candle, we are moving toward the great joy promised to us. We are almost there. We are making progress. We call out in the words of the Psalmist: “Restore us, O God of hosts; show the light of your countenance, and we shall be saved.” Darkness blooms into light.Warmth drives away the cold. We inhale with expectation.He is coming!Prepare the way of the Lord! Waiting in silence—we hear the song.Waiting in darkness—we see the light.Our new year has begun. The cycle of the seasons moves forward.Our new selves begin to take shape.We await the birth of the child—the Light of the World. Inside the neo-natal unit, young parents hover over their tiny, fragile newborn. They look at his chest rise and fall, his heartbeats visible. Highly trained staff are attuned to the infant’s every need, every change in his vital signs. The whole hospital serves this tiny life—providing supplies, instruments and medicines. Laboratory, pharmacy, respiratory therapy, pastoral services—as a community of care they take part in giving hope, listening, helping to cope with the uncertainty. Even non-clinical areas serve and support this unseen family with professionalism and compassion. And so it is—all are infinitely valuable, infinitely lovely in the eyes of God. Every person touched by Catholic health care reveals the image and likeness of God. Jesus, the unveiled face of God, will be born again among us. Joy is near. 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_Fourth_Sunday.mp3 (5.02 mb)
December 17, 2012

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

In Advent we’re invited to trust, to wait, to listen, to be surprised and to be open to the Good News. Like Mary and her kinswoman Elizabeth, we rejoice and give thanks that God has plans for great things to happen through us. We are learning to not be afraid and to live fully while we await His coming. The Angel of the Lord startled Zecharia with the news that he would be a father. Then he calmed the old man: “Do not be afraid. Your prayer has been heard. You will have joy and gladness.” At the Annunciation, Gabriel calmed Mary with the words, “Do not be afraid.” Mary’s Son Jesus assured his disciples, saying, “Be not afraid.” Life is full of turning points—times when we can allow fear to take hold or we can turn to God for help and comfort. Imagine the exam room in an emergency department. A woman lies on the exam table waiting for the results of several tests. She was brought here by an ambulance after collapsing in the grocery store. The doctor assures her that her husband is on his way. She waits for him to arrive while a nurse holds her hand. She murmurs, “What has happened to me?” “What will my life be like after this?” She prays, “Dear God, help me not to be so afraid—save me.” We who work in Catholic health care are present at the turning points in the lives of the people we serve. We are with them in moments of fear and of joy. In the course of our work, we connect with hundreds of lives, offering hope and trust, healing and comfort. We offer our professionalism and our compassion. We live life fully when we courageously give ourselves to others. The beautiful words of the Prophet Isaiah are a beacon of hope to all people: “Surely, it is God who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid.For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and he will be my Savior. … Sing the praises of the Lord, for he has done great things, and this is known in all the world.Cry aloud, inhabitants of Zion, ring out your joy, for the great one in the midst of you is the Holy One.” In Advent, and always, we thank God for the promise of salvation that supports us in the midst of our lives. We sing out with joy for the Savior whose birth we await. 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_Third_Sunday.mp3 (6.81 mb)
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

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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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