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Monday, March 28, 2011

Pray for Marriages (Liberty)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

While reading a meditation in the Magnificat* that reflected on today’s Gospel, I was struck by how much it rang true. It began with “If man fails to recognize his creator’s unique authority over him, he will very quickly lose his liberty.” I smiled at the irony. We think liberty and freedom are when we are in control of what we do and how we live. The meditation continued, “For man feels the need of giving himself a master so as not to be tormented by the emptiness and vagueness of a condition that opens everything up before him but does not point out his way, leaving him indecision and ignorance.”

When marriages get difficult, what master is one turning to: Consumerism, alcohol, promiscuity, verbal hatred, passive-aggression, micromanagement of self and others, etc.? True liberty is found only by resting in our Lord and Master and trusting in His guidance. Only our Creator has our wholeness and best interests in mind.

I will heal them and lead them. Isaiah 57:18

Examine what you may be turning to instead of the Lord, when things get difficult. Pray for all marriages, that when couples are feeling most vulnerable that they turn to the Lord for help and guidance.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

*written by Father Barthelemey, a professor of Sacred Scripture at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pray for Families (Living Witness)

Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Luke 1:30, 38

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Today marks the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord when the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary’s fiat, her agreement to surrender her entire life to the Lord, is simply amazing when you reflect upon it. I have to believe that she couldn’t begin to fathom exactly what she was saying yes to. But with grace, everything is possible. So too with our own yeses. We say yes, usually to just the first step or two, grateful at times for our near-sightedness. I have often taken a retrospective look and thought, “If I knew what this journey was going to entail, I might not have said yes to taking that first step!” Thank God for grace!

From Mary’s conception by the Holy Spirit came the inception of the Holy Family. Incredible role models, they embodied everything a family should be (and often suffered great disdain for that.) They were wholly surrendered, humble, loving, self-giving, and respectful of one another. Their entire lives were a living witness of the Beatitudes.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matt 5:3-12

Over the next several days, take some time to contemplate the Beatitudes and examine whether or not you are a living witness within your own family. Are you answering yes to the Lord? Say a prayer asking for grace to be poured out on you and your family to live the Beatitudes as the Holy Family did.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pray for Marriages (Prayer Partner)

Greetings prayer warriors!

Friendships are to be treasured. When we are down, friends can chase the clouds away. Everything seems more fun when done with a friend. Sometimes we need friends in prayer as well. Have you ever tired of praying the same prayer over and over wondering if it would ever be answered? Ask a friend to be your prayer partner.

Morning by morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3

Today, pray for a marriage; yours or someone else's. Ask a friend to join you in that intention.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Friday, March 18, 2011

Pray for Families (Conversion of heart)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

One of the heartaches in family life is to see family members or relatives who have no faith or have lost their faith. This is often worrisome to those with great faith. What may be of comfort to know is that the Good Shepherd desires to have all of His sheep in heaven with Him. God doesn’t send people to hell, they must choose it. God understands our weakness, our stubbornness, and our pridefulness. Throughout life, all are given copious opportunities to repent and turn back to Him.

Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? Ezekial 18:23

As part of the Lenten journey, let us first reflect on our own sins. Then let us offer up a fast, a rosary, an hour of prayer, or the like for the conversion of heart of a family member.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

P.S. Pray too for all the families struggling and grieving in Japan. May the Lord comfort them and bring them peace.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pray for Marriages (Preserving the definition)

Dear Prayer Warriors,

This is not a political blog, but some social issues end up being decided politically. So this question just has to be asked. Does anybody wonder how we got to the point where there is a movement to redefine the definition of marriage? Could you even give a cogent argument on why the definition of marriage shouldn’t be redefined? I read a good Q & A article where Bishop Cordileone of Oakland comments on what he believes ground zero was. I will excerpt part of it here to give you the general idea. A link to the full article is below.

The Church has long understood the three “goods” of marriage as defining what is essential to marriage. Those three “goods” — the language comes from St. Augustine — are procreation, fidelity and permanence.

With the contraceptive mentality, we saw sexual promiscuity, which led to the novel concept of so-called “open” marriages. That strikes down the good of fidelity in marriage. Then we saw couples entering into marriage without any intention of having children, so that strikes down procreation. And in the early ’70s, we had states passing laws allowing for no-fault divorce. When we’re in a divorce culture rather than a marriage culture, that strikes down the permanence of marriage.

The result of changing its definition is that marriage becomes drained of all meaning, because it can be defined in any way the people involved want to define it.

This is not a matter of religion. This is how every society has understood marriage in all of human history. The truth is: They’re imposing their new idea of marriage — an idea no society has ever had before — on everyone else. This is a very serious social experiment that will have dire consequences.

Consider that we are not that far away from a day where a new definition of marriage will be standard curriculum in our schools. We must speak out, we must fight, we must fast, we must pray. Be the warrior.

These then are the things you should do: Speak the truth to one another; let there be honesty and peace in the judgments at your gates. Zechariah 8:16

Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one. Col 4: 5-6

Peace, Joy, and Love,



Friday, March 11, 2011

Pray for Families (Surrender)

Good Morning Prayer Warriors!

A few weeks ago I was really frustrated in prayer. It actually put me in a bad mood. I was in my car “stewing” over it, when the Divine Comedian told me I needed to cough up my furballs. I started laughing. There went my bad mood.

“What furballs?” was my first thought. Perhaps I needed to dive deeper.

As you walk your Lenten journey with Christ, ask yourself what is keeping you from union with Him. Are you holding on to old hurts, some that are 5, 10, 20, 30, or more years old? Does this affect your relationship with family or friends? Are old hurts your weapons in battle? Or are they your armor?

When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions. Mark 11:25

We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life. For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. Romans 6:4-5

Surrender all anger, hurts, and grievances, to the Lord to bring about healing in your family, in your friendships, in your heart. Then pray for families, that they may have the courage to forgive each other.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Call someone to forgiveness.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pray for Marriages (Prayer and Fasting)

Dear Prayer Warriors,

Countdown to Lent: 2 days! Lent is actually a time of baptismal renewal. It provides a framework to scrutinize our lives by looking inward to see what housekeeping needs to be done so that we may be renewed in Christ. In following Christ, how might we die to self, surrender bad habits, and rise anew in Him?

Most marriages provide fertile ground and thus weeds need to be regularly picked out so that they don’t overtake the flower bed! The goal is a beautiful, lush garden by Easter. Is there a temperament you would like to change? Words you would like to abstain from? Positive behaviors you would like to practice?

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

Challenge #1: Fast each week in some way for all marriages, as well as the protection of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It might be as simple as a denial of a dessert or a glass wine one evening. It could be giving up the Internet for a specified time each week and instead spending it interacting with your spouse. The possibilities are endless.

Challenge #2: Say a prayer for the strengthening and protection of marriages every day during Lent (and twice on Mondays!) Perhaps it will become a life-long practice. ☺

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Challenge a friend to pray during Lent.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pray for Families (March Forth)

Good Morning Prayer Warriors,

Lent is less than one week away. What a perfect time to self-reflect on how you might walk with Christ from his passion to his glorious resurrection! What a great discussion topic to share with family this weekend. What is cluttering your life and keeping you from the Lord? TV? Electronics? Shopping? Unnecessary busyness? Un-nutritious books and magazines? Trash radio? While fasting from food is always good, perhaps better for some of us is a fast from the clutter. How might hearts change if you took 30 minutes of “clutter time” and spent it in prayer or reading scripture?

Yet even now," says the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments." Return to the LORD, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repents of evil. Joel 2:12-13

The Lord calls us to a deeper relationship with him. “Return to me with all your heart!” He longs for us to spend time with Him. Make an individual and family commitment to grow together in Christ. March forth with an open heart.

Peace, Joy, and Love,