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Monday, September 28, 2015

Pray for Marriages (To Occur!)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

During the World Meeting of Families this past weekend, Pope Francis in his address to the bishops commented on marriages or rather the lack thereof, in our young adults.

“We need to invest our energies [… ] in extending a sincere invitation to young people to be brave and to opt for marriage and the family.”

Pope Francis explained that youth “are paralyzed when they encounter the beautiful, noble and truly necessary challenges which faith sets before them,” and often put off marriage in order to wait for ideal conditions, “when everything can be perfect.” 

“Meanwhile, life goes on, without really being lived to the full. For knowledge of life’s true pleasures only comes as the fruit of a long-term, generous investment of our intelligence, enthusiasm and passion.” 

Remain in me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing. 
John 15:4-5

Lord, may our prayers serve as a silent invitation, a wedding gift to all the young adults contemplating marriage and family. You created marriage as a beautiful union between a man and woman, giving couples a foretaste of what union with You may be like one day. Help both the young and the young-at-heart to desire marriage, family, and the life-long commitment it demands and provides.  Fill their hearts with a life-giving love to be generously shared in this special sacrament. Bless them with the grace necessary to persevere through the inevitable hills and valleys, and may their joy overflow as they enjoy all the fruits discovered in both marriage and family life.  Heavenly Father, hear our prayers and answer them with wedding bells!

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Marriage is a beautiful thing. Be brave and take the leap! Pass it on! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Pray for Families (Aspiring to Holiness)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S. has certainly drawn the attention and fascination of many.  I love how the simplicity of what he says burrows deeply within the heart of the receiver.   Inspired, I decided to delve into some of his writings on the family and found this gem excerpted from a homily given October 27, 2013. 

He precedes this dialogue by discussing the 3 attributes that make a family holy: They pray together, keep the faith, and experience joy.

Dear families, you know very well that the true joy which we experience in the family is not superficial; it does not come from material objects, from the fact that everything seems to be going well…  True joy comes from a profound harmony between persons, something which we all feel in our hearts and which makes us experience the beauty of togetherness, of mutual support along life’s journey.  But the basis of this feeling of deep joy is the presence of God, the presence of God in the family and his love, which is welcoming, merciful, and respectful towards all.  And above all, a love which is patient: patience is a virtue of God and he teaches us how to cultivate it in family life, how to be patient, and lovingly so, with each other. To be patient among ourselves; a patient love.  God alone knows how to create harmony from differences.  But if God’s love is lacking, the family loses its harmony, self-centeredness prevails and joy fades.  But the family which experiences the joy of faith, communicates it naturally.  That family is the salt of the earth and the light of the world; it is the leaven of society as a whole. Dear families, always live in faith and simplicity, like the Holy Family of Nazareth! The joy and peace of the Lord be always with you!*

If the firstfruits are holy, so is the whole batch of dough; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. Romans 11:16

But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. Jude 1:20-21

Please continue to pray for the family, that a desire blossoms in each member to grow in holiness.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Help change the world. Encourage someone to grow in holiness. Pass it on! 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Pray for Marriages (Overcoming Weariness)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and I am exhausted. Proverbs 30:1

Ever felt like that? Any one who is past the honeymoon stage of their marriage will admit that there are days/weeks/months where they grow weary in their marriage. Nothing is ever 50-50, for one is always carrying an unequal load in one category or another. We turn inward and lament about our unmet needs. It leads to either a whine coming on our some wine coming out!

Look, O LORD, at the anguish I suffer! My stomach churns, and my heart recoils within me: How bitter I am! Lamentations 1:20

When bitterness, anger, resentment and weariness overtake you, resist the temptation to wallow in self-pity and instead offer it up to the Lord as a sacrifice of praise.

Now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Brothers and sisters, we are praying both for you and with you. Be encouraged, supported, and renewed by our ongoing prayers. May the grace of God sustain you on your journey and bring you unanticipated joy. We trustfully and expectantly plead on your behalf, in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.

They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; they will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint. Isaiah 40:31

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Runners are more likely to complete the race when those around them are cheering them on to the finish. Pray for a marriage struggling to stay in the race by cheering them on through prayer. Increase the number of people praying for their endurance and perseverance by passing this on!  

Friday, September 18, 2015

Pray for Families (Helping Love to Bloom)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Growing spiritually is certainly a life-long work-in-progress. Often, this journey begins within the family as one learns about God’s love for them and how they can honor Him by following his commandments and attending church on Sundays.

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27

Over time, it becomes very easy to stumble, shift priorities, and become apathetic about God and church, especially when life is going well. When we are living the good life, we rarely think to praise God, but He most certainly hears from us when our life takes a downward spiral.  Suddenly all those activities we thought nourished and refreshed us such as television, shopping, sports, and (fill in the blank), leave us empty.  Getting spiritually back on track takes some effort of the will, but can be easily integrated into one’s life.  Perhaps it’s performing works of mercy such as visiting someone who is sick or by donating food to poor.  Others may pray, meditate, read scripture, go to a church service or a Mass and/or if you are Catholic, may go to Eucharistic adoration*.

Recently while out of town I decided to visit a beautiful Catholic church on a college campus, knowing that they offered Eucharistic adoration that day.  I was excited to spend some quiet time with the Lord. While I was entranced by the peacefulness of His presence, I was deeply saddened by the emptiness of this church.  I was struck by the fact that with the exception of a lone student who came in for 15 minutes, there were only a handful of adorers (non-students) over the extended time that I was there.

Could you not keep watch for one hour? Mark 14:37

Softly, I heard in my soul, “If people don’t want to spend time with me here on earth, why would I think they would want to spend time with me in heaven?”

Perhaps that is a good question for each of us to ask ourselves and contemplate.  Do we look at spending time with Love Himself a blessing or an obligation? Do we look at eternity as a person, a place, or other?  Is salvation a right or a gift?  Does the answer to these questions effect how we honor the gift-giver?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21

Commit to spending more time with the Lord.  Invite your family to join you. Regardless of how you choose to spend this time, I humbly ask that you start with a prayer for families.  Ask the Lord to help each member grow in their ability to love the Lord and each other. 

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Pray that your love for God and others blooms.  Then pass it on!  

*Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications. 
CCC no. 2628

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pray for Marriages (Patient Communication)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Recently, I met a new colleague at my company, a 38-year-old single male.   Inevitably, I asked him if he was in a relationship and he confided that he and his girlfriend just broke up, but they would probably get back together.  “Did one of you want to get married and the other not?” I prodded.  “No, we both were moving toward marriage but then we both freaked out!” he replied.  A communication problem?” I inquired. “Yes!”  He replied without hesitating. “I want to talk about things, but she is more introverted,” he confided.  “Let me guess, you come at her wanting to talk about everything, but the more you come at her the more she withdraws?”  “Yes, exactly!” he acknowledged. “Communication is pretty important in a marriage,” I advised. “Perhaps you could seek some pre-marital counseling to learn how to communicate better?”  “She IS a counselor!” he replied. “A marriage and family counselor!” All I could do was laugh, but secretly hoped they would find some help, because poor communication is the bane of almost every bad marriage.

He sees many things, but does not observe them; his ears are open, but he does not hear. Isaiah 42:10

Lord, give both engaged and married couples the desire to improve their communication and listening skills.  Please be generous with your grace, giving couples the patience to listen passively, to speak the truth with love and gentleness, and to hear truth shared in love.  As two are made one in marriage, continue to weave couples lives into unique tapestries that show the beauty made by two lives intertwined.  Oh Prince of Peace, may all married couples be given a holy desire to know you more, to trust you more, and to love you more.  Amen!

Be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble. Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called, that you might inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Improve communication both horizontally (between one another) and vertically (to the heavens).  Pray!! Pass it on!  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Pray for Families (Cleaning House)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Some people love housework, however I am not one of them.  There may be a few chores that invigorate me, but for the most part, I clean and tidy up my home because I understand the importance of it for my health, for my sanity, and for our guests. What most motivates me to clean the most, is having company over!  I believe my guests deserve to be welcomed appropriately.  I choose soul-satisfying food and drink and great music just to make my guests feel special and at home.

Now what if our Lord was coming over?  Would I prepare differently?   Then it hits me. Do I understand the importance of keeping His home clean?  Have I considered that He lives in me?

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 
1 Corinthians 6:19

I am His dwelling place.  Am I prepared to host such a guest? Am I a fitting host?  While my pride may not let me skimp on my exterior, do I take time to keep my interior equally pristine?  What is the condition of my soul? 

The lamp of the body is your eye. When your eye is sound, then your whole body is filled with light, but when it is bad, then your body is in darkness.  Luke 11:34

If my eyes are the windows to my soul, do I monitor what streams in?  Do I filter what I watch or what I read so as not to offend my holy guest, the Holy Ghost?  

Take care, then, that the light in you not become darkness. Luke 11:35

Do I monitor what I hear and what I listen to?  What sounds penetrate my soul (not to mention the souls of those around me)?

“Everything is lawful for me,” but not everything is beneficial. 
1 Corinthians 6:12

What do I do to my body and with my body?  Have I inadvertently given the Lord an eviction notice? 

Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.  Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body.  1 Corinthians 6:17-18

For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.  I Corinthians 6:20

Lord, illuminate our darkness so that we may see the cobwebs surrounding our soul.  We welcome your Light to help us find the path towards purity of heart, mind, body, and soul.   As we “cleanse our temple”, help us be an encouraging witness to our family and to others.  We pray for the grace we and our families need to become holy. We praise you for your enduring love and mercy! Amen.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Share a “house-cleaning” tip. Pass it on! 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Pray for Marriages (Rest for the Weary)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Take rest from your labors!

Oh how we burden ourselves emotionally, mentally, and physically.  Although not all burdens are of our doing, we still worry too much about this or that, we over-think to a point of exhaustion, and we work, work, work, because we can never complete the ongoing to-do list.

I am inviting you to find your rest spiritually!  Find a quiet place. Turn inward to the chapel of your heart.  Each beat is an “I love you” from the Lord.  Each breath is a sign of His mercy and adds oxygen to the fire of His love.  Stop to contemplate this.  Rest in the comforting warmth of His love.  Share your emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual burdens with Him.  Allow yourself to bathe in the ocean of His mercy.  In prayer, bring your spouse with you into this inferno of love and abyss of mercy.  Pray for your marriage and/or the marriages of others.  Ask for healing, and an increase of faith, hope, and love.

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.   Matthew 11:28-30

Be at peace.  Rest in Him.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Invite someone to rest in His love and mercy. Pass it on!  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Pray for Families (Finding Peace)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Do you know peace?  Not the kind that exists in the absence of quarreling, nor the kind that exists in silence, nor the kind that one feels when they’ve finally completed their to-do list, but rather the kind that exists in your heart, regardless of the chaos around you. Did you know this true peace exists?  Does your heart long for it?   What is the pathway to peace?

Be still and know that I am God! Psalm 46:11

For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. I have told you this so that you might have peace in me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. John 16:27, 33

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. John 14:27

May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

Find time to be still; do not give in to fear; rest in Him and he will give you His peace. 

Live your life as a daily prayer for your family.   I will pray that you and your family are filled with His indescribable peace!

May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Share His peace!  Be attentive to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and pass it on!