Looking Up

Posted on December 29, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, January 3, 2016, The Epiphany of the Lord

Horse - oil painting like cave painting a la Altamira.

On a summer’s day in 1879, an amateur archeologist named Marcelino de Sautuola went into a cave in Altamira, Spain, looking for prehistoric artifacts. He’d been there several times before, and hadn’t found much of interest. But this day, he brought with him his eight-year-old daughter. The two of them began to explore the cave. Marcelino was studying the ground, when he heard his little girl cry out. “Look, papa,” she said, “Oxen!” He couldn’t imagine what she was talking about, until he looked in her direction and saw she was pointing to the ceiling.

There, Marcelino saw them: the most incredible images—pictures of animals and people that had been left there over ten thousand years earlier. What his little girl spotted was later hailed as one of the greatest artistic discoveries ever. In the 1920s, Picasso visited the caves and came away awed. To this day, thousands visit Altamira every year to see what many consider to be the very beginnings of art.

And it happened because a eight-year-old looked up. She brought to that adventure a sense of wonder. Just like the Magi, the Wise Men, in this Sunday’s Gospel reading. They also looked up, saw the star, and then they followed.

The Magi had no idea where the star would take them. They didn’t know what their final destination would be. They couldn’t anticipate what they would find, or that it would all end up in Bethlehem.

The journey to Jesus was, for them, as it is for all of us: unpredictable, uncharted, unknowable.

And, significantly, it left them changed. As Matthew writes: “They departed for their country by another way.” After encountering Christ, they couldn’t travel the same road.

It should be that way for all of us. After discovering Jesus, after our own epiphanies, nothing can be quite the same.

John Henry Newman once wrote that “to live is to change.” It’s a beautiful thought for this season, when we’re starting a New Year and many of us are struggling to change old habits—or maybe lose old weight.

The fact is: all of us, like the Magi, are pilgrims on journey. But where will the journey take us?

Remember the Wise Men, the journey they took, the star they followed, the epiphany they made. They traveled to places unknown, guided by wonder. And they discovered the Son of God.

But we need to remember, too, that little girl in Altamira. So often, we spend our lives looking at the ground, studying the dirt, checking out the broken remnants of life that lie at our feet. We can miss the glory that is just above us. We can miss epiphanies.

So: Look up! Look forward. And follow. Follow the light, the light that is Christ.

And after that, we have no choice but to live differently—like the Magi, returning to our lives “by another way.”

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

Remember us, O God;
from age to age be our comforter.
You have given us the wonder of time,
blessings in days and nights, seasons and years.
Bless your children at the turning of the year
and fill the months ahead with the bright hope
that is ours in the coming of Christ.
You are our God, living and reigning, forever and ever.

Prayer for the New Year, Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers, USCCB.

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The Greatest Solace

Posted on November 24, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, November 29, 2015, 1st Sunday of Advent

Anxious young woman watches from airplane seat.

Advent is traditionally the time of anticipation, of breathless wonder and waiting. It’s a season, right now, perfectly attuned to our times.

As I write this, Belgium is anxious and on alert for a possible terrorist attack. Presidential candidates are stoking fears. Airlines are on edge again and again.

I can’t help but think the Gospel we encounter this Sunday could speak to us here and now:

“Be vigilant at all times
and pray that you have the strength
to escape the tribulations that are imminent
and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Yet, almost as a soothing counterpoint, comes this heartfelt message of hope from St. Paul:

May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts.

The good people of Thessalonica to whom Paul was writing had their own troubles, and their own age of anxiety; they waited with joyful hope for Christ’s imminent return, while struggling to keep the young Christian faith alive in a time of persecution. Yet Paul’s advice to them is a wisdom that transcends the ages: “increase and abound in love.” In a time of uncertainty or even fear, the greatest solace, and greatest prescription, remains Christian love for one another.

So it could be for our time, too-and for the time of Advent. This season traditionally brings its added pressures and problems-Shopping! Baking! Family stress!-and the words from Paul can be a blessed balm. Don’t flinch from love; increase and abound in it. Seek opportunities to grow in holiness. Put simply, “Conduct yourselves to please God.” All else, really, is a distraction.

It’s all a distraction that can turn our hearts toward fear and away from the true essence and meaning of this season: making ourselves ready to welcome Christ at Christmas. In these coming weeks, we need to keep our eyes on the prize-the presence of God in our world in the astonishing act of Incarnation, a gesture of humility and hope that transformed the world.

Of all the things we may find ourselves waiting for this Advent, that is really the only one that matters.

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

Lord our God,
we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ:
he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples,
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us,
he is the Savior of every nation.
Lord God,
let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Blessing of an Advent Wreath from Catholic Household Blessings.

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What Are You Looking For?

Posted on October 20, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, October 25, 2015, 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Printed image of Jesus heals the blind man in Grace Church Chiangmai, Thailand. Photo © Freedom Studio / Shutterstock.com.

Nearly thirty years ago, U2 proclaimed in their hit song, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” —an anthem for searchers everywhere. A generation later, it seems, we’re still searching.

A study a few years back found that people are changing religions at a phenomenal rate. According to Pew:

“More than four in 10 American adults are no longer members of the religion they were brought up in, while about one in 10 changed religion, then went back to the one they left, the study found. Just under five in 10—47 percent—have never changed faith.

“Some have switched more than once, and a small number have changed three times or more, according to the study.”

A more recent survey, from this year, found an increase in the number of “nones”:

“People who self-identify as atheists or agnostics (about 7% of all U.S. adults), as well as those who say their religion is ‘nothing in particular,’ now account for a combined 22.8% of U.S. adults—up from 16.1% in 2007. The growth of the ‘nones’ has been powered in part by religious switching. Nearly one-in-five U.S. adults (18%) were raised as Christians or members of some other religion, but now say they have no religious affiliation.”

So many of us are struggling with a restless sense of searching, particularly in matters of faith. So is it any wonder that this Sunday’s Gospel strikes such a powerful chord: the story of a blind beggar named Bartimaeus who, when asked by Jesus what he wants, answers with profound directness and simplicity: “Master, I want to see.”

Isn’t that the common barometer of every person who yearns for a deeper faith, a clearer purpose, a sense of direction? We want to see. Daily life can be obscured by so much—ambition, pressure, responsibilities. We want to see what our purpose is. We want to see hope. We want to see the face of God.

The Gospel suggests that simply having that desire, that humble yearning, may be enough. A beggar encounters Christ, cries out for pity, and is given the miraculous gift of sight. And with that gift, he does the only thing he can do: he becomes a follower of Christ.

This Gospel challenges us to ask ourselves: What are we searching for? What do we want to see? And it offers the reassurance that we can see, and understand, by taking our case to Christ, and pleading our cause, and taking a leap of faith.

It also suggests that if some of us still haven’t found what we’re looking for, well, maybe we have been looking in the wrong places.

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity,
and make us love what you command,
so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

—Collect for 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Excerpt from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.
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Embrace the Smallest

Posted on September 15, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, September 20, 2015, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Photo © AFP/Getty Images.

Long before he became the cardinal archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan was the rector of the North American College in Rome. He used to give regular talks to the seminarians, which were collected in a very good book called Priests for the Third Millennium. In one of the talks, Cardinal Dolan quotes a retreat conference given by the Passionist Scripture scholar Barnabas Ahern.

Father Ahern asked: what do you suppose was Jesus Christ’s favorite virtue? Was it faith? Was it hope? How about charity or justice?

All of those are contenders. But Father Ahern had something else in mind. Christ’s favorite virtue, he suggested, was humility. He made a persuasive argument.

Repeatedly in the Gospels, Christ chose the most humble. He chose the sick over the healthy… the weak over the powerful… the poor over the rich. The Gospels offer a reassuring message for all of us who feel unworthy, or fall short; they offer this blessed hope: Jesus often found more among those who, in the eyes of the world, seemed to be less.

And in this Sunday’s gospel, we see this again. To settle a dispute among the apostles over who, in fact, is the greatest, Jesus put before them the most inconsequential person in the room: a small child—a figure of perfect trust, and simplicity, and need.

“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me,” he said. “And whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

To receive God, he was saying, open your arms. Embrace the helpless, and needy. Seek out the smallest. To receive God, don’t look above. Look below.

This seems to be a message Pope Francis has made a cornerstone of his pontificate —and again and again, he has modeled that kind of generosity of spirit toward the small, the forgotten, the marginalized. We can expect to see more of that, I imagine, when he arrives in America in a few days for his historic visit to Washington, Philadelphia, and New York. Analysts are predicting what message he might be coming to convey to the United Nations or to Congress. Will he challenge the rich and powerful? Press for more attention to the plight of immigrants? Call for mercy and dignity toward those who are most helpless, such as the unborn? Stay tuned.

But this much is certain: he will continue to embody the message Christ imparted to his disciples all those centuries ago. In gestures, words and deeds, he will challenge America—and, indeed, the world—to embrace those who are the smallest and, in doing so, embrace God.

Dcn. Greg Kandra

Prayer

Father, your truth is made known in your Word.
Guide us to seek the truth of the human person.
Teach us the way to love because you are Love.
Jesus, you embody Love and Truth.
Help us to recognize your face in the poor.
Enable us to live out our vocation to bring love and justice to your people.
Holy Spirit, you inspire us to transform our world.
Empower us to seek the common good for all persons.
Give us a spirit of solidarity and make us one human family.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
—From USCCB, prayer based on Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).

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Bread that Satisfies Our Hunger for Peace

Posted on August 11, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, August 16, 2015, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Image of Jesus, the Bread of Life.When it comes to anniversaries, this August has been particularly poignant.

Within a few days of each other, we’ve noted the seventieth anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan, the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the one-year anniversary of the invasion of northern Iraq by the Islamic State, displacing tens of thousands of Christians and other minorities. The toll these events have taken on the human spirit, and the scars they have left on human history, are extensive and deep. Consequently, this has been a time for reflection and resolve, a moment for taking stock.

Sister Maria Hanna, the prioress general of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena in Iraq, was one of many who had to flee last August when ISIS stormed through her home town of Quaraqosh in Iraq. She and her sisters were forced to settle in Erbil, living in tents or abandoned buildings while attempting to rebuild their lives and those of other refugees. She wrote recently: “This memory impels us to pray to the Lord, so that we might be enlightened to understand his will for our lives during this crisis.”

By coincidence, or Providence, we are commemorating these events at a time when the Sunday Gospels ask us to reflect on St. John’s Bread of Life discourse, the challenging and enigmatic verses that teach about how Christ feeds those who hunger—and does it in ways we might not easily understand. The Gospels offer insight not only into the Eucharist, but also into God’s own ceaseless love for his creation. Whatever our needs, whatever our hungers, God provides.

At this moment, reflecting on the events we are commemorating, we might take time to remember in an especially prayerful way some hungers that even now need to be met.

There is the hunger for peace, in a world devastated by war.

There is a hunger for justice, in places torn apart by mistrust and hate.

There are the ongoing hungers of the human family for safety and security and understanding and hope.

The Gospel reassures us that our very human hungers—yearnings that go beyond mere cravings for food—are met in the person of Jesus Christ. That is ultimately what the Bread of Life discourse seeks to teach us.

Are we open to hearing that message and taking it to heart? Are we ready to be fed with that Bread of Life?

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

O God, Creator of the universe, who extends your paternal concern over every creature and guides the events of history to the goal of salvation, we acknowledge your fatherly love when you break the resistance of mankind and, in a world torn by strife and discord, you make us ready for reconciliation. Renew for us the wonders of your mercy; send forth your Spirit that he may work in the intimacy of hearts, that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands and peoples may encounter one another in harmony. May all commit themselves to the sincere search for true peace which will extinguish all arguments, for charity which overcomes hatred, for pardon which disarms revenge.
—Prayer for Peace by St. John Paul II

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Getting Away from It All

Posted on July 14, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, July 19, 2015, 16th Sunday in Ordinary Time

A hammock on a beautiful beach.At a time when you would think a lot of Americans are heading for the beach or the campground for vacation, more of us may actually be staying home.

A survey last January found an astonishing forty-two percent of workers didn’t take a single vacation day in 2014.

What’s more:

“Women took fewer vacation days than men; young Americans are skimping on vacation days; suburbia is taking slightly more vacation days than rest of the country; workers in the U.S. South took least vacation days while those in the U.S. West did most; and the poor are bearing the brunt of least amount of vacation days in the country.”

It can be hard—and, of course, expensive—to take time from work. And the demands of a lot of jobs make finding time for vacation sometimes impossible. That’s not new. As this Sunday’s Gospel reminds us, even Jesus had difficulty taking a break. Setting out for a “deserted place” for rest, he couldn’t escape his work. Moved by the needs of those who sought him out—appearing to him “like sheep without a shepherd”—he couldn’t help but continue to minister to them.

The thought of an overworked Jesus still seeking to serve, teach, and heal those around him is both confounding and consoling. On the one hand, it would be nice to think that even the Son of God could catch a breather every now and then. But on the other hand, we realize that the One who is so much like us—”in all things but sin”—is also continually close to us. He does not, cannot, turn his back on us in our need. Emmanuel, God with us, continues to remain with us—even when he faces the very real and very human need to get away.

Whether we find ourselves able to go on vacation or not this season, we can take some solace in this simple but consoling truth:

Christ is always near us—available, accessible, attentive. No matter what, the Messiah doesn’t go on vacation.

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

O almighty and merciful God,
Who hast commissioned Thy angels to guide and protect us,
command them to be our assiduous companions
from our setting out until our return;
to clothe us with their invisible protection;
to keep us from all danger of collision,
of fire, of explosion, of falls and bruises;
and finally, having preserved us from all evil,
and especially from sin,
to guide us to our heavenly home.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.
—Prayer for Travelers attributed to Bishop Felix Dupanloup, 1802–1878.

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Seeds of the Kingdom

Posted on June 9, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, June 14, 2015, 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time

June 14If you read any of the accounts about American Pharoah last weekend, and the way he secured a place in sports history by winning the Triple Crown, you might have thought his triumph was inevitable.

But the man who helped raise him wasn’t so sure.

Tom VanMeter, owner of Stockplace Farm in Kentucky, remembers it this way:

He says at the time of American Pharoah’s birth [three years ago], the colt was just “another nice big brown horse.” “It’s like saying that Michael Jordan was going to be a great basketball player when he was in kindergarten,” VanMeter said. “You just don’t know.”

You just don’t know when something small might defy all expectations. It’s that way with horses. As this Sunday’s Gospel suggests, it’s that way with mustard seeds—and with the kingdom of God.

In Mark’s Gospel this Sunday, we hear Jesus compare the kingdom of God to a mustard seed. It “is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth,” he told his followers. “But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants.”

An ancient writer, Pliny the Elder, once described the mustard seed this way: “With its pungent taste and fiery effect, mustard is extremely beneficial for the health. It grows entirely wild, though it is improved by being transplanted: but on the other hand, when it has once been sown, it is scarcely possible to get the place free of it, as the seed when it falls germinates at once.”

That may not be what many of us think the kingdom of God to be like—pungent, fiery, hard to control. But there’s also something wonderful and exciting about that description. Jesus described a kingdom that started small, but grew to a point where no one could contain it, and even the birds could build their homes in it. It is a place of great, limitless possibility—one that welcomes all.

And isn’t that the sort of place we’d like to call home?

As we slip back into ordinary time this weekend, and move further from the fire and fervor of the Easter season, it’s good to remember that sometimes what seems ordinary is, in fact, extraordinary. We need to remain alert to possibilities of grace—or even, perhaps, small miracles. They are the seeds of the kingdom. Who knows what wonders await?

More importantly: if the seeds of the kingdom are here, how can we help it grow?

Listening to the Gospel this Sunday, let us pray that we can help make God’s kingdom flourish here on earth—spreading the good news with our lives—and making that kingdom a welcoming place for everyone.

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

Heavenly Father,

Pour forth your Holy Spirit to inspire me with these words from Holy Scripture.

Stir in my soul the desire to renew my faith and deepen my relationship with your Son, our Lord
Jesus Christ so that I might truly believe in and live the Good News.

Open my heart to hear the Gospel and grant me the confidence to proclaim the Good News
to others.

Pour out your Spirit, so that I might be strengthened to go forth and witness to the Gospel in my
everyday life through my words and actions.

In moments of hesitation, remind me:
If not me, then who will proclaim the Gospel?
If not now, then when will the Gospel be proclaimed?
If not the truth of the Gospel, then what shall I proclaim?

God, our Father, I pray that through the Holy Spirit I might hear the call of the New
Evangelization to deepen my faith, grow in confidence to proclaim the Gospel and boldly
witness to the saving grace of your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.
New Evangelization Prayer © USCCB.

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A Message of Love

Posted on May 6, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, May 10, 2015, 6th Sunday of Easter

May 10

It’s been a brutal couple of weeks.

Baltimore has been burning. Nepal is in ruins, with tens of thousands lost. Israel remains uneasy and on alert. And the city of Tel Aviv was rocked by protests amid charges of police brutality.

At times, it seems we are entering a new Age of Anxiety, with the earth literally shifting below our feet.

And yet, at this very moment, the Gospel cries out a recurring refrain that stands in stark contradiction to the world we know—a message, it seems, of defiance.

It is, in fact, a message of love.

“This is my commandment,” Jesus says in this Sunday’s Gospel: “love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

During these last weeks before we celebrate the Ascension, that theme of love has been heard again and again, echoing in the Scriptures at Sunday Mass. We could almost consider it Christ’s last will and testament: what we need to hear before he leaves the earth and sends the Holy Spirit to continue what he began.

We might find that message of love hard to swallow in our own times, when love seems to be so absent and hatred and fear are so rampant.

But that is precisely why we need to embrace that message so completely—and commit ourselves to living it so fully.

The Gospel is not only countercultural; it is also very often counterintuitive. The dead rise, the blind see, those who would be stoned are set free to start over. This is not the world we know, but it is one we pray to make real and present to others—the kingdom of heaven.

As we pray for our troubled world, and pray for victims of injustice and violence and war, we pray that we may make that kingdom a reality in how we live and, most especially, in how we love.

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

Let us ask God
to grant that violence be overcome by the power of love,
that opposition give way to reconciliation
and that the desire to oppress be transformed
into the desire for forgiveness, justice and peace…

May peace be in our hearts
so that they are open to the action of God’s grace…
Amen.
—Pope Benedict XVI, Prayer for Justice, General Audience, December 19, 2007.

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A New Eden

Posted on April 1, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, April 5, 2015, Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord

April 5

Lately, it has seemed as if the world is spinning out of control.

Planes plummet from the sky. Buildings crumble. Wars rage. Peace seems, at best, elusive.

Into the midst of this, though, comes Easter. All expectations are defied. We are reminded again and again that the astonishing reality of the Resurrection holds forth the promise of life—bewildering, triumphant, unstoppable life. Churches burst with flowers. Choirs sing “Alleluia.” Families gather to feast. As if on cue, the weather begins to warm. The earth shifts, and new growth begins, and the days lengthen, and everything seems suddenly renewed.

The One who was dead is alive. And we live with him.

It is fitting that the Gospel this Sunday unfolds in a garden—a place of life, not death, and, not insignificantly, an echo of the garden where man’s journey went off track in Eden. Easter gives us a new Eden, a new beginning, a new opportunity to make what went wrong right.

“This is the day the Lord has made,” the responsorial psalm sings, “let us rejoice and be glad!”

At this moment, who could resist an invitation like that?

As we marvel at what God can do, and watch the world being reborn during this sacred season, we find joy and reassurance in the middle of a world so often clouded by disaster and doubt. The Resurrection gives us reason to hope. He is risen. And he raises us with him.

To which we can only respond with a word that has been too long absent from our lips:

“Alleluia.”

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

O God, who on this day,
through your Only Begotten Son,
have conquered death
and unlocked for us the path to eternity,
grant, we pray, that we who keep
the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection
may, through the renewal brought by your Spirit,
rise up in the light of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
—Collect for Easter Sunday from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved.

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A Spirit of Surrender

Posted on February 25, 2015 by - Connect! Sunday Reflection

For Sunday, March 1, 2015, 2nd Sunday of Lent

March 1

A couple weeks ago, one of the most esteemed media writers in American journalism died: David Carr, of The New York Times. He was fifty-eight. Carr had been battling lung cancer. It wasn’t the only battle he’d waged in his life; Carr was also a recovering drug addict, who wrote of his journey from crack houses and into rehab and a new life in a memoir, Night of the Gun.

Carr was eloquent and disarmingly honest about his problems and his recovery. He was also deeply spiritual, and a committed Catholic. In a 2011 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, he opened up about that side of his life:

“CARR: Am I, underneath all things, just a really wonderful, giving person? Or is there a force greater than myself that is leading me to act in ways that are altruistic and not self-interested and lead to the greater good? And so that’s – that’s sort of as far as I’ve gotten with a higher power thing, is I’m – you know, I’m kind of a pirate, kind of a thug. I mean, I’ve done a bunch of terrible things, and yet I’m able to, for the most part, be a decent person. How is that? Do I have some inner strength of character? I think not. I think something else is working on me…

“One of the things that I’m doing is praying, which seems like a really uncomfortable, unnatural activity for me. It’s to whom, to what, about what. You know, I have a prayer in my wallet that I’m saying…and I feel like a complete fraud while I’m doing it. But it’s the act of acknowledging that there may be something else out there…

“GROSS: Can I ask what the prayer that you’re keeping in your pocket is?

“CARR: Sure. Let me look at it. It’s really full of, like, thees and thous and I think it’s the prayer of St. Francis… I’m not comfortable reading the whole thing. But what it talks about is to offer yourself to God to build with you as God would see fit. And then the important part to me is to relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do thy will. And then it goes on to say, take away my difficulties. Of course, everyone prays for that. We all do – and that victory over them will bear witness to a power greater than yourselves, and just says may I do thy will always. I don’t really know who I’m talking about when I say those words, but I sort of feel good when I do.”

In his spirit of surrender to God, Carr touched on something that resonates throughout this Sunday’s Scripture: the ability to say to God, like Abraham, “Here I am.” Few of us would have the courage and trust to undergo the kind of testing that God places before Abraham. But can we at least begin where David Carr began? Can we say to God, “Make me an instrument”?

Whether we are struggling with the kinds of problems Carr battled, or other demons of differing varieties and shapes, we are called to serve God and one another with wonder, humility, abandonment, and trust. “Make me an instrument of your peace” is not far from “Here I am”—and if we are able to offer ourselves this way to God, especially during our Lenten journey toward Easter, we may be amazed at how our lives can be enriched, and even transformed.

God did astonishing things with Abraham—and even with David Carr. Who knows what might happen if you find the courage to “offer yourself to God to build with you as God would see fit”?

Dcn. Greg Kandra

PRAYER

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
—Prayer of St. Francis

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