Centering Prayer & Devotional

Centering Prayer * St. James' Episcopal Church

The Welcoming Prayer for Healing – Centering Prayer (Please gently become aware of your interior state, and repeat this prayer.)

God, I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment.

God, I know it is for my healing.

God, I welcome all thoughts, and emotions.

God, I let go of my desire for control. God, I let go of my desire for approval.

God, I let go of my desire to change people.

God, I open myself to your love.

God, I open myself to your healing grace.

Now we will slowly breathe in through our nose, and then slowly breathe out through our mouths as we repeat one word, “Amen”, 3 times, while we refocus ourselves in our New Supernatural Reality Jesus: Amen. Amen. Amen.

Confession:

The life we enjoy in You came as a free gift, but we play make believe that we can pay You back, as if that is something that You asked for or is even possible. We have turned Your gift into a transaction and fall back toward the grave from which we were freely saved. But in Your grace, we fall only to find that the grave was closed at Jesus’ resurrection. Forgive us for striving to repay Your gift of life that was earned for us on the cross. Being saved and accepted through Your free gift, let us go on following Jesus and overflowing with gratitude. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: MATTHEW 10:34–11:1

Do not think that I have come to bring peace. (Matthew 10:34)

Doesn’t Jesus want us to get along? That’s a fair question, given today’s Gospel. His words can sound so harsh. Does he really want us to become enemies with people in our own household?

No. But while Jesus doesn’t want us going around causing trouble, he does want us to know that there are times when following him may result in conflict with loved ones.

According to the Fathers of Vatican II, family is supposed to be “the domestic church,” the place where faith is taught and encouraged to grow (Lumen Gentium, 11). But we all have family members—either close or distant—whose religious beliefs and moral expectations are different from ours. So if we are actively trying to follow Jesus, it’s no surprise that we sometimes meet with some resistance in our homes.

Many of the Church’s greatest saints experienced this. St. Catherine of Siena, for instance, resisted her parents’ efforts to make her marry. St. Thomas Aquinas’ family locked him in a tower and hired a prostitute to tempt him. St. Clare of Assisi ran away from home to join St. Francis and refused her parents’ attempts to bring her back. But none of these heroes of the faith lashed out or sought vengeance. They tried their best to love and forgive.

Jesus never says that we shouldn’t love our family. In fact, some of our conflicts may well be the result of our own pride or lack of love. But when we center our lives around Jesus and make serving him our top priority, he promises that we’ll be able to love our family members better! We’ll become more forgiving, more understanding, and more patient when conflicts arise.

It’s not always easy to live together in peace. Sometimes we cause the conflicts, and at other times we don’t. But if you are trying to follow Jesus, he will find a way to bring good out of any situation. So pray for your own faith and for the faith of your loved ones, and trust that with God, all things are possible. Even acceptance, change, conversion, and reconciliation!

“Jesus, help me to stay true to your law of love.”

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silent Prayer

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Sabbath Encounter – July 2, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 5 minutes of Silence    

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:10

Confession: 

Heavenly Father, As Your people, we know that our salvation is not based on any good things we might do for You. We further acknowledge the perfect work that Christ completed on the cross on our behalf. And yet, we still have this tendency to try to add merit to what You have already provided for us. Have mercy on us, Lord. Forgive our efforts to earn or add to our own salvation. Keep us from attempting to do that work that only the Holy Spirit can achieve. May we instead carry out the good works that You have especially prepared for us in advance and by Your grace alone. We ask this in Christ’s name.  Amen.

FIRST READING: Psalm 48

The Lord is great and is to be highly praised
    in the city of our God, on his sacred hill.[b]
Zion, the mountain of God, is high and beautiful;
    the city of the great king brings joy to all the world.
God has shown that there is safety with him
    inside the fortresses of the city.

The kings gathered together
    and came to attack Mount Zion.
But when they saw it, they were amazed;
    they were afraid and ran away.
There they were seized with fear and anguish,
    like a woman about to bear a child,
    like ships tossing in a furious storm.

We have heard what God has done,
    and now we have seen it
    in the city of our God, the Lord Almighty;
he will keep the city safe forever.

Inside your Temple, O God,
    we think of your constant love.
10 You are praised by people everywhere,
    and your fame extends over all the earth.
You rule with justice;
11     let the people of Zion be glad!
You give right judgments;
    let there be joy in the cities of Judah!

12 People of God, walk around Zion and count the towers;
13     take notice of the walls and examine the fortresses,
so that you may tell the next generation:
14     “This God is our God forever and ever;
    he will lead us for all time to come.”

SECOND READING: 2 Corinthians 10:7-11

 You are looking at the outward appearance of things. Are there some there who reckon themselves to belong to Christ? Well, let them think again about themselves, because we belong to Christ just as much as they do. For I am not ashamed, even if I have boasted somewhat too much about the authority that the Lord has given us—authority to build you up, not to tear you down. I do not want it to appear that I am trying to frighten you with my letters. 10 Someone will say, “Paul’s letters are severe and strong, but when he is with us in person, he is weak, and his words are nothing!” 11 Such a person must understand that there is no difference between what we write in our letters when we are away and what we will do when we are there with you.

REFLECTION:

The Corinthian Church was a challenge to Paul. As we read his letters we discover that there were factions in conflict with one another. We discover that they had become so self-absorbed that they weren’t sharing when they gathered together for meals, including communion. And they were even challenging Paul’s credentials as an apostle, questioning whether he had any right to lead them.

One of the readings that is set for Sunday is Paul’s statement that he will not boast about anything but the cross, and that he celebrates his weaknesses because in them God’s strength is made perfect. Paul had no need to defend his ministry. As we see today, he was confident in God’s calling and in the authority he had been given as an apostle (which means “sent one”). Paul was not arrogant, but he was no doormat either. He had confidence in his relationship with Christ, and in the task he had been given to do.

How can you find your confidence in Jesus and his calling today?

DO: When we focus on who Jesus is, we more easily rest in the confidence that comes from knowing Jesus. The practice of praise is a great way to do just that. Today, praise God for who you are in Jesus, and for God’s call on your life.

PRAY: Praise be to you, O God, for you have called me to be yours in Christ.

Prayers

In peace, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For endurance as our Lord leads us through a hostile world that rejects His Christ and shows no honor to His wisdom or Church; that we would not lose heart; that the Holy Spirit would steel us for opposition; and that we may rest confidently on what God has said, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all preachers and hearers of God’s prophetic Word, that the great and mighty work of God to create faith in Christ’s eternal blessings by His Holy Spirit would continue; that God would remove all stubborn ears from our midst; and that Christ would not leave us without His Word, but make His home among us and restore the joy of His salvation, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the home, that God would soften hearts, turning parents and children toward each other in love and patience; and that He would banish the spirit of impudence, stubbornness and rebellion from all, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For our nation, that it may be defended against its enemies; for our leaders, that they may be preserved from temptation; and for the work of all civil authorities, that we may be enabled to live quiet and peaceable lives according to His Word, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For those whose pain is chronic, whose sustained suffering is unknown, who wrestle with difficult thorns in body or mind, or who are tempted to despair, that they may know that in their weakness they are strong for the sake of Christ, whose grace is sufficient for every need, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

And for courage in weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities, to boast in Christ and His cross, by which we and our sufferings are sanctified, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all who commune this day, that in repentance and faith they may taste and see that their Lord is good in the abundant blessing of Christ’s true body and blood, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

All these things and whatever else You know that we need, grant us, Father, for the sake of Him who died and rose again and now lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God forever. Amen.

Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Daily Office – June 21, 2021

The clean of hands and pure of heart
shall climb the mountain of the Lord
and stand in his holy place. Cf. Ps 24 (23):4, 3

Collect

O God, giver of heavenly gifts,
who in Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
joined penitence to a wonderful innocence of life,
grant, through his merits and intercession,
that, though we have failed to follow him in innocence,
we may imitate him in penitence.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Genesis 12:1-9

The Lord said to Abram: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.

“I will make of you a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
so that you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who curse you.
All the communities of the earth
shall find blessing in you.

Abram went as the Lord directed him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife, Sarai, his brother’s son Lot, all the possessions that they had accumulated, and the persons they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land as far as the sacred place at Shechem, by the terebinth of Moreh. (The Canaanites were then in the land.)

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” So Abram built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel, pitching his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. He built an altar there to the Lord and invoked the Lord by name. Then Abram journeyed on by stages to the Negeb.

Psalm 33

R. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people he has chosen for his own inheritance.
From heaven the Lord looks down;
he sees all mankind. R.
See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness,
To deliver them from death
and preserve them in spite of famine. R.
Our soul waits for the Lord,
who is our help and our shield.
May your kindness, O Lord, be upon us
who have put our hope in you. R.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. Heb 4:12
Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

Prayer over the Offerings

Grant us, O Lord,
that by the example of Saint Aloysius,
we may take our place at the heavenly banquet,
clothed always in our wedding garment,
so that, by participation in this mystery,
we may possess the riches of your grace.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

DAILY MEDITATION: GENESIS 12:1-9

Abram journeyed on by stages to the Negeb. (Genesis 12:9)

If you don’t do much traveling, you may think that distant journeys sound exciting and adventurous. And they can be! But think about people who are constantly traveling, either for business or family commitments. More often than not, they end up bored and frustrated with the long trips. By the time of today’s first reading, Abram had already traveled from Ur to Haran; that’s about 650 miles, or the distance from Paris to Berlin. It’s an astounding distance when you consider that he did it without a plane or car. But then God called him to take another 400-mile journey to the land of Canaan!

Between these places lay vast miles of desert and years of waiting to hear the Lord. In these desert years, you can imagine Abram feeling as dry and lifeless as the arid landscape around him. Was it really worth all the effort?

We all experience unexciting stretches of time in our lives—even the great saints of the Church did! Just like the liturgical year, our lives tend to be a mixture of special seasons and “everyday” time. There are times when faith and virtue don’t feel heroic or glorious or when we don’t hear God clearly. Whether they are due to sadness, doubt, or boredom, the dry spells often come upon us gradually, until we wake up one day and feel as if we are in a desert.

In times like these, it’s good to remember what Scripture tells us: that we walk with a faithful God who is able to make springs break out in desert places; he can even draw water from a rock!

So spend some time today reflecting on one way that God has blessed you personally—maybe through a friendship or a cherished verse in the Bible. Let that blessing reassure you. You may be surprised by how much life you can draw from a very small reminder of God’s goodness. Even when you’re in the desert, God is with you, offering you untold blessings. Don’t miss them!

“Lord, show me how to trust in your presence and your generosity whether I find myself in a dry season or a fruitful one.”

Psalm 33:12-13, 18-20, 22
Matthew 7:1-5

Evening Prayer – June 19, 2021

Entrance Antiphon

The just will flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a Lebanon cedar,
planted in the house of the Lord,
in the courts of the house of our God. Cf. Ps 92 (91):13-14
OR
The mouth of the just man utters wisdom,
and his tongue tells forth what is right.
The law of his God is in his heart. Ps 37 (36):30-31

Collect

O God, who through Saint Romuald renewed
the manner of life of hermits in your Church,
grant that, denying ourselves and following Christ,
we may merit to reach the heavenly realms on high.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

Brothers and sisters: I must boast; not that it is profitable, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows), was caught up to the third heaven. And I know that this man (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up into Paradise and heard ineffable things, which no one may utter. About this man I will boast, but about myself I will not boast, except about my weaknesses. Although if I should wish to boast, I would not be foolish, for I would be telling the truth. But I refrain, so that no one may think more of me than what he sees in me or hears from me because of the abundance of the revelations. Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Psalm 34

R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
Taste and see how good the Lord is;
blessed the man who takes refuge in him. R.
Fear the Lord, you his holy ones,
for nought is lacking to those who fear him.
The great grow poor and hungry;
but those who seek the Lord want for no good thing. R.
Come, children, hear me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Which of you desires life,
and takes delight in prosperous days? R.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia.
Jesus Christ became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich. 2 Cor 8:9
Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples: “No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Prayer over the Offerings

Grant those who approach your altar, O Lord,
that spirit of devotion
with which the Abbot blessed Saint Romuald was on fire,
so that, pure of heart and fervent in charity,
we may offer you a worthy sacrifice.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

DAILY MEDITATION: MATTHEW 6:24-34

Do not worry about your life. (Matthew 6:25)

It can be fun to think about the future. What kind of job will I get when I graduate from college? How many kids will I have someday? I can’t wait for my vacation!

There is nothing wrong with thinking about or planning for the future—in fact, it can be a very positive, smart thing to do. But Jesus wants us to live a balanced life, something he emphasizes in today’s Gospel reading. He doesn’t want us to spend so much time planning for the future that we forget to live in the present.

There’s another problem with spending too much time on the future. That’s where our worries and fears are rooted. Almost every one of them is about something that hasn’t happened yet—but could happen.

Take a moment to think about all the worries you have had throughout your life. How many of them actually came to pass? Probably only a fraction of them. And if your worst fears were realized, you still experienced some measure of comfort from the Lord. Maybe you even learned something from them and came out wiser and stronger because of them. Whatever they were, you got through them. Maybe they strengthened your faith and trust and taught you to lean on Jesus more.

Jesus promises, “Tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil” (Matthew 6:34). In other words, focus on what’s going on right now. Pay attention to the challenges right in front of you, the problems that need to be solved and the people that need your help right now. Jesus will be with you to help you face them. And he will be there tomorrow to help you do it all over again.

Today, try to catch yourself when you’re worrying about something that may or may not happen. Imagine yourself like the bird that Jesus describes in today’s Gospel, flying free from all the earthly fears trying to pull you to the ground. Think about how birds just go about their business without worrying about the future. God takes care of them, and he’ll take care of you.

“Lord, help me to let go of my worries and place them in your loving hands.”

2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Psalm 34:8-13

Daily Office – June 18, 2021

O Lord, hear my voice, for I have called to you; be my help.
Do not abandon or forsake me, O God, my Savior! Cf. Ps 27 (26):7, 9

Collect

O God, strength of those who hope in you,
graciously hear our pleas,
and, since without you mortal frailty can do nothing,
grant us always the help of your grace,
that in following your commands
we may please you by our resolve and our deeds.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30

Brothers and sisters: Since many boast according to the flesh, I too will boast. To my shame I say that we were too weak!

But what anyone dares to boast of (I am speaking in foolishness) I also dare. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they children of Israel? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I am talking like an insane person). I am still more, with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, far worse beatings, and numerous brushes with death. Five times at the hands of the Jews I received forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I passed a night and a day on the deep; on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own race, dangers from Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers at sea, dangers among false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many sleepless nights, through hunger and thirst, through frequent fastings, through cold and exposure. And apart from these things, there is the daily pressure upon me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is led to sin, and I am not indignant?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

Psalm 34

R. From all their distress God rescues the just.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord;
the lowly will hear me and be glad. R.
Glorify the Lord with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. R.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the Lord heard,
and from all his distress he saved him. R.

Gospel Acclamation

Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Mt 5:3
Alleluia, alleluia.

Matthew 6:19-23

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.

“The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”

Prayer over the Offerings

O God, who in the offerings presented here
provide for the twofold needs of human nature,
nourishing us with food
and renewing us with your Sacrament,
grant, we pray,
that the sustenance they provide
may not fail us in body or in spirit.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

DAILY MEDITATION: PSALM 34:2-7

When the poor one called out, the Lord heard, and from all his distress he saved him. (Psalm 34:7)

After a busy day in which you “had a million things to do,” you might have come to dinner exclaiming, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!” Those million tasks and that horse, of course, are exaggerations.

But it is no exaggeration when the psalmist declares that God saves us from all our distress. Granted, as today’s first reading shows, God didn’t save Paul from whippings, beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, and other dangers. Still, Paul knew that God heard him every time he called out—even in the midst of his sufferings (2 Corinthians 11:30).

God is our ever-present help. He walks with us through distress. He has not promised a trouble-free life, but he assures us of his help. By his Spirit, he empowers us to deal with the problems, the dangers, and the worries that come into our lives. He doesn’t cause the troubles that come into our lives, but he will save us from crumbling under the weight of them. He promises to give us hope to keep taking the right steps in any distress we face.

Most of us won’t face torture or shipwreck, but we all have troubles. Making the rent each month, facing frightening medical diagnoses, watching a loved one suffer and die—yes, you have trouble in the world. You also have God’s assurance that you don’t have to surrender to fear because he will be with you. He is a loving, faithful, and powerful Father.

God does not cause your distress any more than he caused St. Paul’s. And he will sustain you just as surely as he sustained St. Paul. That is who he is: Father, Savior, Healer, Provider. Be insistent and tireless in seeking his presence and his help in the midst of your distress. Take him at his word. He promises to hear you when you cry out to him. He will always answer, though perhaps not as you expect, and he will sustain you, just as he sustained St. Paul.

“Father, I believe you hear my prayers and know my needs. Help me today so that I don’t sink under the weight of my troubles.”

June 16, 2020 – Devotional

Do you ever have a hard time making yourself pray? Most of us do. Though we know we should pray and that prayer could solve most of our problems, for some reason we often fail to pray. What is it about prayer that makes it so difficult? Perhaps part of the problem is that we are trying to talk to someone we can’t see. Perhaps part of the problem is that most of us would rather be doing something than just be talking about it. But there is another reason why prayer can be difficult. Every time we pause to pray, we are engaging in spiritual warfare. Consider these verses of Scripture.

Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to make you understand what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision refers to many days yet to come.”

These verses have stunned many who have read them. The angel told Daniel that God had sent him an answer the first day he began to pray. But God’s answer took three weeks to get to him. What caused the delay?

The angel told Daniel that for three weeks he had been in a battle with “the prince of the kingdom of Persia for twenty-one days.”Who was the prince of the kingdom of Persia? Many believe that it was an evil angel serving under the command of Satan. From this passage, many have gathered that there are specific demons assigned to specific nations for the purpose of causing its leaders to do the will of Satan. Paul teaches us very clearly in the book of Ephesians that we are in spiritual warfare with a well-organized hierarchy of demons.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can make your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you will be able to stand your ground, and having done everything, to stand.

This spiritual battle in the book of Daniel was so intense that it required the commissioning of an archangel named Michael to come and help deliver the message.

Daniel 10:13 … and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.

The Bible reveals the names of three angels: Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer. Scripture seems to indicate that these three angels were created to serve as ‘arch-angels.’ The prefix ‘arch’ means chief or leader. Because these three are archangels, many believe that the rest of the angels have been assigned to serve under them. Gabriel is thought to be a messenger angel. Most of the time, whenever a message is being sent from heaven, Gabriel is the one who delivers it. Perhaps Gabriel and his angels are the ones directly involved in the answering of our prayers. Michael seems to be a military angel. Revelation 12:7 refers to “Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon and his angels.” Michael is a warrior angel. But what about Lucifer? Who is he and what was his assignment? Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 seem to indicate that perhaps Lucifer was created to serve God with worship. These passages also teach us that at some point, Lucifer rebelled against God and rather than worshipping God, he desired to be worshipped as God. Perhaps you will remember that the one thing he wanted the most from Jesus was for the Savior to bow down and worship him. (see Matthew 4) According to Revelation 12:4, when Lucifer fell he took a third of the angels with him. These fallen angels are now known as demons and Lucifer is now referred to as Satan (adversary or one who withstands) or the Devil (slanderer or false accuser).

We should note that while the invisible battle was going on in the sky, Daniel was on his knees praying. Could it be that the persistence of Daniel’s prayers is what helped Michael win the battle?

Daily Office – June 13, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

Confession: Almighty God, you love us, but we do not love you fully. You call, but we do not always listen. We often walk away from neighbors in need, wrapped in our own concerns. We often condone evil, hatred, warfare, and greed. God of grace, help us to admit our sin, so that as you move toward us in mercy, we may repent, turn to you, and receive forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 8:23-27

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

Who doesn’t become afraid whenever the waves are spilling over into their boat? Who doesn’t feel some anxiety whenever the doctor gives them bad news? Who isn’t tempted to worry when they are struggling financially? Who doesn’t feel some bit of fear when trouble comes their way? It is the one who puts their faith and trust in God.

The Bible says there arose a ‘great tempest’ in the sea. The words used here indicate that it was a storm so severe that it actually shook the boat. Not even an experienced sailor like Simon Peter knew what to do and therefore, as far as the disciples were concerned, they were going to drown. Yet through it all, Jesus continued to sleep.

Mark’s gospel adds another layer to the story. “And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV) First of all, the disciples could not understand HOW’ Jesus could sleep through a storm like this. To put it in modern terms, a storm like this should have awakened the dead. Secondly, I’m sure that they also could not understand WHY’ Jesus would sleep through a storm like this. Why didn’t He get up and do something to help them?

QUESTION #1 – ‘HOW COULD JESUS SLEEP THROUGH A STORM LIKE THIS?’

The wind was howling, the waves were crashing, and perhaps there was even thunder and lightning. How could anyone sleep through a storm like this? Jesus could sleep through the storm because He had complete confidence in His Father’s care. He knew that His Father loved Him and therefore, nothing would happen to Him unless His Father permitted it. 

QUESTION #2 – ‘WHY WOULD JESUS SLEEP THROUGH A STORM LIKE THIS?’

The disciples could not understand how Jesus could sleep through a storm like this and why He wasn’t doing something to help them. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38 NKJV) Their question wasn’t so much, “Do You have the power to calm the storm?” as it was, “Because You have the power, why aren’t You using it? Where are all the miracles now?”

I admit it, storms have a way of frightening me and, to be really honest, sometimes it doesn’t take a storm as severe as the disciples were experiencing to cause me to ask similar questions. Just a few drops of unexpected rain can arouse a bit of fear in me. The ‘what if’s’ start to creep into my mind and tempt me to worry. What if the storm gets worse? What if the waves come crashing into the boat? What if the boat takes on too much water? What if Jesus isn’t paying attention? What if I drown?

Consider how Jesus responded to the disciples’ question: “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” In other words, “Why are you not resting in My care even as I am resting in My Father’s care?”

Who doesn’t become fearful during a storm? It is those who have faith in the love and care of Jesus. It is those who believe that He is fully aware of their situation and that He will do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. It is those who remind themselves that He is in the boat with them and therefore, everything is under His control.

Prayers:

Today, help me to live, O God, with hospitality, service and patient, joyful endurance.

As I listen for your voice, O God, so I become more alert to the signs of your coming.:

Faithful God Hear our Prayer.

For all who suffer, that they may find comfort through their faith, we pray.

For all those who minister to the sick, that they be signs of God’s love we pray.

For doctors, nurses and caregivers, that their actions be done with love we pray.

For Ourselves, that we always believe that God holds us gently we pray.

Gracious Father, we pray for your Church. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

Evening Prayer – June 12, 2021

Silence and Centering – Pause for 2 minutes of Silence  

“Be still, and know that I am God; – Psalm 46:1

First Reading: Psalm 112

Praise, servants of the Lord,  praise the name of the Lord. Let the Lord’s name be blessed,  now and for ever. From the sun’s rising to its setting,  the Lord’s name is to be praised. The Lord is high over all peoples,  his glory is above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, who lives on high,  who bends down to watch over heaven and earth? He raises the weak from the ground,  the poor from the dunghill, raises them among the princes,  the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a household,  makes her the happy mother of children. Glory be to the Father and to the Son  and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning,  is now, and ever shall be,  world without end. Amen.

Second Reading: Hebrews 11:4-7

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.”[a] For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

Reflection:

If you ever doubt the value of faith, Hebrews 11 is a good chapter
to read. Today we look at just a small section of this grand
celebration of faith, yet it shows how, through the ages, faith
inspired God’s people to give their lives for the sake of God’s
purposes. If we want to please God – which means living lives that
embrace God’s values and ways – we need faith, the capacity to
trust and orient our lives around the mission of God. This faith doesn’t
need to be huge. All we need is to open ourselves to faith as God’s
gift. Then, as faith grows within us, it sustains us, and leads us in the
ways of goodness.

As we move closer to Sunday, and its celebration of the power of
small things, it’s important that we open ourselves to a growing
faith. It is this faith that will enable us to offer our abilities, our
resources and our time to God – however small our contribution
may be. It is this faith that empowers us to reach out to others in
Christ’s name, and it is this faith that will help us to find our place in
the Reign of God so that our small contributions have real impact
and meaning.

How can you open your heart to the gift of faith today? And how
can you allow faith to lead you to offer yourself for the sake of
God’s Reign?

DO: One of the best ways to grow, and to use, faith is to give of
ourselves – our time, talents and treasures. You may feel that what
you have to give is small, but there is a power in small things when
used for God’s Reign. Why not make today a giving day?

PRAY: Thank you, O God, for the faith that leads me to share my small
resources and abilities for the sake of your Reign on earth.

Prayers & Intercessions:

Christ our Lord is mindful of all who need him, and does great things for love of them. Let us not be afraid to ask him for all our needs.– Show us your loving kindness.Lord, we know that the good things we have received today have come as a gift from you:  may we receive them with thankfulness and learn how to give.– Show us your loving kindness.Saviour and light of all people, keep missionaries in your special care:  may the light of your Spirit burn strongly in them.– Show us your loving kindness.Grant that the world may be filled with the knowledge of your truth;  help us to carry out all you have called us to do.– Show us your loving kindness.You healed the sickness and pain of your brothers:  Bring healing and comfort to the spirit of man.– Show us your loving kindness.Give rest to the faithful departed;  and bring them to praise you in eternity.– Show us your loving kindness.


Our Father, who art in heaven,  hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.Give us this day our daily bread,  and forgive us our trespasses,  as we forgive those who trespass against us,and lead us not into temptation,  but deliver us from evil.


Lord God, strength of those who hope in you,  support us in our prayer:because we are weak and can do nothing without you,  give us always the help of your grace  so that, in fulfilling your commandments,  we may please you in all we desire and do.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.Amen.


The Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Conclude with 5 Minutes of Silence

Oficina del día de reposo: 11 de Junio de 2021

Silencio y centrado: pausa durante 5 minutos de silencio

“Estad quietos y reconoced que yo soy Dios; – Salmo 46:10

Confesión:

Señor Jesús, te damos gracias por vaciar Tu vida por nuestros pecados, tal como lo planeó nuestro Padre. Sin tu muerte y resurrección, no tendríamos ningún rescate de la maldad de este mundo. Pero te confesamos, Señor, nuestra tendencia humana a volver a los viejos patrones de pensar y hacer mientras tratamos de recuperar el control de nuestras vidas. Ten piedad de nuestra necedad y perdónanos completamente por resistir la gracia de tu evangelio. Vuelve a alinear nuestro pensamiento con la verdad de Tu Palabra, para que podamos caminar una vez más en verdadera libertad. Te lo pedimos humildemente en el nombre de Cristo. Amén.

PRIMERA LECTURA: Salmo 92: 1-4

¡Cuán bueno, SEÑOR, es darte gracias

    y entonar, oh Altísimo, salmos a tu nombre;

2 proclamar tu gran amor por la mañana,

    y tu fidelidad por la noche,

3 al son del decacordio y de la lira;

    al son del arpa y del salterio!

4 Tú, SEÑOR, me llenas de alegría con tus maravillas;

    por eso alabaré jubiloso las obras de tus manos.

SEGUNDA LECTURA: Marcos 4: 1-20

De nuevo comenzó Jesús a enseñar a la orilla del lago. La multitud que se reunió para verlo era tan grande que él subió y se sentó en una barca que estaba en el lago, mientras toda la gente se quedaba en la playa. 2 Entonces se puso a enseñarles muchas cosas por medio de parábolas y, como parte de su instrucción, les dijo: 3 «¡Pongan atención! Un sembrador salió a sembrar. 4 Sucedió que al esparcir él la semilla, una parte cayó junto al camino, y llegaron los pájaros y se la comieron. 5 Otra parte cayó en terreno pedregoso, sin mucha tierra. Esa semilla brotó pronto porque la tierra no era profunda; 6 pero, cuando salió el sol, las plantas se marchitaron y, por no tener raíz, se secaron. 7 Otra parte de la semilla cayó entre espinos que, al crecer, la ahogaron, de modo que no dio fruto. 8 Pero las otras semillas cayeron en buen terreno. Brotaron, crecieron y produjeron una cosecha que rindió el treinta, el sesenta y hasta el ciento por uno.

9 »El que tenga oídos para oír, que oiga», añadió Jesús.

10 Cuando se quedó solo, los doce y los que estaban alrededor de él le hicieron preguntas sobre las parábolas. 11 «A ustedes se les ha revelado el secreto del reino de Dios —les contestó—; pero a los de afuera todo les llega por medio de parábolas, 12 para que

»“por mucho que vean, no perciban;

    y por mucho que oigan, no entiendan;

no sea que se conviertan y sean perdonados”.[a]

13 »¿No entienden esta parábola? —continuó Jesús—. ¿Cómo podrán, entonces, entender las demás? 14 El sembrador siembra la palabra. 15 Algunos son como lo sembrado junto al camino, donde se siembra la palabra. Tan pronto como la oyen, viene Satanás y les quita la palabra sembrada en ellos. 16 Otros son como lo sembrado en terreno pedregoso: cuando oyen la palabra, en seguida la reciben con alegría, 17 pero, como no tienen raíz, duran poco tiempo. Cuando surgen problemas o persecución a causa de la palabra, en seguida se apartan de ella. 18 Otros son como lo sembrado entre espinos: oyen la palabra, 19 pero las preocupaciones de esta vida, el engaño de las riquezas y muchos otros malos deseos entran hasta ahogar la palabra, de modo que esta no llega a dar fruto. 20 Pero otros son como lo sembrado en buen terreno: oyen la palabra, la aceptan y producen una cosecha que rinde el treinta, el sesenta y hasta el ciento por uno».

REFLEXIÓN:

ORACIONES:

En paz, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

En acción de gracias al Altísimo, que plantó su santa palabra entre nosotros; y para el crecimiento saludable de la Iglesia, para que podamos capear los vientos tempestuosos de este mundo firmes en Cristo, llevando siempre los frutos del amor y cantando alabanzas a Su nombre, roguemos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por la predicación y enseñanza de la Santa Palabra de Dios, para que por su Espíritu brote y crezca cuando y donde quiera a Dios, roguemos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por esta y por todas las congregaciones, para que el reino de Dios se extienda y tengamos corazones agradecidos para maravillarnos de su obra, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Y para que Dios envíe obreros fieles a sus campos para esparcir su semilla aquí y en el exterior, para que a su debido tiempo se pueda segar una cosecha para su gloria, roguemos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por nuestros hogares y familias, para que el Señor haga fructíferos los esfuerzos de los padres en la enseñanza de sus hijos y los preserve en la fe salvadora de Jesús de acuerdo con las promesas que Él ha dicho y que seguramente cumplirá, roguemos al Señor: Señor ten piedad.

Para aquellos en posiciones de autoridad entre nosotros, [especialmente _____________,] que Dios los guíe por Su Espíritu a ser elevados en propósito, sabios en consejos, firmes en buena resolución e inquebrantables en el deber; y por nuestra nación y su gente, para que seamos gobernados tranquila y pacíficamente, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por los que tienen toda necesidad, [especialmente ________________,] oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Por todos los siervos de Dios que gimen bajo las cargas de esta tienda terrenal y anhelan ser revestidos de Su vida eterna, la cual absorberá todo dolor mortal [especialmente aquellos que lloran _______________]; que les daría valor para caminar por la fe y no por la vista, para llorar a los muertos con la esperanza de la resurrección, y para que su objetivo sea complacerlo mientras están aquí en el cuerpo, hasta que por fin estemos todos en casa con Cristo, oremos al Señor: Señor, ten piedad.

Santo Padre, de Israel has tomado una ramita tierna, tu Mesías elegido, Jesús, y lo has plantado en el monte para nuestra salvación. Con Su muerte en un árbol, has revertido la maldición del pecado y has vuelto a dar vida a las almas secas y polvorientas. No dejes que despreciemos a Tu Cristo, Su humildad o Su sufrimiento, sino llévanos con todos Tus cristianos a la sombra de Su descanso eterno; por el mismo Jesucristo, tu Hijo, nuestro Señor, que vive y reina contigo y el Espíritu Santo, un solo Dios, ahora y por los siglos. Amén.