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Centering Prayer & Devotional – July 25, 2021

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:

Dear Heavenly Father, We are grateful that we can come to You at any time, about anything. We know that You listen to the earnest cries of our hearts. We know that You have great power; You are the Creator of heaven and earth. Yet, at times, we are still prone to doubt. Sometimes we are skeptical that our prayers can even be answered. Our earthly minds cannot comprehend a resolution. Nothing seems to have worked and our situation starts to seem hopeless. Lord, we confess to You our disbelief, And ask for Your help. Have mercy on us in our doubts and give us vision and hope for what You will do. Deepen our trust in You, and increase our faith so that we can believe fully again in Your faithfulness. We ask this humbly in Christ’s Holy Name. Amen.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: JOHN 6:1-15

Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted. (John 6:12)

In John’s telling of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, Jesus says very little. Out of a story that is 310 words long, Jesus speaks only 25! But there is a whole world of meaning behind each word.

First, Jesus sets the miracle in motion with a practical question: “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” (John 6:5). Jesus knows what he is going to do, but he wants to prompt Philip and the other disciples to expand their expectations. He is pointing out a situation that is humanly impossible to solve so that they will begin to consider other, more divinely inspired options.

Next, he prepares everyone to receive the miracle he is about to perform: “Have the people recline” (John 6:10). They don’t have to do much—just take a position of rest and trust. Of course, that may not be easy when you’re hungry and you can’t see any food readily available. But that’s the way it is with the Lord: sometimes he asks you to rest and trust in his provision, even when you can’t see any possible hope of a way out.

Finally, he brings the miracle to a close: “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted” (John 6:12). Jesus is generous—exceedingly generous—but he is not wasteful. A lot was left over, and Jesus wanted to make sure it went to good use. These baskets of food—one for each apostle—were his way of telling us to be equally generous in sharing his blessings. Every gift he gives is meant not just for us; it’s meant to shape how we speak and act so that we can become stronger witnesses to his love.

Like manna from heaven, Jesus’ grace is always showering down on us. May we learn how to receive it and always be ready to offer it to the people around us!

“Thank you, Jesus, for always giving me what I need! Please show me how to share your blessings with everyone else.”

Conclude with 7 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.

Centering Prayer & Devotional – July 24, 2021

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:

Eternal God, your good news to us in Jesus Christ Changes our lives forever. Yet we confess to You That we are reluctant to live as changed people. We are enslaved to our old ways. We are angry, judgmental, and devious. We are hypocritical, prideful, and faithless. We do not love You, Nor do we love our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us, O Lord. Restore to us a love of Your Son, Jesus. Renew in us the strength of Your Holy Spirit. Return us to a life that lives in Your grace as we have been saved by Your grace. Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: MATTHEW 13:18-23

The seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it. (Matthew 13:23)

It’s tempting, especially when life gets difficult, to see things as they are instead of what they can become. Land that is full of weeds, rocks, and thorns, for instance, may not look like a good place for a fruitful garden. Similarly, when we look at ourselves, we may see only obstacles to becoming rich soil that bears fruit for God’s kingdom.

In Jesus’ parable of the sower, three of the four types of soil didn’t look very hopeful either. That didn’t stop the farmer from sowing his seed just as freely as Jesus sows his word in us. But Jesus wants to do more than just give us his word. He wants to remove the obstacles as well. That’s because he sees all that we can become in him, not just who we are right now.

Jesus identifies three types of obstacles in the parable: the lies of the devil, the lack of deep roots, and the lures and anxieties of the world. First, the devil can steal away the seed of truth by whispering into our hearts lies that close us off to the gospel message. Second, if we lack deep roots in the word of God, suffering and challenges can drain our joy in the Lord. Lastly, the anxieties and ambitions of the world can crowd our hearts, leaving little room for the word of God to grow and take root.

Is there one particular obstacle that is giving you a hard time right now? Know that Jesus is more than able to help you overcome it. But he also asks you to cooperate with him. He promised that the one who “hears the word and understands” it will bear fruit (Matthew 13:23). So even as you ask him to make you more fruitful, do your part by digging into the word of God. Believe that the more you come to understand and love his word, the more fruit you will bear.

So don’t look only at the person you are. Remember the person God made you to be. Let Jesus become the gardener of your heart. He can make even the rockiest ground into the richest of soil!

“Jesus, help me remove any obstacles to your word in my heart. Lord, I want to bear great fruit for you!”

Conclude with 7 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.

Centering Prayer & Devotional – 7/16/21

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:

Holy and merciful God, in your presence we confess our sinfulness, our shortcomings, and our offenses against you. You alone know how often we have sinned in wandering from your ways, in wasting your gifts, in forgetting your love. Have mercy on us, O Lord, for we are ashamed and sorry for all we have done to displease you. Forgive our sins, and help us to live in your light, and walk in your ways, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: EXODUS 3:13-20

This is my name forever. (Exodus 3:15)

“I am who am”—this is the phrase God used to reveal his name to Moses (Exodus 3:14). The original Hebrew, ehyeh asher ehyeh, is a wordplay that reflects the mysterious nature of the God of the universe. It tells us he is eternal and everlasting, with no beginning or end. He is the Creator of all that exists. He is so unlike us in every way that human language can scarcely describe him.

But notice that at the same time that God reveals his name, he also identifies himself in another way: “The God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob” (Exodus 3:15). The God of the universe is also the God of history. He has personally entered into the life of a people, the Israelites, and formed them. He called them his own and made a covenant with them. Now he is promising that through Moses, he will liberate them from slavery and give them a land flowing with milk and honey.

And that’s just the beginning! Over time, the God who exists beyond time will enter into time as a human being. Born of a virgin, he will grow up in a family and work as a tradesman in Nazareth. Eventually he will launch a public ministry of preaching and healing. Through his words and actions, he will show us who God is—a God who loves us unconditionally and has come to forgive and heal us. A God who is willing to die for us to liberate us from the slavery of sin and death so that we can live with him forever.

This is the same God who not only created you but who has entered into your own personal history! He is not just the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—he is your God as well. And through Jesus, you can know this mysterious, eternal God in an intimate way.

Today, spend some time meditating on God’s name: “I am who am.” Then stand in awe and thank your heavenly Father for making himself known to you through the very human face of Jesus.

“Father, I praise you for sending your Son so that I can know you in such a personal way.”

Conclude with 7 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.

Centering Prayer & Devotional – 7/15/21

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:

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.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: EXODUS 3:1-6, 9-12

Remove the sandals from your feet. (Exodus 3:5)

Nothing in Moses’ past could have prepared him for what was about to happen. Growing up in Pharaoh’s household, he may have heard tales of Abraham, but none of these stories would have been told in a way that stirred up faith. He knew that his own people had been slaves for centuries. So even if he had heard about the God of Israel intervening in his ancestors’ lives, that too would have seemed like tales from the ancient past.

It’s only natural, then, that Moses was awestruck when he saw the burning bush. Curious, he approached to find out more. That’s when he realized he was in God’s presence. Not only did he clearly hear God’s voice, but he could feel God’s holiness shining from the bush. So off came his shoes.

None of us have seen a burning bush as Moses did, but we still believe that God is present in us and with us. We can discern his presence in nature, in Scripture, in the sacraments, and even in the people around us. There are countless ordinary ways that God is present to us every day.

But sometimes, as he did with Moses, God does something extraordinary. He interacts with us in a more remarkable way. When that happens, you know it. You have a clear sense that God has pierced your heart, or set you on a new path, or convinced you of his presence in your life. In those experiences, you realize that you’re on holy ground because you know in your heart that God is there. You feel a sense of awe at God’s love, and that awe fills you with love for him and draws you to worship him. These are the kinds of experiences that change you.

You don’t have to have these kinds of experiences on a regular basis. God continues to work in your life every day—even when you “feel” nothing. Still, it never hurts to ask him to make his presence known to you in a powerful way. Quiet your heart and tell your loving Father in heaven that you are open to having him break into your ordinary life at any moment—even today, even now.

And keep those shoelaces loose!

“Holy God, help me to keep my heart open in case you want to surprise me today.”

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.

Centering Prayer & Devotional – 7/14/21

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:

Merciful God, we confess that we have often failed to be an obedient church. We have not done your will, we have broken your law, we have rebelled against your love. We have not loved our neighbors, and have refused to hear the cry of the needy. Forgive us, we pray, and free us for joyful obedience; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Bible Reading & Devotional:

DAILY MEDITATION: EXODUS 2:1-15

Moses fled . . . and stayed in the land of Midian. (Exodus 2:15)

Every superhero has an origin story. Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and became Spiderman. Steve Rogers was injected with a secret serum and morphed into Captain America. And Moses? Well, he was a killer and fugitive from justice when God called him to lead his people out of slavery.

That’s not exactly an auspicious start for one of the Bible’s greatest heroes, is it? We might even wonder why this part of Moses’ story was included in the Bible. Wouldn’t it have been better to gloss over the bad stuff and focus only on the good things he did?

Not in the least. In fact, the Bible is quite clear-eyed about Moses’ weaknesses as well as his strengths. We read how he faced down Pharaoh and led the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, but we also read about how many excuses he used to try to get out of his calling (Exodus 3:11–4:17). We read how he received the Ten Commandments from God, but we also read how he flew into a rage when he saw the people committing idolatry (32:15-28).

It’s not just Moses either. With the exception of the Virgin Mary and, of course, Jesus, virtually every hero or heroine in the Bible is shown to be a combination of strengths and weaknesses, of sin and righteousness. And that’s exactly the way it should be.

Why? Because the Bible is the story of how God called ordinary people—sinners just like us—to fulfill his plan of salvation. It’s the story of God pouring out his grace on everyday people to help them accomplish great things in his name.

For the next month, we’re going to be reading about Moses and his heroic exploits. As you read, be sure to remember where he came from and some of the ways he fell short of his calling. Remember that Moses was just like you—an imperfect person who cooperated with God’s grace—and that means you can become just like him—a servant who helps build the kingdom here on earth.

“Lord, teach me to welcome your grace so that I can do great things for you just as Moses did.”

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.

Oración centrada y devocional

Contemplative Prayer – Saint John Neumann

La Oración de Bienvenida para la Sanación – Oración Centrante (Por favor, tome conciencia de su estado interior y repita esta oración). Dios, doy la bienvenida a todo lo que me viene en este momento. Dios, sé que es para mi curación. Dios, doy la bienvenida a todos los pensamientos y emociones. Dios, dejo ir mi deseo de control. Dios, dejo ir mi deseo de aprobación. Dios, dejo ir mi deseo de cambiar a la gente. Dios, me abro a tu amor. Dios, me abro a tu gracia sanadora. Ahora inhalaremos lentamente por la nariz y luego exhalaremos lentamente por la boca mientras repetimos una palabra, “Amén”, 3 veces, mientras nos reenfocamos en nuestra Nueva Realidad Sobrenatural Jesús: Amén. Amén. Amén.

Confesión: La vida que disfrutamos en Ti vino como un regalo gratis, pero jugamos a hacer creer que podemos devolverte el dinero, como si eso fuera algo que Tú pediste o incluso fuera posible. Hemos convertido Tu regalo en una transacción y retrocedemos hacia la tumba de la cual fuimos salvados libremente. Pero en Tu gracia, caemos solo para encontrar que la tumba fue cerrada en la resurrección de Jesús. Perdónanos por esforzarnos por devolver el regalo de la vida que nos ganaste en la cruz. Siendo salvos y aceptados a través de Tu don gratuito, sigamos a Jesús y rebosantes de gratitud. En el nombre de Jesús oramos. Amén. Lectura de la Biblia y devocional:

MEDITACIÓN DIARIA: MATEO 10: 34-11: 1 No penséis que he venido a traer la paz. (Mateo 10:34)

¿No quiere Jesús que nos llevemos bien? Esa es una pregunta justa, dado el Evangelio de hoy. Sus palabras pueden sonar tan duras. ¿Realmente quiere que nos convirtamos en enemigos de la gente de nuestra propia casa? No. Pero aunque Jesús no quiere que andemos causando problemas, quiere que sepamos que hay ocasiones en las que seguirlo puede resultar en conflicto con sus seres queridos. Según los Padres del Vaticano II, se supone que la familia es “la iglesia doméstica”, el lugar donde se enseña la fe y se anima a crecer (Lumen Gentium, 11).

Pero todos tenemos familiares, cercanos o distantes, cuyas creencias religiosas y expectativas morales son diferentes a las nuestras. Entonces, si estamos tratando activamente de seguir a Jesús, no es de extrañar que a veces encontremos cierta resistencia en nuestros hogares. Muchos de los santos más grandes de la Iglesia experimentaron esto. Santa Catalina de Siena, por ejemplo, se resistió a los esfuerzos de sus padres para obligarla a casarse. La familia de Santo Tomás de Aquino lo encerró en una torre y contrató a una prostituta para tentarlo. Santa Clara de Asís se escapó de su casa para reunirse con San Francisco y rechazó los intentos de sus padres de traerla de regreso. Pero ninguno de estos héroes de la fe arremetió ni buscó venganza. Hicieron todo lo posible por amar y perdonar. Jesús nunca dice que no deberíamos amar a nuestra familia. De hecho, algunos de nuestros conflictos pueden ser el resultado de nuestro propio orgullo o falta de amor.

Pero cuando centramos nuestras vidas en Jesús y hacemos de servirle nuestra máxima prioridad, ¡él promete que podremos amar mejor a los miembros de nuestra familia! Seremos más indulgentes, más comprensivos y más pacientes cuando surjan conflictos. No siempre es fácil vivir juntos en paz. A veces causamos los conflictos y otras veces no. Pero si estás tratando de seguir a Jesús, él encontrará la manera de sacar el bien de cualquier situación. Así que ore por su propia fe y por la fe de sus seres queridos, y confíe en que con Dios todo es posible. ¡Incluso aceptación, cambio, conversión y reconciliación! “Jesús, ayúdame a ser fiel a tu ley de amor”.

Concluya con 5 minutos de oración en silencio

El Padre Nuestro (reza lentamente esto) Padre nuestro que estás en los cielos, santificado sea tu nombre. Venga tu reino, hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada día. Y perdónanos nuestras ofensas, como también nosotros perdonamos a los que nos ofenden. Y no nos metas en tentación, mas líbranos del maligno. Porque tuyo es el reino, el poder y la gloria para siempre. Amén.

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