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December 6, 2017 – A Prayer on a Simple Gift

December 6, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

Our daughter Monica is a 34 year old woman with Mental illness and Mental retardation. She has had a life more than full of heartbreak and disappointment.  Still, if anyone knows how to keep the spirit of Christmas within her, it is Monica.  She buys Christmas presents for my wife and I, as well as all of her brothers and sister.  It will always be something that doesn’t cost too much, as that is all that her limited funds will permit.   For me, it is usually a bottle of Tabasco sauce or a bag of sunflower seeds; for her brothers it may be their favorite candy bar.  For her Mom, Monica always tries to buy her a tin of her favorite Hazelnut Coffee.  She was out shopping for this today, and the store that she was visiting didn’t have the exact brand that she was looking for, but the clerk gave her another brand of coffee for free.  I’m sure that Monica told the person about her mother and what she was trying to get for her.  I’d like to believe that Monica’s simple belief in Christmas touched the heart of the clerk who purchased it for her.  Monica’s gift was truly from her heart.

Simple Gift

A Prayer on a Simple Gift

Mother- Father,

Monica,
Our child
With the double whammy
Of a dual diagnosis.
She has suffered
through the years
Through her inability
To manage her emotions
Amid the travails
Of daily life.
Still, she has kept alive
The hope
Of making someone else happy
Through a sincere gift
From the heart.
It is her simple gift
That touches
One’s heart
So deeply.
May this story
Of her act of giving
Bring joy to others,
As it has to me.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

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November 16, 2017 – A Prayer for Peace

November 16, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I was looking at a list of holiday movies that I might want to view this season.  I came upon the name of a French film called “Joyeux Noel”.  It described an unauthorized, informal truce during World War I on Christmas Eve 1914.  German, French and British troops laid down their guns and met each other in No Man’s Land to share a pause with a moment of brotherhood.

Christmas Truce

A Prayer for Peace

Mother- Father,

Remembering the ceasefire of 1914
Provides a glimmer of hope
In a shattered world
Where war and conflict
Continue endlessly
Over our planet.
What would it mean
To stop
The conflict
The killing
The hatred
The violence?

Help me
To purge
That same evil
That exists
In any degree
From my own soul.

“Let there be peace on earth,”
Shouldn’t be a song
That bears no relationship
To reality.
Let it be a guiding principle
For all people.

Let peace rule
Over every city
Every town
Every village
And hamlet.
Let all persons
Feel safe in their dwellings.
Let them watch
Their children grow
With freedom from fear.

Heal those victims
Of global violence,
Scars of physical,
Emotional injuries.
Let us turn our backs on
Hatred
Division
Revenge
Greed.
Let us stand together
As one human family
In peace.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

November 15, 2017 – A Prayer for Struggling Children

November 16, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I have been listening to too much news and it has been unhealthy.  Alabama is on the verge of electing a pedophile to the US Senate, the people in Puerto Rico still struggle to survive without much concern from the government, and the Congress is trying to figure out how to raise taxes on the middle class so that they can give tax cuts to the uber-wealthy and corporations.  All of these actions, and so many more, fly in the face of my foundational belief that we people who share this planet are one family and are called to care and protect one another.

In spite of my current bout of depression about the state of the country/world, I can look at other aspects of my life and give thanks.  As the best holiday inches closer, it seems appropriate to reflect on the gift that my children have been to me and how they have shaped my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Prayer for Struggling Children

Mother- Father,

I am grateful.

I need to leap
from one moment
To the next
Carrying that spirit of gratitude
Deep within my heart.

I am privileged.

I am married
To a loving wife
Who is a spiritual, loving friend,
Who has her priorities in life
Well founded.

Eight children have been given to us.

Some of our children
Have disabilities.
They have struggled
Through days of
Loneliness,
Despair,
And hopelessness,
Living with demons
Of mental retardation,
Mental illness,
And drug addiction.

Still, they have survived.

They continue to reach
For days close to normalcy.
They do their best.
I believe that You must be proud
Of their perseverance
Despite the many times
They have fallen into episodes
of self-destructive actions.

We remain their parents,

Loving them
Hopefully, as You do,
Continuing to attempt to help them
And provide them
The gift of family.

I have learned much

About life,
And reluctantly travelled down paths that
Many would choose to avoid,
From these children of mine.
They have been
The best teachers.
To love them
Through the darkness,
To pray for them
Through their defeats
To bless them
Despite their faults.

They are mine.

Amen.

Peace,

Tom

November 12, 2017 – A Prayer on Justice

November 12, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I have been remiss in praying, both internally as well as in written form.  I have been too often gripped with the destructive politics of the present day.  I have witnessed the frequent lying, corruption, and injustice of the present administration and I am filled with disgust.  Needless to say, it hasn’t put me in a mood to pray.  I guess this is where evil spreads its poison around.

Justice

A Prayer on Justice

Mother- Father,

Give us leaders
Who act
To help others,
To protect the environment
Of which we are stewards.
Give us men and women
Who will insure
That the hungry are fed
The sick are treated
The homeless are provided shelter,
And that we live in peace
With our neighbors
Around the globe.
Give us strength
To persevere
Despite the actions
Of those who try
To legislate theft from the many
To give to the few.
Let us stand for justice
For our citizens,
With respect and dignity
For all.

Peace,

Tom

November 2, 2017 – A Prayer on Activism in One’s Elder Years

November 2, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

In the last few weeks I have driven the widow of the hospice man I had visited to the grocery.  She had experienced neuropathy in her foot, and didn’t feel secure in driving her car.  She has planned to have her car refitted with hand controls.

Connie is an 80 year old former nun who is a true advocate for issues of social justice.  She participates in a religious coalition that works toward making a difference in the lives of our vulnerable neighbors.  She is an inspiration to me.

Social Activism

Mother-Father,

“What do you do
With your time?”
A question
Giving rise to embarrassment.
I witness
An octogenarian
Working unceasingly
To make the world a better place.
How can I learn
To work for others?
To see injustice
And work to correct it?
How can I get off the couch
And engage in
“Being the change”
I wish to see?
How do I follow St. Francis’ words
To be an instrument of Your peace,
To learn that it is
In giving that we receive.
Will I ever shed
This proclivity for comfort?
Will I choose a life
That blesses others?
Help me to see You
In the faces
Of the immigrant,
The aged,
The disabled,
The outcast,
The rejected,
The poor,
The addict,
The mentally ill,
And all of Your children
Living on the margins.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

 

October 25, 2017 – A Prayer on Neurotic Fear

October 25, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

Our family purchased a new car yesterday, and, being the neurotic soul that I am, I couldn’t experience the joy of appreciating our new ride.  It’s not like we buy cars frequently.  Our trade-in was a 2004 model, which had served us well over the years and taken us on memorable vacations as a family. But the onset of certain rattles and clattles, prompted us to replace the minivan before we became mired in a sea of unending repairs.  It was time to avoid that cycle.

Fear

A Prayer on Neurotic Fear

Mother- Father,

I am,
by nature,
wired weirdly.
I have somehow
equated money
with security and love.
Taking on a massive expenditure,
shakes me
to the core,
to the extent
that I have put present joy
on the shelf,
until the storm of debt
has moved on from me
and packed away.

I hate this
Aspect of my personality,
and the lesson
it has been to our children,
and the lost years
spent in
surrendering and postponing
every lifegiving moment.

Lord, help me
to let go of my fears and worries,
remembering the “lilies of the field.”
Let me live in gratitude
for the gift of today,
and the promise of tomorrow.
May I be cognizant
of Your eternal blessings
on this one beautiful life.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

October 24, 2017 – A Prayer on the Recurrence of Cancer

October 24, 2017

 

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

My wife Sue has had a longstanding battle with breast cancer for over twenty-five years.  Originally diagnosed in 1992, she remained cancer-free for eighteen years, until a reccurrence was identified in 2010.  Treatment was “successful” then, only for the cancer to reappear on two other occasions.  She currently is in treatment again.

Pink Ribbon

A Prayer on the Recurrence of Cancer

Mother- Father,
My wife,
Her body
Your temple,
Was attacked
Again
By evil intruders
Threatening to establish
A beachhead
Within her.
She has begun
to engage in battle
To repel
Those forces.
She awaits
Word of recent scans
To show whether or not,
Her treatment has been effective
In restoring her health.

This chronic illness,
Has always remained
A cloud over our heads.
Lurking in the shadows
Primed to snatch
Life’s delight.
Yet, her focus has been
To appreciate every day
As gift.
To love deeply,
Smile frequently
And squeeze joy
From every beautiful moment,
However, simple.

My God,
Teach me
To learn from her example,
To dispense
With the worries
Over trivialities
Instead, focusing on
The true reason
Of our existence,
To give our love
Abundantly
To our human family.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom