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October 11, 2017 – A Prayer on the Presence of Darkness

October 11, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I spoke with a friend over the weekend who said that she wondered if the increase in the degree of the catastrophes within nature had been augmented by the negative energy among the people of the world.  Here within the US there is severe contentiousness between one-half of the country against the other.  The views have little room for compromise.  The arguments between the groups are incendiary.  There are flippant threats of nuclear war between Trump and Kim Jong Un of North Korea.  There is the ineffective response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean islands, leaving many of the people without potable water and little food.  There are increasing revelations of Russia’s hacking the 2016 of the US election, and continuing reports of corruption of the President’s cabinet.  Certainly there are numerous sources of negative energy.

While I am inclined to give more credit to the scientific theories of the rise of the temperature of the oceans in contributing to the increase in the severity of the hurricanes, I certainly agree that there is a great sense of dis-ease within our country and the world.  I can feel that negative energy within myself, and even if it doesn’t impact natural forces, I don’t want to let that poison fester within me.

Lord Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace

A Prayer on the Presence of Darkness

Mother-Father,

Poison and venom
Circulate through the spiritual veins
Of our people.
It is hardening
Within the mindsets
of an inordinate number.
It is withering
Our soul as individuals,
As well as that of our nation.
I want to purge
My soul of this evil
I want to work
As an “instrument of Your peace”.
Help me to eliminate
Thoughts of hatred,
Vengeance,
Revenge
And let Your love
Restore my soul
And let me walk in Your light.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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October 6, 2017 – A Prayer for a Grandfather in Puerto Rico

October 6, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

My wife and I took our son Johnny to have outpatient surgery yesterday at Children’s Hospital.  We waited in line to check in at the same-day surgery desk.  While waiting I heard the young receptionist mention that she was from Puerto Rico.  When our turn came and we had given her the required information, I told her what I had overheard in her exchange with the family before me.  She said that her grandfather, Roberto, still lived in Arroyo, Puerto Rico.  He had a land line and was able to get one phone call through to his family some weeks ago.  I told her that I would pray for him.  Now, the crisis in Puerto Rico is personal and has a face for me, because I had assembled in the line of the young woman from Puerto Rico.  I am grateful for the “coincidence”.

Grandfather-granddaughter

Mother-Father

It takes so little
To open one’s heart
For people who are struggling
With the after effects
Of a natural calamity.
Because of Monique
I learned that
There was an older man,
Her grandfather,
Who loved her,
Separated by thousands of miles
And an ocean.
May you protect Roberto
Of Arroyo, Puerto Rico.
May he survive the devastation
That battered his island.
May he maintain his health
And live to see
His granddaughter once again,
To hold her in his arm’s
And whisper,
“Te amo, nieta.”
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

October 4, 2017 – A Prayer on Survivor Guilt

October 4, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

Recent weeks have been filled with uninterrupted broadcasts of natural calamities, mass shootings in Las Vegas, along with the increased inhumanity of the President.  It has caused me a sense of weariness, along with survivor guilt.  I pray for those affected by the hurricanes.  At the same time I have found it necessary to avoid watching the continuous loop of video depicting the tragedies.

Hurricane Devastation

A Prayer on Survivor Guilt

Mother- Father,

We have witnessed
The force,
Power,
And Devastation caused by
The severe storms,
wind,
and earthquakes
Which have battered
Texas,
Florida,
Mexico,
Puerto Rico,
Virgin Islands,
And others in the Caribbean.

We have witnessed
Acts of courage and compassion
As communities pull together
To save family members, neighbors and friends.
We join in rejoicing
For victims saved,
While grieving the loss of life.

Inexplicable thoughts
Course through my mind
As I live a day in mild weather
Contrasted with those who suffer
The aftermath of crippling disasters.
I can turn the TV off
But others must
Survive without clean water,
Food,
Shelter, or
Electricity.

I can’t rationalize my comfort
With the suffering of others
Living miles away.
I can’t fathom
The inhumanity
Of a President
Who blames the Puerto Rican people
For having the gall too
Have their island lie in the path of
A Category 5 hurricane.
I can’t accept the cruelty
Wielded against
The defenseless.
May Your Love
Peace
Compassion, and
Mercy
Surround all those who are suffering
Around the world.
May You hear their cries
And bring them
To safety.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

September 30, 2017 – Our Father Who Art in Puerto Rico

September 30, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I haven’t been able to get the crisis in Puerto Rico off my mind.

Puerto Rican Despair

A Prayer: Our Father Who Art in Puerto Rico

Our Father,
Who art in Puerto Rico
Holy are Your people.
May Your kingdom come
To their salvation
Your will for their survival be done
On the island as it is on the mainland.
Give them this day
Their daily bread, water and hope
And forgive the government’s disregard
As the Puerto Rican people forgive
Those who are distracted by trivialities.
Lead us not
Into the temptation of indifference
But deliver them
From death, disease, and despair.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

 

September 23, 2017 – A Prayer for a Homeless Man

September 29, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

I woke up early today to meet a friend for coffee before he needed to head off for work.  We started this ritual years ago before my retirement, and have continued it through the present time.  After we commiserated about our city’s football team’s latest loss, I told him that my subjects for prayer have really decreased since my retirement.  I am less frequently out in the public engaging with colleagues and students, which often allowed me the opportunity to see God’s hand in someone’s life, or a place where God’s presence was needed.  Today was different.

In Cincinnati our weather has been extremely hot over the last week, with temperatures hitting the high 80’s to low 90’s.  Yesterday we had a break in the weather with temperatures dropping into the 40’s during the evening.  On my way to meet my friend, I cut through a parking lot and saw a man, walking  before sunrise, with a blanket wrapped around him.  I concluded that he must have been homeless, out in the elements throughout the night.

Homeless Man

A Prayer for a Homeless Man,

Mother- Father,

He walked
His solitary line
Wrapped in a blanket
Against the chill.
What was his night like?
What would he find on this day?
Will he stand
At the corner of an intersection
Holding his handmade sign
His message scrawled
On leftover cardboard?
Who would see him?
Who would make eye contact with him?
Who would curse him?
Who would distrust him,
Locking their car doors?
Who would offer him change or dollars?
And what would the day be like
for each of those
Who crossed his path?
How would they go on to greet the day?
Would they remember
Their brother
His empty stomach
Or the cry of his addiction?
Who would think of him,
Pray for him,
Or wish him survival?
How will I react to him
When I am caught at a traffic light?
Will I “kiss the leper”
Or maintain tunnel vision
Until the light turns green?
Help me, God to see
All people as my family.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

September 28, 2017 – A Prayer for Puerto Rico

September 28, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

It has been over a week since Hurricane Maria battered the island of Puerto Rico as well as other islands in the Caribbean.  Half of the people don’t have clean drinking water available to them.  The island has no electricity.  Hospitals are running on generators.  Resources are not being distributed to the people.  The country is failing its responsibility to aid in the wake of a natural disaster.

Puerto Rico

A Prayer for Puerto Rico

Mother- Father,

Floods and high winds
Have battered the island of Puerto Rico.
In its wake
The hurricane has left the people
With little water, food, or power.
Survival is a challenge.
I sit
In my home
Helpless
To heal the situation
That displays itself
On my tv screen.
Where are those,
The people in power,
Who hold the purse strings,
The authority,
To order the power of the country
To save the people
From death.
Where is the compassion?
Where is the mercy?
Where is the humanity
That will respond to
The cry of the poor?
Move hearts
Move minds
To action
For our brothers, sisters, and children.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom

 

September 23, 2017 – A Prayer on Finding Time for You

September 24, 2017

Dear Family and Friends,

Please take a moment to pray.

In speaking with a small group of men this morning, I realized that these six years of my retirement have progressed through fits and starts.  For so many years I was on a strict schedule, rising at 5:30, getting to school, completing my daily tasks and making plans on how to progress toward long-range goals, then returning home in the evening to shift into my role as a husband and father, supervising homework, cleaning the kitchen, relaxing for a while until it was time to crash.  The next day I would repeat the same routine.  I was on autopilot mode.  I didn’t make a point of inviting You into my day, because it was chock full of a multitude of duties and responsibilities.  When I retired, my day’s external structure was removed and I have had a more difficult time creating my own structure on the day.  I’m not complaining about having free time, but I do need to consider how to make You a part of it and to use my time wisely.

Hourglass

A Prayer on Finding Time for You

Mother- Father,

I had no time
For You
When I was a young man
With a young family
A busy schedule
And a series of sports practices
For which I was a taxi driver.
There was homework to do
Games to attend
Doctor visits
Therapy appointments
Teacher conferences,
And little down time.
Days repeated themselves
And piled upon one another
Until they grew
Into months
Years,
Decades.

Now there is time
to reconnect
And I don’t know how.
I’m not expecting miracles.
Just trying to put
One foot in front of another
And take a step closer to You.
Hoping that my mind will drift
Toward You
In the spaces of my days.
Fill my heart
with Your presence
And an awareness
Of You
By my side.
Amen.

Peace,

Tom