"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—declares the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope." - Jeremiah 29:11
How did they do that? The side of the building was a mosaic of stone and bricks. But it wasn't a random mosaic; there was a pattern to it. How did they create the perfect pattern of curved and crisscrossed lines on this vertical plane? Much artistic ingenuity and foresight was necessary to ensure that the lines crossed at precisely the right location when the masonry work occurred.
Having everything in place and executing as planned can result in an amazing feat. God works like that in you. With His plan, and your obedience, you can achieve anything. If you wander from the path sketched out for you, and don't pull yourself back in line, you will not reach the end result that God has in mind for you.
Chart the course. Stay in line. And follow the path laid out for you.
Dear God, thank you for knowing the plans for me and for guiding me along the way of those plans. Amen.
"Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves ... " - Philippians 2:3
Our pastor tried hard to ensure the faithful received the sacraments on a daily basis by offering them outdoors last spring during the pandemic. We were told to walk single-file, pace ourselves along six foot markers placed in the school parking lot, and took turns to ensure social distancing as we crisscrossed through the crosswalks. It was a beautifully orchestrated procession that worked with the finest military precision.
But it didn't come without its share of scolding, snapping, and correcting when we stepped out of the well-calculated route. The gentleman who monitored the crowd was there every day in his school crossing guard attire, keeping an eagle's eye on everyone's movement, offering correction when needed.
You couldn't help but notice this man's presence. He was very intent and purposeful in keeping the lines moving and flowing without interruption. Every day, day in and day out, seven days a week, he was there. "He must be a good school crossing guard," I often thought to myself, thinking that this was probably his real profession under normal circumstances because of the great care and concern he showed for the people and the process. One day I stopped to thank him for his continual daily service. He gratefully acknowledged me and stated that "some days are better than others."
I was humbled to learn a few months later that the good gentleman in the school crossing guard attire was actually the school principal; but the greater humility was shown by the gentleman who humbled himself to do the work that needed to be done at that time.
O God, thank you for showing me the humbleness of others, and guide me to be more like them. Amen.
"Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." - James 1:2-3
Our life's road is full of many obstacles. Some we can avoid; some we have to detour around; and some just hit us right in the face.
With God as our guide, our faith is made stronger as our crooked road is made straight and each obstruction is cleared from our path.
What obstacles have you stumbled upon?
Dear God, thank you for being my navigator as I steer through my life's journey with You. Amen.
"... the Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' " - 1 Corinthians 11:23-24
The priest held the Host in his hands. He bent over the paten to get closer to his Beloved. He lovingly gazed at Him, caressed Him with his fingers, and slowly and gently uttered the words of consecration. "This IS my body ..."
Then the priest took the Chalice in his hands. He peered into the depths of the cup. He fixed his eyes on His blood, which had been shed for him and for us. He intently spoke the words of consecration as he swirled His blood within the cup. "This IS the Chalice of my blood ..."
Witnessing this priest during the Eucharistic Prayer was a powerful, life-changing experience. He was no longer "present" to the congregation, but was supernaturally elevated between Heaven and earth. He was One with Jesus, and Jesus was One with him.
And we were all beneficiaries of the encounter.
Lord Jesus, sanctify Your priests. Amen.
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" - John 14:6
We are connected. We are plugged in. Our electricity runs through us to Him and Him to us. It is a two-way connection. If the connection is broken, the energy stops flowing.
Fortify your connection. Tighten your fittings. Stay grounded.
Guiding Spirit, charge me with the surge of your Love. Amen.
"Lift up your heads, O gates; be lifted, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter." - Psalm 24:7
This sign is all too familiar lately as services shut down and businesses close due to the pandemic.
Have you shut down? Have you closed your heart and mind to God's love and mercy?
King of Glory, my doors are open for business in Your kingdom. Enter the store of my heart, and fill my waiting shelves with Your grace. Amen.
" 'Do not be afraid; just have faith.' " - Mark 5:36
What's hiding under this cloth? Our imagination goes into overdrive as we conjure up all of the possibilities that we think the cloth could be hiding.
What are you hiding? We all hide something, whether it is big or small. Maybe we don't want others to see our true personality, a trial we are going through at home, or a birthday party we are planning for a friend.
But God sees all. He sees through and under our "cloth". All of our secrets are laid bare. Go to Him. Do not be afraid. There is nothing you can hide from Him.
Merciful Father, you know me inside and out. Give me the courage and the strength to share with you all that is hidden within me. Amen.
"... yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are and through whom we exist." - 1 Corinthians 8:6
Have you ever been around someone who denies the presence of God? Take them into a Catholic church and you can see their anxiety as they can't wait to get out of the building.
How do they justify the beauty of creation: the sun, the moon, the stars, the hills, and the valleys? How do they justify the reason for the good and the bad in their life? How do they justify the joy of a newborn or the hope in a death?
Am I doing my part to be a spokesperson for Jesus Christ? Do I continue to show them the places that are uncomfortable to them as I witness to Jesus Christ?
Most Faithful Jesus, help those with unbelief to believe, and help those with belief to lead. Amen.
"Never permit me to be separated from You." - from an Act of Spiritual Communion by Saint Alphonsus Ligouri
As the sun sets on another day, I ponder the trials of today for me, for our country, and for our world in these uncertain pandemic times. I dream of a better tomorrow, and I am certain that You will be there then as You are there now.
I am one with You and You are one with me. You will never separate from me, and You will never permit me to be separated from You. We are inseparable.
Thank you, Jesus, for reaching out to me during those times when I failed to reach out to You. Thank you for showing me Your beauty and Your love. Thank you for life and learning, for fears and mercy, for hardships and joys.
Thank you, Jesus, for bending Your ear to me during those times when I reached out to You. Thank you for seeing my tears and my love. Thank you for listening and sharing, for helping and caring, for being my shining light.
Thank you, my Jesus. I love You above all things.
We’re called to trust where God is taking us even if we’re scared and don’t know where we’re going. As Catholics, we turn to God in times of fear and uncertainty as we do in times of joy and celebration. Let’s join together as we pray for God’s heart of love, mercy, and truth to dwell in us and show us how to face the challenges posed by the new coronavirus.
Pray for people who are infected with COVID-19 or facing quarantine.
Jesus, during Your ministry on Earth You showed Your power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need Your loving touch because of COVID-19. May they feel Your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses.
Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”. —Philippians 4:6 (NIV)
Pray for people at higher risk of developing the disease.
Dear Lord, we lift to You our concern for people who are more likely than others to become severely ill from COVID-19 — the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. Protect them from harm and be their comfort in this time of uncertainty and, for many, preventive isolation from loved ones.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you”. —1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Pray for medical professionals, caregivers, and researchers responsible for fighting the new coronavirus.
God, as more people get sick, healthcare workers and first responders are working longer hours with fewer supplies and with more risk of contracting the new coronavirus themselves. Renew their energy and sustain them on long shifts. Bring Your protection upon them as they work with patients. Multiply their supplies so they have the protective items needed to stay safe on the job.
Inspire and invigorate the research doctors developing better tests to diagnose the virus, create vaccines to prevent it, and identify protocols to eliminate the disease’s spread.
“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me”. —Psalm 23:4 (NIV)
Pray for leaders responsible for making decisions about the new coronavirus.
Father, we seek Your wisdom daily. Be with people making decisions that affect the lives and futures of our families, communities, countries, and the wider world. We pray that they communicate clearly, truthfully, and calmly — with each other and with the public — and that their messages are received and heeded. May truth and empathy be the touchstones of people setting policies for our protection.
“He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers …”—2 Corinthians 1:10-11 (NIV)
Pray for business owners and families facing financial stress.
Jesus, we thank You for Your faithfulness in how you have guided and equipped people in their jobs and have provided in the past. It can be scary and overwhelming not knowing how bills and obligations will be met or to not be able to provide for families. As people feel financial strain during the uncertainty, bring them comfort and peace, reminding them that You are there for them. Provide for them in their times of need.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”. —John 14:27 (NIV)
Pray for grocery store workers and delivery drivers.
Lord, we are so grateful for all the people who continue to work each day so that people are able to eat. We ask that You bless and protect them as they serve. Give them grace to handle disgruntled customers during supplies shortages. Keep their bodies healthy as they unload and stock boxes of supplies. Keep their cars and trucks running smoothly as they deliver needed supplies and food people have ordered online. And please protect them all from contracting the new coronavirus.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness”. —Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)
Pray for the disease to stop spreading.
Almighty God, we know that everything is in Your sovereign control. We ask that You keep this new coronavirus from continuing to spread. Give government officials the ability to safely handle people arriving from other countries. Help people decide to stay home instead of traveling or going out needlessly. Holy Spirit, remind people to wash their hands properly. And while it may be heartbreaking, comfort families as they decide to keep their distance from elderly or other high-risk family members.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea …” —Psalm 46:1-2 (NIV)
Photo by Anuja Mary Tilj on Unsplash
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