A BIRTHDAY PRAYER
O God, I thank You for giving me another year of life.
I thank You for all the people who have remembered me today, and who have sent me cards and letters, good wishes and presents.
I thank You for everything which I have been abled by You to do and to be in the past year.
I thank You for all the experiences of the past year;
For times of success which will always be happy memories;
For times of failure which reminded me of my own weakness and of my need of You;
For times of joy when the sun was shining;
For times of sorrow which drove me to You.
For the hours I have wasted;
For the chances I failed to take;
For the opportunities I missed in the past year.
Forgive me for not making of life all that I might have made of it and could have made of it; and help me in the days which lie ahead to make this the best year yet, and in it to bring credit to myself, happiness to my loved ones, and joy to You.
This I ask for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
– From Prayers for Special Occasions, Fr William Barclay
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Suppose one of you should go to a friend’s house at midnight and say, ‘Friend, let me borrow three loaves of bread. A friend of mine who is on a trip has just come to my house and I don’t have any food for him!’. And suppose your friend should answer from inside, ‘Don’t bother me! The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’
“Well, what then? I tell you that even if he will not get up and give you the bread because you are his friend, yet he will get up and give you everything you need because you are not ashamed to keep on asking.
“And so I say to you: Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For those who ask will receive, and those who seek will find and the door will be opened to anyone who knocks.
“Would any of you who are fathers give your son a snake when he asks for fish? Or would you give him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? As bad as you are, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more, then, will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
– The Gospel of Luke, 11:5-13
(Good News Bible)
He tests with every Station
lessons that hurt and wound
and yet he lets them
bite us with illness and destruction
betrayal and deceit
around our helplessness
in fits, like old-man spit
a life crumbling
apart, to fulfil a story
of a man and a cross.
And then you die.
27 July 2010
“O God our Father, today we are remembering all the ways by which you brought us to this present hour, and we thank you for every step of it.
We thank you for every experience which has come to us, because we know that in it and through it all you have been loving us with an everlasting love.
For gladness and for grief; for sorrow and for joy; for laughter and for tears; for silence and for song; We thank you O God.
That you have kept us in our going out and our coming in.
That you have enabled us to do our work, and to earn our living.
For friends who are still closer to us, and for loved ones who are still more dear.
We thank you O God.
And today, as we remember the passing years, we thank you most of all for Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever. Help us to go on, certain that, as you have blessed the past, so the future is also forever in your hands.
– Prof. William Barclay, Scottish Theologian, 1907-1978
BITTERNESS AN INFECTIOUS DISEASE
“We must have the courage
to pray to have the courage to accept.
Because we do not pray enough, we see only the
We don’t see the divine,
And we resent it.
I think that much of the misunderstanding of suffering today
comes from that,
from resentment and bitterness.
Bitterness is an infectious disease,
an anger hidden inside.”
– Mother Teresa of Calcutta, 1919-1997
“Pray with great confidence, with confidence based upon the goodness and infinite generosity of God and upon the promises of Jesus Christ. God is a spring of living water which flows unceasingly into the hearts of those who pray.”
– Saint Louis de Montfort (1673-1716)
In the Gospel of St Luke, Jesus is clearly described as a ‘healer’.
1 He cast out an evil spirit from a man (Luke 4: 31-37)
2 He healed many people including the mother-in-law of Simon his disciple who had a high fever – he stood at her bedside and ordered the fever to leave her and she rose at once. (Luke 4: 38-41)
3 He healed a man suffering from a dreaded skin disease. The man said: ‘Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean’. Jesus replied: ‘I do want to. Be clean!’ (Luke 5: 12-14)
4 He healed a paralysed man – the one who had to be lowered through the roof in his bed; Jesus said to him: ‘I tell you, get up, pick up your bed, and go home!’
(Luke 5: 17-25)
5 He healed a man with a paralysed hand – ‘stretch out your hand’ he told him, and his hand became well again. (Luke 6: 6-10)
6 He healed a large crowd of people who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. ‘All the people tried to touch him, for power was going out from him and healing them all.’ (Luke 6: 17-19)
7 He healed a Roman officer’s servant who was very sick – the officer had so much faith, he asked Jesus not to bother to come to his house. Jesus was amazed at his faith. His servant was healed. (Luke 7: 1-10)
8 He raised a widow’s son from the dead in the town of Naim. Jesus was moved with great pity at the funeral procession because the dead man was the widow’s only son. Luke says: ‘When the Lord saw her, his heart was filled with pity for her and he said to her, Don’t cry.’ Jesus gave him back to his mother. (Luke 7: 11-16)
9 He healed many women of evil spirits and diseases including Mary Magdalene (Luke 8: 1-3)
10 He healed a man possessed by demons – a very dramatic episode where the demons were driven out of the man and into a herd of pigs (Luke : 26-39)
11 He healed Jairus’ daughter who was only 12 and dying – she was said to be dead in her bed but Jesus raised her up, saying ‘Get up, child!’ Then he ordered that she be given something to eat (Luke 8: 40-56)
12 He healed a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years – she was healed when she touched the edge of his cloak in a crowd. He called her his ‘daughter’, saying her faith had made her whole. (Luke 8: 43-48)
13 He healed a boy with an evil spirit – he had epilepsy and was foaming at the mouth – Luke says ‘Jesus healed the boy and gave him back to his father’ (Luke 9: 37-43)
14 He healed a crippled woman who was bent double – ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘you are free from your sickness.’ (Luke 13: 10-14)
15 He healed a sick man whose legs and arms were swollen and he was accused of healing on the Sabbath by his enemies (Luke 14: 1-6)
16 He healed 10 men suffering from a dreaded skin disease who called out loudly to Jesus asking for his mercy. All were healed but only one came back running to thank him – throwing himself at the feet of Jesus. (Luke 17: 11-19)
17 He healed the blind beggar of Jericho who called out: ‘Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!’ Luke says Jesus asked the man ‘what do you want me to do for you?’ The man said ‘Sir, I want to see again.’ And Jesus said: ‘Then see! Your faith has made you well.’ (Luke 18: 35-43)
27 July 2012
A gloom hung about over her head like a constant grey cloud nothing like a hangover but more a sense of, well, gloom since the prognosis
A sense of her cross coming shortly to its end
A sense of doom
And always when her head hung heavy with a burden she couldn’t handle like when she couldn’t bring herself to face the day she would turn to Him
When she couldn’t bear to face the day
And only then would she turn to the man hung on a cross seeking His mediation – it was when she no longer could, well, face the day
The man hanging too on a cross
The one she trusted over and over and now yet again who would reach down to say, come
It is going to be all right, hang in with me
Giving her something to grasp at, a tortured arm to cling to, to trust that there was nothing in all the pain
Nothing at all in the pain
The pain that was an illusion
© Millicent Danker
27 March 2013
“The beauty and preciousness of life is intimately linked with its fragility and mortality.” – Henri Nouwen (from With Burning Hearts)
Wrestling with restless pain or ache
of limb or head or toe
Tossed about on strange bed linen
cold duvet and pillow
Eyes that shut yet stay awake
flitting from friend to foe
Pricked conscience now aroused
where moral standards fell below
Storm clouds looming thick and dark
provoked by night-light glow
Evil lurking, self-hating
Temptation at the door
Clock ticking on the hour!
Elusive sleep’s almighty power
God summoned by then
His angels descend
bringing soft consoling cheer
rocking baby Jesus, near
3 March 2013