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Showing posts from September, 2011

Ten Freedoms, or Ten Blessings

It's only about every three years that one of the readings assigned to be read in church is the Ten Commandments, and this Sunday is one of those Sundays. The Ten Commandments (Exodus chapter 20, verses 1-14) are among the most famous and important not only in the Old Testament, but in all religious literature. If you're like most people, you probably can't recite them in order...or even remember all ten. Even if you can recite all ten, and in order, I'll bet your impression of them is that you think they are "old" or stodgy requirements...restrictions placed on our freedom. There's something in us all that bristles at the idea of being told "what not to do," even if, at some level, we agree. But -- as I hope to point out in my sermon on Sunday -- I think we can take a fresh look at the Ten Commandments, and see them as the Ten Blessings, or Ten Promises, or Ten Freedoms. Think of a four-way stop near your home. Pi

What to remember when having That Kind of Week

Is it just me -- just us around the Church Office having an unusually packed and stress-full week -- or is there something in the air? Some wider contagion of low-level irritability that's around? You know, the kind of grumpiness that stems from overtiredness...the powerless feeling you get when there's no one thing you can put your finger on that is causing your over busy-ness, combined with the prickly feeling you get from the realization that there's no one thing that you can do or change to make it go you just have to power on. That feeling. You know it? Am I onto something here? It's similar to another feeling that seems prevalent this time of year, which is the "Let Me Just Get Through ___________" attitude. You know, "Let me just get through this big meeting...let me just get through this conference...let me just get through this event...let me just get through this week, this weekend..." and THEN everything

A New Good Way to Pray

For many of us, the start of a new program and school year feels like more of a “New Year” than January 1. For many of us, back-to-school time is also back-to-routine time, back-to-church time, back-to-exercise time. For anyone who is open to a fresh approach to prayer, I have a gift for you today. Here is a way of praying offered by Dennis Hamm, S.J.* that I find very useful, and powerful. Hamm’s five-step prayer, which takes only about 15 to 20 minutes a day, is a version of the “Daily Examen” which St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote in the 1550s. Here are the five steps, and below that, a few more words about why I like, and recommend you try, this way of praying. 1. Pray for light. Recall you are in the presence of God. This is a time to be still in the presence of God; you are not daydreaming, or merely reminiscing, but looking for how the Spirit of God is leading you. Pray for illumination, for a graced understanding. “Lord, help me understand this blooming, buzzing confusion