Early in the morning of January 7th, at the conclusion of the congressional joint session that affirmed the electoral college results, the Senate chaplain, Barry C. Black (a Seventh-day Adventist minister and retired Navy rear admiral), closed the session with prayer
Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.
These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.
Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image.
You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.
Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.
Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God bless America. We pray in your sovereign name. Amen.
At the bedside of an actively dying person with their family and friends gathered in the room, one of the points I often make is the share the stories of their loved ones life. The stories that make you laugh, long, love, roll-your-eyes and all the ones in between. There is wisdom and wonder if the stories told. And everyone has a lifetime of stories that should not be lost.
Today I ran across one of those stories. And so I share with you an article by Jim Slatter of the Associated Press on the passing of the last Civil War widow.
Note: every Saturday for the next 20 or so weeks, I will re-post a series on St. Francis of Assisi. I hope you find the series engaging and fruitful in your spiritual life.
Every year – or so it seems – very good biographies of St. Francis of Assisi are published. The ones published in the last 10 years all share some great qualities: readable and increasingly historical – introducing the “real” St Francis of Assisi to the world.
You might ask why I say the “real” St Francis? Did you know that statues of St Francis are the second most popular lawn/garden ornament sold every year – right behind pink flamingos. Rather like the popular icon shown above. That is an image many people have of St Francis, certainly one reinforced by Franco Zefferelli’s film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, another in a long line of romantic interpretations of the poor man from Assisi. Especially in the 20th century, Francis was portrayed as “a free spirit, a wild religious genius, a kind of medieval hippie, misunderstood and then exploited by the ‘medieval Church.’ Or perhaps they know him as the man who spoke to animals, a nature mystic, an ecologist, a pacifist, a feminist, a ‘voice for our time.’ For others he is the little plaster man in the birdbath, the most charming and nonthreatening of Catholic saints…. almost everyone has his or her own Francis” (Francis of Assisi, Augustine Thompson OP). Continue reading
If you follow this blog you have probably deduced I am a big fan of the non-for-profit Bible Project which I promote and support. Their work to bring the Word of God to people is one of the great ministries and exmples of the possibilities of the “new evangelization.” Tomorrow has been designated “Word of God Sunday” by the Catholic Church as a day. Pope Francis, in his motu proprio “Aperuit illis“, instructed that on third Sunday of Ordinary Time each year, we pause to remember and reflect upon and reawaken an awareness of the importance of Sacred Scripture for our lives as believers, beginning with its resonance in the liturgy which places us in living and permanent dialogue with God.
The mission of The Bible Project is “to help people experience the Bible as a unified story that leads to Jesus.” They do that through animated videos (podcasts also!) that explore books of the Bible, word studies, themes and more – sometimes in a series of videos – like the one below on Spiritual beings. You can explore their whole catalogue…. for free!
“Word of God Sunday” is a great place to start your renewed commitment to reawaken your love of God by diving into His Sacred Word.