Embracing the World
Today’s “The Witness of Others” and the Gospel reading have a common thread: learning to see God in our present reality and remembering God’s own love for our often broken, messy or even disheartening world. We practice daily prayer not just to fall in love with God, but also to rediscover God in and around us. The Scriptures continue to inform our heart and mind, but they should never lead us to feelings of superiority or a “holier-than-thou” attitude. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. True holiness is the ability to love even more deeply and authentically the REALITY OF OUR LIVES AND THIS WORLD, not escape from them.
How is God calling you to embrace and love the reality of your own life, even its ordinariness, its work, its tedious nature?
Week #3 – Intimacy with God through Prayer
If you are doing the spiritual exercises, our focus this week is prayer. The exercises will help you examine your own approach to prayer. Is prayer something you feel like you should do? Is it something that is routinely part of your life or does it still seem strange or difficult? What if you were to picture prayer more as loving time spent with someone who cares about you deeply?
We can learn something about prayer from our desire to spend time with loved ones around the holidays. Prayer – as the quote from Mother Teresa says at the opening of this week’s exercises page reminds us – is simply dwelling in love with God. It’s starting our day in the presence of the person who cares for us deeply.
See if you can use today’s prayers and readings as a chance to simply REST in God’s presence and to let that be fire that warms your heart and motivates you to share God’s love with the world around you.
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
O Lord, open my lips.
And my mouth will proclaim your praise.
Psalm 18:2-7, 17-18
I love you, Lord, my strength;
O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my savior;
my God, my rock where I take refuge;
my shield, my saving strength, my stronghold.
I cry out, “O praised be the Lord!”
and see, I am saved from my foes.
The waves of death rose about me;
the torrents of destruction assailed me;
the snares of Sheol surrounded me;
the traps of death confronted me.
In my anguish I called to the Lord;
I cried to my God for help.
In the heavenly temple my voice was heard;
my crying reached God’s ears.
From on high God reached down and seized me,
drew me forth from the mighty waters,
and saved me from my powerful foe,
from my enemies, whose strength I could not match.
Glory to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
As ever before, so now and forevermore. Amen.
The Witness of Others: Venerable Margaret Sinclair
Poor Clare (1900–1925)
Margaret Sinclair was born in Edinburgh to a poor family. She left school at fourteen to work in a series of factories, helping to support her family. An eventual marriage proposal served as the catalyst for deeper reflection on her vocation, resulting in her decision to enter the Poor Clares. As the community in Edinburgh had no room for her, she was accepted into a community in Notting Hill in London.
Her working-class roots and her Scottish brogue set her apart from the educated and upper-class backgrounds of the other sisters. But she also stood out for her practical knowledge of the working world and her capacity to find joy in all things. One of the other nuns, noticing that Margaret was having too much fun whitewashing an outhouse, upbraided her, “You’ll never be a saint.” Margaret replied, “Dinna fash yerself” (don’t let that trouble you).
Her time in the convent was limited. She died of tuberculosis on November 24, 1925, at the age of twenty-five. Her last words were the prayer, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.”
Despite her obscure life, her reputation soon spread, especially in Scotland, where she was celebrated as a saint of “ordinary life.” She was declared Venerable in 1978. Pope John Paul II described her as “one of God’s little ones who, through her very simplicity, was touched by God with a real holiness of life.”
“O, God . . . I desire to . . . rejoice when I feel the pinch of poverty, and always remain modest and prudent, thinking of this in our Blessed Lady, and how she would like it in her child.”
—Venerable Margaret Sinclair
A Reading from Luke 21:5-11
While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here—the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”
Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’ Do not follow them! When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.”
Reflection: In the Midst of This, God Sees
It is hard to say with any enthusiasm that today’s Gospel is Good News. Retreating to the first reading doesn’t help much. Giant sickles and the winepress of God’s fury are more than a tad intimidating.
So what is the news being proclaimed today . . . and how might it be good?
What if, as we read this Gospel, we remind ourselves that we are made in God’s image? And what if we draw on that belief to recognize that we have the capacity to see as God sees, to love as God loves? So much suffering, war, and famine, nations rising against nations. How might God see this?
What does God see that enables such fidelity, that enables God to remain completely present to this world in love?
Much of the suffering we bring upon each other and ourselves seems rooted in fear and insecurity, in our attachment to possessions and the refuge we often take in power and isolation. And in the midst of this, God sees and loves—and grace makes its amazing way through the confusion, fear, and even evil.
It may be in this grace, in this image of the Christ given to us, that we are able to see the source of the suffering. With this grace, we might understand with compassion the human frailty caught in the web of such pain. In this grace, we might speak the truth of what we see. And in the image and power of God, we might act with both courage and mercy.
Sr. Pat KozakMost materials in this Daily Prayer resource are from Give Us This Day, November 2020 – a prayer resource for the Church.
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