Throughout the Day
by Fr. Jack McArdle
(Pause for a few moments where a word is followed by '.........' . The slower you go, the more time you give, the more effective this blessing will be.)
This morning I would like to begin by praying for others.
I would like to begin my day by not beginning with myself.
But how can I impart to others the gift of peace and love,
if my own heart is still unloving,
and my own needs are the most important ones,
if this day is something for me, and for me alone,
and I have no peace of mind myself?..................................
So I will begin with my own heart.
I will begin by opening my heart to the Lord.
I bring to the Lord every feeling within,
every feeling of resentment, anger, bitterness...................
every feeling of jealousy, unforgiveness, and selfishness.........
that may still be lurking there;
asking that his grace
will make my heart yield to love some day,
if not right now.......
Then I ask for peace.
I list the things that disturb my peace of mind..........
and imagine that I place them in God's hands,
I imagine him taking them in his loving care,
in the hope that this will bring me freedom from anxiety,
at least during this time of prayer.
Then I seek the depth that silence brings,
because prayer that springs from silence
is powerful and effective........................
I let the muddy water settle within...........
I take time out to let a sense of inner calmness
settle within my heart.......
So I listen to the sounds around me..........
I become aware of the exact circumstances in which I am.....
I become aware of the feelings and sensations in my body....
my breathing in and out....
my heart pumping and the blood flowing,
keeping the fire of life alive within me..............
Now I pray for family, friends, and those I love...............
I pray for those who asked for my prayers........
Over each of them I say a blessing:
"May you be greatly blessed this day, and may you
be free from all harm and from all evil",
imagining that my prayers, words, and wishes will create
a protective shield of grace around them.
Then I turn to people I dislike,
and people who dislike me.....................
Over each of them I say this prayer:
"May you and I be friends some day,
may time remove what keeps us from trusting each other,
from loving each other,
and from respecting each other's right to be",
imagining some future scene
when this may come to pass............
I think of anxious people I know.......
People whose lives are filled with fear.........
People who are depressed.......
To each of them I say:
"May you come to know the peace of Christ;
may you come to experience his presence within you,
may you know for certain that you are not alone"
imagining that my prayer for them
will surely be fulfilled.
I think of people who are disabled................
People who depend on others for their basic cares and needs.....
People whose lives are limited within the confines
of four walls...........
and to each of them I say:
"May you find courage and strength,
may your heart take wings,
and may your zest for life bring you all over the world",
imagining that my prayer unleashes within each of them
resources of which they were totally unaware.
I think of lonely people.......
People lacking love, or a sense of belonging......
People separated from their homes or their loved ones.......
People in the pains of bereavement.....
and to each of them I say:
"May God's abiding company be yours today"
imagining that my prayer may help part the clouds,
and allow the warmth of God's love reach and touch them.
I think of older people, who,
with the passing of each day,
must face the reality of approaching death.........
who live within sight of the port up ahead,
and who may be afraid.....
and I pray this blessing:
"May you find the grace to gently let go of life",
imagining that my prayer
may fill their sails,
and encourage them on their final venture.
I think of the young......
I think of their struggles and their hopes....
their fears for the future......
and their cries to be heard, and listened to,
and I pray this blessing:
"May the promise of your youth be met,
may you know love and belonging in your life,
and may your life be fruitful",
and I imagine that the Lord will take my prayer,
my good wishes, and my love,
and keep them safe in his way and in his care.
Finally, I pray for all I will meet today, and I pray:
"May my contact with each person throughout this day
be a special grace for both of us",
and I imagine that the Lord will be there in the meeting,
and that my prayer will be fulfilled.
I come back to my heart now, to rest awhile
in the stillness that I find there............
and with the sense of worth and goodness,
and with all the loving feelings that have come alive in me
as a result of my prayer for others. Amen.
During the Day .....
This day is special, it is very unique.
It has never before existed, and it will never again return.
It is filled with its own potential,
and is total gift.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift, and for the many blessings
in which it is wrapped.
Thank you, Lord, for entrusting to me something so precious,
something so sacred,
something that is filled with possibilities.
Lord, with this day comes what it takes to live it;
it comes with 'batteries included'
written all over it.
I say my very special Yes that is unique to this day,
and I trust that your Spirit will come upon me,
and the power of the Most High will over-shadow me.
This is the Day of the Lord,
this is the day of salvation.
Incarnation is here, is now, and here am I
right in the midst of it all.
Lead me, Lord, guide my steps, direct my paths.
Make me your touch-person in the lives of others today.
Where there is sadness, let me bring your joy.
Where there is despair, let me bring your hope.
Where there is hatred let me sow your love.
Melt me, mould me, fill me, use me.
May your Spirit within
touch the hearts of those I meet,
through the prayers I pray,
the words I say,
the life I live,
or the very person that I am.
Today is life.
It is passing, second by second.
It is totally free of yesterday or tomorrow.
"I AM WHO AM" says God,
who is totally a God of NOW.
Please help me drop both arms, Lord:
the one that is trying to change yesterday,
and the one that is trying to arrange tomorrow.
There is only one cross, Lord,
and it is your arms that are outstretched.
You embrace my day,
you embrace my spirit,
and you surround both within the arms of your love.
The Gospel is today,
and I am every person in it.
Incarnation is now, and my heart is the manger.
My soul is the Holy Land,
and my inner being is a Pentecost place,
an Upper Room,
a prayer room,
a place where God has made his home.
This is the day that the Lord has made.
Thanks, Lord, for giving me the gift of today,
which is like your down-payment on a day that will never end.
At Night ...........
There is a time for everything under heaven.
A time to work, and a time to rest,
a time to begin and a time to end,
a time to be born and a time to die.
I took another short step along the road of life today.
I rushed, I crawled, I stopped, I switched off.
The clock continued to move, to count out the seconds,
whether I was moving or not.
I look back on the day, and
I see where I could have done better,
where I missed the moment to say or do the good,
where I drifted, existed, idled, or day-dreamed.
It was a good day, Lord, because you gave it to me.
It was a good day even before it began,
and it still is good, now that it is passing into the room of the past.
I'm not sure yet just what I learned today,
but it continues to live if it helps make tomorrow better.
Today has been a resume of life,
from the birthing of morning to the dying at night.
Today was your gift,
and you never take back your gifts.
You garner today's harvest, blow away the chaff,
and store the good for the eternal banquet.
I think of people I met today.......
Lord, it wasn't easy to see you in some of them!
Please bless them all now, wherever they are.
Remove from their hearts the hurts of today,
and awaken within them the hopes of tomorrow.
I think of those without bed or board tonight............
Of those for whom the nights are long and sleepless......
For those who are terrified of tomorrow.......
May my bed be like the palm of your hand.
May I find rest for body, mind, and spirit.
May your Spirit continue to work within me,
bringing to completeness the gestation of Incarnation.
Tomorrow will be another day, another life,
requiring another Yes.
Please bless and protect those I love,
and those you have entrusted to me in life,
by way of commitment, responsibility, caring, or ministry.
I finish my day,
as I reach deep within my spirit,
and, from there I say a whole-hearted
Thank you, Lord.
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It's Me Again, Lord... copyright © 2004 Fr. Jack McArdle. All rights reserved.