a priest's musings on the journey

Friday, May 16, 2008

Off to Tegucigalpa

will be offline 9 days...

Nuestra Señora de Suyapa... Patroness of Honduras
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 6:05 PM | link | 2 comments |

Thursday, May 15, 2008

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Icon and Litany to Our Lady of Iraq

Litany to Our Lady of Iraq

Mother of Our Creator, pray for us
Mother of Our Redeemer, pray for us
Mother of Our Salvation, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us

Holy Mary, Daughter of Abraham of the Chaldees, pray for us
Holy Mary, Sister of Thomas who evangelized Mesopotamia, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of Mar Addai and Mar Mari, co-workers with Thomas, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us

Holy Mary, Defender of the oppressed, pray for us
Holy Mary, Comforter of the afflicted, pray for us
Holy Mary, Advocate of the poor, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us

Holy Mary, Helper of those in danger, pray for us
Holy Mary, Protector of all in peril, pray for us
Holy Mary, Guardian of the persecuted, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us

Holy Mary, Refuge of all who seek your help, pray for us
Holy Mary, Haven of all who are in distress, pray for us
Holy Mary, Shelter of all in need of sanctuary, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us

Holy Mary, Queen of Peace, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mirror of Justice, pray for us
Holy Mary, Seat of Mercy, pray for us
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us

Holy Mary, Ever Blessed Virgin Mother of God, we seek your intercessions for peace in the land of Iraq. Defend your children from violence, degradation, and the violence of war. Comfort the childless and the orphaned, defend the oppressed and the poor, calm the fears and the hatred of those who oppress. In your compassion, plead to Your Son, Our Savior Christ, to pour God's healing grace upon the people's of Iraq, that they may be given peace, mercy and salvation, in this life, and in the life to come.

(composed 12 May, 2008)
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 6:53 PM | link | 1 comments |

Monday, May 12, 2008

12 May

:: posted by Padre Rob+, 7:49 PM | link | 0 comments |

Creation Groans for Redemption

32,000 dead in Burma- thousands of corpses scattered across the country uncared for- thousands in peril as aid is denied.

Dozens dead in the Southeast US after 66 tornadoes raze and destroy communities, leaving many homeless.

10,000 dead in China- and rising, as many remain trapped in rubble following a massive earthquake.

Hundreds threatened by an out of control fire in Florida.

Wild, unpredictable weather patterns; gluttonous, non-visionary, wasteful Americans who still aren't conserving energy, saving natural resources nor working to decrease their ecological footprint in spite of overwhelming evidence of the consequences of our exploitation of the earth.

And I will show portents in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
The sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood,
before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' Acts 2

For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as children, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Romans 8:19-24
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 2:28 PM | link | 2 comments |

Sunday, May 11, 2008

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

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Blessed Pentecost Day

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Friday, May 09, 2008

The Protection of the Theotokos

My prayers are with those who lost their homes as the tornadoes passed through NC and VA last night. I also ask your prayers for the people of Burma
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 7:50 PM | link | 1 comments |

Thursday, May 08, 2008


A high school friend of mine has registered for AIDS Walk New York 2008 (May 18, 2008)- an event that hopes to raise money which will make a difference in the lives of men, women, and children affected by HIV and AIDS. Even though there has been a lot of publicity about drug treatments which are prolonging some people's lives, they don't work for everyone and there is still no cure in sight. Moreover, young people are still getting infected at alarmingly high rates.

It is clear that more services and more prevention programs are needed, and the money raised will go to the Gay Men's Health Crisis and about 40 other AIDS organizations in the NY area to support the work they do.

If you would like to help, please consider being a sponsor. You can go here to find Stephen's personalized donation web page, where you can charge your donation. Thank you, in advance, for supporting this important cause and for showing that you join me in wanting to end this epidemic.

A few facts you may want to know:
~AIDS Walk NY is the world's largest AIDS fundraising event.
~AIDS Walk NY stands out as a model of community action and cost-efficient fundraising. The priority has always been to have the money raised go directly to vital services to help people living with HIV or AIDS.
~AIDS Walk NY benefits GMHC (Gay Men's Health Crisis), the nation's oldest and most comprehensive AIDS Service organization. The organization's staff of 189 and 7,000 dedicated volunteers provide services to more than 15,000 men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS and their families.
~A portion of the net proceeds from the AIDS Walk also goes to dozens of other AIDS organizations within the tri-state area.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:03 AM | link | 0 comments |

Mary Image for Thursday 08 May

From the Book of Kells
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Pentecost Sermon: Family Mass

Ok, I have never done this before- nor did I think I ever would. But since we are doing a Rite 3 Mass with intentional silence, dramatic readings, liturgical dance and flaming tongues of fire at 11 on Sunday, I thought I'd try something a bit different for the sermon at the Family Mass.

:: posted by Padre Rob+, 12:17 AM | link | 0 comments |

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mary Image for 07 May

Our Lady of Darfur: Written by Luiz Coelho

Heavenly Father,

We pray for those whose lives are lived on the margins of nations and suffer from the wars that others fight around them. We pray for the warring factions, that they may see themselves under the gaze of God and those who suffer for their cause. We pray for the peoples of Darfur who are haunted by fear of violence, hunger and hopelessness, that they may continue to be fed, visited and defended. We pray for the work of peacekeepers, negotiators and the humanitarian organisations that security may prevail. We pray for the Government of Sudan and for her unity. We pray for peace in the name of him who is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen. (The Archbishop of Canterbury's Prayer for Darfur)
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:41 PM | link | 0 comments |

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Korean Virgin Mary... 05/06/08

은총이 가득하신 마리아님, 기뻐하소서!

주님께서 함께계시니 여인중에 복되시며

태중의 아들 예수님 또한 복되시나이다.
천주의 성모 마리아님,
이제와 저희죽을 때에
저희 죄인을 위하여 빌어주소서.

Hail Mary in Korean
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 2:44 PM | link | 0 comments |

More Reflections on Archbishop Robin Eames' Talks at Shrinemont

I was able to hear two more talks given by Archbishop Eames this morning. Of course I didn't find any paper on which to take notes, so I can only pass on the things that have stayed in my memory.

He began by making some comments on the process of reconciliation. The first point being that reconciliation is a process. It takes time- time to listen to both sides and time to understand the positions and questions of each side. The process is complicated by the fact that people have varying degrees of openness to being reconciled. Thus, despite the best efforts of a peace maker, there might be times when the best thing to do for peace is for the parties to have heard and understood each other- and being unable to find a place where they can agree or meet... to walk apart. That sounds counter-intuitive to me- except for the truth that in the end it is God who reconciles, and God already knows the end of the journey and God already sees the Day of Peace when all will be reconciled in God. So, we can let people go and entrust them into the hands of God.

One other powerful insight for me was the revelation that sometimes what seems like a failure to us is in fact an opportunity for God to act. Related to the idea of failure, is the idea that sometimes the peacemaker is called to be the fall guy- to suffer on behalf of those who need to be reconciled. I don't think this means that God delights in causing us pain. Rather, that God sanctifies our suffering, so that through it, God's redeeming, transforming grace is able to flow. Of course the Cross and Christ's suffering there is the supreme example of reconciliation being accomplished through the suffering of the peacemaker.

The Cross also is an example of one other important part of reconciliation: forgiveness. Even as he was being murdered by human beings, Christ asked God to forgive those who were causing his pain and death. Forgiveness is hard work, however. I know from my own experience that I struggle with it. I struggle to forgive the one who was the cause of my son's death. I struggle to forgive those who refuse to allow holy gay and lesbian couples marry. I struggle to forgive those who refuse to ordain holy gay and lesbians who have been called by God to serve the Church. Sometimes I think I have forgiven them- and then, out of the blue I feel outraged at them. Forgiveness doesn't make the pain go away; it isn't forgetting about the offense. But it is essential to healing and reconciliation. I know in my own case, that I can not be a good priest until I really have forgiven the one who killed my son- until I truly forgive those who are homophobic. But I have for so long not known how to do that.

Archbishop Eames told the story of Gordon Wilson, whose daughter was killed by a bombing on Remembrance Day in Enniskillen, Ireland. The complete story may be read here. What spoke to me the most was the ending of the story, when Mr. Wilson was interviewed and asked how he felt about those who had killed his daughter. His reply was that he held no ill will towards them, and that he forgave them. of course his forgiveness was a powerful weapon for peace- to use an awful phrase- but what was more impressive was the question the archbishop asked... "I don't know if I could have done that. What would you have done?" And I sat there knowing what I would do- and knowing that I needed to find a way to forgive.

And then the Archbishop said something that liberated me. I don't remember the details of the story- but I do remember him saying, when we can not forgive, we can trust in God who forgives both me and the one that has offended me. Christ died for both of us. Both of us are sinners who have been redeemed by the love and compassion of God- and in the forgiveness that God has for us, we can find the compassion to at least pray that God would forgive them- and take steps from there.

Well, I have rambled in a stream of unstructured free fall here- and I am not sure how I should stop- except to ask that you would pray for me a sinner. Pray that I will be able to find the grace and compassion to forgive as God has forgiven me.

Pray for peace.
Pray for reconciliation.
Pray for God's compassion to overthrow the reign of hate and evil in the world.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 1:53 PM | link | 1 comments |

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Mary Image for May 5, 2008 Icon of Our Lady of Reconciliation

:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

An Evening With His Lord, Archbishop Robin Eames

I am at Shrinemont, in the Diocese of Virginia, for a Spring clergy and parish lay professionals retreat. The speaker for our retreat in Archbishop Robin Eames, who will be speaking on reconciliation. Tonight's remarks were brilliant- but of course the would be from the man who played such a role in the current peace in Ireland. I only wish I had taken my laptop so that I could have taken notes. Here are a few of the points that stuck in my memory.

He opened with a story that occurred in Ireland while he was having dinner in one of the rectories in the diocese (perhpas you've heard this story- but it's wonderful to read again). While they were eating dinner, there was a loud thump and the lights began to shake. The priest excused himself to go upstairs to his son's room to investigate the source of this commotion. He asked his seven year old what had happened... There was a moment of silence, followed by the (suprise) "I don't know what happened Daddy." The father continued to press for answers, and finally the child replied, "Daddy, I think I fell out of the bed." "O, that's what I thought, but how did you fall out of the bed? Did roll out"
"No, Daddy."
"Did you get tangled in your clothes Daddy?"
"No, Daddy."

He continued his query, but the child did not know how he fell out of the bed. Finally, the father gave up, kissed his son and left. As he exited the room the son called out, "Daddy, I think I know how I fell out of the bed; I fell out because I was too close to the place where I got in."

I fell out because I was too close to the place where I got in.
Great wisdom from a seven year old (which by the way is where I generally learn all of my greatest spiritual lessons.) His Grace went on to challenge to go deeper into our callings, so that when times of difficulty come, we will be immersed enough into the love and life of God, that we will know how to meet the crisis with compassion, grace, and wisdom. The danger of not deepening in our faith and going deeper in our calling, is that when those hard times come, we will fall out of our faith because we are too near to the place where we got in.

Good stuff. I intend om stealing it for a future sermon.

It was very moving, and edifying to hear his story of his work for peace in Ireland. He said that when one has seen Jesus bleeding in Ireland for forty years, it puts petty issues and disagreements in perspective. Why is so much energy wasted on little disagreements, when we need to love the bleeding and dying Jesus all around us.

At 10:20 PM much has already escaped my memory- I'll have to try to take notes tommorrow- What I will never forget is his peaceful, gentle spirit. Once can feel that he is a peacemaker and a man committed to reconciliation. I am grateful for his work in the Church.

Prayer for Peace
Loving Father,
Your will is that we should all be of one mind in this land;
God of Peace, bless Ireland and bless those countries where there is civil strife,
Where neighbour rises up against neighbour,
Where familiar streets become battlefields
And familiar people the casualities.

Change the hearts of all
Who think that their cause is more important than another person's life;
Change the politics of those on either side which create, condone or extend the conflict;
And by the power of the cross
Help all who have been sinned against to forgive
That peace may come
Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

Amen. Prayer for Peace said daily by former Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds as printed in Fr. Brian's Page, Sunday World.

:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:19 PM | link | 3 comments |

Compassionate Sportsmanship

compassionate sportsmanship. You have to read this college baseball story. i can't preach any better sermon than this....
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Sweet Kissing... Image of Mary for 04 May

This is one of my favorite imagesof the Theotokos. The first icon I ever prayed with was a Sweet kissing icon. There is such tenderness and compassion in this image. I go to it whenever I feel sorrw and loneliness. I always feel taken up in that embrace and loved by my God and my Mother in Heaven.

Forasmuch as thou art a well-spring of tenderness, 0 Theotokos, make us worthy of compassion; Look upon a sinful people; Man-ifest thy power as ever, for hoping on thee we cry aloud unto thee: Hail I as once did Gabriel, Chief Captain of the Bodiless Powers.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 8:19 PM | link | 0 comments |

Mystagogical Sermon- Sunday after the Ascension

Sermon Series on the Sacraments:
Reconciliation and Unction

Today we conclude our series on the Sacraments with the Sacrament of Reconciliation- sometimes called Confession- and the Sacrament of Unction- or the anointing of the sick. . The old adage, “all may, some should, none must” is quite apropos to both of these sacraments. Neither sacrament is necessary for salvation, in most cases; yet, both are powerful conduits of God’s healing and transforming grace. In both cases, any person is able, through the meditation of Jesus Christ, to cry out to God with a penitent heart and ask for mercy and forgiveness. You do not need a priest to receive the forgiveness of your sins from God, nor do you need a priest to ask God to fill you with God’s healing grace. God is a merciful God, full of compassion and love, and God will give mercy and grace to whoever asks for it. However, there are times when our hearts are so overcome with sorrow and guilt or our bodies and spirits are so heavy-laden with sickness or the cares of life, that we need the prayers and pastoral support of a discreet, compassionate, and understanding priest. It is during these times in our lives that these healing sacraments offer us the grace that we need to endure and to live in peace with the assurance that God is with us because God loves us.
While both Sacraments offer a conduit for us to receive God’s healing love, each offers that grace in different ways. The Sacrament of Reconciliation offers the assurance that no action that we have done can keep us separated from God, when we come to God with a contrite heart and ask for forgiveness. Confession of Sin is a means of cleansing our souls and ensuring us that we are still in communion with God and the people of God. The Church offers many ways for us to confess our sins: we are able to confess them in the General Confession of sin at the Holy Eucharist and in the Daily Offices, we are able to confess them directly to God in any manner that feels comfortable to us in our private prayers, and our participation in the Holy Communion is in itself a confession that we are sinners who need continually to be renewed by God’s grace- and through the Body and Blood of Christ, given to us in the Holy Communion, we receive the forgiveness of sins. For most sins- and for most people- any of these means of confession is adequate for the assurance of God’s love and forgiveness. Some circumstances, however, leave us feeling afraid, alone, and abandoned by God- not just abandoned, but forsaken because of some grave sin that we committed. Sometimes we might have prayed and asked for God’s mercy and help, and we indeed have felt the love and grace of God assuring us of God’s forgiveness; yet, we may still feel confused and concerned about the consequences of our actions. We might feel lost and incapable of seeking reconciliation with those whom we have injured. We might not know how to ask forgiveness from those whom we have sinned against. We might not know how to give restitution for our wrongs. The Sacrament of Reconciliation offers us the help we need to make right the wrongs we have done. It offers us the grace we need to discontinue bad and destructive habits. It offers us the peace we need when we have made a mistake so egregious that we think God will never love us again. When we make a confession, we bear our souls to a priest, who listens to our confession, assures us of God’s forgiveness, and offers counsel to us, so that we can seek reconciliation with others. Through this action, God gives us grace which heals our sin-sick soul and strengthens us for the work that we have to do to become reconciled with those whom we have separated from ourselves by our non-loving, sinful actions towards them.
Coming from an Anglo-catholic background, it was my practice to make a confession every Lent and Advent- in preparation for the High Holy Days. But none was more meaningful than the confession that I made to my bishop before I was ordained to the diaconate. It was the practice in my diocese for candidates for holy orders to make a retreat at the All Saints Sisters of the Poor Convent prior to the day of ordination. In June 2000 I made that retreat with 16 other candidates- and our bishop. Each day we said the daily offices, celebrated the Holy Eucharist, spent time in silent prayer, and listened to talks given by the bishop. One morning he spoke on the Sacrament of Reconciliation- and encouraged us all to make a confession to him or a priest on the grounds. So, partly out of obedience to my bishop, I did. I was nervous of course, especially when I heard myself confessing sins that I had not planned on confessing. But as I made my confession, it felt as if the weight of the world was being lifted from my shoulders; I was being liberated from a burden that I didn’t even realize that I was carrying. And the bishop was compassionate and loving and pastoral and offered words of advice that I had been longing to hear. I left feeling clean and renewed- ready to be ordained with the assurance that I was a child of God, and that I was worthy to serve God as a priest because of what Christ had done for me.
Is the Sacrament of Reconciliation for you? Perhaps not. But when you feel your sins have pushed you away from God and others, and you feel so lost that you cannot find the way back to union and love, you might consider seeking out a priest and receiving the sacramental grace that God offers to help you on the path of reconciliation.
While the Sacrament of Reconciliation offers healing grace for those afflicted in spirit by their sins, the Sacrament of Unction offers healing grace to those made un-whole in body and spirit by sickness, illness, and disease. Those desiring to receive the Sacrament of Unction ask a priest to lay hands on them, sometimes with anointing with oil, and to pray for healing. In times past, it was thought that this sacrament was for those dying- in some places only Extreme Unction was offered with last rites. But God’s healing grace is offered to us at any time that we feel overwhelmed by sickness and disease. This sacrament is offered weekly here at Trinity at the Wednesday Noon Healing Eucharist. It is also available when you are hospitalized or when you desire healing prayers at home. Through this sacrament of unction, God offers the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit, and the strength of Christ’s love to help you endure the affliction until you are brought again to health and wholeness. The sacrament isn’t magic; it isn’t a magical cure for sickness. Healing and wholeness come in many forms- sometimes with the recovery from illness in this life- sometimes with the healing of the wounds of a broken heart- sometimes with new life with God in the life to come. But with the sacrament, we have God’s pledge to be present with us through our sickness, to walk with us as we seek to be liberated from our addictions, and to carry us in His bosom when we begin our journey through the valley of the shadow of death. Of course God is already with us and we don’t need to receive the laying on of hands and unction in order to make God present- but those sacramental actions enable us to be more aware of God’s presence. Many here can attest to feeling a sense of comfort and peace after receiving the laying on of hands with healing prayer.
The Sacrament of Unction is rooted in the directives for prayer for the sick in the Epistle of James: "Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church and pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven" (Jas 5:14-15). The sacrament of unction is not a replacement for medical care, but a means by which we invite the Holy Spirit to sanctify the healing actions of those health care professionals who care for us. It is a balm for our souls when we are afflicted by sickness. It is a way by which we strengthen our hearts to trust in God’s care and provision for us during times of sorrow, weakness, and brokenness.
One of the most heartening revelations for me personally was that because God loves us, God chooses to be present with us- to experience all that we experience- not just the good, but also the bad. The hope of the Incarnation- indeed of the entire story of Jesus- is not that God will make my life all rosey and pain free. Rather, that God will be present with me no matter what comes my way- that no matter how hard the struggle or how painful the circumstance, I am not alone- God is there to support me, love me, and refresh me. The healing sacraments of reconciliation and unction are conduits through which we can more readily experience God’s ever-abiding presence, particularly during those times when it is difficult for us to acknowledge God there. Don’t be afraid or intimidated by either of them- through them God offers God’s healing love and comforting embrace when you need them the most.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 11:13 AM | link | 0 comments |

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Mary Queen of the Apostles

O God, you sent the Holy Spirit upon the apostles as they were united in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus. May the Queen of Apostles, the same Mother of us all, help us to serve your majesty faithfully, and to spread the glory of your name by word and example. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be)
Queen of Apostles, pray for us.
:: posted by Padre Rob+, 9:03 PM | link | 0 comments |

Friday, May 02, 2008

Mary's May

:: posted by Padre Rob+, 6:36 AM | link | 1 comments |