Prayer of Supplication: Journeying From Darkness to Light

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O God, I want to step into the light. Take my hand, and draw me in.

Show me how to be confident in the ways I can love. Increase my desire to live out the potential that is hidden within my heart.

You know these parts of me well. Show me how to magnify your beauty.

In the light, I want to be able to stand with joy and gratitude that I am your creation, and you love every part of me.

O God, as I take that step out of darkness into the light, reveal what I need to see in myself. Although I am vulnerable in this place, help me search for your mercy and love with confidence and trust.

With outstretched hands, I offer myself to you. As my weaknesses are exposed in this gentle light, transform what is fragile into a blessing of courage and hope for others.

I surrender my will, asking you, O God, to help me embrace my true self. Help me to see what you see. Help me to love what you love.

In this Sacred Light, shining around me and through me, unite your heart and will with mine. Amen.

By Sally Meyer

My Dark Night

My heart sinks. Oh dark night!
You have come to scare me
In this lonely path…

I fall short in each step
How mistaken was I to walk
In this silent night…

I agonize with each beat of my heart
Each breath I take
Brings pain to today…

Where has your magnificent smile gone?
I remembered the sun
That brought me warmth and light…

But that is now a memory!
This night won’t pass
Here I am, falling again…

Cold and lonely
Deceived in the shadows
That hide your truth at this dark hour…

Take my life!
End this misery!
I lament in each second that passes by…

Have pity on me…
A sinner!
Send the moon and the stars
To keep me company
In this desolate night!

By JA

Pray as Yourself, by Sr. Sharonlu

Our Lady of Fatima's View of the Oldenburg Hills (photography by A. Roesler)

Every relationship with another is unique. And that is true of each person’s relationship with God.  Our need for God is universal; we all have it.  But our response to God is always personal and one-of-a-kind.

I found this out myself during a prayer before a meeting.  The leader of the prayer said we would say the Our Father.  However, he would say a phrase, and we in random order would give our thoughts on that part of the prayer.

He began, “Our Father”, and hesitantly one of the group said, “You’re more like a mother.”  Another said, “You protect me,” and another offered, “Your love for me keeps me feeling safe.”

Those were just a few of the thoughts, and there were about 15 people in the group.

As soon as there was a very long pause, the leader went to the next phrase, “Who Art in Heaven” and so on through the entire prayer.   Saying that prayer usually takes 15-20 seconds, but it took us close to 20-25 minutes.

Interesting remarks were heard afterward.  One woman offered that she would never say the Our Father the same again.  A young man in the group said he had no idea what varied kind of thoughts the same words could draw from people.

During World War II there was a holy woman in Europe, (I forget which country) who was bedfast.   People would come to her to get some direction for their spiritual lives.  One person said to her, “Since I’ve been coming to see you, I say almost 50 Our Fathers a day!”  “Oh, my,” the holy woman replied, “I find it hard to pray the Our Father one time, there is so much in it.”

Taking the time to really think about the words you are saying will give you a nudge into saying words that are yours.  Or you may end up praying without words, just with feelings of awe or gratitude or praise.

Remember the definition of prayer is: lifting your mind and heart to God. 
It doesn’t mention words at all!

When Jesus told us to pray always, I think he meant we should really think about our prayers.

My prayers are with you.

Peace and Joy, and Everything Good,

Sr. Sharonlu

Sr. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF has a background in education, child development, and family ministries.  She has worked as a teacher, school administrator, and as Director of Family Life Services for two dioceses.  Sr. Sharonlu has long been an advocate for children and puts her heart into helping parents build and sustain healthy family relationships.  One of her most memorable ministries has been with the people of Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where her heart still lies.

Just as Sr. Sharonlu shows how our relationships with God are diverse, so are our relationships with one another!

The Oldenburg Franciscan Center Arches aglow at night. (The normal softness of the lamplight is brightened by the camera!)


Join Sr. Olga on Saturday, February 18th (9:30am – 2:30pm) to grow in peace and find hope in diversity.
  We all face various interpersonal challenges in our daily lives. In this workshop, Oldenburg Franciscan Sister Olga Wittekind (Jungian psychologist and PhD) will give tools and insights – using Myers-Briggs analysis – to help us understand ourselves better, appreciate others more, and strengthen our relationships with God. This is a great workshops for individuals, ministry groups, families, and couples!

$45 includes a delicious lunch by our wonderful caterer, Cathy Kerker!  Call Annette at 812-933-6437 or email center@oldenburgosf.com to RSVP today!

Invite a friend, family member, or come on your own.  You never know what wonderful new connections can be made!

Remember, God is a healer, a peacemaker, and a life-giver who lovingly embraces us all and wants us to learn to embrace each other in the same way!

Find the event on Facebook!  Also, friend OFC and share us with your friends!

Waiting

The season of Advent seems short, but the time it signifies is very long. Unlike the Lenten season, where we concentrate on our sinfulness and seek reconciliation with our God, in Advent we have the task of anticipating,  of connecting with the ancestors of Jesus as they waited for the Messiah approximately 4,000 years.  It was when Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to be the Mother of the Savior that the long wait was over.

Imagine Mary preparing for the trip to Bethlehem.  She is more than eight months pregnant, but she goes about the selecting of clothes for the baby soon to be born, and things she will need to care for herself and the child, as well as her husband Joseph.  As you prepare to visit children or relatives, join with Mary in her anticipation of the birth of Jesus.

The circumstances of housing when they came into Bethlehem were less than one would expect.  But Mary, like you, knew how to make do.  The Manger was small, and had sides to it.  Straw was available, and the Lord of Heaven and Earth slept there.  Do we have reason to complain when accommodations on a trip aren’t good?

Sheep are not the cleanest animals, and their woolly scent can be very hard to take sometimes.  Shepherds carry that scent with them, and being watchers in the night, have less chance for washing so they may be less than easy to be with.  But they are the ones chosen to see the Christ Child first!  Poor, unclean, uneducated, rough and gruff, but CHOSEN!

What can you do this Christmas for those who are most like the shepherds?

My wish for you is:

Peace, the peace only God can give;

Joy, the joy that comes from giving; and

All Good, and that can only be God.

S. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF, Educator
Oldenburg Franciscan Center