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"Fear not, little flock, for it has pleased your Abba to give you the kindom." Luke 12:32 (INT)
Fairytales tell us of the ordinary, plain Jane who kisses the frog, who is then transformed into a princely groom. Or we hear about the mistreated step-daughter who finds her glass slipper in the hands of the marriage-minded prince, who immediately weds her and delivers her from a life of drudgery. In every story all is well, happily ever-after!
To be the princess is the dream of many-coveted but elusive. It always seems to be the lot of someone else other than me. Is this how it seems to you? Someone else wins the lottery, not me. Someone else is discovered by the talent scout and zoomed upward to fame and fortune, never me.
And then I think of those who are perhaps already there- in the blessed land of the graced and gifted. Are they so used to the rarified atmosphere that they don't even see the splendor that surrounds them?
In the midst of such ponderings, I do well to begin with the earliest stages of my life and to look for the blessings, graces and gifts that are there, given to me by God, ruler of the universe, who is my very atmosphere- for my God, indeed, has given to me and given to me and given to me.
Reflect on times of special blessing in your life. That time, perhaps, may be as recent as this week, or your mind may be drawn to a dramatic moment from your childhood. Allow the Holy Spirit to lead you. Make this your prayer today:
Yes, God, I've imagined myself winning the lottery or hearing the doorbell ring and finding the prize award team on my porch. It's always the hope of something "down the road,"something not mine. "When my ship comes in," I tell myself, "then, I can do this and that." Are you telling me, dear God, that my ship has come in, but that I just don't realize it?
Make this your prayer today:
Holy One, am I one of those "poor me" people who always thinks I'm getting the raw deal? I really don't want to be. I don't want to fall into the trap of always seeing the dark side of things. Help me to look for the "silver lining" at the beginning of each new day. Let my first prayer of the day be one of praise and thanksgiving. Let me begin each morning- let me begin now-"In the Name of God!" and expect from God's hands a wonderful day.
Make this your prayer today:
The Princess Diana story should be a lesson for me, God. Other people's lives may seem to be so ideal and rosy. The grass always looks greener in my neighbor's yard. Where do I get the idea that others are luckier, more blessed, more graced, than I am? I don't think it's just jealousy-watching what you do for others and comparing it to what I am aware of that you do for me. I think I have an ego problem, a false sense of my unworthiness, and therefore a nagging doubt that you could love me enough to do good things for me. Right here and now, dear God, I come against this temptation. I affirm that you love me with an infinite love, that same love out of which you brought me into being, that same love that holds me in existence. I affirm that I am truly blessed. I rest in and rejoice in that knowledge.
Take time with God to enjoy God's love healing your negative, comparative tendencies. Make this your prayer today:
Today, God, I renounce comparisons! When I was young I was inclined to compare the treatment I got, the presents my parents gave me, and the privileges I was allowed with what others in my peer group experienced. Now I am grown. I am mature. But how often do I try to pull an adult form of parent sabotage with you: "Why not me, God? Why never me?" Help me to step into matu rity, God - the maturity of your grown-up child.
Consider a time when you felt like you had hit "rock bottom." Perhaps for you, "rock bottom" was the pit of despair or the depths of physical distress. An in-breaking of God's love can come to you unexpectedly at such a time. As you think back on life, realize when you have been blessed by such an epiphany moment, and allow that memory to fill you with grateful love. Make this your prayer today:
Yuck, God! I don't like to kiss frogs! Why does the fairytale lucky
duck have to degrade herself to the point of kissing an ugly, green,
war0J frog before she gets to marry the handsome prince? Why does Cinderella have to work herself to the bone and sit in the cinders before she is visited by a fairy godmother who turns the tables around for her? Myth-like, the fairytale tells me a truth about life: human beings seem to have to hit rock bottom before they spring to the top! Okay, God, bring me down or bring me up, but by all means bring me to you!
Take time in God's presence today to think of your mountains, your fountains, and your "manna moments." Pray a litany of gratitude to God for these. You may wish to write them down to remind yourself that you are a truly blessed person, greatly loved by God. The words of this old gospel hymn describe the plenty and bounty of life. Make this your prayer today:
For I am sitting on the mountain, underneath the starry sky;
I am drinking from the fountain that never will run dry;
I am eating of the manna of the bountiful supply!
I'm dwelling in Beulah Land!
Make this your prayer today:
Today, my God, let me rest in your secure love as I take a gentle survey of the surprises you have placed in my life. Surprises are even more exciting than talents and gifts, because they catch me unawares. They tell me, in an extra-special way, that I am thought of and cherished. It's like experiencing again that wonderful childhood moment when someone pulled a surprise out of her or his pocket, just for me. Today I make a litany of praise to you, my God, for the surprises I remember in my life. Each time I remember one, I want my soul to sing out in joy: "For (mention the surprises in your life), blessed are you, God, source of my being."