Prayer to encourage

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul

Tuesday, Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, 03 September 2019

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, 9-11 ><)))*> ><)))*> Luke 4:31-37

Photo by Jo Villafuerte, Atok, Benguet, 31 August 2019.

“For God did not destine us for wrath, but to gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live together with him. Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do.”

1 Thessalonians 5:9-11

Dearest God our Father: Yesterday your words moved me to pray for consolation, to accompany those “alone”. Today, your words call me to “encourage one another and build up one another.”

How beautiful and wonderful indeed are your words, so powerful and fulfilling, indicating your very presence!

In this highly competitive world, it is not enough that we encourage people but also to build them up. From the Latin words “en” and “cor”, literally meaning to hearten or strengthen the heart, there are times that encouragement without community can be misleading and even destructive too.

Encouragement is going within every person, right into one’s heart like in your Son’s exorcism of a man possessed by “unclean demon” who “left the man without harming him” (Lk.4:35). From the heart, true encouragement moves outward to touch others’ hearts to form a community. Every time you heal the sick, Lord, people are moved to build up their families and community.

Encouragement is not pushing people to do and achieve things. Encouragement is bringing others closer to you through Jesus Christ our Lord. It is actually Jesus Christ who encourages for it is him alone who touches hearts and moves them to build up a person, families, and communities.

Like your servant St. Gregory the Great he encouraged not only Christians but also pagans to work for unity and to pursue so many efforts that built up not only persons and families, nations and tribes, monasteries and churches but most of all, an entire civilization now slowly turning away from you.

Fill us with more courage and wisdom, holiness and patience in encouraging one another to build up communities as we await for your joyful coming again. Amen.

Peter and Paul, Mirrors of the Church

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, 29 June 2019
Acts 12:1-11 >< )))*> 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18 >< )))*> Matthew 16:13-19
Statue of St. Peter at the left side of the entrance to the Minor Basilica of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Malolos City. Photo by Lorenzo Atienza, 12 June 2019.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for this Solemnity of your two leading Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul. Thank you in giving us the opportunity to confront ourselves anew of this very ironic problem we have in your Church: the difficulty of doing your work with our fellow disciples.

You know it so well, Jesus, of how often we wish to be left on our own than work with others because we have totally forgotten we are your stewards. We have forgotten how our very selves are an offering to you.

“I, Paul, am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have completed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

2 Timothy 4:6-7

Most of the time, we are so concerned with our titles and ministry, programs and achievements and so many other things forgetting the most essential, YOU, “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16).

Give us the grace of wisdom and humility, Jesus, to be in communion with your fellow workers in the vineyard as well as with the sheep of your flock, like St. Peter and St. Paul who both transcended their differences, focusing only on YOU as our bond communion.

Teach us to be like St. Peter that despite his many flaws like impetuous generosity to the point of presumptuousness with moments of being hesitant, we may have his kind of solid loyalty to you Jesus. Most of all, like St. Peter, let us not resist the Holy Spirit who upsets our convictions to lead us where we do not want to go with you and for you.

Teach us also to be like St. Paul who was so bold and daring, always asserting his backgrounds as a Roman citizen and a former Pharisee, always insisting his being your Apostle and yet very conscious of his being fragile like a pot of clay or earthen vessel of your grace. Like St. Paul, give us the courage to resolutely go outside our comfort zone to proclaim your gospel to the nations amid the pains of being torn by our own people at home.

Prevail upon us, Lord Jesus, your servants that we may give you our faith and love to be your witnesses and mirrors of your living Church. Amen.

St. Paul’s statue at the right side entrance to the Minor Basilica of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Malolos City. Photo by Lorenzo Atienza, 12 June 2019.

Wisdom Is About Communion, Not Affiliation

The Lord Is My Chef Breakfast Recipe for the Soul
Wednesday, 27 February 2019, Week VII, Year I
Sirach 4:11-19///Mark 9:38-40
“Wisdom breathes life into her children and admonishes those who seek her.  He who loves her loves life; those who seek her will be embraced by the Lord” (Sir.4:11-12).

Forgive us, Lord Jesus, when there are times we think more about our various affiliations like religion that we forget the need for communion of minds and hearts in you. 

Like John in the gospel, there are times we feel so entitled in life simply because we are with you, believing that we have the monopoly of doing what is right and what is good.

Instead of building bridges so we could be linked together as one, we put up walls that confine us with our own group but apart from others.

Enlighten us O Lord with your wisdom, finding the great truth that God dwells within each one of us despite our many differences in color and creed. 

Give us your grace of wisdom and truth, fill us with your life so we may share your life freely with one another.

May God our Father embrace us with His great love and wisdom to drive away the demons and evil within us that keep us apart.  Amen. Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II, Parokya ng San Juan Apostol at Ebanghelista, Gov. F. Halili Ave., Bagbaguin, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

Quote and photo from Google.