Christmas Day

DEC

25

Pray Today
Jesus, it’s Christmas. I make my long practiced way to the crèche and see again, as if for the first time, the motley assortment of characters. Mary and Joseph are quiet, exhausted, excited, somewhat bewildered. I take in the scene: love spilling over. The love that is God takes me in. Glory to God in the highest and within my heart. Thank You, Jesus.

Today Pray For peace in the world.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

WEDNESDAY

DEC

22

Pray Today
Jesus, we call You by many names: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace. As Advent ends, I celebrate and rest in Your love, for You have called me into new life and I adore You, most adorable and tender God.

Today’s Intention
For all rushing to finalize Christmas preparations, that they know the gift of peace.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high will break upon us to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the wayof peace.” –Luke 1:78-79

TUESDAY

DEC

21

Pray Today
Jesus, who announces Your coming today? I’m unlikely to see angels or traveling kings. There are, of course, still seasonal bell-ringers and carolers, piped-in music, church concerts and sermons, but in this quiet moment of prayer, as a lover would speak to the beloved, You whisper, “I AM…Who do you say I am?” You, I say, are the One who formed and reforms me. Make me ready to spread Your good news, for You are the God who saves. 

Today’s Intention
For all Franciscans, especially those ministering in the Holy Land

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Thus says the Lord GOD: Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me.”
–Malachi 3:1

MONDAY

DEC

20

Pray Today
Dear God, this day give me a grateful heart. Increase my awareness of the many things You have done for me so that, like Mary, I may give You praise for your bounty and your mercy. Because of Your loving presence in my life, I am, indeed, blessed.

Today’s Intention
For Secular Franciscans throughout the world.

Conclude your prayer with: Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Mary said ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. for He has looked upon His lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name’.” –Luke 1:46-49

 

SUNDAY

DEC

19

Pray Today
Sometimes, God, I seem to live by to-do lists, a useful aid in keeping a busy schedule. I also keep an unwritten list of spiritual to-do’s. With only a few days of Advent remaining, I am short on accomplishments, embarrassed and disappointed. Then again, Lord, salvation is Your gift, not my doing, and so, like Mary, I pray, “Be it done to me, according to Your will.” May all my doings be a faithful response to Your love.

Today’s Intention
For those who are lonely or depressed this season.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to Your word’.” –Luke 1:38

SATURDAY

DEC

18

Pray Today
By all human standards, Your generosity is foolish. I want to be noticed when I do good, excused when I make mistakes or do wrong. You have changed everything, promising the last will be first, welcoming sinners, finding great value in the widow’s mite. Help me, Jesus, to recognize and embody these signs of God’s love.

Today’s Intention
For those who will die today and for the comfort of those who mourn them.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“The Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name Him Emmanuel.”–Isaiah 7:14

 

 

FRIDAY

DEC

17

Pray Today
Jesus, when You restored the ill to health, You took away their disgrace and returned them to their family and community. Help me to acknowledge and assist those who are disgraced or underserved in my community because of prejudice, disability or poverty.

Today’s Intention
For expectant parents and newborn children.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying, ‘So has the Lord done for me at a time when He has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others’.” –Luke 1:24-25

 

 

THURSDAY

DEC

16

Pray Today
God of Surprises, how often I have set out to do something and have had my course changed! In hindsight, those changes are often better choices, but even if I still prefer my original plan,  I know You are with me. Whether I am making decisions or having decisions made for me by circumstances or people, help me to trust in Your loving providence, for You are always faithful.

Today’s Intention
For all who serve the poor.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name Him Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.”
–Matthew 1:20-21

WEDNESDAY

DEC

15

Pray Today
Jesus, praying as you taught me, I say, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” Sometimes I even pause, imagining what such a world of justice and peace would be like. I wonder when this will happen. Then, Teacher, I hear You ask me the same question, for You have commanded us to love and serve as You have done. Help me, Lord, to know and do my part in establishing a kingdom of justice and peace.

Today’s Intention
For all involved in justice systems throughout the world and for victims of injustice.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Justice shall flower in His days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May He rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” –Psalm 72:7-8

TUESDAY

DEC

14

Pray Today
Jesus, Christmas cards and Carols celebrate childhood and innocence. As I examine my conscience today, I am keenly aware of my failings. How easy it is for me to become self-centered, to let good deeds go undone, to promote myself at the expense of others and to let long-standing prejudices go unexamined and uncorrected. Remind me that You offer forgiveness to those who repent , that in Your mercy, You remove guilt and shame.

Today’s Intention
For confessors and penitents.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit He saves. The Lord redeems the lives of His servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in Him.” –Psalm 34:19,23

MONDAY

DEC

13

Pray Today
Readings of the season reminds me of stars and dreams, angels and heavenly visitations, experiences far beyond my imaginings, but Jesus, You came so that we might have abundant life. So, Lord, today I will consider my dreams, those internal stirrings that begin: I wonder… or Someday I might…. Help me to discern and make real those dreams and desires that are Your will.

Today’s Intention
For civic and religious leaders.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“A star shall advance from Jacob and a staff shall rise from Israel.”

–Numbers 24:7

 

SUNDAY

DEC

12

Pray Today
Jesus, I share the gift of the Spirit You have given Your followers, but that gift is not meant for me alone, but for me to share, to give comfort and hope to the struggling, to free myself and others from the fears and conditions that imprison us. Jesus, open me to Your Spirit gift.

Today’s Intention
For prisoners and those working in prison ministry.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“The spirit of the Lord God Is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.” –Isaiah 61:1

SATURDAY

DEC

11

Pray Today
Amazing God, Messiah, how often I have seen Your face and failed to recognize You! As I go about my business this weekend, help me to acknowledge Your presence: in the kindness of strangers and friends, in the homeless woman I pass every day, in the father playing peek-a-boo with his toddler.

Today’s Intention
For homeless persons and for those who work on their behalf.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Lord, make us turn to You; let us see Your face and we shall be saved.” –Psalm 80:20

 

FRIDAY

DEC

10

Pray Today
Jesus, we’re halfway through Advent. It’s easy for me to get caught up in seasonal activities and lose my focus on You, so today reawaken in me a sense of wonder that You, mighty God would come to live among us and to make all people one in You.

Today’s Intention
For Christian unity.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! See, I am coming to dwell among you, says the Lord. Many nations shall join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they shall be His people, and he will dwell among you.” –Zechariah 2:14-16

THURSDAY

DEC

9

Pray today
Great God, You have often told us not to be afraid because You are with us. I long to be free of fear, but the nightly news brings a litany of violence and sadness. Memories of insults, hurts and danger haunt me. Lord, in this season of transformation, change my heart. Let memory or sight of suffering evoke compassion and let my leftover anger at personal injury turn to forgiveness.

Today’s Intention
For those suffering from fear and anxiety.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“I am the LORD, your God, who grasp your right hand; It is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’.” –Isaiah 41:13

WEDNESDAY

DEC

8

Pray Today
Lord, to follow You is to be a long distance runner, even if I move at a snail’s pace. Your Incarnation was the meeting point of time and eternity, humanity and divinity. How can my spirit not soar in Your loving presence? Your strength is my support; Your power is my joy and refuge.

Today’s Intention
For vocation and formation directors and those in religious formation programs.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, they will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” –Isaiah 40:31

 

TUESDAY

DEC

7

Pray Today
Jesus, Word Made Flesh, guard my speech this day. Keep me from putting someone else down or gossiping to make myself feel important. Make my words a blessing to all those I meet.

Today’s Intention
For all who work in communications or media.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Judah: Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord GOD, who rules by his strong arm.” 

–Isaiah 40:10

 

MONDAY

DEC

6

Pray Today
Dear God, recalling your miracles, especially the pregnancies of Mary and Elizabeth, I know that nothing is impossible for You. In these moments I spend with You, speak to my heart and let me know what possibilities You have in mind for me. Then, Lord, give me the will and daring to take that leap of faith, even if that leap consists of a few staggering steps.

Today’s Intention
For founders of and workers in humanitarian organizations.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

–Luke 1:36-37

SUNDAY

DEC

5

Pray Today
Jesus, Good Shepherd, I rejoice in Your tender mercy, but I am at times a reluctant lamb. Trusting myself to Your care means recognizing my dependence, neediness and lack of power. I struggle against such lack of control even though You emptied Yourself to become our savior. Gather me in from my pride and my scatteredness.

Today’s Intention
For caregivers and those who depend on their presence.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, and leading the ewes with care.”
-Isaiah 40:11

 

SATURDAY

DEC

4

Pray Today
Jesus, although we no longer see Your face, You remain, as You promised, our way, truth and life. However, at times of pain or loss, the way can seem murky and Your voice silent. I ask, “Where are You? Are You listening to me?” As I await Your answer, help me to remember that these questions are themselves prayers, “the groaning of the Spirit within me when I do not know how to pray.”

Today’s Intention
For church leaders, preachers and teachers.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way;  walk in it,”when you would turn to the right or to the left.” –Isaiah 30:20-21

FRIDAY

DEC

3

Pray Today
Jesus, while You were on earth, You healed the blind and deaf. Open my eyes and ears to Your truth, to view myself as You know me. Then Lord, cure me of my pettiness, selfishness and fears and help me to recognize and share my gifts and talents.

Today’s Intention
For artists, writers and performers who cause us to see what is true, good and beautiful.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll; And out of gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.” –Isaiah 29:18

THURSDAY

DEC

2

Pray Today
Dear Jesus, Advent is a season of remembering. I recall the prophecies of Your coming and the stories around your birth. I also remember those who, through their words and works, taught me about You. Jesus, help me to pass those lessons on.

Today’s Intention
For Franciscan missionaries and for all who work to spread the Gospel.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” –Psalm 118:26

 

WEDNESDAY

DEC

1

Pray Today
Jesus, I thank You for the many ways You have fed me: through Eucharist and Scripture, through the beauty of the universe and the companionship of friends. Lord, give me a grateful heart that increases my hunger and thirst for justice.

Today’s Intention
For priests and liturgical ministers.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will provide for all peoples A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.” –Isaiah 25:6

TUESDAY

Nov

30

Pray Today
Creator God, it’s easy for me to become set in my ways. This Advent, Lord, unsettle me; grace me with the courage to look at those in need and lend a helping hand or a listening ear. There I will meet Jesus and be renewed.

Today’s Intention
For parents, physicians, farmers and all who foster life.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“On that day, A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” –Isaiah 11:1

 

 

MONDAY

Nov

29

Pray Today
Lord, even as I pray for peace among nations, I often train for my personal wars: rehearsing old injuries, sharpening grudges and shaping arguments and insults I might use as future defense. Jesus, give me a forgiving heart and make me an instrument of Your peace.

Today’s Intention
For Franciscans International and for all who work for peace and justice among and within nations of the world.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.”

–Isaiah 2:4

SUNDAY

Nov

28

Pray Today
Jesus, it is only the first day of Advent, but it already looks like Christmas. Decorated trees, Santas and blinking lights abound. Ads invite me to create wish lists. Jesus, my wish is that this Advent You trim my heart of needless anxiety, that You still and hold me midst the seasonal frenzy so that even as I wait for Christmas, I remain mindful of Your gentle presence, coming to earth not with trumpets and boomboxed carols, but with a tiny infant cry.

Today’s Intention
For all who are searching for God.

Conclude your prayer with:
Lord, by Your Incarnation You became like us. Open our hearts and minds that we may become like You: gentle, loving, merciful, prayerful and just. You are forever, Emmanuel, God with us.

Daily Scripture Reflection
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before You.”
–Isaiah 63:19