a blessed 2023

O God beyond all praising, we worship you today. And sing the love amazing, that songs cannot repay. For we can only wonder, at every gift you send. At blessings without number, and mercies without end. We lift our hearts before you, and wait upon your word. We honor and adore you, our great and mighty Lord. Then hear, O gracious Savior, accept the love we bring. That we who know your favor, may serve you as our king. And whether our tomorrows be filled with good or ill, we’II triumph through our sorrows, and rise to bless you still. To marvel at your beauty, and glory in your ways. And make a joyful duty our sacrifice of praise.
Michael Perry
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Mary, mother of God

Mary crowned with living light, temple of the Lord, place of peace and holiness, shelter of the Word. Mystery of sinless life in our fallen race, free from shadow, you reflect plenitude of grace. Virgin Mother of our God, lift us when we fall, who were named upon the cross mother of us all. Father, Son and Holy Ghost, heaven sings your praise; Mary magnifies your name through eternal days.
Stanbrook Abbey

huron indian carol

‘Twas in the moon of winter-time when all the birds had fled. That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead. Before their light the stars grew dim and wandering hunters heard the hymn:
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria. Within a lodge of broken bark the tender Babe was found, A ragged robe of rabbit skin enwrapp’d his beauty round. But as the hunter braves drew nigh the angel song rang loud and high: Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria. The earliest moon of wintertime is not so round and fair. As was the ring of glory on the helpless infant there. The chiefs from far before him knelt with gifts of fox and beaver pelt. Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria. O children of the forest free O sons of Manitou, The Holy Child of earth and heaven is born today for you. Come kneel before the radiant boy who brings you beauty, peace and joy, Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, In excelsis gloria.
Robert Lehman
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the question

The most important question about God is not where God is in the midst of tragedy, but how he is present. We may answer philosophically or poetically, with resignation or in protest. The answer of Christian faith is that in tragedies, God is on the Cross, giving hope. . . . The main reason is that in the Cross there is great love, and love always creates hope. That hope gives life. And because of that resurgent hope, no matter how hard it is to live through catastrophes, we cannot rule out the possibility of resurgent life in the midst of everything.

Jon Sobrino SJ

the message

In every trial, we can find a hidden ‘gift,’ or message of God’s love. If we turn our minds to finding the lesson or the meaning of the trial. The events of our lives are meant to teach us truths, either about God, or about the parts of ourselves we have buried deep inside; those parts of us we don’t like so much, which when buried, harden our hearts. He is gently inviting us every moment to a deeper conversion, to bring our darkness into his light, to heal us, and bring us closer to himself. Every moment, no matter how mundane, contains a ‘gift of God.’ So let us turn to him and take refuge in his strength, as we face the truth with confidence in his divine providence, united in his love.
Carmel of Eugene Oregon

the flame

This morning, as I kindle the fire on my hearth, I pray that the flame of God’s love may burn in my heart and in the hearts of all I meet today. I pray that no envy or malice, no hatred or fear, may smother the flame. I pray that indifference and apathy, contempt and pride, may not pour like cold water on the fire. Instead, may the spark of God’s love light the love in my heart, that it may burn brightly through the day. And may I warm those who are lonely, whose hearts are cold and lifeless, so that all may know the comfort of God’s love.
Eknath Eswaran


Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving, to God the creator triumphantly raise. Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us, who still guides us on to the end of our days. His banners are o’er us, his light goes before us, a pillar of fire shining forth in the night. Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished, as forward we travel from light into light. His law he enforces, the stars in their courses and sun in its orbit obediently shine. The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains, the deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine. We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing. with glad adoration a song let us raise. Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving: to God in the highest, hosanna and praise!
Katherine K. Davis
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Life is an opportunity, benefit from it. Life is beauty, admire it. Life is a dream, realize it. Life is a challenge, meet it. Life is a duty, complete it. Life is a game, play it. Life is a promise, fulfill it. Life is a sorrow, overcome it. Life is a song, sing it. Life is a struggle, accept it. Life is a tragedy, confront it. Life is an adventure, dare it. Life is luck, make it. Life is too precious, do not destroy it. Life is life, fight for it.
Teresa of Calcutta

on inner peace

Let nothing disturb you, be it good or bad. Give up everything else except your peace of mind. When you feel restless, sad, sorrowful and embittered, look for the cause, and if it is not worth being sorry about (and nothing that does not offend God is worth being sorry about), get rid of your anxiety; if you do not see the causes but feel restless and dissatisfied all the same, put up with it, arm yourself with patience, let the storm pass, and your inner peace will return.
Francisco Palau y Quer

all souls

Nothing can make up for the absence of someone whom we love, and it would be wrong to try to find a substitute. That sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation. For the gap, as long as it remains unfilled, preserves the bond between us. It is nonsense to say that God fills the gap: he doesn’t fill it, but on the contrary, he keeps it empty and so helps us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain. The dearer and richer our memories, the more difficult the separation, but gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy. We must take care not to wallow in our memories, or hand ourselves over to them. Just as we do not gaze all the time at a valuable present, but only at special times, and apart from these keep it simply as a hidden treasure that is ours for certain.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer