February 18, 2018

Prayer is the Key to Serenity


During the season of Lent, we discover Prayer as the Key to Serenity through homilies, bulletin and website articles, song and personal prayer time. The Serenity Prayer is the focus of our Lenten Theme.


The Serenity Prayer was born from the anguish that American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr experienced, as he watched the oppression of the Nazis grow in Germany during the 1930s. Accepting what he could not change and learning in prayer what was within his power to accomplish, was Niebuhr’s struggle and something we understand in our own lives very well.
Prayer is the Key to Serenity. Serenity is not dependent upon outer circumstances but is inner stillness and a confident assurance in God’s providence care – no matter what’s going on around us, or even within us.
Acceptance of what cannot be changed does not mean that we like or approve of certain behaviors or situations. Acceptance means that we let go of the frustrating mental activity, emotional exhaustion and spiritual depletion that is wasted on what is beyond our power to change. We let go of playing God.
Courage means ‘with heart.’ With hearts desiring to live our mission to do Christ’s Work of love and service, we seek to be agents of positive change.
Wisdom is a gift of the Holy Spirit that resides in the deep stillness of our being. Prayer is the key to unlocking the generous bounty of wisdom. God empowers us with wisdom through new ideas, possibilities, changes of direction and the ability to let go of one agenda to accept another with a discerning heart and an open mind.
The Serenity Prayer is a rich source for spiritual growth and empowers us to change ourselves and our world with God’s grace.

St. Scholastica and St. Benedict were twins. Both were superiors of large religious communities and could only visit each other once a year. On one visit, as evening fell, Scholastica begged her brother to stay overnight so that they could continue their meaningful conversation. Benedict refused, insisting that he not deviate from his predetermined schedule. Scholastica smiled and prayed. Suddenly a tremendous storm deluged the convent, forcing Benedict to spend the night. Into the early morning hours they talked about God and their lives. Joyful and thankful for the time they spent together, Benedict left in the morning never to see his sister again because she died three days later.

In light of the Serenity Prayer reflect on the story. Notice what can and cannot be changed. Notice serenity, courage, wisdom, prayer and God’s ultimate providence. How does this story and the Serenity Prayer factor into your life? Pray the serenity prayer line by line and see, with God’s help, how the prayer and God’s wisdom can help you in your day.

You are invited to sing or say the lyrics to the hymn below as a form of prayerful reflection, sung to the tune of “For the Beauty of the Earth.”

Grant Us, Lord, Serenity
Grant us, Lord, serenity
When your grace we cannot see.
For each moment is your plan,
Grace abounds throughout life’s span.
Grateful prayer and thankful praise
For your wisdom all our days.

For the challenge of each hour,
May acceptance in us flower.
People, places, things abound;
May your will in each be found.
Grateful prayer and thankful praise
For your wisdom all our days.

Courage is the gift you give,
In your Spirit’s life we live.
In our hearts and minds inspire
Words and actions – love’s desire.
Grateful prayer and thankful praise
For your wisdom all our days.

Facing choices every day,
Guiding wisdom is our stay.
Draw us close in unity,
Stewards in community.
Grateful prayer and thankful praise
For your wisdom all our days.
Music: DIX; Conrad Kocher, 1786 – 1872;
adapt. By William H. Monk, 1823 – 1889

What word or phrase catches your attention or speaks to you? Share with God in prayer the thoughts and feelings that surface from your reflection. What action can you take to offer a moment of serenity for another person?
Lenten Practices

    • Participating in weekly or even daily celebration of the Eucharist is the most perfect prayer and Lenten observance
    • Engage in the variety of opportunities for community and private prayer and reflection.
    Women’s Retreat: February 24th at 9 AM Annunciation Parish, Wayne
    Bible Study: -Mondays at 11:30 AM in Church Beginning February 19th
    Meditation Hour:  Thursday, March 8th at 7 PM 
    Welcome Home: Sacrament of Reconciliation;
    Mondays 7:00 to 8:00 PM
    Saturdays 11:00 AM to 12 Noon
    Stations of the Cross: Fridays 7:00 PM in Church
    Lenten penance includes acts of self-denial as a tool for mindfulness of God’s bountiful gifts and presence and/or an increase in charitable acts and works of kindness.
    • Days of Fast and Abstinence: Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence when we refrain from eating meat and have one full meal and two lesser meals. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.

    Please join us for a Women’s Morning Lenten Retreat
    Beloved. Be Love!
    Saturday, February 24th
     9:00 AM  to 12 Noon
    With Continental Breakfast

    Location due to the after fire restoration process:
    Annunciation Parish
    45 Urban Club Road in Wayne
    Registration fee is $10 per person.
    To register contact Donna Scancarella:  201-321-4376 or adscancarella@stphilip.org.

    17110610 Xmas Ornament COLOR - Jubilee
    The Year of our Lord 2018 is our parish Jubilee commemorating 75 years of fulfilling our mission of Opus Christi –which is Latin for Christ’s Work. During the decades our parish has been love in action, bringing good news through spiritual, service and social ministry.
    Jesus said to our parish patron St. Philip, “Whoever believes in me will do the works I do and even great works.” John 14:22

    Share your e-mail with us so as not to miss any of the good news. Visit stphilip.org/jubilee to be included in our email list. Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/stphilipclifton.
    Fr. Matt is looking for some old photos and film in any format about St. Philip Church and/or school to compile our history.  Items can be left with Barbara Salzer at the Parish Office.

    Our Jubilee Prayer
    Rejoicing in you, O Lord, with thankful hearts we pray as .  . .
    We Remember
    gratefully our past companions on the Journey whose sacrifice inspires us.
    We Celebrate
    the good news of love in action that empowers spiritual, service and social ministry.
    We Believe
    in God’s providence as faithful stewards who continue Christ’s work using the Keys to the Kingdom.

    To read complete bulletin click here