February 25, 2018

PRAYER IS THE KEY TO SERENITY

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.

PRAYER
prayer

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.

To Accept The Things I Cannot Change…
A young woman informs her dentist that she finds flossing her teeth tedious, tiresome and an unacceptable practice. The doctor responds, “OK, I’ve got good news. My new prescription is – only floss the teeth you want to keep.”
What is humorous about the story is our recognition that the woman needs to change by accepting the physical reality of her teeth. She has a choice. We always have a choice. Some examples of things that cannot be changed: in ourselves – aging and illness, in others – that is a very long list, in situations beyond our control – traffic or school shootings. Acceptance does not mean that we like or approve; it means that we recognize that we are powerless to bring change.
We can decide not to accept the things that we cannot change. The result is spiritual diminishment whose symptoms are: mental frustration, emotional turmoil running the gamut from anxiety to anger and the weakening of the courage and wisdom that we need to change the things we can in love and service.

Prayer is the Key to Serenity Reflection
Reflect on what angers or annoys you. What causes you worry and anxiety? These are areas of your life to bring to prayer. How many of these people or situations are honestly beyond your power to change? How about what you find unacceptable in yourself? Make a list. Spiritual acceptance means that we acknowledge, recognize and honestly see what is beyond our control. We give ourselves, other people and situations into God’s provident care. We stop playing God and let God help us. We let go and let God.
The theologian Paul Tillich taught that the first spiritual move is to accept God’s unconditional love and, therefore, accept ourselves as we are so that God can bring us to another place. As you pray with each item on your list, be patient. Prayer is a deeply layered process of acceptance. Peel gently. God is always working.

Step 1
The expression, “It is, what it is,” acknowledges the problem of what you cannot change. Find a quiet place and still yourself through quiet breathing. Be honest with yourself and with God as you forthrightly face your feelings and share the truth of your situation.

Step 2
Remember that God accepts you without condition and invites you to accept yourself as you really are. Much time and energy is spent in denial or suppression of our own truth. Affirm ‘God is Love’ by repeating it aloud. From this place of acceptance God continues the process of change and transformation within you. Pray for an increase of trust in God and to accept in faith that God is always working for the greatest good in all things (Romans 8:28), whether you understand it or not. Giving God what you cannot change is an act of faith and opens a way for you to move forward with God’s power being manifest. You might conclude your prayer with this statement of faith, hope and love;
“It is, what it is, but whatever it is, it is in God’s care.”
Remember prayer is like dental floss; only use it in the areas of your life that seem to bite you!

HYMN PRAYER
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

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.
Bible Study: -Mondays at 11:30 AM in Church
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.

17110610 Xmas Ornament COLOR - Jubilee
JUBILEE YEAR 2018
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

WEB SITE AND FACE BOOK INFORMATION
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.
Amen

To read complete bulletin click here