March 4, 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.

HARPO AND THE HARP
The Marx Brothers were named one of the 10 most popular comedy acts of the 20th century. Groucho, sporting his giant mustache and cigar, Harpo signaling his zaniness with a halo of curly hair, are iconic. Groucho worked at Warner Bros. Studios. Whenever Jack Warner saw Groucho he would ask, “How’s Harpo?” This went on for years until Groucho finally said in exasperation, “Jack, you never ask how I am, all you ever ask is ‘how’s Harpo’?” “Okay”, said Warner, “How are you?” “Fine, thank you,” said Groucho. “Good for you,” said Warner, “now how’s Harpo?”
Oh, the things we can change and the things we cannot change! Keeping a sense of humor can make all the difference. One day as a joke, Harpo’s mother sent him a harp. He was enchanted with the instrument and learned to play it expertly, even though he never learned to read music.  Harpo’s playing in film and on TV is credited as the single most important factor in popularizing the harp in modern times.
Instruments like the harp date back 2500 years and are found in ancient artworks from Egypt to South America. In the Hebrew Scripture, young David heals King Saul with the beauty of his harp music. Later David as King composes psalms which he accompanies on the harp.  Harps are associated with heaven and celestial beings in art and in our collective imagination.
At each celebration of the Eucharist this weekend, we will be guided in prayerful meditation with the calming sounds of harp music.
Prayer is the key to serenity and music can inspire prayer. Music is one of God’s gifts that touches our spirit like a healing balm and lifts our hearts in grateful praise. God is present in all of creation and in us and is therefore, discoverable in all things. Whenever we are conscious of God, grateful for gifts or asking for our ‘daily bread’ we are praying.

Reflection Activity
Serenity Prayer Practices
Prayer preparation: Breathe deeply, relax your body intentionally, be aware that God is closer to you than your next breath.
Play soft music. Read, reflect and engage in the practices below that correspond to the verses of our Lenten Hymn, Grant Us, Lord, Serenity.(Sung to the tune of For the Beauty of the Earth)

Prayer Time 1
Refrain: Grateful prayer and thankful praise,
              For your wisdom all our days.
Look at the sky, day or night. In gratitude, see the sky as a symbol of God’s Glory, eternal presence and personal gift for you. Invite God to fill you with awe and the “WOW” of God’s indwelling Spirit.
After a few moments answer the questions:
• What one thing can I do to bring beauty to the life of another person?
• What action will I take?

Prayer Time 2
Grant us, Lord, serenity
When your grace we cannot see.
For each moment is your plan,
Grace abounds throughout life’s span.
Light a candle. See the light as a symbol of God’s warmth and love in every situation past, present and forever. God is always working. Invite God to lighten your heart and free you from all shadows and doubt of God’s Providence. Repeat Romans 8:28,
All things work for good for those who love God.”
After a few moments answer the questions:
• How is God calling me to radiate light to others?
• What action will I take?

Prayer Time 3
For the challenge of each hour,
May acceptance in us flower.
People, places, things abound;
May your will in each be found.
Look at the roots of a plant in a pot or in the earth. In serenity, see the roots as a symbol of God’s Providence. Invite God to fill you with strength and hope rooted in God’s desire to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
After a few moments answer the questions:
• Who needs me to be a source of strength or hope for them?
• What action will I take?

Prayer Time 4
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.
Sit and open both of your hands, palms up on your lap. In serenity, see your hands as a symbol of God’s gift of life to you. Invite God to hold your hand while you thank God for 10 things, people or gifts for which you are grateful – use your fingers to count. Gratitude enables us to experience courage because God was, is and will be a part of us as are our hands.
• After a few moments – pray for 10 people for whom you give thanks.
• Express your gratitude to at least one of them today.

Prayer Time 5
Facing choices every day,
Guiding wisdom is our stay.
Draw us close in unity,
Stewards in community.
Fill a bowl or glass with water. In serenity see this as a symbol of God’s healing and refreshment. Invite God to quench the thirst of your mind and heart and fill you with peace. Recognize that we are connected to one another in the same way that each drop of water connects to fill the bowl.
After a few moments answer the questions:
• Who is God inviting me to comfort or encourage?
• What action will I take?

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 8:00PM
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 we refrain from eating meat and have one full meal and two lesser meals. All Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence.

MEDITATION HOUR
“Pick up your mat and go home!” Mark 2:11
Thursday, March 8th at 7:00 PM in CHURCH

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