October 13, 2019




During the next weeks we are exploring our theme “God Is Love”. Bulletin articles, homilies, music, reflection questions and prayer practices will enable us to grow spiritually and to live our mission to do Christ’s Work as love in action. Follow our journey at www.stphilip.org.

Banner Symbols
At the center of love’s heart is the cross, the symbol of God’s unconditional acceptance of us. The joined hands remind us that we love God by being love in action for one another. The hands reflect our Dalle de Verre stained-glass windows which represent the diversity of God’s gifts in us and in our Church as a community.

God is Love
Beloved, let us love one another, because love has its source in God…No one has seen God, yet as we love each other God dwells in us and God’s love is perfected in us… We love because God first loved us…God is love.

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”
Victor Hugo (1802 – 1885) was a French poet and novelist. He is the author of the famous work Les Miserables from which the quote is taken.


Our Theme Prayer:
Lord, turn my face with grace to love.
Turning our face with grace to love is a prayer practice based on St. Ignatius of Loyola’s prayer The Examen. This type of prayer takes an honest look at our thoughts, feelings and motivations. It invites God to move our mind, hearts and will toward loving self, others and God.

Banner Symbols
The first acronym (vertical left column) in our theme F.A.C.E – Fear, Attachment, Control, Entitlement is based on the ideas of David Richo and Mark Thibodeaux S.J.
The center prayer, Lord, turn my face with grace to love and the second acronym (vertical right column) is an original idea of our theme F.A.C.E. – Faith, Acceptance, Cooperation, Empathy.
In prayer we turn from Fear to Faith – Attachment to Acceptance – Control to Cooperation – Entitlement to Empathy.

Prayer Practice Procedure
1. Ask for the Grace (Gift) of honest prayer
2. Reflect on the banner/Prayer Card words or emoji’s
3. Ask the Lord to help you FACE which applies most to you in this present moment
4. Choose one that seems most appropriate
5. Ask the Lord to turn your face with grace toward love
6. What thoughts, feelings or ideas come to you in this prayer?
7. Simply recognizing what is within us with God as our companion is often enough for a change
8. Ask “OK God, what is the good news?” Give thanks.
This Prayer can be prayed once or twice a day. Keeping it brief is helpful, it is about growing in awareness and spending time with God.
For homily and all weeks of the theme, please visit our website: stphilip.org and YouTube: stphilipclifton

Reflection Week VII
Entitlement to Empathy
When is the last time that you honked your horn in frustration with the car driver who was in your opinion too slow? Remember your bitter eye roll in the supermarket at the person ahead of you slowly, slowly bagging, who then takes out a checkbook ledger tediously filling out the date, occasion etc.? How about your feelings after holding the door for someone and getting no ‘thank you’? Those not working, try recalling… finding the last ice cube in a sea of empty trays, the always full/clean dishwasher light, the empty car fuel gauge. And last, ever cure ten lepers and have only one return to say ‘thanks’?

The word for an expectation that we have the right to something is called an entitlement. Entitlement manifests in these resentments, “get out of my way, hurry up, I should not have to wait, why is it always my turn, they didn’t even say thank you.” These thoughts change nothing of the reality they criticize but turn us toward anger and disharmony in relationships.

Healthy entitlement is an idea that promotes self-esteem. Entitlement includes an expectation of responsiveness from significant others, a sense of agency (the ability to get things done) and the right to one’s own feelings (not codependency – my feelings or needs are not as important as yours).

Unhealthy entitlement is an expectation of only favorable circumstances for you in life, special treatment or even obedience from others and the belief that one’s own needs are greater than the needs of others.

Empathy is the move from unhealthy entitlement to healthy entitlement. Empathy is a goal of the spiritual life and the way that we love as God loves. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy is acquired by putting oneself in another person’s place by asking… ‘if I were them’? Taking the next right or loving action for the greatest good of another is empathy.

In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus turning with empathy for the lepers in need of a cure. Jesus heals all ten as a gift to them. Nine possess an unhealthy expectation that they deserve healing. This sense of entitlement propels them to go forth without expressing gratitude. From a faith perspective everything is God’s gift to us and not our right. Also, the nine ungrateful lepers did not empathetically consider the feelings of Jesus. The one grateful leper recognizes the gift and puts himself in the shoes of Jesus and returns to thank the Lord. Jesus has a realistic expectation of healthy entitlement when he asks, “Were not all ten made whole?” Yet, Jesus does not get caught in an unhealthy entitlement but turns with grace to love the lone leper by promising the gift of salvation. Salvation means healing. The cured leper receives the ultimate healing beyond a physical cure of a grateful, empathetic heart which loves as God loves and so will reflect the Divine for all eternity.

God desires for us to love as God loves which involves empathy. Prayer alone can move our minds and hearts when we think and feel unhealthy entitlements. Prayer helps us to recognize that we have no idea about anybody else’s past, present, mind, heart, spirituality, skill set etc.

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