September 29, 2019

TWENTY-SIXTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME SEPTEMBER 29, 2019

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GOD IS LOVE: WEEK V

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.

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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 V
On a fiercely hot day in Florida, Andy is re-sodding his yard. Andy is determined to do the job in one day because the Home-owners Association is going to impose a hefty fine if his yard does not meet their standards. Andy’s only break from digging is watering the piles of sod sitting on pallets. Suddenly, Andy collapses clutching his chest. His wife calls 911. As the ambulance arrives, he refuses to get in insisting that the sod must be planted today. He protests that if only he has a few minutes to catch his breath he can finish the task! Recognizing a heart attack, Andy is overpowered by the medical team all the while protesting and speaking about the lawn. Even at the hospital he continues to focus on his idea of what he should be doing instead of his current reality. As Andy is being wheeled in for a medical procedure his wife joyfully tells him some good news. The ambulance drivers and medical team returned to his home with some friends and planted the sod. They saved his life and his lawn.

Although Andy’s attachment to his lawn project is extreme, we understand his unhealthy attachment. In any given time in our lives we all have unhealthy attachments to ideas (all of our “shoulds”, “musts”), persons (those who push our buttons) or behaviors (addictions, food, drink, cellular telephones). Like Andy, we are often unable or unwilling to change our focus or plans when confronted with new information.
In our reading from the Prophet Amos, we are challenged not to be “complacent” but to examine our behavior and to change. St. Paul writes to Timothy about the type of behaviors we strive for “love, patience, gentleness” which are the opposite of unhealthy attachments. In the Gospel we have an excellent example of the rich man’s unhealthy attachment to his idea of himself. Even after death the rich man clings to his distorted idea of his own importance. God explains that Lazarus and the rich man are equal in God’s sight. Yet the rich man continues to see Lazarus as his servant. In fact, the rich man even tells God what to do – send Lazarus to get me a drink, send Lazarus to tell my brothers. If we are honest, we recognize in ourselves how difficult it is for us to change our minds and even more difficult to change our hearts. Our unhealthy attachment to distorted thinking is exactly the place in our lives that God desires to touch and to heal.
Can you name your unhealthy attachments? What obsesses you? Who captures your negative attention and emotions? God desires to free us from our unhealthy attachments. Change or metanoia is God’s work accomplished when we turn our face with grace to love.

Imaginative Prayer
1. In prayer identify an unhealthy attachment or attachments
2. Do not dwell on the attachments just name them honestly with God
3. Picture blowing unhealthy attachments into a balloon
4. Tie a knot in the balloon and let it go – ascending into God’s care
5. Pray: God grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change by trusting in your Providence or use any of the Scripture quotes from Week IV
6. Unhealthy attachments have a way of floating back down to us. This is normal. Use your imagination to gently tap the balloon back up into God’s care.
7. Take Action: the most effective way to shift our focus in mind and heart from unhealthy attachments is to concentrate on the well-being of someone else and to take action for the good of another person.

To read complete bulletin click here