Solemnity of the Assumption the Blessed Virgin Mary (20th Sunday)
As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we have all these images in our minds of a young woman, fresh faced and unchanged, and that’s fine, that’s maybe how it should be.
However, let me offer you an alternative portrait of Her. Here is a teenager expecting a baby, no sign of the father. Her betrothed, willing to accept and bring up someone else’s child as his own. She is poor, and is homeless at the time of the birth of her son, having to give birth in a stable. Shortly after this, she has to flee for her child’s safety and becomes a refugee. In addition to being homeless and a refugee, she went on to become the anguished mother of a missing teenager. She became widowed, a single mother, who later would have to witness her son being falsely accused, taken prisoner, tortured and brutally killed. She was then grieving the loss of a beloved son to violence and yet, she endured all of this with courage and faith.
The images we have of this young fresh faced woman don’t show the worry, the hardships, the sacrifices, and the great pain she endured through her life. She doesn’t have the battle scarred face of someone who has had a hard life, whose face tells a story of those hardships and pain. But her face does tell a story of someone who was blessed and chosen by the Lord. He chose her before she was born. She was kept pure and chaste. Her face tells the story of a young woman who accepted the promises of the Lord without question, but with good grace and a trusting acceptance. Her face shows a woman who was a loving, protective, caring, compassionate, faithful servant of the Lord.
Many years ago on a visit to Rome, I saw what I consider to be one of the most striking images I have seen of the face of Mary. It is the Pietà sculpture by Michelangelo, which is in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican. That image of a mother, holding her dead son in her lap, is so powerful. Her face and her posture shows so many emotions; sadness, anguish, sorrow, love, compassion, and so much more. So when I think of an image of Mary, I think of the Pietà.
When we think of the Blessed Virgin Mary and prayer, apart from the ‘Hail Mary’, there is Her own prayer, the ‘Magnificat’. A beautiful Canticle, which we have just heard in today’s Gospel, which encapsulates the true Mary. This is her own image of herself and of the Lord. The first part of it says it all: “My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my saviour. He looks on his servant in her lowliness; henceforth all ages will call me Blessed”. A truly self-effacing, humble, beautiful, account of her encounter with the Lord.
So, no matter what image we have of Mary, remember that the road she travelled was a long, hard and at times torturous one. Her reward was to be her assumption, body and soul, untainted, into Heaven, where she remains to intercede for us with the Father. Therefore, the first line of our prayer to her is very appropriate; ‘Hail Mary, full of grace’.
I have another prayer to Mary in my missal that I’d like to share with you:
‘Take my hand O Blessed Mother, hold me firmly lest I fall.
I am nervous when I’m walking, and to thee I humbly call.
Guide me over every crossing, watch me when I’m on the stairs.
Let me know you are beside me, listen to my fervent prayers.
Bring me to my destination safely every day.
Help me with each undertaking, as the hours pass away.
And when evening falls upon us, and I fear to be alone,
Take my hand O Blessed Mother, once again and lead me home.
19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Are you the type of person who likes surprises? Or do you hate surprises? Well I suppose one of the answers to those questions may be...It depends on what type of surprise it is!
In his Gospel today, St. Luke is relating the message Jesus gave to His disciples, “You too must stand ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” If we live our life in Christ, then although we may not know the exact timing, we will at least be prepared for His coming. That really sums up the message in today’s Gospel...Be Prepared!
‘Be Prepared’, that well known motto of the Scouts and Guides. Well I never was a Boy Scout. I was in the Cubs for about three weeks when I was nine years old, until someone stole my new duffle coat, and my mum couldn’t afford to buy me another one, so she stopped me from going back.
In His attempt to get His message across, Jesus also tells His disciples, “You may be quite sure of this, that if the householder had known at what time the burglar would come, he would not have let anyone break through the wall of his house.” If we take that statement literally, it’s sounds obvious doesn’t it? None of us would go out for the evening, or go away for a few days, and neglect to leave our house secure.
We make preparations for so many aspects of our lives, but do we think about being prepared for the day when the Lord calls upon us? Probably not.
When I first read this Gospel, I found myself asking the questions: What is it exactly that we have to be prepared for? Why must we be ready? And why would the Son of Man come to us when we least expect it? I may have found some of the answers to satisfy myself, but in doing so I have only raised more questions within myself. We do not know how, why or especially when, we will be tested to see if we are ready. We may all be tested in different ways and at different times in our lives. Perhaps the test may be to make sure that we are living the good Christian life that Jesus wants and expects us to. This may be shown in lots of different ways from loving our neighbour, to sharing what we have in abundance with others, to answering a calling to enter the religious life.
Modern day living can be a very complex existence, but living up to the expectations of Jesus are very simple. He doesn’t set us standards that are impossible to achieve yet some of us find it very difficult to do even that at times. All of us will probably have successes as well as failures along the way. Therefore, it is important that we are ready for the time when we will be tested. Will we pass, or will we fail? The fact is we will never know until it happens.
St. Luke was writing for believers who anticipated the return of Jesus at any moment. We too anticipate the return of Jesus, but at the end of time even though we don’t know when that will be. We also know that Jesus is with us always, He hasn’t gone away, it may be us who are not always present to Him.
Meister Eckhart, the 14th century German mystic, theologian and philosopher once said: “God is at home. It is we who have gone for a walk.” Well, maybe it’s time for us to come home to God, and take onboard that motto...Be Prepared!
18th Sunday of Ordinary time
In today’s Gospel we hear of Jesus telling the crowd the parable of the rich man. God called the man a “Fool” because he had stored up treasures for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God. The point of the parable is not to tell us that it’s wrong to be rich, but it’s wrong if we place the importance of our wealth above all else.
Did you hear on the news last week that someone won £195 million on the lottery, yes £195 million. If that lucky person was one of you, please throw some of it Father’s way, the church needs a new roof. So what would you do if you won millions on the lottery? I suppose most people would do very similar things: Buy a big house, a nice new car, go on a few holidays, give some money to their families, maybe give some money to charities etc...It’s what a lot of people dream of being in a position to do. It would be great wouldn’t it?
When I was young, every week, my mum used to make lists of all the things she would do if my dad ever ‘came up on the pools’. He never did! So I guess my mum just wasted a lot of paper, but she had dreams and hopes for us all, and just wanted to be able to ‘see us right’ as she would put it.
I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong to be rich, or to have nice things in life, some people just are, most of us are not. Some have acquired their wealth through sheer hard work, some by saving up, others by inheriting it. It’s not having riches and wealth that is the important thing, it’s how important they are to us, that’s the issue. If they are, or they become, the most important things in our lives, then we are lost to materialism. If that happens to us then we are not very different from the rich man in the parable. Whether we consider ourselves, or others, to be rich or poor depends on how we measure the wealth we have. True wealth and true life are only found when we share God’s gifts, and we can only do that if we place our faith in God above the trappings of materialism.
Last week I mentioned one of the questions we ask parents when they attend our Baptism preparation meetings, well when we are discussing the Baptismal Promises, we ask several questions of them, such as: Do you reject Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises? Some of their answers are quite interesting, and after some discussion, I tell them that I class some of Satan’s empty promises, as the importance some people put on the materialistic things in life. I tell them that in my view, that they are not what’s important, and that the promises of Christ are what should be important to us all.
I’d like you consider this prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, for me, it sums up the parable in today’s Gospel:
‘Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind them in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve.’
I wonder what reward and recompense the rich man in the parable would have received? Or did he just get what he deserved?
17th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Last Sunday afternoon, we had a baptism preparation meeting, and I posed this question to the parents who attended...“How do you envisage God?” I would like you all to think about that too. Quite often when we pose this question at these meetings, we get the same response...‘An old man with long white hair and a long white beard, like a stereotypical grandad.’ Well, God is not our Grandfather, He is Our Father.
Given that some people envisage God as an elderly grandfather figure; that shouldn’t deter them from treating Him with love and respect, cherishing Him and looking to Him for guidance and wisdom through His experience, should it? Of course it shouldn’t, and it shouldn’t stop us from viewing the elderly and grandparents in our society the same way. This is important, and it is why The Holy Father created the ‘World Day Of Prayer For Grandparents And The Elderly’. Indeed, Pope Francis says that, “Grandparents and the elderly are the bread that nourishes our lives ... The hidden wisdom of a people, that is why we must celebrate them.”
In a way, isn’t that what Jesus was saying about His Father, Our Father, when He ‘gave’ His disciples the words to use when they prayed? We hear in the Gospel of Luke today that it was one of the disciples who actually said to Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus answered them, “Say this when you pray.” He then ‘gave’ them the Our Father.
Most of us will recite it at least once a week at Sunday mass, some of us may say it daily as part of our own prayers, but how many of us have stopped to actually think about the words and what they mean. It is essentially a prayer of petition, a prayer of asking, but not before we consider God himself. In fact the first four lines are devoted to God before we get to the section of it where we are asking for things for ourselves. It is an ‘inclusive’ prayer, one in which we ask not just for ourselves, but for others also. I have heard it said that you cannot say the Lord’s Prayer and not once say ‘I’ or ‘Me’, only ‘Our’, ‘Us, or ‘We’. We are taught it by our parents and our teachers, people of authority in our lives. It was with authority that Jesus gave this prayer to his disciples. God will always be ‘looking out’ for us, guiding us along the way, answering our prayers.
Prayer can be a powerful thing in our lives, and some people say we should never underestimate the power of prayer. I think the ‘power’ comes from within, from our belief and faith in the Lord, without which, they may just be empty and meaningless words said in the hope of dreams and wishes being fulfilled. We should put our whole heart into praying, because it comes from the heart and reaches the heart of God. The organ God gave me with which to pray is my heart, not my mouth. If my heart is not praying then my tongue is wasting its time.
God the Father is not a grandfather, He is ‘Our Father’, we are all His children. He is not elderly, He is ageless and timeless. It is in His name that the Holy Father, on this ‘World Day For Grandparents And The Elderly’ asks us to cherish and pray for those in our families, and in society as a whole, who are in this category.
We should cherish, respect and draw on the wisdom and experience of the elderly; and we should view grandparents as those who have a unique love that transcends the years and bridges the generations with ageless love. We should also have them in our thoughts when we pray that great prayer that Jesus gave to His disciples...the ‘Our Father’
16th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Ask yourselves these questions: In your house, who is the Martha and who is the Mary? Who is the one who does all the work and is busy fussing about all the chores to be done, and who is the one who sits and entertains and is waited on? You will notice that I am suggesting that you ask yourselves, I’m not inviting you to ask Selena, as we all know what her answer would be!
In St. Luke’s Gospel Martha appears to be more concerned with providing hospitality for Jesus, while Mary was more content with sitting quietly listening to Him. There was of course, nothing wrong with what either of them were doing. As with a lot of the Gospel stories, we don’t know what happened next. It would be nice to think that after Martha had provided food and drink for Jesus, that she did sit down and listen to Him. I’ve often wondered if Mary, after she had listened to Jesus, got up and cleared up. Perhaps they did share the chores, who knows.
Note that while Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen the better part and it is not to be taken from her; He is not criticising Martha for what she is doing, just that she is fretting and fussing about something that perhaps isn’t that important in the great scheme of things.
The purpose of this Gospel story isn’t to exalt the contemplative life over the active life, rather it is to suggest that the Christian life is not about ‘either- or’ but ‘both-and’. We can choose to be either a Martha or a Mary, or we could be both. We can lead a very active life but still find time to sit and contemplate the teachings of Jesus. There is a bit of Martha and Mary in all of us if only we choose to recognise it. Our busy lives are important to us, but so should our prayer life be too. St. Francis de Sales once said, “Each Christian needs half an hour of prayer each day, except when we’re busy: then we need an hour.”
We know that Jesus became close friends with Martha, Mary, and their brother Lazarus, and he visited and stayed with them frequently. You could say that they were quite privileged to spend quality time with Him, to listen to Him, to be taught by Him, and to enjoy each others company. To be considered almost as family. We too can feel privileged to have close family and friends who visit us frequently. If we do, then it’s okay to sometimes be ‘Martha’ and other times to be ‘Mary’, or even better, be both ‘Martha’ and ‘Mary’ at the same time.
So, whoever is the Martha, the busy one, or the Mary, the waited on one, in your house, it’s good to do a swap from time to time...But don’t tell Selena I said so, otherwise she’ll be telling me to practice what I preach!
15th Sunday of Ordinary Time
It doesn’t seem like three years since we last heard this Gospel story, but it is. The story of the Good Samaritan only appears in the Gospel of St. Luke. It’s a parable that raises a lot of questions, which is exactly what Jesus intended. You may have noticed that he answers the lawyer’s questions with His own questions, not always giving a straight answer. Jesus does this, knowing that the lawyer is out to test Him, to try to trip Him up. Jesus sees through that ploy, and it’s almost as if He is thinking to Himself, ‘Ah, so you’re trying to trick me, well I’ll give you something to think about.’ By doing it this way, Jesus doesn’t just get the lawyer to answer his own question, He also gets him to think about the ethical and moral aspects of the story. This in turn, hopefully, will lead to the lawyer becoming a better, more caring and more compassionate person. This may be one of the best stories ever written, and there’s a lesson there for all of us I think.
When we think about the Good Samaritan, we may also think of a lot of people who we associate with that title. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, or Saint Teresa of Calcutta as she is now known, springs to mind, as does St. Maximilian Kolbe. There are countless others and I’m sure you can all think of some that spring to your minds too. I also associate this Gospel with that well known organisation, The Samaritans. Those who volunteer their time to help others in their hour of need. They may not be out on the road physically patching up the wounds of strangers, but just by being a sympathetic listener on the other end of the ‘phone, they not only help people, but save countless lives too. There are many other organisations who do similar valuable work in communities up and down the country. These people are true ‘Samaritans’. They show compassion and care to total strangers, not for any reward, but just because that’s the type of people they are. They are living out today’s Gospel.
Thankfully, I’ve never found myself in the physical state of the man on the side of the road. But a few years ago, during a very difficult time in my life, I was in a very dark place with my mental health. Luckily I was able to get a lot of help from strangers, volunteers as well as professional health care workers. For me, at that time, all of those people were my ‘Good Samaritans’ and I will be eternally grateful for their care and compassion.
During our lives, some of us may find ourselves in a position where we need help from others, all of us are in a position where we can offer help to others.
Jesus could tell this story because He was the good Samaritan Himself. His heart went out to those who were suffering most at the hands of others. He could tell it because He knew what it was like to be an outcast – rejected by His own people, and in danger all the time of being victimised even to death ... like this man at the side of the road.
The final words to take from the Gospel today are simple, yet difficult… “Go, and do the same yourself.”
Perhaps we could all pray...Lord help me that I may go and do the same myself.
14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Today’s Gospel from St. Luke is a very rich Gospel. There’s so much to unpack in it, so many different threads to pull at and analyse. I want to explore with you just a couple of those threads.
Firstly, let’s look at the message Jesus gives to the seventy two disciples before they set out on their mission. He tells them, “Start off now, but remember, I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals. Salute no one on the road.” These sound very harsh words don’t they? Not exactly encouraging words of wisdom. Not the type of message you would give as a ‘pre-shift’ team briefing, not the words of an effective ‘motivational speaker’.
Well that may be one way to interpret that particular passage, but it would of course be taking it totally out of context. Jesus then goes on to tell them what to do and what not to do on their travels. He knew that their mission was not going to be an easy one, and He was preparing them for it by setting out the challenges they may face and how to deal with them. He was spelling out for them the realities of mission, positive and negative. So perhaps we can say that it was a practical and realistic ‘pre-shift’ briefing after all. Perhaps we should bear that in mind as our ‘mission’, our journey of faith, may not always be an easy one. There will be positives and negatives for us too as we witness to our faith.
Secondly, I want to explore the last nine words of this Gospel, “...rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.” When He said this to them, Jesus wasn’t being dismissive of the good things they had done on their travels. He was merely pointing out to them that there are more important things for them to rejoice over. And, of course this is true for all of us. We are told that all our names are written in heaven. It’s the first place that our lives are recorded, but what does it mean to you that your name is written in heaven? Does it effect the way you live your life?
Where, how, when and why our names are recorded can be a concern for a lot of people. It does effect how some people live, they are concerned about their ‘digital footprint’. As we go through life, we find our names written in many places: birth certificate, baptism certificate, school records, driving licence, marriage certificate etc...etc...These days we can be tracked and traced through our ‘digital footprint’ without us even knowing it. That information about us, in the wrong hands, can be problematic for us. Some people fear that ‘Big Brother’ is keeping tabs on them and it effects how they live their life.
Having our names recorded in official records is not always a bad thing. Recently, my brother unearthed some information about our great grandad by checking old records. We knew nothing of him, but we now have a better understanding of our family history. I now know that both of my great grandads, as well as one of my grandads were from Ireland. For me, that was a positive outcome of names being written somewhere.
However, knowing that our names are written in heaven, is a positive thing. When we come to end of this life, when we journey from this life to a greater life in heaven, what will matter then is what we’ve heard in today’s Gospel, “...rejoice rather that your names are written in heaven.”
And so, let us rejoice!
13th Sunday of Ordinary Time
On the morning that I received a call to tell me that my father had just died, I went to my boss and said that I had to drop everything and go. The only thing on my mind was to go and see my father and say goodbye to him, and be with my brother and sisters to arrange his funeral. If anyone had come up to me at that time and said ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead, follow me’, well I can’t repeat what I would have said to them! However, this is what Jesus said to one of the men in today’s Gospel.
This statement has always puzzled me, but we have to understand the context in which it was said to appreciate the ‘radical’ nature of the statement. In Judaism, the responsibility for burying the dead was one that took precedence over all other duties required by the Jewish Law. The Jewish texts exempted from the customary practices of Jewish ritual, those who needed to bury their dead, and Jesus says ignore it! Proclaim the kingdom of God! That’s because the response to the challenge from Jesus must be total and transcend all other duties. To another potential follower, who wanted to return home to say goodbye to his family first, Jesus had an equally sharp response. These men wanted to follow Jesus, but not just yet. Jesus was testing their commitment. In today’s language, He may well have been interpreted as saying, ‘Put up or Shut up!’
Jesus wanted people to follow Him, but in a totally committed way, half-hearted discipleship just wouldn’t do. Once we understand the context of Jesus’ words, we can see them in a different light. We don’t actually know how those men responded in the end, but you could say that Jesus made His position very clear to them, and left them in no doubt about the commitment He was looking for.
This Gospel is about Jesus beginning His own ‘longest journey’. It’s a trip made on foot, but it’s also a journey ‘inwards’ as He moves without hesitation to complete the destiny marked out for Him by the Father. By using these hard sayings, Jesus isn’t trying to frighten us off. These are real challenges and at certain moments in our lives we are surely called to rise to them. There are times in our lives when two paths open up before us and we know that Jesus wants us to take the ‘less travelled road’ the hardest road.
So, let us all be willing to rise to the challenge and not resist it. We must all walk the road of our lives each day. Jesus’ words must lead us to examine our own faith and be willing to be honest with ourselves as to how far we are willing to put that faith to the test. We must be ready for that day when Jesus, on that same road, comes walking by and addresses us with those simple, but deeply challenging words...“Follow Me!”
During the Eucharistic Prayer, we recite a ‘Mystery of Faith’ and quite often we will say, “When we eat this Bread and drink this Cup, we proclaim your death, O Lord, until you come again.” We are celebrating the Lord’s life and looking forward to the second coming, that’s the essence of today’s Solemnity. The first two verses of one of my favourite hymns, for me, sum up the importance and the warmth of today’s Solemnity:
‘This is my body, broken for you,
bringing you wholeness, making you free.
Take it and eat it, and when you do,
do it in love for me.’
‘This is my blood, poured out for you,
bringing forgiveness, making you free.
Take it and drink it, and when you do,
do it in love for me.’
Beautiful isn’t it? Admit it, it’s in your head now and you’ll be singing it to yourself all day. Well if it makes you think about today’s Gospel, that’s no bad thing is it?
Today’s Gospel is the story of the feeding of the multitude, the five thousand. What Jesus did that day was truly amazing for many different reasons. There are elements of trust, obedience, caring and sharing, love, humanity and self giving. The disciples showed obedience and trust towards Jesus when he said to them, “Get them to sit down in parties of about fifty” which they did. The elements of caring and sharing are shown when Jesus tells the disciples “Give them something to eat yourselves.” With these words he is showing the disciples that, to them, this may just be a large crowd of people, but that doesn’t stop Him caring about their needs and being willing to share what they have with them. This is a sign of his love towards his followers, and a sign of humanity in terms of being concerned for their welfare. Jesus knew that the crowd would be hungry and they wouldn’t have the means to provide for themselves, so He provided for them, and this was a very self giving way of doing that.
Why was the crowd there in the first place? The first sentence of the Gospel explains this; ‘Jesus made the crowds welcome and talked to them about the kingdom of God; and he cured those who were in need of healing.’ So we can see the reason the crowd gathered was to hear Jesus, and for some, to be healed by him. Whether they realised it or not, they were being fed by Jesus even then. They were being fed by the word of God. He was nourishing their hearts and souls and minds. We experience this when we come to mass. We are fed at the table of the word in our liturgy, as well as the table of the Eucharist, with the Body and Blood of Christ.
Many years ago whilst on holiday in Rome, I was fortunate to attend a papal audience with the late Pope John Paul II in the auditorium which holds about twelve thousand. His Holiness preached in many different languages to the crowd gathered there. In doing so, he showed great caring, love, humanity and self giving to us all. He fed us with the word of God, and nourished our hearts and souls and minds. It was a very moving and uplifting experience, so I suppose I could say that I have been part of a feeding of the multitude.
When we read this Gospel, maybe we should consider the fact that Jesus ‘fed’ the multitude before he actually ‘fed’ them.
If you were to ask someone for their understanding, their interpretation of ‘The Trinity’ be careful who you ask. If it’s a Manchester United fan, you might get the obvious answer: Bobby Charlton, Dennis Law and George Best. After all, there is a statue of them outside Old Trafford know as ‘The Trinity’. Well that may well be their idea of ‘The Trinity’ but it’s not ‘The Most Holy Trinity’. So how do you explain ‘The Most Holy Trinity’ to someone? Trying to explain it to a non Christian (and even to some Christians) is not the easiest thing to do.
Many years ago, we had one of our nephews staying with us for a few days. After mass on the Sunday, he said that he didn’t understand how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit can be three persons but one God. For a moment I thought, how are we going to explain this to him, then Selena said “Ah, that’s where your faith comes in. It helps you believe and accept something which is a mystery and can’t easily be explained.” I thought, that’s a good answer...smarty!
There are many other ways we can think of The Most Holy Trinity such as: God The Father created us out of love, God The Son taught us how to live by loving one another, God The Holy Spirit is the means by which we are kept ‘topped up’ with God’s love. Or, think of it this way: God is our creator, our redeemer and our sanctifier; God The Father created us, God The Son redeemed us and God the Holy Spirit sanctifies us...three persons...one God.
Others have tried to explain this mystery of faith using various symbols such as, an equilateral triangle, or two interwoven triangles, or three overlapping circles or three jars of water each reflecting equally the light of the moon. If you’re still struggling to understand The Most Holy Trinity, try thinking of a shamrock. What is it? Is it three leaves bound together? Or is it one leaf, consisting of three equal parts?
Jesus did try to explain to His disciples about the Spirit which would come to them after He had gone. He knew it was a lot for them to understand fully, and that’s why He said to them, “I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now. But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth.” They may not have fully understood what Jesus meant; but as we saw last week when we celebrated the Solemnity of Pentecost, the Spirit would soon come upon them and enlighten them. Our faith helps us to believe in the mystery of The Most Holy Trinity, and when we make the sign of the cross, we are witnessing that faith.
I recently came across a short prayer which helps me to sum up an act of faith and belief in The Most Holy Trinity: Lord Jesus, I begin and end each day with the sign of the cross. Help me to live my day in union with you. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.