Making time for prayer #whynot

whynotThe other day I posted about New Year’s Resolutions – or lack of them. If you read the post then you know that they have never been my thing – and that I have been prompted by the Spirit to ask the question #whynot? Why not try something new or different, something that has been long desired – or recently imagined – and see what happens? Most change, as we know, comes slowly. Many times one small change can bring forth more sweeping ones over time.

One thing that seems to come up for a lot of people is the desire to pray; either to begin a regular prayer practice, or to deepen an existing one. Speaking as the world’s most undisciplined person, I can tell you that the only consistent practice in my life is Continue reading

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Hungry, Naked, and Sick

10702060_765501393522463_5332331349274774028_nYou heard the Gospel on Sunday, right? Well maybe some of you did, maybe some of you didn’t. Here is a snippet from Matthew 25:

For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.’

This is Jesus speaking to us, reminding us of our Christian life and vocation. It is one of the most powerful Gospels, clearly telling us what to do if we want to follow and serve Jesus.

In early 2012 I was invited to contribute a few gospel reflections to a book that was being put together by Deacon Jim Knipper; the book would be sold to benefit others and his working title for his enterprise was “Homilists for the Homeless.” While flattered, and slightly mystified to why I was invited along, I said yes – imagining one of those spiral bound books you can get made up at Staples, sold in Jim’s parish gathering space. Was I ever wrong!

Imagine my shock and surprise when the dawn began to break in my head and I realized that I would be in a book with a number of spiritual and religious giants who were heroes of mine, such as Richard Rohr OFM. Then there was James Martin SJ, whom I had interviewed by phone once, and corresponded with a little – another person who inspired me regularly. These two were the big ones for me, but there were many others. This first volume of Homilists for the Homeless gathered voices that were ordained and lay, Catholic and other Christian, male and female, to break open the Scriptures for each Sunday and Holy Day in the Catholic liturgical year. And the title? Back to today’s Gospel, the book would be called “Hungry, and You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C.”

We’ve been busy since then, still hearing that Gospel in our hearts and publishing “Naked, and You Clothed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle A” last year. This November we have released our third volume in the series, “Sick, and You Cared for Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle B.”

This is new for this year - a box set of all three volumes. Available  at this link.

This is new for this year – a box set of all three volumes. Available at this link.

We’ve also been blessed richly, selling many, many books. The result has been that over $30,000 has been distributed to our selected charities for our first two years. We look forward to what the future brings and are grateful for our readers and such wide support.

16392_756880211051248_3157002784781926629_nOur list of contributors has grown since year one, keeping all the originals such as Deacon Greg Kandra, Fr. William Baush, and Michael Leach,  while adding some new voices. For example, last year we added names like Sister Simone Campbell SSS, Jan Richardson, Mary Sperry, Gregory Boyle SJ, Michelle Francl, Daniel Horan OFM, and Rob Bell. This year Deacon William Ditewig, Rev. Martha Sterne, and Margaret Blackie were added, and Joan Chittester OSB wrote our forward! All of our cover and interior art is done by Bro. Mickey McGrath OSFS. There are so many voices, names recognizable and others less so, but all quite gifted and passionate. You can find a comprehensive list of our contributors at this link.

I can’t even begin to express what an honor and privilege it is to be a part of such an august group. And that’s my ego speaking – the real honor and privilege comes from knowing just how many others are served because of these books.

Think the books are not for you because you are not a homilist, think again. We have many readers. Some use the books as homiletic resources for preachers from every tradition. Others use it to study, read, and pray. Groups and individuals use the books for weekly prayer and scripture study. I have heard of people bringing them to nursing homes and other facilities; I’m sure that they would be a welcome addition to prison libraries.

If you have purchased our books – we thank you! And if you are just learning about us, please have a look at our website. We are grateful for your purchase which puts the Gospel into action. Please “like” us at our Facebook page and “follow” us on Twitter. visit our Clear Faith Publishing website, where you will find other items for sale. We are also grateful for any social media sharing that you can offer us. Not for us, but for the sake of those who are hungry, naked, and sick. Which in the end, is all of us – completely dependent on Christ, completely dependent on one another.

Life & Books – Flawed and beautiful, broken and blessed

1469778_584035771669027_1808076260_nA little over a month ago, I wrote about the latest edition in the Homilists for the Homeless series, Naked and You Clothed Me; Homilies and Reflections for Cycle A. Since then we went to press, found a missing page, had to go to press again, and we are shipping. Upon shipping, we discovered the creative use of an out-of-cycle-gospel, from one of the authors… that one’s staying. Our book, life, the whole thing – flawed and beautiful, broken and blessed, right?!

Yes, indeed.

So now, broken and blessed, flawed and beautiful, I would like to tell you a little more about our book. Yes, I know – I’m in it, so I am biased. What can I tell you? I’m flawed, too. Beautiful? I’ll leave that one up to you.

ClothedMe.Cover_.Full_-e1372305936491If you are not already familiar with our series, our first book came out last year; Hungry and You Fed Me: Homilies and Reflections for Cycle C. When I was first contacted by Deacon Jim Knipper, our founder, editor, and publisher, in early 2012, he told me about his idea for a book of homilies and reflections based on the three year lectionary. What I heard was that a small book, maybe spiral bound (I have a vivid imagination, what can I tell you…) like a parish cookbook, that we could sell to raise money for charitable causes. Now Jim never said small, spiral bound, but that’s what I heard.  I went along on my merry way and began to work on my assigned Sundays, and then he mentioned something about James Martin, SJ. *gulp* Excuse me, who? And then Richard Rohr, OFM. *what the what?*

I gasped for breath thinking, “Wait? You mean THE Richard Rohr who I read when I returned to church in 1990, the one that encouraged me to stay in church? THAT Richard Rohr?” Yes, that Richard Rohr. That James Martin. And me – haha – in a book together!?! Good bye, spiral binding! I soon learned of the many well known contributors, and some less known, and then me. In a book. Together. Wheee! I was humbled, terrified, grateful, and excited.

In any case, our book exceeded all expectations, selling many copies, that benefited the selected charities, and winning awards. So now we are back for the second year in the three year cycle. We have added a lot of new authors, and retained all the existing authors. Check out the photo at the top of the post to see who is included.

Please visit our new website at Clear Faith Publishing, where you will also find Christmas cards, calendars and some books by Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS.  Yes this is a shamless plug for our book (charity!), and for Br. Mickey’s work, but what can I tell you – as a human, I am flawed, possibly beautiful (that’s God’s work,not mine!), broken, and very definitely blessed.

Thanks for your consideration. And if you are inclined to share this via social media, please do! Thanks!