A Prayer in Times of Stress

My new book is out, and the topic is . . . stress! Finding Peace: Letting Go of Stress and Worry is a new title in Little Rock Scripture Study’s Alive in the Word series. Each short book in the series explores three Scripture passages on a single theme, helping individuals or groups pray with the Word and apply it to their lives. Finding Peace is available on Amazon or at bulk rates for groups at Little Rock Scripture Study or Liturgical Press.

Below is an excerpt from Finding Peace—a prayer I wrote for stressful times. Feel free to share it with anyone who might like to have it. I wish you peace!

And speaking of peace, thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement that many of you sent my way after my rather fragile Easter blog. As Scully once said to Mulder, “I had the strength of your beliefs.” Easter in us!

 
A Prayer in Times of Stress

Lord God, you have promised
that you are never far away, even when I feel alone;
that you will never leave me, even when I feel abandoned;
that I will never be overcome, even when I feel defeated;
that there is beauty where I do not see it;
that there is music where I do not hear it;
that there is life where I do not feel it.

Whatever I am going through,
whatever the future may bring,
whatever questions I have,
whatever bad news I hear,
whatever pain comes my way,
whatever I cannot control,
be with me, my God, and this will be enough.

Whatever I lose,
whatever I have lost,
whatever is said,
whatever is done,
whatever is broken,
whatever won’t heal,
be with me, my God, and this will be enough.

Whatever decisions I struggle to make,
whatever pressure weighs down on me,
whatever I regret,
whatever I confess,
whatever I remember,
whatever I forget,
be with me, my God, and this will be enough.

Fill my restless spirit with your presence, and this will be enough.
Fill my tired mind with your peace, and this will be enough.
Fill my aching heart with your love, and this will be enough.
Amen.

Amy Ekeh
© 2019 Little Rock Scripture Study

 
 

Why Do We Fast?

Happy Shrove Tuesday!

While we all know that the most important kind of fasting we can do during Lent (or anytime!) is to fast from hurtful behaviors such as gossip and greed, we might be wondering if there is still a place for “traditional” fasting in our spiritual lives.

Can’t the two types of fasting go together? Of course they can! Anything we do with our bodies is not meant to stop there. Fasting with our bodies—if done thoughtfully, with meaning and purpose—can change our hearts. And our changed hearts can change the world.

I hope you will enjoy my Lent article “10 Reasons to Fast This Lent” in this month’s St. Anthony Messenger, available online here. The print magazine includes some creative ideas for fasting.

And for those who are local, I hope you will join me, Sr. Virginia Herbers, and Deacon Art Miller as we team up with Peter DeMarco and the Saint Ann Choir for a One-Night Lenten Mission on March 13 in Hamden, CT. Details are below.

Lenten blessings!

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Christmas Gift Idea!

No, I’m not earning a commission on these Bibles, but I should be!  I was recently given a Little Rock Catholic Study Bible, and it’s the most beautiful Bible I’ve ever owned.  It’s a wonderful gift idea for Christmas for those in your life who love Scripture, or those who you want to encourage to love Scripture!  This Study Bible has all kinds of useful features like background articles, definitions, charts, informative footnotes, timelines, maps and even prayer starters. 

The photos below are of the “deluxe” edition, which is substantial but not too big, with a leather-like cover, ribbon markers, and nice-sized print.  (The Study Bible is also available as a regular hardback or paperback, or even an e-book, with all the same study features.  But the deluxe one is by far the most beautiful!)

A Study Bible can make a huge difference in your understanding of Scripture, which can then make a big impact on your spiritual and prayer life.  There are a lot of great Study Bibles out there, and this is one of them.  Several of my Scripture students have purchased this Bible, and they just love it!

Little Rock Study Bibles are available online.  On the Little Rock Scripture Study site, the deluxe edition is $64.95.  Happy shopping, sharing, reading and learning! 

Advent Retreat Online

Today I’d like to share with you several meditations from my Advent Retreat, which focused on the Infancy Narratives – the stories of the conception, birth and infancy of Jesus found in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. 

If you simply want to listen to the meditations (which are about 10 minutes each), you will find them below – one based on Matthew’s Infancy Narrative (Mt. 1-2), and the other based on Luke’s (Lk. 1-2). 

If you would like a fuller retreat experience, follow the link below.  There you will find everything on one page:  a short “Introduction to the Infancy Narratives” (pdf) that will help you compare Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts (you’ll be amazed how different they are!), links to the texts of the Infancy Narratives, the audio meditations, and reflection questions to correspond with the meditations.

Feel free to share with others, especially those who may not be able to get out for a parish retreat.  We can bring a retreat to them!

CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO AND PRINT MATERIALS: ADVENT RETREAT ONLINE.

John Mosiman, courtesy of The Sacred Art Pilgrim (sacredartpilgrim.com).

John Mosiman, courtesy of The Sacred Art Pilgrim (sacredartpilgrim.com).

The Sacred Art Pilgrim

As you all know, I choose the artwork that goes along with my blog posts very carefully and deliberately.  In fact, sometimes it takes me longer to find the art than to write the post!  It is my hope that the art I select resonates with the words you read and that your mind is filled with beauty, understanding and ideas.  Above all, I want to communicate to you in both word and image that there is something mysterious, powerful and transformative happening in our lives all the time.  I want to believe this myself, and art (like words) helps me believe it and, hopefully, communicate it. 

Last week I discovered a treasure trove of sacred art, and I thought many of you would like to explore this treasure for yourselves.  John Kohan, an international journalist by trade (over 20 years with TIME magazine) and a sacred artist by nature, has set out to gather and display – on his website – beautiful, modern, sacred art.  His collection includes religious art from all over the world in a variety of media and styles. 

You can visit John’s website here:  The Sacred Art Pilgrim.  If you click on “sacred art meditations” (at the top right of his homepage), you can select moments from the life of Christ, themes of faith, or other bible stories, and can view relevant art along with Bible readings, meditations and explanations.  Or you can click on “sacred artists” and view a variety of gorgeous art collected there, along with interesting information about the artists.

John’s own first piece of sacred art was a pencil drawing of the sower and the seed that he drew at six years old (which I would like to see, but it does not yet appear on the site!).  His lifelong journey through sacred art is ours to behold.