Writing Prompt – Pandemic Days

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I am missing my writing workshops, but that doesn’t stop me from writing. (There are dozens of other things that keep me from writing!) The age-old (and ofttimes wrong) direction is write what you know.

Many of us have been home for over one hundred days. Some of us are just coming under the auspices of quarantining (Texas, Arizona, Florida, etc).

How have you been holding up? Have you adjusted to life at home?

It might be time to take out a notebook, journal, or keyboard and begin writing about your experience. Even if you won’t be professionally publishing your writing, this kind of document is so valuable to your future families.

Here are ten questions to get you started. You can begin by simply jotting down quick answers, but then take your time and expand your thoughts. Include your five senses, talk about your feelings, talk about your family’s feelings and reactions. There are no wrong answers; these are your experiences.

If you think of other questions, send them, and if you want to share your experiences, comment with your thoughts and/or links to your writing.

1. Are you still working at your job? At your place of work or at home? How has work changed with the covid outbreak?

2. Do you have children and are they now home from school? Are you involved in their schooling? How much? Are they working independently or do they need a lot of parental input?

3. How has your grocery shopping and cooking changed? Were you someone who ate out a lot or had you already been cooking every day? Are you trying new recipes? What are you go-to favorite recipes? Write down the recipes so your family has them.

4. What have you done for entertainment? Are you watching more television? Netflix? Are you playing board games?

5. What are you reading?

6. Are you listening to podcasts? Are you watching more or less news?

7. How has your religious life changed? What are some of the things that you’re doing that you weren’t doing before? What are you continuing to do?

8. What was the last thing you did in the public world before the pandemic arrived (in the US approximately March 13, 2020)?

9. What do you miss most from being home all the time?

10. What are you surprised that you miss the least and are thinking about keeping out of your life when the pandemic is finally over?


Sundays in Easter – Pentecost

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​​​Readings

Acts 2:1-11
Ps 104
1 Cor 12:3b-7, 12-13
John 20:19-23

Reflection

“To each individual the manifestation of the spirit is given for some benefit.”

Just as Jesus showed himself to the apostles and sent them on their mission work as his Father sent him, we also have the holy spirit within us as a guiding hand, showing us which path is the one that is best for each of us.

Journal Prompt
Write about when you’ve felt the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer

Today is the day, Holy Spirit.
You come upon us and leave a breath on each of us.
Your give your spirit to be a part of us,
as a third to join with the Father and the Son.
A guiding hand
To support,
To encourage,
To console,
There when needed,
Received with gratitude.
Amen.

Sundays in Easter – 7th Sunday

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​​Readings

Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26
Ps 103
1 John 4:11-16
John 17:11b-19

Reflection

“He [G-d] has given us of his spirit…”
He is always with us even if we are unaware of it. As I write this, I am also planning an RCIA lesson for teaching the holy spirit, and in my heart it’s all there, but I can’t get the words onto the paper. I imagine that’s probably because the holy spirit isn’t an intellectual thing; it’s a faith thing. It’s ephemeral and other worldly. It’s in the heart, not the head. When we come to a crossroads, how do we choose? Is it the well-worn path or the not yet trodden, leaf-covered path? Left or right? Towards where the sun came from? Or where it’s going to set? We always choose, and what guides us is unmistakable and remarkable, and whether we’re aware or not, G-d remains in us, and we in Him.

Journal Prompt

What time do you remember making a decision that had the confidence of G-d guiding you or the holy spirit poking you in one direction or the other?

Prayer

Come, Holy Spirit
Take my hand,
Lead me in the way I’m to go.

Come, Holy Spirit
Show me the way,
Lead me to the lighted path.

Come, Holy Spirit
Guide me with your love,
Lead me to the truth.

Come, Holy Spirit
I trust in you.
Amen.

Sundays in Easter – 6th Sunday

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Readings

Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48
Ps 98
1 John 4:7-10
John 15:9-17

Reflection

In the first reading today, the gift of the holy spirit poured out on the Gentiles. Peter ordered them to be baptized – cannot withhold water when they’ve received the holy spirit.

It’s not the water. It’s not the holy spirit. It’s not the cross. It’s all of those individual things becoming the greater thing, not only to guide us, but to always be within us.

When I was brought fully into the church four years ago I found out that the Easter Vigil is the only time the parish priests confer confirmation on the candidates. It is the only time that the bishop is allowed to be substituted. It is also the one time when the traditional sacraments are given in their order – baptism, confirmation, communion – rather than receiving the first communion between baptism and confirmation. There is something about being a part of such a longstanding tradition. When I participated and observed the Jewish rituals, I was always in awe of being a part of G-d’s chosen, descended from Abraham, observing things that had been observed since the beginning.

I feel that same way about my journey through Catholicism. In my studies, I’ve discovered that the mass hasn’t changed much since those first centuries.

The profoundness sometimes weighs on me, but the joy of it all lightens me.

Journal Prompt

This I command: love one another

Prayer

Accept the Father’s love,
Offer your love as he does.
Accept His saving power, and
Offer gratitude for it.
Follow his commands,
Absolve your sins,
Close your eyes, and breathe it in.
Exhale it out with thanks, and
Amen

Sundays in Easter – 5th Sunday

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Readings

Acts 9:26-31
Ps 22
1 John 3:18-24
John 15:1-8

Reflection

It reminds me of James 3:26: Faith without works is dead. It’s not the faith that’s important; it’s what having faith leads you to do. From giving money to giving time, our works and their reception increases our faith which increases our good works. Similarly, when we love both truthfully and through our deeds, we, and they, come alive.

Journal Prompt

“Let us love in deed and truth.”

Prayer

Remind me, O Lord that faith and love are paramount, equally deed and works will lead us to fulfillment and a deeper faith and abiding love. Amen.

Sundays in Easter – 4th Sunday

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Readings

Acts 4:8-12
Ps 118
1 John 3:1-2
John 10:11-18

Reflection

The cornerstone is the foundation, but it’s more than that. It’s the beginning, the first step, the mark of remembrance; the placeholder for all that is to follow.

When seeing the cornerstone, we see where that space all began. Sometimes there’s an engraving, a year of commencement or sometimes completion. A symbol highlighting the buildign’s significance – a cross, an open book. Letters: an engraver’s initials, an artist’s signature, a person’s legacy.

We trace the marks with our fingertips; we photograph all sides with a camera or even our mind’s eye. We do a pencil rubbing on vellum, but there are still realizations hidden deep away.

We begin with the cornerstone and find our own way from there.

Journal Prompt

The cornerstone

Prayer

Jesus,
Show us the full meaning of the cornerstone,
Bring us there for the beginning,
And walk with us as we end there
At the end of our circle.
We pray to you, and thank you for being by our side.
Amen.

Sundays in Lent – Wednesday of Holy Week

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Today’s journal prompt comes from the Liturgical Press publication, Daily Reflections for Lent: Not by Bread Alone 2018 by Michelle Francl-Donnay:

Her meditation for Saturday, March 24:

“As the long season of Lent turns toward Holy Week and Easter, stop with G-d to take stock of where you have been. Where has your heart been opened? What Scriptures have spoken to you most clearly? What are you still clinging to that you wish to leave behind?”