roamin' catholic: karin rosner

Posts Tagged ‘prayer


Öur Lady of the New Advent”An icon by the House For All Sinners & Saints, an urban liturgical community in Denver, CO

Taste and see that the LORD is good.Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! (Psalm 34:8 New Living Translation)

Today Christians remember and celebrate Mary, Mother of Jesus in many different ways. Some are celebrating her entry into Heaven (many believe that she fell asleep in death and that her body was mysteriously taken up to be with her Lord), others are remembering her in more Protestant ways, focusing on her ultimate “Yes” in reply to the Angel Gabriel’s message to her.

The Feast begins on the eve. I am on vacation in the Pocono Mountains with my friend Andrea. We met and became fast friends on my first Alpha Course Weekend Away. I really needed this break from work and my crazy life, and I came west to the mountains on Andrea’s generous and timely invitation, determined to spend more time reading my Bible (on my Kindle) and pray. This holiday isn’t a retreat as such, but I’m deeply praying (as I look out from a back porch into the woods and relax into the prayerful music of birdsong and cicada chirps) for God’s Spirit and for renewal of my spirit, and my body, and my poor frazzled mind. (I think I am walking around on a fractured toe that I sustained climbing out of the pool, but that’s another story for another time.)


I believe that God speaks to us in many different ways, some of them quite ordinary. I really, really need to hear God speaking into my life right now.


Last night I was cooking dinner in her dacha’s little kitchenputting together a meat sauce to spoon over pasta. I split open a green bell pepper, and it bore a little baby pepper inside. I braced myself for dicing the onion, and once I peeled away the skin, there was a second onion, Siamese or split, growing inside. I had the strangest feeling that I should pay attention to what the vegetables were trying to tell me. The tomatoes came from a can, and there was nothing unusual about them. The garlic was also normal.

This morning, I grabbed my Kindle-Bible, and my devotional with today’s liturgical readings and set them on the porch. I made Marmite Toast, grabbed an orange from the fridge, set my tea to brew… and began to read. Psalm 34, Isaiah 61, Galatians 4:4-7 and of course The Song of Mary in Luke 1:46-55. When I peeled and sectioned my orange, there was an embryonic orange growing inside that one, too.

Father, you have the greatest sense of humor, ever. Of course, you invented funny. I love you. I believe in your promises and give you thanks and praise, not just to your Chosen People of the Old Testament and New, but to me, frazzled yearning for your Hope, me. Thank you for choosing Miriam of the House of David to be the mother of your Son, Jesus, my Lord, my Savior. Thank you for speaking to me through your Word, and through …er… vegetables and fruit. Thank you for Hope in the waiting, and for filling life with pregnant promise! Amen.

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Before I complain about being a crime victim for the 2nd time in 30 days (and ask for more prayer!) I am praising God for his amazing power and protection, and for the women in my apartment building who raised prayer to heaven for me.

I was robbed at knife point by two boys in the hallway of my apartment building tonight. They got my handbag which was mostly empty except for my empty wallet (literally, I had about $1.75 in there) and some unusable credit cards, my checkbook, identification and my iPhone. (Can’t run JCIR without my iPhone! Do you guys know that almost everything gets scheduled on that thing?) They ran off, I screamed bloody murder, ran inside my apartment and called the police right away. Cops immediately swarmed the neighborhood, and the neighbor ladies started praying. The officers who showed up at my door, whisked me away in the squad car… and we got them. I got everything back, except for the iPhone Case and one earring that I had stuck in my bag.

Please pray for me that when I go to press charges in the morning, that I have a clear head and memory to identify these kids in the lineup. Please give thanks and pray for protection of the amazing men and women of the New York City Police Department, and all police officers everywhere. Pray for two young men who really need help.

God bless you all.  I promise, I don’t make this stuff up.

On Thursday night, I was part of an amazing gathering of a couple hundred prayer warriors of all ages in Manhattan. We climbed over the seasonally empty fountain’s edge in Washington Square Park, stood together in a circle, led by C.J. Guinness &  Eric Marshall in worship. Dozens of other cities took part when their own clocks struck 7:14 PM, including Capetown, Melbourne, and London. The aim of our prayer was to pray for our nations, praying for conversion and revival in every conceivable area that we could think of.

The Holy Spirit gave me a picture of exactly why we there, while we praying for social justice.

The root of social sin in our cities and nations is loneliness. The enemy wants to make each one of the beautiful children of God our Father feel so completely cut off from God and each other that we perpetuate, (a big word with a Latin root that means keep on continuing), exactly what the enemy is experiencing – complete separation from God. He wants to drag us down with him into hell, because that hurts God. It’s one more blast of anger against the Creator of the Universe using each human being that has ever lived or ever will live as cannon balls and cannon fodder in a war he can never ultimately win. (Isaiah. 14:12-14; Matthew 12:24, 2 Peter 2:4, Jude 6, Revelation 12:4)

The hoarding of resources is a result of a mixture of greed and fear, isn’t it? We are afraid of what’s going to happen to us if we break our of our self-interest and share.

For each resource we hold on to so tightly:

one more person goes hungry

one more person has no bed to sleep in, no home to go to

one more unborn child’s life is destroyed and ended before even drawing one breath

one more person dies because there is no medicine or treatment is too expensive

one more person feels lost and alone, powerless, unloved by everyone, including God

one more person turns to drugs, alcohol, sex, or any other addiction to fill the lonely void

The aloneness, the cut-offness of one person is enough to continue the vicious, deadly circle, the chain of greed and fear, the spiral down into Satan’s abyss that creates a real hell on earth. We may not be the fear-mongerers, the hoarders… but we’re trapped in the food chain of sinfulness just the same as the people we accuse of injustice: Wall Street tycoons, slum landlords, Bernie Madoffs, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians…

God created the world, created us, because he wanted to share his absolute love with us. When we walked away, he came to us in Jesus his Son  and showed us what radical love meant. Jesus’ death on a cross and his resurrection sends a nuclear bomb into the hell on earth we’ve helped create… or it can, if we let him in.

So, after I caught my breath and pulled myself together before I started sobbing, I prayed for Christ to change my heart even as his Holy Spirit was breaking it by showing me these things. Jesus died on the cross for us, revealing to us what radical love looks like… and making sure that there is a connection of Mercy, a bridge across a chasm of sin, through Christ himself back to the Source of Love Himself.

God’s remedy for the hell that Satan would drag us all into is Christ’s partnership with us in repairing the damage done to the whole of creation by the enemy’s hate. If Satan would fling human beings fears against each other in creating confusion, despair and chaos, then Jesus invites us to be partners with him in letting radical love flow out and change.

Radical love flows out from God, through us. His mercy moves us and gives us all the tools and resources we need. I was rummaging through my childhood experiences of religion, and looked up Catholic teaching on Mercy, particularly two lists of things that the Catechism teaches Christians must do: what’s known as the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. I used to believe that these were things we had to do, on our own, in order to fulfill religious obligations and be pious, but I think I understand now that God’s Holy Spirit flows out through us to do these things, and changes us so that we’re excited about being a part of all that God is doing to rescue the world from its own hell. It’s not a “must” any more; it’s what God does through us as we grow more and more in likeness to Christ.

Take a look. The first list, the “Corporal” or “physical” Works of Mercy are mostly found in Matthew 25:31-46 :

Feeding the hungry

Giving drink to the thirsty

Sheltering the homeless

Clothing the naked

Visiting and ransoming the captive, (prisoners)

Visiting the sick

Burying the dead

That’s just the practical list. The Spiritual Works of Mercy are less physical, but nevertheless are loneliness-defying attacks against hell. In Christ, through his Spirit, we become part of:

Instructing the uninformed

Counseling the doubtful

Admonishing sinners

Bearing wrongs patiently

Forgiving offenses willingly

Comforting the afflicted

Praying for the living, the sick and the dead

What all of these actions in Mercy look like in the 21st Century are no less amazing than when I read about them in the nineteen seventies and eighties, or when they were drawn up in centuries past. We are empowered to be Christ for one another, in small ways and grand gestures: the Holy Spirit makes it so, makes us grow into being a part of Mercy, if we let him break our hearts and remake us like Christ. The radical love that Christ revealed on the cross flows through us and destroys social sin where it begins, in primal fear of being cut off and alone.

I came home last night from work, and I felt ill. The noise of the day, the heat, the busyness,  and the stress made me feel nauseated and triggered a migraine. I forced some cold leftovers into my stomach, and crawled into bed. I shut off the lights and made my bedroom as silent as possible. I felt chilled (even on a ninety-degree day), so I let the room be sultry, not running the fan. I lay in my bed, stripped down to my underwear.

I reached out to my bedside table, and traded my eyeglasses for another object that I keep there: my olive wood Rosary beads. I don’t always pray the Rosary as part of my daily routine; I move in and out of traditional spiritual practices as the mood strikes me. The beads have their own special little spot, next to my little traveling icons of Christ and Mary, ready for whenever I might need them.

I prayed through the decades of the Joyful Mysteries, flinging my headache and nausea, my pain and disgust, and other problems in my life and the lives I care about, at the feet of my Lord. That’s what praying the Rosary is all about for me. The Joyful Mysteries begin with the message of Gabriel to a young, scared woman in Nazareth, continue her with her journey greeting her cousin Elizabeth when the two pregnant women meet, through the birth of Jesus, the songs of Simeon and Anna in  Jerusalem’s Temple when they behold the Savior of the World for the first time, to the moment of panic where Jesus goes missing to his parents and is found teaching the elders, priests and rabbis. All who pray these mysteries behold Christ; we enter into their epiphany.

I meditate as I move through the different moments in the New Testament in a quiet, orderly way through centuries’-old prayers, from the Apostles Creed,  to the Doxology, to the Lord’s Prayer, to the words of the Angel Gabriel to Mary, “Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with you!”

Mary. Ah, yes. She’s there, too. She is not someone I worship, but she is my elder sister in Faith, and my Mother because she was and is Christ’s Mother. I believe she is still doing what she always has done, worshiping at the throne of God and interceding for all of us through prayer.

Prayers complete, I still felt chilled, but the nausea had passed. I was shivering. I pulled up my covers and fell asleep almost as soon as I had replaced my rosary beads on my nightstand. It was only 8:30 PM.

When I awoke several hours later, most of my migraine had left, flung at the manger (and the cross) using my rosary beads like a slingshot, along with the almost crazily dramatic issue I brought into prayer involving people in a mess o’ trouble,  and a mommy’s presence lingering nearby.  I felt peace.

Posted on: March 7, 2011

Jesus Christ is Risen is finally live on Facebook at this link and I’ve also created a private group for the page. The group exists specifically to as invitation for people to make new friends and pray for each other during the period between now and Easter. It’s a “small group”  experience for Lent as this page grows, and you can be a part of it. You can find the group at this link.

One of the reasons I’ve started JCIR is that I’ve been praying for breakthrough: I see the need for “resurrection” so clearly in my own life, in the lives of my friends, and in so many people’s lives whom I’ve met on Facebook. We feel personally, professionally, physically and even spiritually stuck. We’re longing for God to do something, to make something happen that unsticks us, knocks us loose.  We want Jesus the healer to touch us and our circumstances, to clean out the wounds and hurts and heal us,  clear up the messes we find ourselves in, and to bring everything that we desire and dream about to new life.

Back up a second. This is not the point of Easter, most of my friends would point out.

No, I agree that this is not. Easter is not really about changing our particular broken lives and our material messes. The Resurrection points to praise, honor and glorification of God, the God who loved us so much that He became one of us and brought us into a new, restored relationship with Himself.  The miracle of The Resurrection proclaims Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Messiah, Immanuel,  God-With-Us. Jesus was tortured and died on the day before the Passover, and became sin for us as the Gospels and Epistles tell us, accepting all of the punishment and wrath we deserved. In His Resurrection, Jesus  triumphs over human death and human sin, restoring our relationship with God the Father, broken at the beginning of time.

There’s lots of complicated theology to unpack here; lots of short-hand statements of faith, many passages from the Bible to re-explore.

One of things that we believe as Christians is that out of this story,  we are all called into Christ’s baptism, His death and resurrection. We’re called to bring others into this life of dying again and being raised up.

We still experience pain, illness, suffering, and death. We are saved, and always being saved. In our daily lives, we still carry the after affects of the brokenness even though we believe in the promise that we are saved and are redeemed and justified. We see the side effects of the sickness of sin. From muddled relationships to struggling with dryness of faith… and even doubt,  our lives after  Resurrection, Ascension and Pentecost are still… stuck.

We’re called to bring everyone into the living, loving family of Christ. We believe that our prayers matter and make a difference, and that every prayer we offer is God’s way of letting us share in his love and goodness, powered by the Holy Spirit living within us.  We pray for our brothers and sisters  in all circumstances, waiting for Christ to come again and really make all things new.

Prayer happens anywhere and everywhere, including pn Facebook. We pray for God to unstick us, to roll away the stone from our whitewashed, cold tombs to reveal a miracle, the HS defeating our mortal stickiness, making us unstuck and truly free.

So, from now until Easter, JCIR will be posting scriptures from the readings many churches use for Lent, looking towards Christ’s passion and death, spending time where the scriptures lead us.  I would love to see reactions posted and discussions happen in the comments.  When I gain more team members, I would love to open up the discussion boards to allow even deeper conversations to take place.

What will happen with the prayer group (if you’d like to join), is that we can go even deeper. Because this space is shielded from outside eyes, we can pray a little more personally for each other. You can share music and images in the group,  and share what’s on your hearts. I hope real friendships begin here and I pray that God uses this place on the Internet to unstick us, and then bond us to Himself even more closely. When Lent is over and Easter is here, we can go right on praying with a new group name!

Thanks for being a part of this experience with me and God bless you. – Karin

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you. – Augustine of Hippo

I woke up with this old prayer on my mind this morning.

I was super-restless last night and over-tired in every way imaginable. It was a long day and I was feeling over-socialized. My heart was troubled about something. Or was it that God’s heart was even more troubled about something and was searching for me as eagerly as I was seeking him? My mind was a jumble of stressed-out thoughts and emotions, and I was really feeling the need to pray quietly. Hah! Not happening at my church.

I was struggling to find a quiet place to pray within myself as I started for home and I decided to walk from the church down to the West 14th Steet subway station, maybe a mile’s walk. The Lord was urging me to seek Him, and I couldn’t quiet down enough or find the quiet space to pray, so I walked and walked. I got to the subway station and boarded the train I needed to get home.

More noise above my thumbing through my Bible. The boys across the aisle from my seat are laughing loudly together in what I think is Swahili and I’m just fascinated by overwhelming sounds in a cool-sounding foreign babble, and growing even more distracted. “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” I’m still making my way through my Bible reading and finishing Isaiah. My eyes grow heavy with sleep as the train gets emptier and quieter as we snake our way uptown. I’m so exhausted by the time that I reach the Bronx and the tunnel ends that I am naturally quiet, and open. I’m feeling as battered as my old, beat-up, coffee-stained Bible resting in my lap, and that’s when the Lord finally decides to push through the mind-clutter and reveal His presence with what feels like a huge smile and embrace, brief but brilliant – the feeling of God’s overwhelming presence that makes you want to drop to your knees and worship forever (or stand tall and lift holy hands in praise and prayer) … but you can’t because it’s now your train stop and you need to somehow get home with another long walk.

The space for contemplation of Christ’s presence deep within us is there in every Christian. I wish I could show you what that looks like in me and share how I get there, or how God leads me there as I pray. I can’t get to that space on my own, this prayer journey is all about Spirit-filled leading and prayerful, expectant waiting. It’s about Word and Sacrament combined in my prayer and worship life. It’s about being part of a community that prays together. I can learn how to try and quiet myself so that I might allow God to break-in to my personal chaos more quickly, less painfully… and live out of that Christ-centered space so that my movement in life flows out of that Peace that passes all understanding and NOT out of personal chaos… but I don’t know how to share that. I’ve not arrived at that rarified mystical space in my own life yet. I’m still praying, reading more Augustine and the Patristics, Spanish mystics, Eastern Church. Praying more. Reading and worshiping God through Scripture more. Worshiping in any way, shape and form more. Making more space for being absolutely still. Trying breathing and moving instead of sitting still. There’s no one way… it’s only the Spirit’s way of working in us and revealing God’s presence.


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