Serenity prayer

Most of us are familiar with a piece of prose commonly referred to as the serenity prayer. If asked to quote it we might get it wrong but we can muddle through the general idea. It says something about not getting too upset with things that we cannot control.
The prayer was originally written by a protestant minister, Mr. Reinhold Niebuhr as a part of a homily, given and then published in Heath Mass, in 1932. While we might be most familiar the initial three lines the remaining original verses are equally inspiring.
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

What a beautiful prayer. The idea that there are things that we are destined to do and things that we are destined to accept is such a relevant one, especially today. It seems as though we hear so many things these days that we need to just “let go and let God”.

Today’s gospel seems to be telling us this same thing. It seems as though Jesus is almost scolding his disciples. He is really getting on them, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?” It’s like He is saying “what is wrong with you people?” And then he goes into all of the things that he has done before their eyes, all of his recent miracles. “Didn’t I use 5 loaves to feed 5,000 and 7 loaves to feed 4,000”.
It is almost as if he were offering a different version of John 20:29 when he tells Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?” Is that it? Do we really have to place our fingers in the nail holes or our hand into his side before we really believe?
So many times, I hear that the problem with God is that he needs to do something “big” so that people can really start to believe in Him. You know, something like he talks about in the Gospel. What we need is a Good Old Testament miracle! Feeding a lot of hungry people with nothing. Making a lot of blind people see, or a bunch of deaf people hear. And throw a couple of raising of the dead on top or good measure.
Maybe He has set up this codependent relationship where we expect Him to come to our rescue. You know, God swoops in just in the nick of time when we haven’t remembered to send in those forms, or we haven’t left ourselves enough time to get to that meeting. You know, those “big miracle moments”. You have probably heard the story of the man that was really late for a meeting, and he was driving around a parking lot praying that God would open a parking space for him? “Dear Lord if you could just open one parking space for me I would be …. Oh, never mind. I found one.” The problem with this is that God hasn’t done anything really big for a really long time. All those miracles in the bible got a lot of press back then but not so much lately.

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

MK 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread,
and they had only one loaf with them in the boat.
Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out,
guard against the leaven of the Pharisees
and the leaven of Herod.”
They concluded among themselves that
it was because they had no bread.
When he became aware of this he said to them,
“Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread?
Do you not yet understand or comprehend?
Are your hearts hardened?
Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember,
when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand,
how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”
They answered him, “Twelve.”
“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand,
how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”
They answered him, “Seven.”
He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

February 14, 2022

February 14, 2022

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