Lord, I Want to See

“Then Jesus stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him;
and when he came near, Jesus asked him,
‘What do you want me to do for you?’
He replied, ‘Lord, please let me see.'”

In this morning’s Gospel reading, the author of Luke shares this powerful story of healing and puts the burden of our requests on the lips of one man (18:35-43).

“Lord, please help us see.”

This week, let us pray that we see civility return to our public discourse.

Let us pray that we see those for whom we are thankful gathered safely around our table.

Let us pray that we can see peacemakers in our families, our parishes, and our communities.

Let us pray that we can see safety in our schools and in our churches and synagogues.

Let us pray that we can see those in need around us and be moved to share what we have.

Let us pray that we can see those who need a lift up, a kind word, or an encouraging note – and be inspired to act.

Let us pray that we see a way that we can help support those who sacrifice so much for the freedoms we enjoy.

Let us pray that we can see fires quenched, homes rebuilt, lives spared, and first responders home with their families.

Let us pray that we can see the lines on the road, the signs at the corners, the lights that are red, and the cars all around us so as to arrive safely to our destinations.

Let us pray that we can see the face of Christ in those who annoy us, challenge us, and confuse us.

Let us pray, too, that we can see the face of Christ in the mirror, shedding self-doubt and remembering that we are all children of God.

Lord, help us see the truth, not as we wish it were, but as it is.

Lord, please help us see…

With a grateful heart.


Losing Gratitude

I do not like to wait. If I buy a gift for someone, I usually deliver it long before it’s time. We tend to shop for Christmas all year long, looking for sales and trying to help Santa finish early. At some point, we forget where we hide things or forget what we have purchased, all of which makes for a fascinating Christmas Eve.

And each year, I swear I will “do” Advent better. Then it sneaks up on me and pretty soon we are halfway through the season and I still haven’t gotten the candles out.

Apparently, the rest of the world is afraid they will miss this important time of preparation too. Everyone seems to be in a rush to get to the manger. Christmas lights and decorations were up at Home Depot long before all the pumpkins were sold. Black Friday, which was annoyingly creeping into Thanksgiving day, has suddenly, and for no apparent reason (save the obvious greed), developed into a season all its own. You can now shop Black Friday sales pretty much all through November. Small Business Saturday gives way to Cyber Monday and soon we are two weeks into Advent and I can’t find the wreath.

And in the midst of this mess, we have lost sight of my favorite national holiday.

Prayers of Thanksgiving have long been a part of our religious heritage and prayers of thanksgiving at harvest time have been around for centuries. Rooted in this country in the practices of Puritans and stories of Pilgrims, Thanksgiving was first celebrated by all the states in the Union in 1863 as Abraham Lincoln sought to hold a country together. Later proclaimed a national holiday by a joint resolution in Congress and signed by Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, Thanksgiving has been a part of our nation’s fabric for generations.

Though the timing was changed along the way, in part for economic reasons, the simple message remained the same: take one day of the year to give thanks for all that we have.

So before we decorate. Before we light candles and open little paper doors. Before making our list and check it twice. Before all the waiting begins, let us just stop for one day. No shopping. No surfing. No texting. No posting.

Just be with the people you love and say “thank you” for the blessings they are in your life. Thank them for the way they challenge you, move you, and improve you.

It’s one day. My favorite day. Family day. Lazy day. Baking day. Cooking day. Going to Mass because we want to day. Pie day. Turkey day. Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks be to God for the blessing we have, the blessings we are, and the blessings we are called to share



This post originally appeared in 2013 but the Donovan clan returned home late last night from the National Catholic Youth Conference and are exhausted, so please forgive the repost.

Giving Thanks

This Thursday when we gather as a family, we do so in a new home in a new town in a new state. So I asked for the list of “things we are thankful for” a little early.

The nine year old is grateful for the roof over our heads. Her mother is grateful that the construction projects under said roof are almost at an end.

The eleven year old is grateful that we are together under one roof again, having lived apart from February through June. She added that she is also grateful that the house in Delaware sold so quickly (to which her parents nodded in agreement).

The ten year old if grateful for new friends and her new school while the seven year old is just grateful for everything.

Dad is grateful that he gets to go to a job he loves every day and return home to a family he loves even more.

This week, may you gather with those you love, ignore politics, and talk about family, friends, good health, and important things, like whether cranberries should be served with or without the berries.

Let us reflect together:

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him.  

Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

― Thomas Merton