I was sick for a solid ten days before I dragged my sorry self to the doctor. “Bronchitis and Sinusitis,” she said. Four prescriptions later, I was on my way to recovery, or so I thought. When the antibiotic kicked in, I was sleeping 12-15 hours a day. Laundry was piling up. My feral children were wondering if I was going to throw them some raw meat for sustenance. I would get up, wander around, and wonder when I could go back to bed. We were surviving on take-away pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches. That’s when the soup started arriving.
First, a frozen batch of tomato bisque arrived from my friend Cathy – a definite “open in case of emergency” soup. Next, my friend Gae brought Italian Wedding soup. It fed my family for three to four meals. My daughter said, “Thanks for the nice dinner, mom.” I told her to please thank Miss Gae instead – I could take no credit. When all this ran out, St. Tricia of Alpharetta came through the back porch with baked potato soup with all the fixings. That’s when I realized that soup is love. Soup warms the tummy and the soul. It is comforting and sustaining. Soup is communal and often comes from a family recipe that means something to the giver. Soup is little bit of love.
Jesus said, “whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” When you donate a bag of rolls to My Sister’s House, make a homemade cake for the men’s shelter, donate onions or apples or a turkey to Campus Ministry at Thanksgiving, you are feeding people both body and soul. You meet their immediate need of hunger, but also their deeper need to know that someone loves them and cares about their well-being. You are feeding their need to be seen and recognized as important and as a valued member of the body of Christ.
I promise that there are far greater needs in our Marist community and beyond than my small and temporary situation. I just hope that my recent example reminds you that as Saint Mother Theresa said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
Here’s to all the small things that we can be thankful for in this week leading up to Thanksgiving. I am incredibly thankful for my family, friends and faith community who sustain me body and spirit during good times and not so good times. Small gestures are never forgotten by the receiver, and are certainly never forgotten by our Father in Heaven.
I know that our children are coming up on exams, which brings stress and anxiety. Here are some prayers for both exams, as well as for older children who are traveling back from college or work to be with us during the holidays.
Wishing you all a peaceful and blessed holiday with friends and family.
Prayer During Exams
Notre Dame, Our Lady, they call you the “Undoer of Knots.”
Turn your eyes to us during our exams, and undo the knots in our minds,
that we may think creatively and compellingly in those critical moments.
Undo the knots in our bodies, that we may channel stress
in good health and with noble composure.
Finally, undo the knots in our souls, that in our study and success,
we may not become puffed up with the wisdom of this world,
but come instead to know the Wisdom of God, and the heart of your Son, Jesus,
who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Amen.
(Source: Fr. Chase Pepper, CSC – University of Notre Dame)
Prayer for Exam Anxiety
Only your peace can sustain me through the anxiety and stresses of exam nerves.
Your peace surpasses all understanding.
I ask for this gift and choose to lean upon you at this time.
Lord, come and remind me of your unfailing love.
Remind me that you hold me safe, you understand me, and you cherish me.
I lay down my fears before you.
I leave them at the foot of the cross, for you have overcome the world.
I choose to give you all my concerns, worries and fears of failure.
I trust that your loving hand will hold me through these exams and lead into a bright future. Amen.
Prayer for Travelers
God of the journey, your grace and favor has always been with us as you called us by name before the foundation of the world. Thank you God for your faithful, steadfast love. Jesus traveled from his home to share your good news with all lands.
May the Holy Spirit surround all who are going to new places or sites of past visits. Lead the pilots, drivers and all passengers to be patient at all points. Remove all fears and anxieties about those left behind and those one meets at the end of the trip. Open my eyes, open my ears to see You and hear You each moment of the path. Amen.
(Source: Rev. Jim Bracke, CSC – University of Notre Dame)
St. Christopher Motorist Prayer
Grant me O Lord a steady hand and watchful eye.
That no one shall be hurt as I pass by.
Thou gavest life, I pray no act of mine
May take away or mar that gift of Thine.
Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear me company,
From the evils of fire and all calamity.
Teach me to use my car for others need;
Nor miss through love of undue speed
The beauty of the world; that thus I may
With joy and courtesy go on my way.
St. Christopher, holy patron of travelers,
Protect me and lead me safely to my destiny.
(Source: Catholic Online)