Presence not presents


Sometimes we get so caught up with buying the right present for our kids, Lord, that we fail to realize that our presence is more important than our presents.

Mary, your human mother, loved you so much that you became Love itself, Lord.

We can do the same thing.  Help us to be present to our children each and every day.  Help us to hear what they are not saying.

Help us to call forth the love inside them.

Help us realize that material things can never substitute for the love and care that comes from inside us.

And if we don’t have family, Lord, then let us be present to the others in our life.

May we call forth Your light within them.  Let it light up their faces,  show in their laughter, in their mischief.

Help us to realize that the most important thing we do each day is to be present to our children, to nourish their souls, not just provide for their bodies.  May we get to  know each child as the the unique person they are and to call forth their unique gifts.

Forgive us, Lord, for getting so wrapped up in our careers and the running around we do that we forget that  being present to our children and to our family is the essential thing.

We honor You, Lord, for your great love.  In Your love, in Mary’s love, may we find love.  To You be glory forever.  Amen.

Brothers and sisters,

A couple of suggestions:  (1) Gather your household each day and  share with each other what we did that day.  Get  to know each other.  If you and your spouse, if you and your children are like ships passing in the night, you are not doing the essential thing: Loving your family.

Love involves knowing.  And knowing only happens when we trust each other enough to share what’s going on inside.  Only in that kind of atmosphere  do we grow.  Only then do we become the persons we are intended to be.  (2) Do not let the TV be the focus of your family room.  Arrange your furniture so you can look at (and delight in) each others’ faces and notice if there’s a twinkle or sadness there.  (3)  Choose games that cause you to interact with people not with tech toys.

If each of us takes time to be present to the people in our lives, we will have a meaningful Christmas.  After all, it’s all about how Love Itself was born of a simple teenage girl who said YES to Love with every fiber of her being.  May we also give birth to Love in our world today.

Happy Hanukah to my Jewish sisters and brothers!

Bob Traupman

priest/ writer

monday, december 22, 2008

The Burning Bush of the World

(c) bob traupman 2007.  all rights reserved.
(c) bob traupman 2007. all rights reserved.

Take a moment in this busy season to reflect upon its inner meaning.
I yearn that we might recover our Catholic tradition quietly waiting and preparing
during the four-weeks of Advent for the coming of Christ into  our lives.

For we who are Christians we await, Jesus, Yeshua, the Messiah , who is for us the Light of the World.
We prepare a place for him to shine in our own hearts this day.
We invite you to search out your own inner meaning whatever that might be.

On Sunday, the 21st,  Hanukah begins.   We honor our Jewish brothers and sisters with these words
that come down to us from the ancient texts of our liturgy just before Christmas, one of the magnificent           O Antiphons:

O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel,
you appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and on Mount Sinai gave him your law.
Come, and with outstretched arm redeem us.

O Adonai, we need you in our world more than ever.
You appeared in the burning bush long ago.
I caught you one morning searing Your way into these clouds over the ocean at  St. Augustine Beach.
Come with Your refiner’s fire and burn Your way into our hearts.
so that we can prepare the way for the Messiah to come into our homes, our workplace, our neighborhoods
and help us transform our nation into our beloved  country once again.

One is reminded of the old adage: “Red at night is a sailor’s delight.  Red in the morning, sailor’s take warning.  O America, heed the time of your visitation!

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Light escorted by the shadows


Here they are again, Lord.  Light and shadow together.
In this case, it appears the shadows on the lawn outside my apartment
are actually making room  for the light.
It seems the shadows are even escorting the light!
And the golden cast of the afternoon sun is awesome, Lord.  I am always in awe of it.

Advent and Christmas and Hanukah and Kwanza and Winter                                                                               Solstice celebrations are all about light.
Teach us to look for your Light wherever we find it, Lord.
Sometimes we find the Light where there is supposed to be darkness
and sometimes we find darkness where there is supposed to be light.
Teach us also to  see that the shadow is always right next to the light in our lives.
Teach us to be patient with the shadow and even the darkness;
may we wait for the Light to come into our lives
and once again to our beautiful land.
May we never over look it; may we always be ready “to be wrapped in light as in a robe.”

Now fade all earthly splendor,
The shades of night descend
The dying of the daylight
Foretells creations end.
Though noon gives place to sunset,
Yet dark gives place to light:
The promise of tomorrow
With dawns new hope is bright.

Cardinal Newman

Bob Traupman
priest / writer

(originally created when I lived in St. Augustine on December 11, 2007)

Advent Day 5 — In the midst of the mist

photo (c) bob traupman 2007.  all rights reseved
photo (c) bob traupman 2007. all rights reseved

Misty mornings can be cool, Lord.
They can teach us about You, about us.

There is lots of misty-ness in our lives, Lord.
We often don’t see anything clearly.
But You are still there, our sun, the Son
somehow, some way, penetrating  the fog, the mist.

Help us realize that mist is OK, Lord.
Misty-ness has its own beauty.
Help us accept the lack of clarity, Lord.
May we realize You are still there in the midst of the mist.

Thank You, Lord, for what it teaches us about You, about us.
Teach us to be patient, Lord, to wait.
For the light, our light, Your light.
Come Lord, Jesus this Christmas
in our lives and in our world.

Your light will come, Jerusalem;
Your light will come, dear people of God;
the Lord will dawn on you in radian beauty.
You will see his glory within you.
— the Advent liturgy

Bob Traupman
priest / writer