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Thanksgiving Prayer by Soren Kierkegaard

Thanksgiving Prayer by Soren Kierkegaard

A Thanksgiving Prayer from Kierkegaard

“Father in heaven! You hold all the good gifts in your gentle hand. Your abundance is richer than can be grasped by human understanding. You are very willing to give, and your goodness is beyond the understanding of a human heart, because you fulfill every prayer and give what we pray for or what is far better than what we pray for. Give everyone [their] allotted share as it is well pleasing to you, but also give everyone the assurance that everything comes from you, so that joy will not tear us away from you in the forgetfulness of pleasure, so that sorrow will not separate you from us, but in joy we may go to you and in sorrow remain with you, so that when our days are numbered and the outer being is wasting away, death may not come in its own name, cold and terrible, but gentle and friendly, with greetings and news, with witness from you, our Father who is in heaven! Amen.”

– Kierkegaard, opening prayer to “Strengthening in the Inner Being,” from Eighteen Upbuilding Discourses

The New Serenity Prayer

No doubt many of us have seen the traditional Serenity prayer, often displayed in old church basements where AA or NA meetings are taking place.

This week I really enjoyed reading Fr James Martin’s fresh rendition of the Prayer which he simply called ‘the New Serenity Prayer’. And because I tend to talk too much and say things that aren’t needful, this prayer stops me from gushing when it’s not necessary.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I’m clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.

And while you’re at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
I can’t change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God,
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I’m
not you.


Bonded Together Looking in the Same Direction

Bonded Together

Lately I’ve been thinking about how wonderful it is to have friends who really give a ‘d…..m’ about you. Who really want to  hear the shocking stuff about your life and don’t look at you with a look of dismay.These are friends who like C. S Lewis said, ‘are looking in the same direction’ and find their comradeship in their vision and purpose.

C.S. Lewis suggests that true friendship is built not by gazing into each other’s eyes, but walking side-by-side in a shared task. He writes, “Friends are not primarily absorbed in each other. It is when we are doing things together that friendship springs up—painting, sailing ships, praying, philosophizing, fighting shoulder to shoulder. Friends look in the same direction.’

Who are the real friends you are bonded with and holding on tightly to each other not in a codependent, or independent, or dependent way, but in what Steve Covey called the highest form of relational maturity–interdependence?

At age 60 my life is surrounded by a few of these men who are looking in the same direction, striving to become the best we can be for each other, and for our families, and to be a good reflection of the friendship that exists within the God we worship and adore.

And in this season of my life, my three adult sons are my very best friends next to my wife, and we are all moving together.  It doesn’t get better than that!!


Chiarella Family Generations

Chiarella Family Generations

So we got to celebrate one of those amazing milestone weekends where we celebrated Domenico and Savina Chiarella’s 60th Wedding Anniversary.  “Mico and Savina’ are the parents of my bride of 37 years Rosetta, and the grand parents “Nonni” of my three sons–Vincenzo, Adrian and Michael, and great grandparents of Jacob James Del Monte, son to Adrian and Amy Del Monte.

We have kept the family circle ‘lovingly tight’ and all of our young adults are flourishing in their lives, and so much of this ‘blessing’ is the result of good choices on the part of parents and grand parents to set loving examples (not perfect ones) of what it means to live in a loving and committed manner over a lifetime.

Our children get to observe a lifetime of commitment and it only provides fuel for their lives and relationships going forward.