Thursday of the First Week

A painting of Queen Esther with her maid.

Daily Offering

There will be lots to complain about today, I know, Lord; but give me the grace to listen to others instead of moaning at them. Amen.                           Nick King SJ

Entering into Prayer

Catching up with God:  Often it is difficult to focus because we’re distracted by what has happened or what is coming up. Let this be the start of your prayer today.What have you been up to? As you remember, share this with God. What have you to do today (or tomorrow)? Share this with God. 

Today's Scripture (Esther 4: 17)
Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish, had recourse to the LORD. She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids, from morning until evening, and said: “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you, for I am taking my life in my hand. As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you. Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you, O LORD, my God. “And now, come to help me, an orphan. Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy, so that he and those who are in league with him may perish. Save us from the hand of our enemies; turn our mourning into gladness and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Food for Thought

Time and time again in the Old Testament, God looks upon the faith of one person as a sign of faith of the whole people, just as he does in today’s first reading. Perhaps it is your faith which God is looking upon as he gazes upon the world right now. Faith is strong when there are signs of God’s presence in our lives, but must be stronger still when the signs of God’s presence do not appear to be there. It is then that we can stand before the Lord on behalf of all those who struggle with faith.This kind of faith keeps knocking upon the Lord’s door, confident of receiving what it desires, regardless of whether it is received or not.We do not just believe in God because of what we can receive from him, but because of who he is, the source of all life and gift, the giver of all that we truly need.

Suggestions for Prayer

In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius reminds us to ask for grace at the beginning of prayer and normally tells you what to ask for. In daily life, it can sometimes be difficult to know what grace to pray for, but it is usually enough to ask for one thing we need to strengthen ourselves in the day ahead, whether it is clarity about a decision, forgiveness for some wrong or a deeper closeness to the Lord. At one point in my life, I got stuck and did not know what to ask for, so I imagined Jesus was walking down the street and asked myself:“What do you want to ask Jesus for, for yourself?” Then in prayer, I asked him for what I wanted. It helped me to get in touch with my real and deep desires and avoid the trap of praying for what I thought the Lord wanted for me.

How are you going to respond today?

Today, try to reach out to someone who is struggling with a burden.

Image for the day

A painting of Queen Esther with her maid.

  • How might it have felt to be Queen Esther?
  • When have you asked God for help?
  • How does this image make you feel?

Examen (review of prayer)

Take time to become still. Use any method you find helpful, for example, listening to the sounds around you, or breathing in God’s love. Enter the prayer with gratitude for all God’s gifts.

Ask for God’s light as you review the day, that God will show you what will be most helpful to see. Let your mind’s eye look back over the day, gently noticing whatever catches your attention.

There is no need to remember everything. Be relaxed about it and see what comes.

Notice especially moments of most life, light and energy and moments when these seemed to drain out of you. For what do you feel most thankful? For what do you feel least thankful? Breathe in the life experienced in your time of consolation. Breathe God’s love into your moment of desolation. Speak to God “as one friend speaks to another” about what you have noticed in this prayer. Looking ahead, ask God for what you need to help you respond to God’s call.

Going Deeper

Honest to God in prayer

The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius

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