Liturgy of the Hours keeps saints alive

By Michelle Francl-Donnay For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs, with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Ignatius, Augustine, Monica, Felicity, Perpetua and all the saints. – From the Roman Canon “Whoa, what is this?” wonders one of the teen-aged invaders in my study. Invited into my sanctum […]

Awaking to the presence of God

By Michelle Francl-Donnay It is you whom I invoke, O Lord. In the morning you hear me; in the morning I offer you my prayer, watching and waiting. – Ps. 5:3 It was a scene right out of some 1950s movie: four women from two countries in their pajamas sitting cross-legged on the floor of […]

How do I pray aright?

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Now once he was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished one of his disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – Lk. 11:1 My youngest son Chris has a T-shirt that reads: “Warning: The person wearing this shirt is a roller coaster […]

Remembering the gifts Christ gave us

By Michelle Francl-Donnay I tell you solemnly, this poor widow has put in more than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they had over, but she from the little she had has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on. – Mk. 12:43b-44 I […]

Making haste to help, be helped

By Michelle Francl-Donnay O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. – Ps. 70:2 “The tuna is on sale, so I thought I’d get two.” I was in line at the grocery store in Boston, waiting while the elderly woman in front of me dug for change in the bottom […]

Contemplating the last things

By Michelle Francl-Donnay In Your hand I commend my spirit; You redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth. – Ps. 31:6 “May the all-powerful Lord grant us a restful night and a peaceful death. Amen.” Some might think it peculiar, that with these closing words of Night Prayer, the last thing I ask of God […]

Praying with patience, persistence

By Michelle Francl-Donnay “Teach us to count our days rightly, that we may obtain a wise heart.” – Ps. 90:12 I was flipping through one of the dozen catalogs that arrived this week when I saw it – a gorgeous grey wool sweater with an intricately patterned yoke. It would only take a few clicks […]

A kitchen’s lesson on humility

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Then he said to him a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” and said, “Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.” – Jn. 21:17a I had planned on a walk. Instead, as […]

Contemplation not just for monks

Michelle Francl-Donnay The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. The command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye. More desirable than gold, than a hoard of purest gold, Sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.– Ps. 19:9, 11 From my earliest days, silence and darkness went together. Growing up […]

Good works, sincere love and tough questions

By Michelle Francl-Donnay Of course there will never cease to be poor in the land; I command you therefore: Always be openhanded with your brother, and with anyone in your country who is in need and poor. – Dt. 15:11 Why is that the really hard questions come when I am in the midst of […]