The Seven Great Prayers

Returning home from the doctor when you have just been diagnosed with colon cancer, many things go through your mind.  Am I going to die?  What will my wife do?   How much time do I have left? And, the list goes on. Exhausted and total defeated, I decided to do what I always do, bury myself in e-mail!  The first e-mail I read got my attention quickly.  The Seven Great prayers was the subject line. As I read, the e-mail revealed the first of the seven prayers.  The prayer was simply; ”I Love you God.”  That’s it.  As I thought about it, I really haven’t spent a lot of time telling God that I love him, but I realized that as a father, I needed to hear,” I love you,” so, I supposed God does too. It is like the conversation you have with your daughter when she wants to borrow money for that new pair of shoes she has her eyes on.  The conversation goes something like this, “I love you Daddy, you know, I really love you! (pause) Can I borrow £20?”  The thing is, the strategy works every time! So, I began to pray.  “I love you God, I really want to serve you, but you’ve got to help me with this cancer.  If I put the cancer in your hands, I could serve you better. Your will be done Lord, but know that I love you.” As I glanced down for the next prayer, the email said that I would receive it tomorrow and I would get one each day until I had received all seven. The next day, I couldn’t wait to see the prayer. It was simple as well. The prayer was “Thank you God for….”  I thought for a minute and began.  Thank you God, for an early diagnosis.  Thank you God, for a great doctor. Thank you God, for a loving and supportive wife. The thank you’s continued for over 90 minutes!  I simply thanked God for all of the many blessings that he had given me. One by one, once a day I received the prayers.  And they were an amazing help for me with tests, surgery, and recovery.  I still pray them today, eight years later, and cancer free. All the seven great prayers were later put into a book.  I have shared only the first two with you because of space, but here they are;

1. I Love You God

2. Thank You God for…

3. God, You are Inside Me

4. I Attract God’s Blessings

5. God, I See You Everywhere

6. God Bless and I Love…

7. God, Let Me Do Your Good Works. I am sure they will help you too.

[From Tony Agnesi. The Book is called: The 7 Great Prayers, For a Lifetime of Hope and Blessings, Paul and Tracey McManus, Vanguard Press]


What About Angels?

Young children comment on the subject of Angels. I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold. Gregory, age 5   Everybody’s got it all wrong.  Angels don’t wear halos anymore.I forget why, but scientists are working on it. Olive, age 9  It’s not easy to become an angel!  First, you die. Then you go to Heaven, and then there’s still the flight training to go through. And then you have to agree to wear those angel clothes. Matthew, age 9  Angels work for God and watch over children when God has to go do something else. Mitchell, age 7  My guardian angel helps me with maths, but he’s not much good for science. Henry, age 8  Angels talk all the way while they’re flying you up to Heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead. Daniel, age 9  When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath again, somewhere there’s a tornado. Reagan, age 10  Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy. If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow.Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the Winter.  Sara, age 6 Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who’s a very good carpenter. Jared, age 8 My angel is my Grandma, who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on Earth. Ashley, age 9  Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And, if they don’t make the animals get better, they help the child get over it. Vicki , age 8  What I don’t get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them. Sarah, age 7


The Touch of the Masters Hand

Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer thought it scarcely worth his while to waste much time on the old violin, but held it up with a smile; “What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried, “Who’ll start the bidding for me?” “A pound, a pound”; then two!” “Only two? Two pounds, and who’ll make it three? Three pounds, once; three pounds twice; going for three..” But no, from the room, far back, a gray-haired man came forward and picked up the bow; Then, wiping the dust from the old violin, and tightening the loose strings, he played a melody pure and sweet as caroling angel sings. The music ceased, and the auctioneer, with a voice that was quiet and low, said; “What am I bid for the old violin?” And he held it up with the bow. A thousand pounds, and who’ll make it two? Two thousand! And who’ll make it three? Three thousand, once, three thousand, twice, and going and gone,” said he. The people cheered, but some of them cried, “We do not quite understand what changed its worth.” Swift came the reply: “The touch of a master’s hand.” And many a man with life out of tune, and battered and scarred with sin, is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd, much like the old violin, A “mess of pottage,” a glass of wine; a game – and he travels on. “He is going” once, and “going twice, He’s going and almost gone.” But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd never can quite understand the worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought by the touch of the Master’s hand.


Sixth Sunday of Easter (A)

I shall ask the Father, and he shall give you another Advocate

By now we are some distance away from Easter, but the season is still permeated with the Easter message: Christ is risen, we are baptised in him. But today a new dimension of the story comes out: Easter is not complete until the risen Lord has returned to the Father and sent the Holy Spirit. So in the Gospel today we begin two weeks of looking forward to the coming of that ‘Spirit of truth’ which sets us apart from the world. This is a Spirit of power, which flows through the life of the Church, enabling its members to ‘proclaim the Christ’ and, dwelling in our hearts, to live in the midst of the world’s slander and accusations.



The Ascension of the Lord (A)

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me

Ascension is not just a feast that happens to fall in Eastertide: it is an integral part of the Easter mystery. Remember the Lord’s words at the Last Supper: “I am going to prepare a place for, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me.” The resurrection presumes the Lord’s return to the Father. This is therefore a feast of hope: our hope in the Lord’s return, as he went. Our hope that he will take us with him, when our bodies are raised as his was. Our hope that we will take our place in heaven, where he sits on the Father’s right.



Fifth Sunday of Easter (A)

I am the Way, the Truth and the Life

 We continue to explore the meaning of baptism, of membership of the Church, of living a life which has been immersed in the life and death of Jesus Christ: in other words, we continue our ‘Mystagogy’ – our training in the mystery of Baptism and the other Sacraments. We hear more about ‘who Jesus is’, with another ‘I am’ statement: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. We are baptised into his way, his truth and his life. We hear about the earliest community struggling with the life they are called to by baptism, and Peter again reminds us that baptism builds us into a ‘spiritual house’ with Jesus as our cornerstone. The mystery of the Church is clearly before us today: the Church is the community of those baptised in Christ, the pilgrim people walking with Christ (who has shown us the Father) to the place he has prepared for us. Today’s reading can perhaps make us think a little about how we form part of this ‘spiritual house’, the Church, as we journey to the Father.



Fourth Sunday of Easter (A)

I am the gate of the sheepfold

This Sunday is traditionally called ‘Good Shepherd Sunday’, because of the Gospel references to Jesus as the Good Shepherd. It is also the day of prayer for Vocations to the Priesthood. On this Sunday we hear one of the great ‘I am’ statements of Jesus fromSaint John’s Gospel today ‘I am the gate of the sheepfold’. Through Jesus we enter into life and safety, and we ‘go through Jesus, the gate’ by baptism. This image is implied in all today’s readings: the people listening to Peter find this gateway and enter through it: Peter writes to remind us that we have come back to the Good Shepherd, who heals us by his wounds.