Equanimity

Well, those of us living in and praying for Baltimore, who pledged to have faith in the Justice system, should accept with equanimity the outcomes of the trials of the officers involved in the Freddie Gray matter.

Officer Nero has just been found not guilty of all charges.  The trial was conducted by an African American judge.  The accused police officer exercised his right to a bench trial, instead of a trial by jury.  Many African American attorneys, Congressman Elijah Cummings, and even the attorney who represented Freddie Gray’s family in their lawsuit against the City of Baltimore, have all stated that they believe justice was done in this case.

Let us accept the decision with a peaceful heart, with prayers and good wishes for all those involved in the whole tragedy, including Officer Nero and Freddie Gray’s family.  No good will come from harboring hatred and resentment.  Let us forgive wherever we believe justice has been lacking, so that we, ourselves, may receive forgiveness for our own sins.

Practical Prayer

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beforeWell, it’s been a while since I last posted on LORD, Baltimore….  Those who know me know that I’ve been busy rebuilding my garage roof from the rafters up.  So I’ve been doing my little part to help Baltimore heal, in two ways.  I’ve been keeping up my property so that the value doesn’t decline, and I offered up all the work as a prayer to the LORD for Baltimore.  You see, everything we do, if it is done as well as we can, with a right intention, can be offered to the LORD as prayer.

afterIt was hot, humid, dirty, long, and exhausting.  It took six weeks.  Often I didn’t know how to proceed.  So I asked St. Joseph to pray to the LORD for me and my son to give us guidance and perseverance, and we did the best we could.  I explicitly offered up the entire project for peace and healing in Baltimore.

I had a lot of time to think as I was working, and it occurred to me that rebuilding is a whole lot harder than destroying.  It was kind of fun, I have to admit, to do the demolition.  What guy doesn’t enjoy smashing something to bits?!  I sure did.  It can be cathartic and can sure release a lot of tension.  Perhaps that’s why the riots occurred.  But focused and purposeful demolition as preparation for rebuilding is a good thing.  Angry, mindless destruction is an entirely different matter.  Focused demolition leaves things in place for you to rebuild upon.  Angry destruction frequently leaves nothing to work with and makes it very difficult to rebuild.

Rebuilding trust, businesses, and neighborhoods will, like my roofing project, be a long, dirty, and exhausting job.  We will be tempted to abandon the project.  But if we refuse to continue we will be left with a shell of what we once were, and everything will continue to rot and fall apart.  If I had abandoned my roofing project after the demolition, the whole garage would have continued to rot, but even faster than if I had left the rotting roof in place.  The same is true of Baltimore.  After the destruction caused by the riots, including the destruction of the trust between people, the rot will accelerate unless we start the rebuilding.

Let’s not let that happen!

Today there’s news that the six officers charged in Freddie Gray’s death have been granted separate trials.  Other defense motions were denied.  Let’s pray that these decisions of the court will be received in peace, and lead to true justice.

Offer up some big task to the LORD for this intention.  Pray and fast.  And commit to being a source of peace and justice to those the LORD has placed in your life.

Archbishop Lori to Lead Rosary Service for Governor Hogan

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The Most Rev. William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, will lead a rosary service for Governor Larry Hogan at St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis (109 Duke of Gloucester Street) on Wednesday, July 8 at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Click the link below to register for the event:

https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/KT2H46KgwtmAURTP9BZozg

This is what I’m talking about when I say we need to pray for Baltimore by praying for its leaders. Governor Hogan’s struggle with cancer will be public, and therefore, all the more difficult for him to bear. Not only is he new on the job, but he’s never held political office, so he’s a newbie, to boot. Add to that the corruption, violence, and entrenched interests he will have to fight to do anything positive for the state or the city, and then add on all the natural fear, nausea, and fatigue that come with chemotherapy, and you have a man who most certainly needs our prayers.

So put aside any differences you may have with him. Recognize that for better or worse, he is our governor and is answerable to the LORD for his actions (as we all are), and cut him some slack. Pray for him and his family.

Praying for Baltimore by Praying for Its Leaders

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One of the things that leads to division, and therefore to violence, is the tendency we all have to view people as parts of a group, rather than individuals. Either a group we like which leads us to look the other way when people commit sins (and crimes), or a group we don’t like, which leads us to minimize or completely ignore the good they do, or to deny the legitimacy of their gripes. We need to break out of that way of thinking.

“The police” is not a person. It is a group of individuals, with individual strengths and weaknesses, frustrations, backgrounds, perspectives, likes and dislikes, and needs.

“The rioters” is not a person. It is a group of individuals, with individual strengths and weaknesses, frustrations, backgrounds, perspectives, likes and dislikes, and needs.

“Politicians” is not a person. It is a group of individuals with individual strengths and weaknesses, frustrations, backgrounds, perspectives, likes and dislikes, and needs.

Unless we acknowledge the individuality, the unique personhood, of those who disagree with us, we will never be able to understand the issues, and will never be able to solve them.

Here’s a major step we can take in that direction. Pray for our leaders, whether or not you like them. Whether they’re Democrats or Republicans. Whether or not you voted for them. Whether or not you think they’re doing a good job.

Portrait of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

Our governor, Larry Hogan, has announced that he has a very aggressive, very advanced cancer. He says it is treatable and he hopes to be able to beat it. This should cause us to stop for a moment, say a prayer for him and his family, and reflect on the fact that he is just a man, with all the frailties that come with that fact. He is fallible. He is subject to sin. He is limited in his abilities. He has very real needs and fears. He is facing the possibility of his own death.

Do we ask too much from our politicians? Do we take enough personal responsibility for the quality of our own lives and communities? Or do we expect perfection from our leaders, never even giving a thought to the fact that they’re just fallible human beings, like us? Do we assume good will on their part? Or do we simply dismiss them as being corrupt, biased, and out for their own good?

Even if our worst assumptions about our politicians are true, how much more they need our prayers! They are, after all, human beings, loved by the LORD. The LORD died for them, too, and wants to save them as much as He wants to save you.

So put aside your personal opinions. Pray for our leaders. And say a special prayer for Governor Hogan and his family, that the LORD lay His healing hand upon Him, and give him the strength to carry on, and to perform his duties as governor with justice, charity, humility, and wisdom. And then pray for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, that the LORD also bless her with justice, charity, humility, and wisdom, and all other needs she may have in her personal life.

Back from Vacation, and the Mudblood Catholic’s Pacifist Manifesto

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Well, I’m back from vacation.  Which reminds me… just because you take a vacation from work this summer doesn’t mean you should take a vacation from praying for Baltimore!

I’m not quite back in the swing of things yet, so I’m going to direct you my friend, the Mudblood Catholic’s Pacifist Manifesto.  I spoke with Gabriel about this post yesterday, and he clarified something for me that makes it a lot more defensible, from a philosophical standpoint.  He does not mean to imply that Christians must be pacifists.  In fact, he believes it may even be wrong for a married person, or anyone with the obligation to protect others, to be pacifists.  Rather, he sees it as a personal vocation, as a witness to the ultimate hopelessness of violence.

I strongly recommend you read, and seriously consider, what he says over there.  Especially his comments on Magnanimity, Restraint, Forgiveness, and Bearing the Cost.

How the 24 Hours of Prayer for Baltimore Went

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Well, we had 16 people sign up for our 24 Hours of Prayer for Baltimore, covering 13 separate hours.  Thanks to all of you for your generosity and willingness to put your faith in the LORD.  We may not always know how, but the LORD answers all our prayers and bestows abundant blessings on those who call upon Him.

Our hope is in the name of the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. Blessed be the name of the LORD, both now and forever.  O LORD, hear my prayer, and let my cry come unto you!

Prayer and Action Lead to Miracle in Cherry Hill, Formerly One of Baltimore’s Most Violent Neighborhoods

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We're on a Mission from GodAs we on LORD, Baltimore… conduct our first 24 Hours of Prayer for Baltimore–have you signed up yet?–here’s some proof that action, backed up with prayer, can miraculously transform a neighborhood and a city.

When I was growing up, the neighborhood called Cherry Hill had a horrible reputation. I didn’t know where Cherry Hill was, but I knew I never wanted to go there. I was sure I would die a horrible death. Well… they just celebrated their 400th consecutive day without a murder! It seems that while other parts of the city are going to hell in a hand basket, Cherry Hill is experiencing a period of relative peace. Here’s an article about it:

Cherry Hill Celebrates More than a Year Without a Murder.

Now I know that in other parts of the country, or even in other parts of Baltimore, there hasn’t been a murder in decades. But this really is something to celebrate. Part of the city, at least, is throwing off the shackles of violence.

The article above ends with this little tidbit:

Battle [how’s that for an ironic name?] and the Disciple Street Team have organized the fourth Annual Cherry Hill Prayer Walk for Saturday, June 6. It will begin at 10 a.m. at the Cherry Hill Town Center.

So you see, prayer does work! Looks like LORD, Baltimore’s… 24 Hours of Prayer for Baltimore has an ally. Have you signed up? There’s still time.

The Power of Prayer

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More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so the whole round earth is every way
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

Tennyson, Morte d’Arthur, ll. 247-255

We’re on a Mission from God

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Here’s an article sent to me from my cousin about others who are praying for Baltimore, too. The Broken Soul of Baltimore.

Are you praying for Baltimore? Can you join us for LORD, Baltimore’s… 24 Hours of Prayer for Baltimore?

This Saturday, June 6, 2015 we’re going to storm heaven with prayer for Baltimore, that the LORD lay his healing hand upon the City of Baltimore, and bless us with His mercy, His justice, His reconciliation. We are not praying for any particular outcome. We are praying that the LORD decide what needs to happen to heal our city and that He accomplish His mighty plans in us and in our City, whatever they are, and whether or not that’s what we would do if it were up to us.

Choose one hour, anytime during the day, and pray for the city. Wherever you are. With whomever you wish. In whatever way you want. But be sure to keep your appointment with the LORD. So far we have eight people signed up to cover 7 out of the 24 hours.

Remember, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” [MATT 18:19]

We’ll pray for Freddie Gray and his family and friends, for the police officers charged in his death, for the prosecutors, the judge, the jury, for a peaceful response to the outcome of the judicial process, for those who were affected by the riots, and for genuine reconciliation. We will keep in mind that the LORD’s justice and His mercy go hand-in-hand. We will pray for forgiveness for our own sins and the sins of others, for the times when we have served division instead of unity, and for the times when we have judged rashly, without all the facts.

So Click Here to sign up.

Please spread the word with your family, friends, neighbors, your pastor, and fellow parishioners. Let’s make sure that all 24 hours are covered! As many people as we can get.

Four Totally Unselfish Things You Should Do Today

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Here’s an article from Linked In–you don’t have to be a member to read it–about 4 totally unselfish things you should do today. It’s small things like this that, if they become habits of many people, can totally transform a culture.

Four Totally Unselfish Things You Should Do Today

I’d add a fifth: Pray for the LORD to heal the City of Baltimore, for the conversion of those who are breaking the law, and the safety of those who are defending the city from the anarchy that is developing. Expect the LORD to perform a miracle of grace in our city.