Pray like a Pirate

17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Praying like a pirate.

Would you like to hear how pirates pray before meals?



Years ago I had the opportunity to learn – hears how it goes.

(To the tune of Gilligans Island)

Bless us Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive (Pound the Ambo 3 Times)
From thy bounty through Christ our Lord Amen amen amen. (Amen Amen Amen).

If you really want to wake up people, try praying that with your family the next time you go out to a restaurant for dinner


The reason that I bring up praying like a pirate is for three reasons – first, everyone prays to God. We have different ways, and different motivations, but everyone prays at some point in their life. Second, today’s scripture readings center on the subject of prayer, and third, the common pirate expression ARRRG (That’s A with 3 R’s and a G) is a nice mnemonic for the process of all authentic Christian Prayer.

You might be thinking to your self – how does that go me matey deacon? ARRRG

ARRRG Stands for Acknowledge, Relate, Receive and Respond to God.


In order for prayer to be authentic it needs to begin with an acknowledgment of all of the stuff that is stirred up within ourselves, and is going on. To pretend that Prayer is simply a serene, and peaceful experience is not to understand what true prayer is. God created us for intimacy with him, he desires to love our souls in their totality, he desires relationship with us. When you meet a friend, you always ask how’s it going? To which typically the response is an automatic – really good. This is not true acknowledgment. Abraham gives us a glimpse of answering God’s “How’s it Going” question in today’s reading. He is walking with his dear friend God on the way to Sodom and Gomorrah, and he is struggling with the balance of God’s Mercy and God’s Justice. Abraham has known God long enough at this point to be able to understand these two find qualities of his friend, but he is struggling to see how God puts them together. And so, this understanding bubbles up out of him as he goes down the road to Sodom with God

Acknowledge means that we allow ourselves the time to allow the stuff of our life to bubble up and out as we spend time with our friend.

Relate (Honestly and Consistently) (The first R of ARRRG).

Next, after seeing what is going on within us, we need talk about what is going on in our heart with God. This is not because God needs to know what is going on in our heart, but rather, that it is part of our own design that we enter into relationship by speaking about the things that are going on within us. Relate is at the heart of Relationship. If you are not relating then you are not in a relationship.

The key to this relation is that we are honest (don’t beat around the bush, reflect on the outside what is going on on the inside. This is sometimes hard to do – especially if we have false images of God in our mind. God wouldn’t want me to be angry, mad, sad, unforgiving, hurt, joyful or what-ever. If we are not relating honestly, then we are not relating. God knows that we have human emotions and foibles. He loves us regardless, and so he desires us to be honest with Him.

A good way to reflect on this from the Scriptures is to look at the psalms. There are psalms of Joy, of Praise, of Thanksgiving, of Lament, of Anger, of every human emotion. Honest relating to God about what is going on inside is crucial.

Honestly and Consistently

The consistent part is harder for us to manage. This requires of us the discipline to keep at our relationship with God each and every day – even when we don’t want to. St. Francis De Sales asked a friend of his – when you pray – do you fly like a chicken or an eagle? He went on to explain that most Christians who flew like chickens flew that way because they only related to God in time of need, where as those who soared like eagles had made the time in their life to consistently acknowledge and relate to God.

One practical way to do this is to turn off the radio in your car on the way too or from work, and spend some time just mulling over your day, and relating it to God. Begin your time with a short prayer to the Holy Spirit, and then acknowledge and Relate.


All of us here who are baptized enter into our relationship with God, with the Holy Trinity through Christ. It is because we sacramentally share in His death and resurrection that we have the indwelling of the Holy Trinity within us. Christ is the God-Man. He is fully God, Fully divine, and yet equally and at the same time fully human. So Christ is the gateway for men into the life of the Holy Trinity. Now we need to ask the question, how does Christ enter into the relationship of the Holy Trinity? Christ says Everything I have I have received from my Father. – So receiving is the natural way for us to be fed by God.

Also, note that if I acknowledge what is going on within me, and honestly and consistently relate that experience to God, I am naturally disposed to receive. 99% of the spiritual life is receiving from God.

Practically, how do I receive? With a grateful heart. A spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving for the wonderful gifts that God has given us. Secondly, through a sacramental life – we receive the Eucharist, Absolution in our sacramental life. Today we all have the opportunity, and the invitation from Christ to receive Him.

The Last R – Respond.

After we have received (internalized) the grace / gift / love / truth / beauty of God, He convicts us to act, to respond. This is the easiest part of prayer. If you get the first three steps down this flows easily

The Mass is a excellent expression of the ARRRG principle of prayer. We enter into the Mass acknowledging our Sins, we relate to God throughout the Eucharistic Prayer, and then we receive Jesus, in communion, and have a time to listen to him, converse with him and love him in a very intimate and physical way.

Today at this liturgy we have the opportunity to enter into intimate prayer with God. When the end of mass comes today, what will your response be?


No Money, Sack or Sandals

14th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle C
Isaiah 66:10-14c, Psalm 66:1-7,16,20, Gal 6:14-18, Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Wear Sandals
Small Headlamp bag filled with change.]]

I thought that it would be useful for us to get into today’s Gospel using what St. Ignatius would call active imagination. To help out with this, I have some stuff back in the Sacristy that I need to get

[[Go to the Sacristy and put on the Pack]]

So, I want to take us back in our imaginations to the time when Jesus sent out the 72 disciples. I imagine that the night before he announced this to his disciples and so early the next morning they gather to go out, and that is where this mornings Gospel starts.

[[Return to the Center of the Church wearing the pack]]
No Money Bag – (Trust God, Enable the Charity / Hospitality of the Neighbor)

But – without a money bag how do I pay for meals?
What will I do when I need a room to stay in?
In this context, money disables the missionary. Without a money bag I am relying on God to provide, and on others to reach out to me in hospitality.

Do I trust God enough to provide for my needs?
Do I trust God to work through others to help me with His work?
The Money Bag is symbolic of my distrust in God, and in God’s invitation to trust him more deeply. What area in my life holds some distrust? Why?

[[Throw the Money Bag at the foot of the Ambo]]

No Sack –

But – it’s not really a sack – it’s a backpack J
Ok, it really is a sack, but I need it to carry all of my stuff. How can I go on a mission without carrying my books, a bedroll, some water, and food?

What is the baggage that Christ is calling me to surrender? How is my stuff getting in the way of my relationship with God?

I must go on this mission unburdened –
By my own self-reliance – remember the money bag – God is in control
Of my own false expectations – That Christ is this conquering hero-messiah
Of my own false judgements of other people.
Of my own hurts – things that only God knows that lie within me. These distort the way I try to understand and represent the truth.
Letting go of my sack means being open to God healing me, and being docile to the direction of His Holy Spirit.

Am I willing to set aside my baggage so that I can carry out the will of the Father? What baggage is Christ calling me to surrender?

[[Take off the pack and place it at the foot of the Ambo]]

Without my pack I am freed of my burdens, I am not burdened – and I am better disposed to receive the grace of God.

No Sandals – In the Holy Land most people went around barefoot at all times. Only the rich and powerful wore sandals.

[[Remove the First Sandal]]
Going without sandals means that I am willingness to set aside my agenda – to live a life of humility. It is a willingness to imitate Christ who came to be with us.

[[Remove the Second Sandal]]
Now we are ready to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God

What does it mean that the Kingdom of God is at hand?

It means that Christ is at hand – He is coming, He is here – In you and I my dear brothers and sisters for we are the Body of Christ. The Kingdom of God is at hand – Christ will be with each one of us in a few moments when we invite him into our souls, into our houses in Communion.

Christ is the message, he is the messenger, he is the Good News not just with what he says and does, but in his very person.

How do we enter into the Kingdom of God? Through Faith and Conversion.

Faith – When I say Amen to receive the Body of Christ, I am stating that I believe what we believe in the Creed. I am saying that Christ is the Son of God, a real person who took on flesh – and became like us, he lived, was crucified and rose from the dead to lead us into communion with the Father in heaven. This is what St. Paul speaks of in his letter to the Galatians today.

Conversion – Repent – The Kingdom of God is at Hand. What does it mean to repent? It means to see things in a new light, in the light of Faith, rather than by the light of the World. It means to change my minds and to see things rightly. So Repent. Part of how you understand where you are on the road to salvation is by the degree of repentance, conversion that exists in your life. From the very beginning God created us to be free of evil. The healing that the 72 performed were a sign of a deeper spiritual salvation – freedom from sin. Healing in our life invites us to conversion, and little conversions lead to deeper conversion, which lead us into a true sense of liberation and freedom – freedom from Sin, and entrance more fully into the Kingdom of God.

Little Conversions lead to big conversions. For the 72 leaving behind the moneybag (ego), the sack (attachment to things), and the sandals (pride) led to deeper conversion in their own lives, and in the lives of those to whom they were sent.

What decision have I made that Christ is calling me to repent of? What must I change? (SOME SIN EXAMPLES)

What is the Goal of the Kingdom of God?

The goal of the Kingdom of God is that our relationships are transformed by the Love of Christ. We live in the Kingdom of God when we allow Christ to enter into our relationships through Forgiveness, Love and Service.

Husband and Wife, Father and Son, Mother and Daughter, Friends, Co-Workers, Neighbors and Classmates.

Proclaiming the Kingdom of God means that we allow Christ into our hearts and He transforms our relationships by his love, so that we learn to forgive, and to serve one another.

Who do I need to forgive? Why does Christ teach forgiveness? Vengeance is mine says the Lord. When someone hurts us we have a legitimate rite to judge them. When we forgive we do not deny justice, rather we turn justice over to God who is the definition of Justice. Forgiveness means letting go of the debt – freeing ourselves of the burden and trusting that God will give justice to those who have hurt us.


God is calling each one of us to be laborers for his kingdom, to bring in the harvest. What are you going to do?