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I share this article written by a police chaplain with the Chicago Police Department. As you read this article I point out that our of respect for the name of God it is customary for a Rabbi not to write the name God so you will see the use G-D throughout this article.
Subject: "Take a Moment to Grab a Chat"
Last week one of the troops asked me what is the way to prepare for the daily grind faced on the streets. Is there any special way for one to prepare to face the many of life's challenges that per chance come our way. After a moment I responded, 'a short chat with your close friend will always leave you feeling better'. He looked at me puzzled, so I explained with the following parable, "Take a Moment to Grab a Chat"........
As you got up this morning, I watched you, and hoped you would talk to me, even if it was just a few words, asking my opinion or thanking me for something good that happened in your life yesterday. But I noticed you were too busy, trying to find the right outfit to work. When you ran around the house getting ready, I knew there would be a few minutes for you to stop and say hello, but you were too busy. At one point, you had to wait fifteen minutes with nothing to do except sit in a chair. Then I saw you spring to your feet. I thought you wanted to talk to me but you ran to the phone and called a friend to get the latest gossip instead. I watched patiently all day long. With all our activities, I guess you were too busy to say anything to me.
I noticed that before lunch you looked around, maybe you felt embarrassed to talk to me, that is why you didn't bow your head. You glanced three or four tables over and you noticed some of your friends talking to me briefly before they ate, but you didn't. That's okay. There is still more time left, and I hoped that you will talk to me yet.
You went home and it seems as if you have lots of things to do. After a few of them were done, you turned on the TV. I don't know if you like TV or not, just about anything goes there and you spend a lot of time each day in front of it not thinking about anything, just enjoying the show. I waited patiently again as you watched the TV and ate your meal, but again you didn't talk to me.
Bedtime I guess you felt too tired. After you said goodnight to your family, you plopped into bed and fell asleep in no time. That's okay because you may not realize that I am always there for you .I've got patience, more than you will ever know. I even want to teach you how to be patient with others as well.
I love you so much that I wait every day for a nod, a prayer or a thought, or a thankful part of your heart. It is hard to have a one-sided conversation, or a one sided relationship.
Well, here it is next day, you are getting up once again. Once again I will wait, with nothing but love for you. Hoping that today you will give me some time, for us to have a little chat, perhaps a little prayer. You will feel better guaranteed! Always here for you at your side, waiting to be acknowledged.......Your friend,........G-D.
Did you ever take a moment to ponder... "What If"?.....What if, G-D couldn't take the time to bless us today because we couldn't take the time to thank Him yesterday? What if, G-D decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we didn't follow Him today? What if, we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when G-D sent the rain. What if, G-D didn't walk with us today because we failed to recognize it as His day? What if, G-D stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others? What if, G-D would not hear us today because we would not listen to Him yesterday? What if, G-D answered our prayers the way we answer His call to service? What if, G-D met our needs, the way we give Him our lives??? Scary isn't it.
Your Chaplains thank G-d every day for all you do and for your dedication to your noble calling. So just in case you got busy and didn't have a chance to pray today, remember you were in our prayers.
Used with permission...compliments of Rabbi Moshe Wolf e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Father Donald Gibbs, O.S.B.
POLICE PRAYER - Adapted (August 28,2012)
When I start my tour of duty God, wherever crime may be, as I walk or patrol the streets alone, let me be close to you. Please give me understanding, with both the young and old, let me listen with attention until their story’s told. Let me never make a judgment In a rash or callous way, but let me hold my patience, let each person have their say. Lord, if I must give up my life, protect my children and my spouse. Lord, with your understanding love, may I arrive at the place you have prepared for me. Lord, into your hands I commend my spirit. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Prayer to Saint Michael, patron saint of police.
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.
Father Donald Gibbs, O.S.B.
The importance of back up!
As a police officer, you know the importance of back up. Nothing is more comforting than hearing the sounds of a distant siren coming to help you regardless of the color of the uniform, the shape of the badge or law enforcement agency you work for or who is responding to your call for assistance, that assistance is welcome. While a bulletproof vest gives a level of protection as a law enforcement officers, an even greater blessing and shield of protection can be found in the power of a faithful, praying community.
As a monk and your chaplain, I also know the importance of prayer. My life as a monk is a life of prayer and monastic service. As a monastic community we monks come together five times a day to pray the psalms and once a day to celebrate Mass. Six times a day we leave what we are doing to go to the Abbey church to pray for the needs of all people. These formal periods of prayer are the structure from which all other ministry or service is based here at St. Benedict’s Abbey.
I want each of you, the women and men of KPD, to know that you are remembered in our community prayer each day, 365/24/7. Also know, that you are welcome to contact me to request prayers for a special need or intention for yourself, your family or work concerns. Our prayers do not take the place of your personal prayer. God wants to hear from you; but we are your back up. Just as it is unimportant as to shape of the badge or the agency from which you receive assistance and back up--help is always welcome. When you are busy about many of life’s tasks we, the monks, are keeping vigil; we are keeping watch for you. If I can be of assistance please feel free to contact me via my email or cell phone as listed at the end of this message.
I am sure many of you also know the importance of personal and family prayer. You know it has been the prayers of your family and friends that have kept you safe not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. Those prayers have also given you a heart for the people you have sworn to protect and serve. Psalm 51 says, “a clean heart create for me, God; renew in me a steadfast spirit.”
I hope it is comforting to know that you have the monks of Benet Lake Abbey and others who are praying for you and your family every day as you go out on the road.
God bless and keep each one of you safe,
Father Donald Gibbs, O.S.B.
Transmissions to God... (May 1, 2012)
As many of you know, I am a Benedictine monk and priest. As a monk, I live by the Rule of St. Benedict, a spiritual document written over 1500 years ago. It is still the basic spiritual guide for monks all around the world. Every continent on the globe has been touched by the Benedictine tradition and by this same Rule of Life for centuries.
In chapter 20 of the Rule St. Benedict writes, “prayer should therefore be short and pure, unless perhaps it is prolonged under the inspiration of divine grace.”
During some of my first chaplain ride-alongs, I was privileged to ride with some of the officers who serve as FTO’S. Time spent with these officers was most valuable. I learned many helpful hints that would serve me well on future chaplain ride-alongs. One very important skill I observed was the need to master radio transmission restraint. I observed after each call, a specific disposition was radioed in to close out an event. I further observed that the dispatcher just wanted to hear a simple preset phrase so that they knew what action was taken to resolve the reported incident, that the officer was safe and available for another call.
On one ride-along, over the radio came a long drawn out transmission. The officer was not concise and included much more than the simple preset phrase in the radio transmission. The FTO with whom I was riding quickly pointed to the radio and said, “Don’t ever do that!” (Not that a chaplain would be transmitting over a police radio, but this brief instruction from the FTO caused me to reflect on how we need to communicate with God or our Higher Power).
As a priest I often preach a homily/sermon and I don’t think I have ever had anyone say to me, Father, that would have been a better homily/sermon if you had just gone on a little longer. People seem to appreciate a succinct homily/sermon that has meaning and touches the daily needs and experiences of life. Purposeful brevity can be a real gift in our prayer lives too.
As I have learned from the Rule of St. Benedict, prayer should be short and pure. The Field Training Officer said: keep the radio transmission succinct. This is solid radio practice and it is good advise in prayer. Transmissions to God need not be wordy or complicated; God knows our needs. No request, no need, no thought or feelings you have is unimportant to God. God monitors, listens to, every transmissions.
You do not need to be a person of many words to have good communication with God. Be brief, succinct, and heartfelt in your words. Here are some suggested prayer words that can be easily and quickly prayed, words that speak to the real needs and desires of our heart: Help!; Watch over my spouse and my children, Keep me safe; I'm sorry, Forgive me; O God, come to my assistance!; Thank you; O God I love you!
Remember, for your transmissions to God to be meaningful they need not be long or rambling, but short, honest and from the heart. God is interested in your every word. God is ready to listen. God will respond! 10-4!
A Chaplain’s Roll Call (7/21/2011)
Don’t quit...keep playing
Wishing to encourage her young son’s progress on the piano, a mother took the small boy to a Paderewski concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her. Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored his way through a door marked “NO ADMITTANCE.” When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered that her son was missing.
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out “Twinkle,Twinkle Little Star.”
At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy’s ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.”
Then leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligatio.
Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was mesmerized.
That’s the way it is with God. What we can accomplish on our own is hardly noteworthy. We try our best, but the results aren’t exactly graceful flowing music. But with the hand of the Master, our life’s work truly can be beautiful.
Next time you set out to accomplish great feats, listen carefully. You can hear the voice of the Master, whispering in your ear, “Don’t quit. Keep playing.” Feel His loving arms around you. Know that His strong hands are playing the concerto of your life.
A thought to ponder:
Remember, God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. And He will always be there to love and guide you on to great things. May God bless you, keep you safe, and always keep you in his loving care.
Expect the unexpected...and be safe!
God bless you!
A Chaplain’s Roll Call! (6/25/2011)
A man was walking down the beach at sunset. As, he walked along, he saw another man in the distance. He noticed this man kept leaning down, picking up something and throwing it out into the water, again and again. As, he approached even closer, he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach. He was throwing them back into the water, one by one.
Puzzled, he approached the man and said,“Good Evening. I was wondering what you are doing.” “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, its low tide and all these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If, I don’t throw them back into the ocean, they’ll die up here from lack of oxygen.” “But, there must be thousands of starfish on this
beach. You can’t possibly get to all of them.And, don’t you realize this is probably happening on hundreds of beaches all up and down this coast. Can’t you see that you can’t possibly make a difference?”
The man bent down and picked up yet another starfish, and threw it back into the ocean. With a smile he replied, “Made a difference to that one!!!” . . . End of story.
A thought to make you ponder:
Remember, no matter how small the deed may seem to you, it really does make a big difference to someone else.
Expect the unexpected...and be safe!
God bless you!
A memorandum from your child: Some thoughts on discipline (7/27/2010)
Set limits for me. I know that I ought not to have all I ask for. I am only testing you.
Be firm with me. I prefer it. It lets me know where I stand.
Lead me rather than force me. If you force me, it teaches me that power is all that counts. I respond more readily to being led.
Be consistent. Inconsistency confuses me and makes me try harder to get away with everything I can.
Make promises that you will be able to keep. That will encourage my trust in you.
Remember that I am being provocative when I say and do things to upset you. If you fall for my provocations, I’ll try for more such victories.
Keep calm when I say, “I hate you”. I don’t, I just want you to feel sorry for what you have done to me.
Help me feel big rather than small. I will make up for feeling small by behaving like a big shot.
Let me do the things that I can do for myself. If you do them for me, it makes me feel like a baby and I may continue to put you in my service.
Correct me in private. I’ll take much more notice if you talk quietly with me in private rather than with other people present.
Discuss my behavior when the conflict has subsided. In the heat of conflict my hearing isn’t good and my cooperation is even worse. It is all right for you to take the action required, but let’s not talk about it until later.
Talk with me rather than preach to me. You’d be surprised how well I know right from wrong.
Help me feel that my mistakes are not sins. I have to learn to make mistakes without feeling that I am no good.
Talk firmly without nagging. If you nag, I will protect myself by appearing deaf.
Accept as much as you can what I am able to tell you. I am easily frightened into telling lies if my honesty is taxed too much.
Put your arms around me...tell me you love me.