When I was a novice, an invitation was printed for our first vows liturgy. It included, along with the date, time, place, etc., the line, "Your gift of prayer is most appropriate". Much to the chagrin of me and my fellow classmates, this line was given to curtail excited and generous family and friends from giving us gifts of money or gift cards, etc. Alas, it worked, and we newly professed religious learned a good lesson about the vow of poverty.
Today I observe my 31st birthday. Unlike my 30th which hit me hard, this one seems quite normal and everyday. And like my first profession of religious vows, I hope for the gift of prayers from my family and friends. How precious is the gift of prayer; to say "I will pray for you" and to then actually do just that!
I ushered in the birthday with a wonderful dinner at the home of former parishioners last night and I will spend the day itself packing my room, reading, hearing confessions for the weekend's Medjugorje Conference and by going out to dinner with Fr. Doug Smith CSC, also born on the 24th, and a few other friends. Here's to another year.
UPDATE: Fun dinner last night with a cigar afterwards.