You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Love your enemies is probably the most radical thing Jesus ever said. Unless, of course, one considers the parable of the Samaritan. There the admonition is to let your enemies love you.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Sunday, February 24, 2008
By life-giving water,
Offered by a man who had no bucket,
Who knew me not, yet knew me well.
My past washed clean In
the spring that I became —
Flowing, flowing through me,
Never again shall I thirst.
-- Judy Ritter
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Whenever I am checking bags at an airport, I recall St. Teresa of Avila's wonderful prayer of praise, "Thank God for the things I do not own."
— Kathleen Norris in The Quotidian Mysteries
To Practice This Thought: The next time you are in a store, repeat St. Teresa's prayer.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I no longer ask the young man's question: How far will I go? My questions are now those of the mature person: When it is over, what will my life have been about? First as Martin Buber taught, life is meeting. We come alive only when we relate to others. Secondly, we are here to change the world with small acts of thoughtfulness done daily rather than with one great dramatic leap in results. Finally, we are here to finish god's labors. One of the sages of the Talmud taught nearly two thousand years ago that God could have created a plant that would grow loaves of bread. Instead He created wheat for us to mill and bake into bread. Why? So that we could be His partners in completing the work of creation.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
At the end of his spiritual talks, Gurdjieff said "Amen." When asked to translate "Amen," one of Gurdjieff's closet pupils answered, "Give it a try!"
— Michel Legris quoted in Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections on the Man and His Teaching edited by Jacob Needleman and George Baker
To Practice This Thought: The next time "Amen" crosses your lips, remember it means you are agreeing to give whatever preceded it a try.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Spiritual reading is a regular, essential part of the life of prayer, and particularly is it the support of adoring prayer. It is important to increase our sense of God's richness and wonder by reading what his great lovers have said about him.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
For some time now I have really valued the website called Spirituality and Practice that is maintained by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat. Today I found an article of theirs on the subject of mystery. Here's how it gets started:
Mystery. It's not much in favor these days. Modern consciousness has little respect for the unseen and the unknown. We're much more comfortable with sound bytes from the experts and tidy philosophical or psychological systems that have an explanation for every situation. Television programs us to think that every problem has a solution that can be found in an hour or two, minus the time for commercials.The rest of the article is quite wonderful. You might like to click through and read it.
Politicians, educators, scientists, writers, self-help psychologists, and even many preachers seem to have everything all figured out. If we need answers, they're more than willing to give them.
There is another way to be in our world: we can embrace mystery. Christian novelist and essayist Madeleine L'Engle said, "There are no answers to the wonder of creation." There is only a deep and abiding respect for the awesomeness and unfathomability of the miracles of life. To try to explain them in detail, to reduce them to a simple answer for someone, is to limit their majesty.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
My friend has a kaleidoscope she sometimes uses in her counseling practice. She invites her client to look through the kaleidoscope to catch a new perspective. God's Spirit within us is like this kaleidoscope; we need to be attentive to it so we can be transformed with new eyes.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Silence will illuminate you in God. . . and deliver you from phantoms of ignorance. Silence will unite you to God. . . . In the beginning we have to force ourselves to be silent. But then from our very silence is born something that draws us into deeper silence.
— Isaac of Nineveh, seventh century Syrian monk
Monday, February 11, 2008
When you practice the bell of mindfulness, you breathe in, and you listen deeply to the sound of the bell, and you say, “Listen, Listen.” Then you breathe out and say, “This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home” . . . If you are a Christian, you feel that Jesus Christ is your home. It’s very comfortable to think of Jesus as your home. . . He is ever present. Your practice is how to touch him; he is your home.-- Thich Nhat Hanh, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers(Many thanks to Fr. Clyde Glandon for sending me this quote.)
Sunday, February 10, 2008
From a sermon for Lent 1 by Dr. Robert Crouse:
A certain wilderness is necessary for the clarifying of the Spirit. Turn off the noise for a bit, and shun the continual distractions for awhile. There is a powerful modern prejudice in favour of busyness; even the Church seems determined to keep us busy. Even when we have retreats, which used to betimes of quietness, the inclination now is to turn them into conferences with discussion groups.
The ancient Christian hermits, the "Desert Fathers," as they are called, had a point when they claimed that the real battles of the spirit, the real confrontations with our devils, take place in quiet and isolation. Lent calls us to participate, at least in some small way, in that flight to the desert, to try to see ourselves clearly in the undistracted light of God's word, to identify our illusions so as to be free of them.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
In the week immediately before Lent everyone shall go to his confessor and confess his deeds and the confessor shall so shrive him.
Monday, February 4, 2008
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Today, the last Sunday of Epiphany, is a day we observe the Transfiguration of Jesus. Here is an excerpt from a sermon for this day:
God is love. That's one of the first verses of Scripture that we each learned and that we teach our children and grandchildren. We say it with ease, but do we know what it looks like?
We do know that love does shine. We've all seen it. We've all seen someone in love, perhaps it was your own face in the mirror.
The eyes are bright with a new sparkle, the smile is radiant, the cheeks aglow. The same is true of a woman pregnant with child. Her love for the new creation growing in her womb shines through her face.
That's how God wants to be seen by us, as love making radiant all of God's creation. All of it, mind you--especially you and me. God wants us to shine with the light of that love, just like Moses and Jesus and Elijah. Because each one of us, as we walk through our lives, is a moment of Transfiguration for the people we meet. It is through us that God's love shines to fill the world with light.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
THE CEREMONIES FOR CANDLEMAS DAY
Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
Till sunset let it burn;
Which quench'd, then lay it up again,
Till Christmas next return.
Part must be kept, wherewith to teend
The Christmas log next year;
And where 'tis safely kept, the fiend
Can do no mischief there.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Brigid, you were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover those who are troubled and anxious,
And may peace be firmly rooted in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and to reverence all God has made.
Brigid, you were a voice of the wounded and weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater wholeness in mind, body, and spirit.