You can help yourself hear God by creating harmony and rhythm in your life. This does not mean you need silence. It means you have to find your song, and you have to surround yourself with sounds that are part of your rhythm. Different people have different songs: some might find theirs in a machine shop, others in the woods, others shut alone in their study. Engine noises or the rustling of leaves or the ticking of a clock or silence will distract some of us but will be part of the orchestration for others. If you find your own harmonious way and listen carefully, you will hear the voice of God. It is always available, but the sounds may be very subtle. God leaves it to us to set our antennae in the right direction, be still, and listen.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Maybe one day we'll grow weary of whining and celebrate the rain, the manna, the half-filled glass of water, the little gifts from heaven that make each day bearable. Instead of cloaking ourselves in the armor of pessimism, maybe we'll concede that we are who we are: capricious, unfortune, wonderful, delicate, alive. Forgiven.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
I draw prayer round me like a dark protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell and then step outside again, calmer and stronger and more collected again.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Today is the feast day of St. Francis de Sales who wrote Introduction to the Devout Life.
Here a few things he said that are worth thinking about:
You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, work byworking and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves.I like them all - especially the last one.
There was never an angry man that thought his anger unjust.
We must never undervalue any person. The workman loves not that his work should be despised in his presence. Now God is present everywhere, and every person is His work.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I grew up on this prayer. There's a musical setting in the Hymnal 1940 that we sang frequently when I was in junior choir and so it's deeply imbedded in my consciousness. I continue to experience these words as both consoling and challenging:
God be in my head
and in my understanding.
God be in my eyes
and in my looking.
God be in my mouth
and in my speaking.
God be in my heart
and in my thinking.
God be at my end
and at my departing.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I'm not sure I understand this but it makes me think. And that, I would submit, is valuable:
Christ does not save us by acting a parable of divine love; He acts the parable of divine love by saving us. That is the Christian faith.
Sunday, January 16, 2011
This is wonderfully focusing and soothing at the same time. I really love the way each icon gently moves into the next without any abruptness. Some of these are most unusual. I am particularly interested in the icon you find from about 5:22 until 5:52.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Pride makes us hate our equals because they are our equals; our inferiors from the fear that they may equal us; our superiors because they are above us.
-- St. John Vianney (the Curé d'Ars)
Friday, January 14, 2011
Here's something I just came across that explains the situation very well, I think:
Good religion teaches us about a good God and encourages us to be like Him to the people of the world. Bad religion teaches us about a good God and encourages us to look down on the people of the world because they are not as good as God is.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Maybe I ought to have saved this for Lent but I found it today and liked it very much even though it's about hard awarenesses. It occurs to me that we need prayers like this throughout the year:
Penetrate these murky corners
where we hide our memories
and tendencies on which we do not care to look,
but which we will not yield freely up to you,
that you may purify and transmute them.
The persistent buried grudge,
the half-acknowledged enmity
which is still smouldering,
the bitterness of that loss
we have not turned into sacrifice,
the private comfort we cling to,
the secret fear of failure which saps our
initiative and is really inverted pride,
the pessimism which is an insult to your joy.
Lord, we bring all these to you, and we review them
with shame and penitence
in your steadfast light.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Sunday, January 9, 2011
This is the day on the Church's calendar that the Baptism of Our Lord is remembered and honored. We also look at the meaning and function of our own baptisms.
Here's something about this great sacrament of initiation that is very worthy of serious reflection, I think:
Baptism is not a bath, but a funeral bier. If it was a bath, you would need it again and again. But since it is a death and new life, it is a once for all picture of the transformation that has taken place in our lives. Baptism is not about your goodness; it's about God's Grace.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Here are two quotations by the great Archbishop William Temple:
Faith is not the holding of correct doctrines, but personal fellowship with the Living God... What is offered to man's apprehension in any specific revelation is not truth concerning God but the Living God Himself.
The life of faith does not earn eternal life: it is eternal life. And Christ is its vehicle.
But then, I have a very high doctrine of the Indwelling. I recommend it.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Yes, this is very true:
All art that really draws us to look at it deeply is spiritual. Art accepts all the sadness, and transforms it implicitly affirming that beauty is essentially the presence of God.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
-- Carmina GadelicaI've always loved the Celtic prayers that acknowledge the divine in every aspect of both being and action. The above is one example. Such a prayer is a good way to start off the new year and then to turn to frequently. This kind of praise and invocation (for it is both) help us avoid artificially compartmentalizing our lives into the wordly versus the spiritual.
God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal.
Monday, January 3, 2011
The following quotation is really describing the act of blessing as a meditative support. We are being encouraged here to bless as a remedy for distractions. Very interesting indeed:
As our awareness of blessing grows, so does our joy. When we bless something, we center our attention on a very holy moment, for the power of blessing will tend to focus our mind, regardless of where it may have been wandering. We are brought to joy.
-- Avram Davis in The Way of Flame
Saturday, January 1, 2011
A Very Easy Way to Help the Center
GoodSearch is a search engine that gives 50% of its profits to the non-profit organization of a person’s choice. The Center is registered with them. The more you search, the more money we raise. It’s that simple!
All you do is go to the home page and fill in our entire name where it says “What charity do you goodsearch for?”
If you have cookies enabled, your computer will remember this.
The easiest way to use the search engine is to download its toolbar. Then you can easily click on it whenever you want to.
Even if you really love Google, we are asking our supporters to use GoodSearch at least part of the time – especially for really straightforward searches for which you don’t need a particularly powerful or sophisticated search engine. GoodSearch is powered by Yahoo so it’s a very good engine.
Also, GoodShop has a huge number of very fine and well known businesses listed if you like to order things on line. The Center will get an average of 3% per sale. (Many businesses offer much more than that.) The donations really add up!
We are a small non-profit organization and we operate on a shoestring. So we really need all the contributions we’re able to encourage.
If you have the toolbar already downloaded then whenever you do a search on an item you want to purchase, GoodShop participants will be highlighted in yellow on your search results. It’s so easy and it really helps us.
Thank you so much for reading this!
Every blessing to each one of you and Happy New Year!
Sr. Ellen E. Finlay
St. John’s Center for Spiritual Formation