Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

AP photo credits

 

 

I don’t seem to write of tragic happenings at the time they occur. Words and feelings bulk up inside of me for a time before they are released upon the paper or the computer file.

April 15 is always a day that refers to United States Tax Day and whether or not you have filed on time. April 15, 2019 now lives in infamy as the Notre Dame Cathedral burned as we all watched via computer, or television, or hand-held device, or in person, standing on the streets and bridges of the Seine river in Paris.

 

 

GOD BLESS the heroic firefighters. At 11:23pm when the fire chief announced the rest of the structure of fire-stricken Notre Dame Cathedral was saved, it was within 30 minutes of total collapse. The roof’s irreplaceable ancient wooden beams cut from trees that were alive a millennium ago were gone, The iconic spire fell at 7:40. As darkness poured over the city, 20 firefighters at great risk to their own lives climbed into the two towers to fight the fire from the inside out. By 9:49 pm, fire officials didn’t know if their best would be good enough. But it was. And the world is grateful to them for what they saved. I think of my cousin firefighter Theresa Hajec in Fenton Michigan and say special prayers for her and her fire crew for God’s love and safety to surround them on their daily job.

 

 

It is Holy Week on the Church calendar. People around the world are turned inward in reflection upon what meaning and purpose their practice of Christianity holds in their lives. It is the season of Resurrection and Mary is the way through which all graces flow.

A silence overtakes us now, just as it did for the apostles immediately following Christ’s crucifixion What stood in our midst is no longer there and we grieve the hole it leaves in our hearts and in our lives for it’s pure magnificence touched even ones who could not be in it’s presence.

But in the air is felt a strong current of Resurrection. Yes, there is faith and beyond that a whole certainty that Notre Dame shall rise again. Somehow providing us with a noble link to the past, a firm acceptance of the present, and a way shower to future times.

Ave Maria. Gratia plena. Ora pro nobis.

 

Read Full Post »

Today, I didn’t have my napkin in my purse to write upon, when I was at the 8 am children’s Mass on Ash Wednesday at Christ the King Cathedral. So many blessings entered my soul from the readings, to the music, to the homily and the children filling most of the cathedral. “Bless the Lord, Oh my soul.”

And of course, I can’t remember most of what I wanted to. I need napkins more than ever these days to remember, oh my remember. I know the first message I soaked up like a sponge was “Return to me with all your heart.” It is such a blessing to be involved in anything in our life where we are in it whole-heartedly.  Another scripture at another time warns us to be a full Yes or a No — anything in between  is not “of the Spirit.”

I am so grateful to be living whole-hearted in each day, maybe with a few aches and pains, various trials here and there, some inconveniences, but in the over-all appraisal, I feel grateful and whole hearted for the life I have.

Today, I share my SoulCollage image I made for Lent maybe over five years ago. I add to it the magnificent blog post of Jan Richardson, and thus I am complete. It is all here.

 

Readings for Ash Wednesday: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17; Psalm 51:1-17;
2 Corinthians 5:20b-6:10; Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

From Jan Richardson:

We are entering the season that begins with a smudge. That smudge is a testimony to what survives. It is a witness to what abides when everything seems lost. It is a sign that what we know and love may, for a time, be reduced to dust, but it does not disappear. We belong to the God who well knows what to do with dust, who sees the dust as a place to dream anew, who creates from it again and again.
—Jan Richardson, from Ash Wednesday: What God Can Do with Dust
The Painted Prayerbook, February 2018

Friends, as we enter into Lent, I want to share this Ash Wednesday blessing again. It’s been six years since I first wrote it, during what would turn out to be my last Lent with Gary. I have found that the question the blessing holds—”Did you not know what the Holy One can do with dust?”—is a good one to ask myself anew each time Ash Wednesday comes around. And I can say now: I know what God can do with dust. And I am learning still.

As this season begins, what blessing do you need to claim from the ashes?

Blessing the Dust
For Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—
did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?
This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.
—Jan Richardson
from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

NAPKINWRITER so highly recommended this beautiful, inspiring book. Buy it now!

 

Please include this info in a credit line: “© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com.”

Read Full Post »

I know. We all have mountains to climb. We all have moments when the spirit is willing, but the body is weak. We all have times when fitness means lying down and resting, not doing the next 5K around the corner.

This post is for those moments. When we can count on that indomitable, shining spirit within us, that excels beyond all belief. We are one with our God. And that is good enough!

Here is that spirit, in action! Call upon it today.

Read Full Post »

 

Today, I fretted…
I had been tipped off
to an MRI finding
that needed addressing.
So I fretted about…
possible outcomes of
stents and bypasses.

Not what I wanted.

Today high school students
looked forward
to weekend plans of fun and
dates
and companionship

All they wanted.

Today, I sprung free
with a healthy heart
and a cheer from my doctor
to carry on.

Today, I heard once again
the depth and width and
the untold sorrow of the
directive to…

Carry on.

Peace Be and the heartbeat of
One
carries you all, Texas.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

It’s a writing day for me and my supporting angels are feeling humorous; which means fun along the way for me.

I opened my Bible to a random spot to practice Lectio Divina before getting into my own writing. I opened to page 1067, which is 2 Maccabees 2 and my eye fell to the bold paragraph title, Author’s Preface. 

“Well,” I thought. “This is a good place to begin.  I read, with interest how a writer in the days before Christ arrived on earth performed his writing process. The author is Jason of Cyrene and he reports events in Jewish history from the time of the High Priest, Onias the Third (about 180 B.C.) to the death of Nicanor (161B.C.).

Since I have recently completely revamped my own preface and introduction and first chapter to the memoir I am working on, I felt delighted to discover this page. I love synchronicity.

I will report his process in his own words:

2 Maccabees 2:23-32

“I will now try to summarize in a single book the five volumes written by Jason. The number of details and the bulk of material can be overwhelming for anyone who wants to read an account of the events. But I have attempted to simplify it for all readers; those who read for sheer pleasure will find enjoyment and those who want to memorize the facts will not find it difficult. Writing such a summary is a difficult task, demanding hard work and sleepless nights. It is as difficult as preparing a banquet that people of different tastes will enjoy.

But I am happy to undergo this hardship in order to please my readers. I will leave the matter of details to the original author and attempt to give only a summary of the events. I am not the builder of a new house, who is concerned with every detail of the structure, but simply a painter whose only concern is to make the house look attractive.

The historian must master his subject, examine every detail, and then explain it carefully, but whoever is merely writing a summary should be permitted to give a brief account without going into a detailed discussion.

So then, without any further comment, I will begin my story. It would be foolish to write such a long introduction that the story itself would have to be cut short.”

Thousands of years later, I believe we writers inspect our own work in much the same way.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Photograph by Christine Valters Paintner

 

My dream is to make a pilgrimage with Christine and her husband John on the holy terrain of western Ireland, spin stories, open hearts, and pray together in our pilgrimage tribe. I still wish upon a star and stay open to the possibility it may happen,

But today I have to settle for re-subscribing to her newsletter and Abbey of the Arts information and inspiration from her website. And read chapters of several of her books I have in hard copy and on my Kindle Fire.

 

To meet the new privacy laws, I had to re-subscribe this morning and I had to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY, and reveal I am not a robot.

I love that! I think about the things I go about the day and do in a robotic fashion and reaffirm I wish to stop that and only do what fills my heart and soul. Or else, actually put my heart and soul INTO that which I am doing robotically.

I also do wish to CONFIRM MY HUMANITY. There is so much less than human behavior being put in front of us on a daily basis…on TV, on the Internet, on the roads, all over the place in politics,… in personal interactions,…the hot button is growing, inappropriate behavior is getting all the attention; we are all putting ourselves at risk ever more often, IF we don’t stop and think…

we are humans, homo-sapiens, made to a greater image and likeness than what is showing…

Today, I confirm my humanity. I do the things that are mine to do. I respect myself and I respect others. I plant kindness in my day. I watch my thoughts and actions. I apologize quickly. I don’t hold grudges. I look for the joy. I believe in the good. I am humane.  I am active in the Human Humane Society.

Below are words from Christine. You may find her at http://www.abbeyofthearts.com

Have a humane day today.

 

A guest post this morning from Christine Vaulters Paintner, contemplative artist and writer

in Ireland

 

 

I am a joyful member of the Disorderly Dancing Monks and here are words from our Abbess.

A love note from your online Abbess

“Dearest monks and artists,

Like many of you, global events lately feel quite overwhelming at times and I ponder and pray about my response. One thing I keep coming back to is a sense of deep certainty that the way of the monk and path of the artist make a difference in the world. What distinguishes these two ways of being is that each are called to live deliberately on the edges of things, in active resistance to a world that places all its value on speed and productivity, that reduces people to producers and consumers, and reduces the earth to a commodity for our use.

The longer I follow this path in my life, the more I consider hospitality to be one of the most essential of all the monk’s wisdom. To practice actively welcoming in what is most strange or other in my world as the very place of divine encounter – what St Benedict tells us in the Rule – is a holy challenge! But in a world where otherness sparks so much fear and policies which further divide us, learning to embrace the gift of the stranger, both within our own hearts, as well as in the world is a true balm.

This is what Jesus taught as well through his actions everyday – welcoming the outcast, the stranger, the foreigner. Always breaking boundaries to witness to immense love over fear.

Perhaps the other great essential for me is the practice of silence and solitude. Making time for a deep listening, rather than reacting to what we hear. What are the sacred invitations being whispered in quiet moments? And can we resist a culture of noise where we are bombarded with endless cycles of news.

In her book Mystical Hope, Cynthia Bourgeault writes that “(Mystical hope) has something to do with presence — not a future good outcome, but the immediate experience of being met, held in communion, by something intimately at hand.” Allowing time to feel met by the divine and held in communion is a reminder for us as we return to the demands of our lives and seek to make wise and compassionate choices. It helps to nourish hope deep within us.

In my book The Artist’s Rule, I include a favorite scripture passage:

Now I am revealing new things to you, things hidden and unknown to you, created just now, this very moment. Of these things you have heard nothing until now. So that you cannot say, Oh yes, I knew this. (Isaiah 48:6-7 – Jerusalem Bible translation)

It is a reminder that more than ever we need people willing to pause and listen, to open their hearts to what is uncomfortable, and to hold space and attention until the new thing emerges.

I don’t have the answers, but I do have ancient practices which help to sustain me when I would rather run away. Perhaps if we keep practicing together, we will hear whispers of a new beginning.”

Read Full Post »

 

Today is a guest blog — a poem– from the beautiful poems of blessings by Jan Richardson in her book, Circle of Grace.  Treat yourself to her book.

 

Blessing The Way
by Jan Richardson

With every step
you take,
this blessing rises up
to meet you.

It has been waiting
long ages for you.

Look close
and you can see
the layers of it,

how it has been fashioned
by those who walked
this road before you,

how it has been created
of nothing but
their determination
and their dreaming,

how it has taken
its form

from an ancient hope
that drew them forward
and made a way for them
when no way could be
seen.

Look closer
and you will see
this blessing
is not finished,

that you are part
of the path
it is preparing,

that you are how
this blessing means
to be a voice
within the wilderness

and a welcome
for the way.

 

permission granted for one-time reproduction
Copyright 2015 Jan Richardson
Wanton Godspeller Press
Orlando, FL

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »