HOLY TRIDUUM

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“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”  Jn 14:19

 

Let me descend into your heart.

Descent from the cross.


A triduum is a three-day period of prayer, usually in preparation for an important feast or in celebration of that feast. Triduums recall the three days that Christ spent in the tomb, from Good Friday until Easter Sunday.

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“Descent from the Cross”   ivory 1270 -1280  Muse du Louvre.

COMPASSION FATIGUE

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“Compassion fatigue”   – seems to me to be incomprehensible – even reprehensible.  Surely the heart does not stop caring.

How do we come to a place of “compassion fatigue”?  What is it that has shifted from caring in a tangible way, to complacency or even seeming powerless?

We become desensitized to that which would make our heart mourn or move us with compassion.  As I pondered  – I understood from a giant billboard SELF STORAGE.

As as a human rights worker, I was confronted by the term “compassion fatigue” from supporters who no longer wanted to see images of victims of human rights abuse.  The rawness of the constant suffering had become too difficult to bear.

I am not talking here of exhaustion. I understand we cannot stay in the front line of caring without support, care and respite. There is a time and a season for us.

I am talking of a turning point – a time at which we harden our hearts and deny our suffering world.  We deny our own capacity to suffer with our selves and others.  We deny extending ourselves to be compassionate to one another.

When people talk of agencies “they no longer trust” or when working with youth in desperate life situations – I am “warned” not to give too much.   Yesterday  I heard people decrying those who were speaking compassionately on behalf of the refugees.

Do we decry the voice of the poor?

Can we have ever had enough compassion?  How do we grow in mercy and compassion?

As Isaiah says let our hearts be broken…

that we may  weep with those who are weeping.

Rilke’s words talk of our God – a God of mercy and compassion -suffering with us today.

You are the poor one, you the destitute.

You are the stone that has no resting place.
You are the diseased one
whom we fear to touch.
Only the wind is yours.
You are poor like the spring rain
that gently caresses the city;
like wishes muttered in a prison cell, without a world to hold them;
and like the invalid, turning in his bed to ease the pain.
Like flowers along the track, shuddering
as the train roars by, and like the hand
that covers our face when we cry – that poor.
Yours is the suffering of birds on freezing nights,
of dogs who go hungry for days.
Yours the long sad waiting of animals
who are locked up and forgotten.
You are the beggar who averts his face,
the homeless person who has given up asking;
you howl in the storm.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke


from  “ The Book of Poverty and Death, III,18″   
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joana Macy, Riverhead Press, 1996 p.141

Mystery

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YOUR POWER SOURCE

Knowingly or unknowingly, we live a faith filled life.

The plumb line cannot measure the depths of mystery in which we exist.

As children and in some cultures  – mystery, the unseen and the life of spirit are the context of our experience.  Reality is, we are each  part of something beyond ourselves and our comprehension.  We swim in the unknown.

“The point of diving in a lake is not immediately to swim to the shore, but to be in the lake. To luxuriate in the sensation of water. You do not work the lake out; it is an experience beyond thought. Poetry soothes and emboldens the soul to accept mystery. “

Quote from the character John Keats in the movie "Bright Star". 

This quote speaks to me of our choices in our attitudes particularly to our spiritual life. Do we want to grab and capture everything, name it, define it and somehow be in control of it?  Is our approach to mystery one of conquest as we seek to taste the mystery ?

There is a wry paradox in trying to explain or detail the eternal ever present mystery. It seems so deficient that we should trade the magnitude of the wonder of the unknowable for a set answers of history, science or doctrine.

Rarefied are the species who wait expectantly on faith and providence –  or enter  the realms of the intangible.  Yet countless scientiests, spiritual wayfarers, contemplatitives and creatives attest to the reality and fullness of a spirit led life.

The mind is but a visitor;
it thinks us out of our world.

Each mind fabricates itself.
We sense it limits,  for we have made them.
And just when we would flee them, you come
and make of yourself an offering.

I don’t want to think a place for you.
Speak to me from everywhere.
Your Gospel can be comprehended
without looking for its source.

When I go toward you
it is with my whole life.

Extract from Rainer Maria Rilke – “Love poems to God”

Be still and know that I am God.

Gradually we become more present and receptive to our God -the One who cannot be named or contained.

To be open to God is to be open to the Mystery of our being, beyond limits.


 

FURTHER READING:   I recommend to you today Dylan Raines who is about to commence a walk for water in 3 days.   …    He has a  most interesting blog on using meditation to make yourself happy.

Extract from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Book of Hours:Love Poems to God    Translated by Anita Barrows & Joanna Macy.

 

Watch and pray

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5th Week of Lent
Today’s Readings: Isa 43:16-21 Phil 3:8-14 Jn 8:1-11

 

40 DAYS OF BLOGS      I have laid the foundation for personal reflection and direction.

I will continue to post regularly, but not daily.   I allow  a new spaciousness to enter as I become attentive and watchful.

Blessing you in this time as we  watch and pray.

 

 

Well of wisdom

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4th Week Lent
Today’s Scriptures: Jer 11:18-20 Jn 7:40-52

In the philosophy of the poet – love  ushers forth from a well of wisdom.  From the contemplative heart we receive lived wisdom as from the sage.

We listen to our journey as it has been lived through their lives. Their truths are our truths – in shadows and in light.  They speak of what might have been; the seen and the unseen. They birth in us new ways of saying, of being, of naming and of seeing.

David Whyte  explores the Poetry of Compassion in the recording below.  In it he talks of the inner journey, and the search to find your own way. He explores our capacity to embrace all of self, including our darker side and grief. He brings gentle  connections to,   as he says, “restore our personal innocence” and be compassionate with ourselves.

By recitation of poetic works from Mary Oliver and Pablo Neruda, and his own poem – “The Well of Grief” – he evokes and opens for us a deep relationship to the words and imagery of the inner journey.

This recording is 37 min.duration, but may be stopped at short intervals between various poems.  I highly recommend the full recording on the site below.

However, you may choose to listen in intervals of five minutes or so.

David Whyte   visiting Australia  April 24 – May 3  http://www.davidwhyte.com/

 

 

 

Seasonal Fruit

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Week 4 Lent
Today’s Readings: Wisdom 2:1, 12-22 Jn 7:1-2, 10.25-30

I am noticing how I have moved the page axis towards creation a little more lately -thanks to a blog by Dylan Raines – campaigning for people in desperate need of water.  (I like the pun in his name and life call!   🙂 God has a sense of humour! too ).

Picking up on his blog stimulated my focus over the last few days in prayers for water and Si Laudate.

‘Inspiring’ is not too big a word.  But is a “handsome” word.

I like it because it is the infilling of the Spirit moving in us as we listen.   Consequently, our actions are in response to the promptings which we do not let fall into fallow ground.

What is spiritual direction if it is not listening in our daily life to what the Spirit is saying and responding.    “If today you hear his voice harden not your heart” constantly reverberates in me.

and    Ephphata….  the Aramaic word –   be open.

What strikes me about Dylan’s “campaigning” is the vigour and conviction which he brings to it.

Each of us is called: to love God and our neighbour – with all our heart, with all our mind and all our being/soul. (Matt 22.35)

There is no confusion in this.  To live in the way of passion is to live a life of compassion. With passion, we live with suffering; we live in the embrace of self and others in the true fullness of life.  Passion literally means suffering. The fire of passion is fuelled by love of God and others. Love suffers in compassion for the other.  May it be manifest in our lives.

A reflection may be – “By their fruits you shall know them”  (Matt 7:16).

Which spirit are we listening to and what fruit is it bearing right now?

Are we bearing good fruit in all seasons?


Photo image used with permission from Quaddie: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Icing-on-the-Top-147289142

Laudate Si

‘Praise be to You, Lord’  …words of St. Francis

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Week 4 Lent Today’s Readings: Exod 32:7-14 Jn 5:31-47

“Laudate Si” provides a new platform for dialogue in the world and a new commissioning for the church.

I am convicted by Pope Francis’ treatment of relationships between poverty of heart and matter, technology, greed, individualism, consumerism, real common good and ethical horizons.

Our intimate connectedness with all creation in space and time brings a new perspective to our ethics and behaviour.

Moral reflection calls us all to ecological conversion.

Ecological theology crystalises moral accountability in the light of connections between injustice and exploitation.

It  contrasts the sacrament of creation with sacrilege in the degradation and destruction of the environment, species and human dignity and integrity.

Pope Francis states: “This conversion calls for a number of attitudes which together foster a spirit of generous care, full of tenderness.

First it entails gratitude and gratuitousness, a recognition that the world is God’s loving gift, and that we are called quietly to imitate his generosity in self-sacrifice and good works.”

He calls us to take seriously our responsibilities as custodians and kin in the sacred universe “stemming from our faith and capacities”, to examine and amend our lifestyle and become educators and activists in a world in need.

Elizabeth Johnson says:

“This perspective brings social justice and ecological care into a tight embrace.”…

“Love, as Jesus enfleshed and enacted it, is the meaning encoded at the heart of the universe itself.

The loving God’s original and ultimate intent is fullness of life – not just for a slice of the world – but for all, including poor human beings and all living creatures.”

Ongoing destruction of God’s good earth, bears the mark of deep sinfulness.”


Pope Francis. Laudato Si: On Care for Our Common Home. An Encyclical Letter on Ecology and Climate. St. Pauls Publ., Vatican City, 2015. Aust. Edition. p.97

Quote by Elizabeth Johnson, author of  “The Cosmos: An Astonishing Image of God”. Published in Origins, Vol.12/96, Sept.

 

You and I

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4th Week Lent
Today’s Readings: Is 49:8-15   Jn 5:17-30

‘I require a You to become.
In becoming I,
I say You.
All actual life is encounter.’

‘The Thou encounters me by grace — it cannot be found by seeking. But that I speak the basic word to it is a deed of my whole being, is my essential deed.’

P O E T        W R I T E R      T H E O L O G I A N       S C H O L A R
P H I L O S O P H E R

MARTIN   BUBER

I wish to introduce new footholds  for the spiritual journey.  Whilst we may feel  the spiritual  defies our attempts  to express our inner sensing, or grasp the ineffable; Martin Buber’s life works exhort us to embrace our relationship with the spirit, as the essence of the journey.

“When two people relate to each other authentically and humanly, God is the electricity that surges between them.”

His many works give us a new dialogue of  inclusive relationship between  human and other …  Most particularly he speaks of the sacred relationship of “I and Thou”.

“Spirit is not in the I but between I and You. It is not like the blood that circulates in you but like the air in which you breathe. Man lives in the spirit when he is able to respond to his You. He is able to do that when he enters into this relation with his whole being. It is solely by virtue of his power to relate that man is able to live in the spirit.”

Being consciously engaged with our spiritual life centres us in our full humanity.

Extract from:

 “Power and Love” by Martin Buber

‘Every morning
I shall concern myself anew about the boundary
Between the love-deed-Yes, and the power-deed-No
And pressing forward honour reality.

We cannot avoid
Using power,
Cannot escape the compulsion
To afflict the world,
So let us, cautious in diction
And might in contradiction,
Love powerfully.’

 

‘As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience.’

These quotes by Martin Buber were retrieved on 8.3.2016 from https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/539106-ich-und-du  
http://www.azquotes.com/author/2101https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/I_and_Thou

ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS REFERENCED ARE:
" I & Thou" by Martin Buber Walter Kaufmann translator) NY: Charles Scribner 1970
"Martin Buber : An Intimate Portrait" by Aubrey Hodes, Viking Press 1971

Water of Life

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Week 4   Lent Today’s Scriptures: Ezek 47:1-9, 12 Jn 5:1-3, 5-16

The water that God called into being  is at the heart of all that lives.
Mindful of the many ways water affects our lives,
let us pray for our waters and for the life of the world around us.
(silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We ask your prayers for all people of faith,
and for the transformations in their lives that are marked by the sacredness of water:
at the Red Sea, in the Jordan and the Ganges Rivers,
in ritual baths, in the washing of feet, and in Holy Baptism.
(silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We ask your prayers for the leaders of nations, corporations, and communities around the world,
that they may exercise wise stewardship over the waters of their lands,
so that all people may have clean water to drink and live free from waterborne diseases. (silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We ask your prayers for the wisdom to shape creative solutions to conflicts over water
in the dry places of our planet, and for justice and peace in desert lands.
(silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We ask your prayers for the oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, watersheds, streams,
ponds, deltas, marshes, and swamps of our planet,
for the waters beneath the ground,
and for all creatures that live in the waters of the earth.
(silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We ask your prayers for all who travel or work at sea or on inland waterways.
(silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We ask your prayers for all who suffer from too much water
in the destruction of flood, storm, tsunami, and ice;
and for those people and creatures who suffer as the glaciers and ice floes vanish.
(silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

We ask your prayers for all who thirst for water, for health, for love, for wisdom, for God,
that their cups may be filled to overflowing.
(silence)
Lord, in Your mercy,
hear our prayer.

Blessed God, in your wisdom you uphold creation
and renew it again and again.
Help us to see all water as holy water,
and all our concerns as bathed in the living water Christ gives us,
in whose name we pray. Amen.

Extract From The Episcopal Ecological Network.

Quoted with permissions from   http://foodgrainsbank.ca/

Lacrimarum valle

Week 4 Lent
Today’s Scripture: Sam 15:13 -114, 30; 16:5-13,  Mk 51-20

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“Let your hearts be broken,
not your garments torn”.
                                                               
Joel 2:13

If you be drawn to a quiet place of hidden truths and reflective shadows, be not afraid.

“Receive the storm that repentence brings.  Let the holy winds toss you to and fro.

You will be awakened to new depths as you wrestle with the life forces within and what seems like violence at first will lead you gently into the eye of God where all is calm and quiet like the eye of a hurricane.”

Quote from: “A Tree full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary” by Macrina Wiederkehr. OSB.

“Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit,

A humbled contrite heart you will not spurn.”     Ps 51:17

For you shall find the inner truth of who you are to God and who God is to you.

“O God help me to believe the truth about myself – no matter how beautiful it is!”


Quote from: “Seasons of the Heart” by Macrina Wiederkehr. OSB. (Order of St. Benedict) Religious, author, poet, spiritual director.

Highly recommended further reading:  http://macrinawiederkehr.com/    and details of her books and articles. Her lenten blog is titled: “To what are you nailed?”


** lacrimarum valle – latin – Vale of Tears

Quotes obtained from http://www.notable-quotes.com