copyright heartsofstoneAsh Wednesday Scripture Readings:   Joel 2:12-18,  2 Cor 5:20-6:2,  Mk 6:1, 16-18

In Monday’s blog I mentioned the quest for a sincere heart.  The prayerful cry of the heart is expressed in Psalm 51.  Verse 10 pleads:

 “God, create a clean heart in me”   …  and vs. 17:

“My sacrifice is this broken spirit,  you will not scorn this crushed and broken heart. ” 

Lent, which  begins today, is a  time of quiet contemplative prayer and of rebuilding relationships of faith with God.  It is a season in which Christians look inwards at their hearts and allow them to be transformed by love.   As we draw aside and let God be God and we humbly acknowledge our limitations in our humanity, we seek healing and restoration.

“My eyes are drawn to the person of humbled and contrite spirit, who trembles at my word.”       Isaiah  66:2

Along my travels I have gathered many stones.   It is the heart of stone that has been the source of my deepest contemplation.   In the most trying of times I came upon the blackened small stone of perfect shape.  I had been in much anguish and my prayers reflected my heartfelt cries for help.   As I wandered at waters edge on a lonely beach of clean sand, I paused and looked down to find the most unseemly treasure.

It came to me as gift with the capacity to bring me to tears.   I  was overwhelmed  and in awe of how strongly I identified with my own heart of stone and failings.  Yet gradually it transformed me.  I slowly came to love the black heart of stone.  I came to accept that in all forms, hearts are lovable.  I began to forgive myself and receive forgiveness and healing.  I encountered the living God in Spirit and Truth.

No matter how dark or desolate the place may be where you find yourself.  God is there ahead of you to meet you, sustain you and embrace you. In Lent we are reminded that we are all “prodigal” children, who have strayed on our paths, but in turning back  we are welcomed.  We come back to our senses, and sense and know that we have been heard and experience merciful forgiveness.

Prayer is our relationship with the divine.  Prayer is the union with Spirit.  It is the essence of our relationship and substance of spiritual direction.  Prayer is personal not preformated.  Pray as you can from the heart.  Simply go to your sacred /secret place and enter in to the quiet with an expectant heart.

Psalm 51   and Isaiah 66  are readings you may find helpful at this time.   By clicking the link to the NIV Bible on the Select Reading page, you will gain direct access to these and other texts.

On the Prayer page you will also find a copy of an examen  which may also be of interest.

You may enjoy song or instrumental   “Out of Ashes”  from  ‘This is the Time”      Album by Michael Mangan


Blessings of a Pure Heart

Wk 5 Ordinary time.  Today’s Scriptures: 1 Kg 8:1-7,9-13; Mk 6:53-56

Today is the official start of the Chinese Lunar new year.   It is a traditional 15 day festival of family and community celebration and renewal, thanksgiving, culminating in the Lantern Festival.  Prosperity, health and longevity are gifts  which are sought at this time and prayer offerings are for the living and the dead.

How lovely it was this morning to be greeted by this little innocent child and her red envelope!  I did not understand the significance of the gift, but have since found that she was receiving blessings from her parents.


Later I read that the red envelope of blessing is exchanged as a sign of respect and well wishes to all, and especially passed on through the generations  to children.  The envelopes are given with both hands signifying the wholehearted good wishes of the giver so as “to bless them with a pure heart”.

I hear echoes within me of the prayer of the Psalmist  intoned especially at this time in the Christian church as we too seek a pure heart and renewal.

PSALM 51   

Have mercy on me, O God, in your faithful love,

in your great tenderness wipe away my offences;  …

Let me hear the sound of joy and gladness,

and the bones you have crushed will dance.

Turn away your face from my sins, 

and wipe away all my guilt.  …

God create in me a clean heart,

renew within me a resolute spirit.    ..

Give me back the joy of your salvation,

sustain in me a generous spirit.

vs.1, 8-10, 12.

Tradition is the wisdom of the ages passed on with love blessing us through the lived experience.  So we too bless others by sharing our lived experiences.

Prayer patterns and seasons

Week 4 ordinary time.
Today’s Scriptures:   Samuel  24: 2, 9-17  and Mark 6: 1-6     DSCF2743

Communal and formal prayers are central to the Christian tradition and calendar. Being attuned to the liturgical seasons deepens our prayer experience and unites us with the prayers of the whole body in a unique manner.

I thought it helpful to include reference to the Roman Liturgical calendar used by Anglicans and Catholics as a constant resource at outset of this blog.  Some people may purchase devotional scripture diaries, or the official Ordo in apps and calendars.

As you may have noticed by my comments regarding the feast of the Presentation of the Lord yesterday and my focus on preparing for footsteps always follow in the patterns and cycles of tradition but are uniquely relevant to my day and my time and my own seasons.  I encourage you to find your own balance with each and like me enjoy the celebration of feasts moveable, major and minor.

So, with you, I continue to take small steps in providing what may be helpful for our journey as we set out together.

Being present

Can we be present and wait?   Can we wait in the silence with  expectancy that God will come?

Today is the end of the 40 days of Christmas.  It is the fulfillment of the yearning and waiting for Anna and Simeon.   On this day these two prayerful ones  encountered the Lord, and the promised  Saviour comes to His people.

This promise echoes daily for each one of us…   Are we waiting and vigilant to see the Lord’s presence in our midst?   Today, this day of the Presentation of the Lord, we may seek also to be prayerfully vigilant and present to wait upon the Spirit.

This is the gift for us  …   the Presence is given  …   may we seek with expectant hearts to proclaim our own witness of God’s presence in our lives today.

Our spiritual direction is dependent upon our preparedness to wait attentively upon the the Spirit  revealing our way.     It is in the quiet gentle breeze that the Lord is found, after the storms subside.  My prayer at this time is that I, and my companions on the journey, decide to have time out this Lent.     A retreat of sorts, as we find suited to our lifestyle, but a decision to be set apart to contemplate and  nurture the inner life.