Winnowed thoughts

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Week 4 Lent  Today’s Readings:  Josh 5:9-12   1 Cor 5:17-21   Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

We are all called to be winnowers… to cast aloft our dreams and thoughts, to winnow with the Spirit.  Discernment, like winnowing, is a gift which enables us to sift the motives of our heart; to raise up our inner most thoughts and find the wisdom of our way.

Ernest Larkin helps us appreciate it.  He says:

“Discernment has two focuses: process and problem.

It is a process insofar as it is progressive awareness of the movements of the spirits in our counsciousness. …

The “spirits” are thoughts, desires, and affective moods, which are the telltale signs of the Holy Spirit or opposing influences. …

Discernment is mindfulness, recollection, centredness. It is being aware of what is going on spiritually.”

In this season of Lent, in the Christian tradition, we are called to look inward and examine our hearts and practices, in the light of God’s word.  It is a particular time in which we turn our  attention to the questions of our heart and let ourselves explores some shadows.

In the silence of our hearts we may let some of the bigger questions arise …  What is the best I can do at this time?     

Can I explore more deeply choices available to me and be open to new directions or possibilities?

Larkin continues in a very practical way, noting process and problem work together:

“Discernment as problem solving is interpreting the spirits in order to determine God’s will.  Where are these feelings and sentiments tending?

Are they moving the person toward or away from God?

What behaviour and choices are they suggesting?

Discernment is concerned … with the trajectory or orientation. Where are  they pointing?

We are called to live beyond rote rules and in accord with God’s particular will for us.

God’s project for me is that I become the unique person I was created to be.   Discernment is the tool for the process.”   *

It takes courage and support to look at our shadows, to explore our choices and to choose growth.  A spiritual director or Christian companion is invaluable in being there for you to carry your thoughts and dreams through the process of discernment.

Quoted extracts  from “What to Know about Discernment” by Ernest E. Larkin. O. Carm

Published in Review for Religious, 2001. pp.162-3.  Published Society of Jesus St. Louis. Missouri. US Central and Sth Province.  Archives can be accessed . through http://cdm.slu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/rfr/id/559


 

Recommended Reading: “Silent Presence”, Ernest Larkin.  Dimension Books. N Jersey. 2000.


 

ert of my inertia

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Week 3 Today’s Readings Hosea 5:15-6:6 Lk:18:9-14

You are my call; my peace,

I have known You.

Your peace – sublime reassurance,

rest, acceptance, serenity trust.

 

You have taken me to You  

I chose to be embedded;

enmeshed, felted; immersed and baptised in You.

 

I thank you,        protect me God

in You is my refuge –

haven of  life, of my  security and truth.

 

To You I say    –   ‘You are my Lord’.

My happiness is in none of these sacred spirits of the earth,

nothing satisfies, nothing lasts

but ineffable embracing life and love.

 

Transcent life and light,

e(a)rt  of my inertia.

Spirit to my  spirit,

ineffable constant to my waivering,

serene sublimity to my flailing,

security, tranquility to my tussling,

reassurance to my tarrying.

 

My birthright, fullness, gift, freedom,

unbounded, limitless beyond expectation

I relate to you –   

consumation.

 

The measuring line marks out for me a delightful place,

You are my direction, my dance, my light, my gift,

my vision, my vigour, my process, my flow,

my ert –

ert of my art, You are.

 

Therefore I am being;  human and spirit with You.

You will teach me the path of life,

unbounded joy in Your presence,

forever beside You.

Thou art

Yahweh my inheritance.

 

 

(A refrain echoing from Ps 16) 

Awesome One

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Week 3 Lent Today’s Scriptures Hosea 14:2-10 Mark 12:28-34

I am praying again, Awesome One.

You hear me again, as words

from the depths of me

rush toward you in the wind.

I yearn to be held

in the great hands of your heart”.

 


 

Extract from  “The Book of Hours: Love poems to God” by  Rainer Maria Rilke*

One of my other favourite poems from Rilke is:

“Go to the limits of your longing”.  For recitation click red arrow.

 

To view all the words and other poems please go to:  

http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/Poets/R/RilkeRainerM/Iamprayingag/index.html

 

Recommended Reading:

  “In the Company of Rilke:

Why a 20th-century visionary poet speaks so eloquently to 21st century readers yearning for inwardness, beauty & spiritual connection.”

by Stephanie Dowrick,  Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest. NSW.  2009

“Awesome God” can be found in Rilke’s “Book of Hours” translated by Joanna Macy, Author Anita Barrows.  Riverhead Books, Penguin. NY. 1996.*

Re-cover dis-cover

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Week 3 Lent Today’s readings: Jer 7:23-28 Luke 11:14-23

Why do we wish to recover?  What is it that we prize so dearly about a speedy recovery or a full recovery?  Most of all it seems we are in haste to re – cover our vulnerability, perhaps our fragility; our weakened self.

No real sense of self is recovered speedily. I  recall times when decimation visited me leaving but a shell.    A  pervasive numbness disengages the notions of self and any talk of recovery seems a nonsense.  For from the inside there is no sense.

One does not recover oneself.   We in fact discover ourselves.  We come to experience our poverty of spirit.  We have been exposed, revealed and found to be frail and human.  A speedy and full recovery…is but a hollow platitude.

Maybe fear, shame or humiliation shadow us in this parlous state accompanied by endless questions without answers.  Surely as life has changed in whatever way – we don’t recover.  We cannot go back to recover.   Recovery is in discovery.  It is in the now that we can compassionately discover  our deeper self, our true values and true friends.

“… it is often in useless, unpretentious, humble presence to each that we feel consolation and comfort. Simply being with someone is difficult because it asks of that we share in the other’s vulnerability, enter with him/her into the experience of weakness and powerlessness, become part of uncertainly, and give up control and self-determination.

And still when this happens, new strength and new hope is being born.”

Recovery has meaning when compassion shelters us  and we slowly discover a new integrity, gentleness and humility emanating from within.

Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life”  by  Henri Nouwen, Donald P McNeill, Douglas A Morrison, 1982. Dartman Longman Todd.  p.12

 

 

Inner sense

Week 3 Lent Today’s Readings: Deut 4:1,5-9 Matt 5:17-19

The-WoesW

Innocence

in a sense

is like incense      ….   innocence…  

it rises up and offers something of its very being

to inner sense

innocence   –   seemingly elusive   yet

my inner sense

in a sense  –  it touches me  …  I behold it,

in a sense – I perceive its vapour,

I am in sense  arising  inner sense

an incense

to my being in innocence.

I wrote this verse as the word ‘innocence’ invited me this morning to ‘feel out’ its dimensions within me. In rising awareness of the work of Michael Leunig – artist, poet, philospher and officially declared Australian Living Treasure in 1999,   I sought out an image and had NO knowledge of what follows.  All within me blossomed as I discovered a gem -an extract follows from:

 “Ideas of Spirituality, Art and Innocence”  by Michael Leunig*:

“Why do I choose to put together this wonderful holy trinity of spirituality, art and innocence?  … The simple truth is that I believe these things are treasures that matter hugely to the health of the individual and society…

I have come to understand my spirituality as an ongoing internal lyrical state of consciousness, semi-consciousness and unconsciousness in which I find meaning, comfort, refuge, inspiration, mystery and strength. …

With spirit, one is able to have and hold many feelings, and live a felt life. The spirit supports and negotiates between our feelings, instincts and intuitions …

I cannot help but think that a rich and confident spiritual life is a form of genius.  …

The spirit lies at the heart of our character and personality; our individual, divine self, which is one of the greatest treasures we will ever have access to. …

Any thoughts of spirituality lead me quite naturally to the idea of art because in my view, and in my experience, art is an aspect or an expression of our individual spiritual reality.

I make the point that mystery is not confusion, rather it is an enchantment of the imagination and spirit. Indeed art is a spiritual project.  …

In essence, spirituality and art are interwoven in their raw searching, in their expression, in their courageous unknowing, in their joy and darkness and in their radiant innocent strength which finds its way into the human heart. …

A direct link to the wondrous, innocent experiences of childhood might, in mature age, be called mature innocence.  … I have found some of my most meaningful, useful and joyous work there. It is my studio within my studio. We might also understand mature innocence as mindfulness.”

I encourage you to visit the site for his full essay given as keynote presentation at 10th Dialogue Australasia Network Conference, 11 April 2015.  http://www.leunig.com.au/ideas/spirituality-art-innocence?showall=1&limitstart=   Words and image provided with gracious courtesy of Michael Leunig.

Morning Flight

Morning Flight by TFavretto

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3rd Week Lent    Today’s Scriptures: Dan 3:25, 34-43 Matt 18:21-35

I hope you are reading this at morning; at the start at least of a new dawning.

Today’s experience is to sit and be in the spaciousness of now  –   in this present moment.

To allow the moment to have space and peace and an unfurling of its own.

My hope is that you may receive through image and the word and that they may speak to your heart and bring balm to your innermost being.

(Please note: just click the red arrow play button for the recital.)

WILD GEESE      recited by  Mary Oliver  poet   

She invites you into this poem with the words –

“You do not have to be good,

You do not have to walk on your knees for one hundred miles in the desert repenting”…

and she  draws towards her conclusion with –

“whoever you are, no matter  how lonely,  the world offers itself to your imagination …..

Mary Oliver is a highly acclaimed and prolific American Poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984 for  her work “American Primitive” and in 1992 won the National Book Award for Poetry.  Wild Geese is one of her most popular poems, as is The Journey, both included in her book “Dream Work” published in 1986. Atlantic Monthly Press. N.Y

The poem by “Wild Geese” is recited by Mary Oliver is the end of an  interview in the “On Being” broadcast.

A list of her books, poems and  biographical information are readily available. An overview may be found at – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Oliver


 

Header Photo with permission from:http://tfavretto.deviantart.com/art/Morning-Flight-71757446

 

 

A Healthy God

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Week 3 Lent     Today’s Scriptures: Kings 5:1-15   Luke 4:24-30

Healthy People in a Healthy Relationship with a Healthy God

Offerings for consideration from a talk by Retired Catholic Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.

“There is only one God, but an endless variety of human misunderstandings of God. Unable to grasp the infinite God, we each create a lesser God in our minds and worship this.

In particular, we all have within us profound fears and longings, with the fears creating ideas of an angry god, and the longings ideas of a loving god. Our ideas of God will always be inadequate, but can at least be healthy, that is, enable us to grow.

To achieve this health, we must move:

from a god we can possess and dispense to others

         to a God of infinite surprise;

from an elderly male god

         to a God who is above all our limitations;

from a religion in which beliefs, duties and worship hold first place

        to a religion in which a love relationship with God holds first place;

from an angry god, not to a god of soft love, but

         to a God who, out of love is never afraid to challenge us to grow;

from divisions between sacred and profane

         to the goodness of all creation;

from a god  whose glory is to be found in our obedience

         to a religion in which we must constantly abuse ourselves before God to a religion in which self-denial and self-love work together to help us become “fully alive”;

from a world without meaning

         to a world in which our sense of meaning comes from the sum total of all the loves of our lives;

from a commercial relationship with a god whose rewards can be earned by doing right things

         to a love relationship with a God who is pure gift;

from a relationship in which we determine exactly what part God shall be allowed in our lives

         to a love relationship of total giving;

from a god who demands that we bridge the gap between us

         to a God who always takes the first step and comes to us;

from prayer which consists solely in words

         to a prayer in which our whole lives seek to express our desire for God;

from a god about whom we use many words

   to a God whose greatness and mystery reduce us to silent wonder.”


Talk given at Faith Formators Colloquium, Mittagong, N.S.W. Nov. 2006.

What is God waiting for?

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Week 3 Lent
Scriptures: Exod 3:1-8,13-15 , 1Cor 10:1-6,10-12 Lk 13:1-9

God is always there for us  …   waiting for our    ………………..

(Your chance here to  put in an answer  ….  what comes to your mind?)

Over these last few weeks of Lent, the children have been singing as part of our liturgy. I always find it uplifting particularly as their songs are so fresh and new to me.

However,  twice lately I have been jarred by the words of a song they sing… and it left me thinking quite seriously….  Each time  I noticed the disturbing affect on me as I read the words and heard them sing:

“God is always there for us…waiting for our crime”.

Do you believe that?   I certainly don’t…  that was the source of my concern.  What sort of a version of God do we have?    Worth  thinking about further I pondered.   Who is your God ?  –  Do we believe in a God of Mercy and Compassion?  After deliberating over the two occasions I raised it with the co-ordinator who agreed to check the typing. I found the unofficial website with lyrics had  this version also.

Still perplexed, I contacted the songwriter  who confirmed indeed the words are ” waiting for our CRY!”

Now the merciful God whom I knew I could turn to has appeared in the song, not the God of judgement and condemnation.

It may be simple, yet so many times little typos like this can be either amusing or misleading.  In this case I am glad to have the children, and the child in me, know that God is waiting for our cries.

May it be in this season of Lent we can keep examining our images of God and discover the truth and depth of Divine Mercy.

The Lord is kind and merciful   …        Psalm 102: vs. 1, 4

The Lord is compassion and love

Slow to anger and rich in mercy

We are not converted

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Week 2 Lent  Today’s Scriptures  Mic 7:14-15, 18-20   Lk 15:1-3,11-32

 

We  are  not converted

Only once in our lives

But  many times  and

This endless series of

Large and small

Conversions,

Inner revolutions,

Leads to our

Transformation 

In Christ

But while we may have

The generosity to

Undergo one or two

Such upheavals, we

Cannot face the necessity

Of further and greater

Rendings of our inner-self,

Without which we

Cannot  finally 

Become free!

 

Thomas Merton. “Life & Holiness”
Herder & Herder, NY:1963. p.159

 

Energy of Faith

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Week 2 Lent
Today’s Readings: Gen 37:3-4,12-13,17-28 Matt 21:33-43,45-46

It is an interesting reality – our personal energy.   In some ways  I have often had high energy… it is a clear gift.  I see others do not have it in the same way it comes to me.   But it is there in each of us.  It is the power with which we each embrace life and live it.

Our energy for life is in some way tied particularly to our faith and values.  It is a zeal for life itself and a strength of conviction allied to a sense of meaning and purpose.  In times when I had become disillusioned or lost my way, my energy also waned until I found a new connection to meaning within myself.

There seems a correlation between the amount I give of myself in circumstances and the personal sense I have of it being  in accord with my values.  It is a faith that I am in the right place, or the right work or right standing with others….it is an outworking of my core beliefs about myself, my path and place at the time.

Faith in the rightness of things  generates the energy that things are worth doing and enables me to go the extra mile when needed.  Our commitment to our core beliefs, whether specifically religious or not, is lived out in small steps daily.  We step out incrementally growing in our faith and test its limits.

Two Insights from Thich Nhat Hanh, Author and Buddist monk.
Taken from:
“Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions.”

“Faith is the outcome of your life.   As faith continues to grow, you continue to get the energy, because faith is also an energy like love.  If we look deeply into the nature of our love, we will also see our faith.  When we have faith in us, we are no longer afraid of anything.”

and

“When you have faith, you have a lot of energy.  When you believe in something really good, true, and beautiful, you are very alive.”


Thich Nhat Hanh -“Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions.”p239, 241. Riverhead Books, Penguin Publ. NY. 2004.