Take nothing with you

lennox heads April 2015 012
Week 4 ordinary time.           Todays’ Scriptures: Sirach 47:2-11,  Mk 14-29

Take nothing with you on the journey  …

These words struck me today…    Whether we are an artist, a writer or a contemplative… these words call us to embrace a paradox of the spiritual journey.  It is often when we are empty that the Spirit becomes most present to us.  This may become more evident in times of desolation,  times of contemplation, or times of retreat or abstinence.

In  preparation for spiritual discernment these words echo within us…to lay down our ways  and wait upon the Spirit.  Discernment is the heart of all inner seeking.  It is only accomplished with  preparation  through calming the swells of the worldly desires and letting the waves of our discontent abate, that we may then journey to the inner.

In my art practice, I find it is when waiting in deep stillness and seeking in darkness; seemingly arid of the creative spirit, that I can recognize the dawn of inspiration and be prompted in new directions.   … I love the word “inspiration”…. being infilled with the Spirit…and the joy which comes with the “inspiration”.   It is truly filling when one is inspired.

It is in the unknowing that we come to know.   It is in the emptiness that we are filled.  But most importantly,  I think it is because I knew I was empty or barren, that I also have learnt to discern the Spirit of God within.

As we are preparing for Lent, this message seems to have a particular resonance for the spiritual journey just now.   Often Lent is associated with “giving up things”.   But I think of it more as laying them down and letting them go so I can make space in my life.   Not so much emptiness, but spaciousness.   The journey of the Spirit is to declutter in today’s jargon and trust that we will come to embrace the unknown ahead.

“And he instructed them to take nothing for the journey except a staff.”                                                                                                                Mk 6:8

I ponder and listen to what this word is saying to me and what extra baggage can I jettison, to go forward, knowing from past experiences, I have been given, and will be given all I need.

In all discernment we question what do I really want and what do I need.

In spiritual discernment as a Christian, we ask what is God’s  will for me? I let  questions come forward and wait on gentle promptings.

Then starts a process of discerning  what comes to me, what I hear in my heart     ….  , remembering I am always a follower; being led  I learn to listen and discern what is drawing me closer to  my true self.


What today do I need to equip me for the journey?

What do I stand in need of to be more present, loving, true,  peaceful …

What do I really need today  –  to be readied for the encounter with mystery?

 

About Creative Spiritual Directions

Through Creative Spiritual Direction I am providing a sacred pace  for exploration and discovery of what is real and important in our lives at this time.

By reflecting on our own life journey … we can fashion our story…

By listening to our own voice we may hear our heart’s desires and come to know the still small voice within.

I am encouraging practical ways of nurturing and responding to the spirit within.

I invite you to come aside…step back to be still.   Allow yourself to receive in the quiet  and as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ,*  suggests:

                 “above all, trust in the slow work of God.”

Consider making a regular time of quiet for yourself …   a space in time that is yours alone.   Contemplation starts with simply setting oneself apart… quietening the outer to turn inward and take rest.    Our spiritual journey starts with this one step daily.

I provide flexible sessions to foster individuals giving voice to their inner feelings and gather seeds of insight for reflection.  This blog assists you to explore paths along your journey and provides companioning, resources and references.

I encourage you to follow  in this blog and share with companion on the journey of Creative Spiritual Directions your experiences, encounters, questions and musings.


 

 

* See Poetry Page for full verse quoted from “Heart of Fire” 


 

a light on my path

Week 4 ordinary time.

Today’s Scriptures: 1 Kings 2:1-4, 10-12 and Mk 6:7-13

DSCF9806

Our next step   –

“Your Word is a lamp for my feet,   a light on my path.”

“As your word unfolds it gives light,  and even the simple understand”    

                                                                                                                   *Psalm 119 vs. 105, 130

The Word is our companion and our daily bread.  As I let the Word of God talk to me, I find I am nourished and guided along my path.  So it is for all disciples following the way.    This is where the heart of the relationship in spiritual direction lies.  The spiritual director is always and only the Holy Spirit.

To seek spiritual direction, is to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  This is the one constant in gaining spiritual direction – ever seeking and finding the voice of God speaking to us.  Of course like Mary, we may ask How?       How do we hear the voice? ….  How do we discern the voice ? ….

For me the next step is to sit quietly with the Word of God.  Whether you choose the readings of the day,  whether it be a verse that has resonated in your heart recently,  whether it be the words spoken or sung…

However the Word of God has touched you…be open to abiding with a verse, a line or a short text.   It is from such encounters that we are fed.   This becomes the source of our discernment, contemplation and musings. Our experience is at the heart of our ongoing dialogue; conversing with our God, and the substance of our personal spiritual direction.

I enjoy reading Psalm 119  in which the writer extols and delights in the Word of God as the guide and guardian of the path.   Various versions of the text engage me and speak to my heart.  The Message Bible** translates the Psalm in contemporary language and opens as follows:

“You’re  blessed  when you stay on course,

walking steadily on the road revealed by God.  

You’re blessed when you follow his directions,  

doing your best to find him  ….   vs.  1 -2 

Be  generous with  me  and I’ll live a full  life;

not for a minute will I take my eyes off your road.

Open  my eyes  so I  can see  what  you show me

of  your miracle-wonders.

I am a stranger in these parts;

give me clear directions.”   …  vs. 17 – 20

Scripture from  *   THE NEW JERUSALEM BIBLE, 1990. Darton, Longman, Todd. London                                            ** THE MESSAGE. 2002. Used by permission Navpress Publishing Group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Lent..my 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.

It’s a new day Feb 2

Start of companioning on line.   Finding direction together in the Spirit.

As we are about to commence the Lenten journey I am preparing as a pilgrim amongst many on the path ahead.

I know Yahweh no one’s course is in his/her control

nor is it in anyone’s power, as they go their way,

to guide one’s own steps. 

Correct me, Yahweh,

but with moderation,

not in your anger,

or you will reduce me to nothing.”

Jeremiah 10: 23-24