Sacred Thresholds

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Week 2
Lent Gen 15:5-12, 17-18, Phil 3:17-4:1, Luke 9:28-36

Sacred thresholds seem to me to be somewhat of a  quandary?

Oxford dictionary defines  thresholds as “Limits of counsciousness, limit below which a stimulus ceased to be perceptible”.

How open are we at these entry points to the Spirit?

How open are we to perceiving and receiving spiritual encounters?

Do our thresholds  protect the sacred within or  defend against the unknown transcendent “Other”?

Have our thresholds in fact become strongholds of the mind barring our way to the unseen?

Daniel O’Leary reminds us: ” Do we forget that our senses are ‘the threshold of our soul’? “Listen, my child,” St Benedict wrote at the beginning of his Rule, “with the ear of your heart.”

Admitting the Spirit within every moment of our lives, is opening the portal of our senses to acknowledge the faith we profess.   It is opening and trusting the sensing of our heart to discern the Divine in all things.

Faith is the intentional act of seeking to find the Presence.  The intent of the seeker is to live in the Presence of the Spirit expecting and acknowledging the reality of the realm in the Spirit.

It is in  opening  the thresholds that we can behold things so differently. The cosmic connections, the mystical insight and understandings arise from a sensitive heart yielding to Truth beyond our human limits, which convicts and enlivens us.

Contemplative prayer enables us to grow in the practice of living in the Presence.

Asking questions is an important part of any spiritual journey.  It helps us clarify our direction and seek the path which is most relevant to us.  As we listen to questions which arise in our hearts we take courage to step into the unknown.   Questions open us to the unknown.  Let us ask and receive, seek and find.

Giving voice to your questions is letting the light shine on your darkness.


Suggested resources may include  –  Weekly reflections and interviews with writer, spiritual director and priest    Fr. Daniel O’Leary’s website  Begin with the Heart  – http://djoleary.com/pages/weekly.htm   

Author – of  “Thresholds of the Soul” and  “Windows of Wonder”. 

 

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Out of Silence

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Week 1     Lent
Today’s Scriptures:  Deut 26:16-19   Matt 5:43-48


“Every human being has a gift,

yet often unknown;

the gift to care,

to be compassionate,

to become present to the other,

to listen, to hear, and to receive.”  

 

“Those who can sit in silence

with their fellow man (woman),

not knowing what to say,

but knowing that they should be there,

can bring new life to a dying heart.

 

“Why is it we keep that great gift

of care so deeply hidden?”

Quote by Henry Nouwen in “Out of Solitude: 3 Meditations on the Christian Life.”   p42 – 43.    Ave Maria Press, Indiana. 2004


Is 50:4-6

Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple’s tongue,

for me to know how to give a word of comfort

to the weary.

Morning by morning he makes my ear alert

to listen like a disciple.

Lord Yahweh has opened my ear

and I have not resisted,

I have not turned away.

Unveiled wisdom

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Wk 1 Lent    Today’s Scriptures: Jonah 3:1-10  Luke 11:29-32

I awoke this morning before dawn, and all was in darkness and stillness. I saw how partially and gently light reveals the presence. Initially there is no colour  or form.  Our senses strain to codify that in which we are immersed.

Despite our inadequacy we wrest words out of the darkness to give expression to that which remains veiled and uncertain.

I am reminded of John O’Donohue’s reflection:

“Behind the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.  …  

We reduce the wildness and mystery of person and landscape to the external, familiar image. …

Familiarity enables us to tame, control and ultimately forget the mystery.”

We are furtive creatures, tentative and stumbling in the dark;  uncertain, full of doubts and hiddenness.  We do not know or admit ourselves to the mystery to which we belong, nor fully comprehend ..

“We make our peace with the surface as image and we stay away from the otherness and fecund turbulence of the unknown which it masks.”

The journey of our life is deep within, slowly being unveiled…as yet unknown…a new creation .. we are becoming.  We behold ourselves as we really are in the flux of life.

Again O’Donoghue’s gift with words expresses the wisdom of the sages, of clans, philosophers, saints and mystics:

“You do not have to go away outside your self to come into real conversation with your soul and with the mysteries of the spiritual world The eternal is at home – within you.” 

 

Dante quote  source St. Lib Vic


 

John O’Donohue – Onbeing interview.   Anam Cara means soul friend.

Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World”. Published  Bantam Books, U.K.  1999.   p.121-122

Dante’s quote.. State Lib. Vic.

 

Giant Stories

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Week 5 ordinary time    Today’s scripture: 1Kgs 8:22-23, 27-30.   Mk 7:1-13

It is common now to see street art as another medium on our radar. In this “Lunar Year of the Monkey”,  we might  ponder on the street art of Herakut, international street artists, whose work in Fitzroy, as part of their Giant Story Book series (2013), centers around the monkey character.

It’s interesting to notice what  shapes our opinions, beliefs and values.  Books and storytelling clearly play a large part in our formative years.   These may be from diverse traditions, myths and cultures.

As adults how we interpret the word around us and how we  filter messages gives us insight into where we are nourishing our core beliefs and how open we are to growth from the vital new voices of our day.

It can be challenging to engage with street art, and let questions be asked.   As the front side of this work exclaims..”the most curious just tended to be the most  courageous.”

Sometimes that is exactly what it takes to stay open and to be prepared to question new ideas and influences.  Being courageous embraces taking risks that we might grow.    It means not hardening our hearts and remaining resistent to change or intransigent.

“If today you hear his voice harden not your hearts”.  Heb 3: 7-8

On the hidden side of this work, we find the question  “What would a monkey want to say”  ???   This prompts me to suggest we might listen to what our inner questions are and what we  may want to say.     Spiritual direction helps us listen to our voice and our messages.

Encouraging…is calling forth the courage. Let your heart be open to hear where the Spirit is leading you and discovering the messages  that are life giving and calling you forth into your personal wholeness?

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more on Herakut http://www.scmp.com/magazines/48hrs/article/1297220/graffiti-duo-herakut-make-art-message

Blessings of a Pure Heart

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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.

Sacred pace and negative space

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Sacred Pace

Laughing at my mistakes….when reading the blog the other day I noticed I had typed    this will be a sacred pace….   and then I corrected it to my meaning. But on reflection…  we are definitely journeying at a  sacred  s  pace.      

 

 

 

 

Negative space

How much easier it is sometimes, to know what we don’t want, like or need than what we do.   I have found that this helps me be in touch with what its opposite and discover what I need and want.

Many of us have trouble articulating what we want, need or like.  Yet we know what we don’t.  It strikes me that often  the expectation of what we don’t like, or think we need, is because of a negative experience.  As a consequence I don’t want that experience to be given space.

Yet its value lies in the fact that I am reacting to it strongly.  In that lies some clue maybe as to my aversions, or negative space…those options I may be blocking out in discernment.

Artists look at the negative space and become trained at looking at the unseen side, the hidden.  We all gain insight when we see with new eyes.

My experiences, negative and positive, are all good, because they teach me the way I am to go.  If I start with the dislikes, I am prompted more to uncover what I really want.     It is great to have lots of ‘likes’ (even in a blog) but to hold  knowledge of who I am and what shapes me is to embrace negative space also.     To have a clear vision of my direction I must look backward  at my path and see what it is that is shaping me in the negative and the positive.