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

 

 

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

Are we there yet?

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Week 2 Lent   Jer 17:5-10   Lk 8-15

Most unexpectedly, whilst driving on a country trip, a voice from the back seat enquired most sincerely…’are we there yet?‘  It seemed so strange – the adult asking what seemed a child-like question.  And clearly we were not there yet with still some way to go.

All our journeys are a little like that. We venture out upon the path, carrying our hopes and expectations.   But we walk in darkness really.  We don’t know the way. We must seek out light and guidance constantly.

We are always yearning for the being there – in that place of rest and solace; the place of promise and fulfillment. As St Augustine and others have remarked – our hearts restless till we find our God. If we are in familiar terrain for too long,  we fear we maybe  going nowhere or maybe we’re just bogged down.  Maybe we are circling in passivity and no longer on the path.

This is the being there we seek -being present to the now of our life  as we  follow Jesus with the Holy Spirit as our guide.  Ours is to remain and abide in simply being; a follower on the journey.

Gregory of Nyssa in the Life of Moses* tell us:”… someone who does not know the way cannot complete their journey safely in any other way than by following behind their guide. .. The one who follows will not turn aside from the right way if they always keeps the back of the leader in view.

For the one who moves to one side or brings themselves to face their guide assumes another direction for themselves than the one the guide shows them. Therefore, He says to the one who is led, ‘My face is not to be seen’ (Exod 33:23), that is “Do not face your guide.”

If the follower does so, their course will certainly be in the opposite direction, for good does not look good in the face but follows it….for what looks virtue in the face is evil.”

Discernment and companioning are gifts to each of us till we reach the end of our journey. We are simply following the way ahead to our own personal wholeness.   I am touched by the concluding retort  in “Everyone’s Way of the Cross” –

Christ speaks –       “I told you at the start, my other self,
my life was not complete until I crowned it by my death.
Your ‘way’ is not complete unless you crown it by your life.”


*Extract from Gregory of Nyssa, De Vita Moysis, ed. Herbert Musurillo-Gregory of Nyssa, Opera. vol.7 (1964) extract from The Life of Moses in Classics of WesternSpirituality. (NY. Paulist . 1978)  Paras 252-255
Everyone’s Way of the Cross, by Clarence Enzler. Ave Maria Press, Indiana.1986

An invitation

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Week 2 Lent  Today’s Scriptures: Jer 18:18-20   Matt: 20:17-28

Recently I was as asked if I won $1m how would I spend it?

Maybe  Lent is like that…  We are reminded that we are being invited to share in a great gift of graces and a new life. How will we spend Lent?

Lent is a time where we can  ponder on the true treasures we desire, our deepest yearnings and longings  and cry out for grace to truly seek after these.   The graces of healing, forgiveness and peace are at heart of our deepest desires.     All things can be changed and made new.

I make 3 offerings:   

A meditation:

An extract from short essay by Fr. Daniel O’Leary entitled “Forging in the Smithy of the Soul –Sometimes we must sweat blood to stay faithful”. *

In part he says :  “We endeavour to short-circuit the relentless call of Christ. We want to equate the increase in our religious behaviour during Lent with growth in holiness.  There is, however, no cheap grace.   …

In our mistaking of the outward ego for the inner essence we are unknowingly denying ourselves the possibility of any radical conversion.    …

In Lent we grow by dying. There is no other way. In this dying we recognise the false face we’ve grown used to, the daily lies we tell, the thoughts of deception that crowd our minds, the infidelities we do not commit only because we might get caught, the lovelessness of our lives parading as shallow compassion, our collusion with conformity, our fear of beauty and big dreams….  p.28-29

I recommend the full very short essay, contained in “Already Within” by Fr. Daniel O’Leary and his weekly reflections at: http://djoleary.com/pages/general.htm


A song   “And So”  by Kirtana    from her album “Unseen Grace.”

According to Wikipedeia  kirtana is Sanskrit for “praise; eulogy” and is call and response chanting in India’s  devotional traditions.  It involves hymns, chanting or mantras to musical accompaniment.


An image/prayer

Some days ago, I strolled among some gums and grasses quietly pondering and there before me was this short prayer – in the photo at the top of the page.  Just as it came to me…I give it to you- the Invitation to Repentance….

Feral Thoughts

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Week 2 Lent Today’s Scriptures: Isa 1:10,16-20 Matt:23;1-12

Someone recently described parts of one of my artworks as being scattered in a disordered manner….  It made me quizical …

I thought…’oh, I term that random…and isn’t that the nature of things?’ After all, we do put our own order on things and try to make them fit our sense of propriety.  And then I enjoyed the remark ..

I smirked inside knowing there is something about the serendipitous and unexepected that delights my sense of adventure.  It suggests the advent of something new; something no eye has seen or mind has known.

Random thoughts seem a little feral at times…running their own course… but then maybe they just have the “insider running” – so to speak. As things unfold, just sometimes we surprise ourselves to find the very thing that came from our mouth was indeed  a bit of “insider knowledge“.

We all have it…the subtext of the Spirit…talking through us…and the glee when we hear our own words  showing forth a gleam of brilliance or unexpected wit.

We may spend lifetimes trying to fathom the secrets of the universe and the laws…yet nothing eclipses  the awe and wonder of the unfolding mystery of  creation in all its forms.

Randomness may be termed  disorder, but I prefer to see it as a frivolity of nature and Spirit.   The Holy Spirit hovers over chaos and in time,  brings forth a sense of meaning and connectedness that we alone are unable to perceive.

Maybe it is feral what we don’t understand…the untamed thoughts and works…It is not unusual in art to find the artist is engaged in a process of self discovery and revelation. It  is easy to cling to a lifeline of a description or interpretation thrown our way to bring order  when we flounder  fathomless in our own depths.

Befriending our  feral, allows it all to be as it is – an agency for the insider knowledge ripening to bear fruit.

Patience is the gift of  which we stand much in need.  It is only in patience with ourselves that we can enter deep reaches of  compassionate understanding and tolerance.

The fruit of compassion – bearing with suffering – grows from the same Greek root of pathos – to suffer .  Our patient, long suffering and silent vigil prepares and tames  our hearts for the outer growth in works of genuine compassion.

Look inside

Blue Space by  Dark Dissolution
blue_space_by_darkdissolution-d4f7xkv
Week 2 Lent         Today’s Scriptures: Dan 9:4-10  Lk 6:36-38

 A selection of  3 poems of 148 poems by
Mewlana  Jalaluddin     RUMI

There is Life-Force within your Soul

There is a life-force within your soul,
seek that life.
There is a gem in the mountain of your body,
seek that mine.
O traveller, if you are in search of That
Don’t look outside, look inside yourself
and seek That.

 There Is A Way 

There is a way between voice and presence
where information flows.
In disciplined silence it opens.
With wandering talk it closes.

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Rumi,as he is know in the west,  was born  in the Persian Empire (now Afghanistan) in 1207. He was a theologian, scholar and professor who wrote great mystical Sufi poetry.

Select reading:  http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Richard-Rohr-s-Meditation–Rumi.html?soid=1103098668616&aid=8aTnVT82V-0


This page is based on an extract of poems 104 and 121 published on Poemhunter website http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-guest-house-2/

This copyrighted work accessed via Wikipedia on  Mewlana Jalaluddin Rumi; and is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA.


Artwork  used with permission   Blue Space by darkdissolution

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”. 

 

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.