Hidden Nature

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Wk 1 Lent
 Readings: Ezek 18:21-28 Matt 5:20-26

Have you ever been in a bird hide?

Have you ever waited silently  for the appearance of a rare species of unique beauty?

Today I found myself the quiet observer, as I exercised in the gym overlooking the pool.

My gaze was drawn to an apparent grandfather – waiting, arms wide open in the water, coaxing and beckoning a little 3 year old to jump into his arms.

She was so tentative and crouched down on the tiled edge wrapping herself in her arms and ducking her head inwards.

Slowly she stood up and motioned toward the water, but hesitated and crouched again.  And so it continued.

He constantly reassured and encouraged. She gingerly grew past her uncertainty and took her leap of faith.   Time and again he would catch her, hug her and place her back on the edge.

The play continued  until she jumped short and went under the water.

He quickly raised her to the surface and carried her to his shoulders.  She recovered her composure, hugged his neck and kissed him.

The game continued with variation, she would throw kisses to him, before she left the ledge.


Can you recall an incident which touched your heart in a special way?

Quietly revisiting our experience helps us recognize things that affect us.  In staying with  heartfelt moments, we allow them to become meaningful and not simple glimpses fading.

The important thing is not to think it through or interpret it.   Our feelings are what they are. They are real, true and personal.  They are the treasures of our heart.

Have you tracked in through the narrow path and closed the little door to perhaps catch a glimpse of the wonder of your own creation?

Prevent Truth Decay

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Lent Wk 1    Todays’s Scriptures  Esth 4:17  Matt 7:7-12

Gee…some signs of our times are good.

The wit  and poignancy of this one made it memorable for me.

We seem to hear so many versions of truth these days that we are no longer sure of our own version.  Although we grow in knowledge of our values and truths, in part we still respond to scripts given to us by parents, friends  or doctrine.

Spiritual Direction assists us to  become more sensitive to our feelings and reflect on our emotional responses. We find the things of importance, truth and meaning for ourselves.

As we journey inward and speak our truths, we begin to belong to ourselves in a fresh way.

At the heart of traditional stories, in scripture and in many indigenous cultures, is the sacredness of the land as the place of unique belonging and well-being.

Often in the spiritual journey people relate their experiences to that of homecoming to a place of belonging.  They take possession of their inner landscape from which they draw forth their meaning and identity.

“Prevent Truth Decay”    – trust and protect the sacred within.  –


A reflection from Scripture:  Jn 8:31-32 –

“If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples,

you will come to know the truth and the truth will set you free.

Awareness

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First Week of Lent     Today’s Readings: Is 55:10-11   Mt 6:7-15

It seems strange that the best way of knowing ourself is through our failings.  Accepting our faults with a compassionate and true heart enables us to come into a place of inner peace and freedom.

In  loss, grief or inner distress. .. we grope in pain to embrace the hidden self  – fallible and frail.  We meet our limits and our reality  … in a way – our ‘true self’.

Our ‘true self’ is not out there floating on the clouds in some ideal person, but grounded, vulnerable and  wounded.

The radical part of this, for me,  is that in ‘knowing’ my own weakness I have also come into a ‘knowing’ of my God and grown in compassion for others. This is not new for those who have been through the valleys, but it is renewing and always a revelation.

In times of travail, as I cried out “If you are real God, show yourself .. come,”  – my mustard seed of faith,  carried in the smallest cry, reached the highest heavens.   Grace came and answered my deepest needs.  

I did not think  my deepest need was to be found in relationship with God. But this became the centre of a pivotal knowing by experience.  This was my first step into a life of faith…to call, wait and hope. This is the faith life -to live in the unknowing waiting expectantly for the light.

The Spirit meets us in our powerlessness and we are joined to a new Truth – our solace and our strength is in God alone.   All else is delusion or illusion of our mind attempting to reinterpret our deep experience.

Becoming aware of our inner truth is an ongoing process of constantly turning back and discovering God and self in relationship.

Lent is a season of grace and compassion.  It is a time in which we set aside judgement and condemnation of self and others and turn inward to find new love and realise our hopes.

Over time we get in touch with our frailty and fault lines and the Spirit leads us with a humble contrite heart to repentance, forgiveness, healing and renewed life.

We ‘Trust in the slow works of God’ ∗ and in the unfolding mystery of our lives.   The  Poetry and Prayer Pages may be helpful to your quiet reflections and include a work from ∗Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Bewildered

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Today’s Scriptures:   Deut 26:4-10 Romans 8-13 Luke 4:1-13

It is not easy to come to a quiet place and pray.  Some times we  back off from the spiritual journey.  We may become aware of fears that are surfacing,  or feel confronted or  overwhelmed by a sense of our vulnerability or exposure in prayer.

With the best intentions we resist settling into the quiet silence and sometimes flee into activities, reading or mental activity in an unconscious attempt to allay the tremors or succumb to diversions.

Alone we feel our powerlessness against temptations…

Even in the most isolated of places we bring with us our distractions and attractions which are prone to disturb us.   Yet, in these words of Luke 4:1  we may find a new peace –

“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus … was led by the Spirit through the wilderness, being tempted there”.

It was the work of the Holy Spirit to lead Jesus through temptations and desert. And he prevailed.   We are all  disciples.  The master calls and leads.  We  pray as we were taught  “lead us not into temptation…deliver from evil”…

As we come to our place of meeting, we too seek the Holy Spirit as our guide and counsellor.  We may be tested sorely in entering the wilderness of our own interior, but it is only with the Spirit, who will teach us all things, that we will come to the fullness of life we seek.  In seeking the Spirit we are seeking and discovering what the mystics call ‘the ground of our being’.

Only then can we set aside the temptations, overcome the inner struggles and distractions, and persevering in trust, gradually grow into a deeper union with the Spirit.   Alone we can do nothing or may even become stranded or displaced or dishevelled in our journey.  Our journey is from the self focus and obsession to immersion in the mysterious Other whom Rudolf Otto termed ‘mysterium tremendum et fascinans’.

The word of God empowers each of us.

 Be filled with the Holy Spirit.


Suggested Reading:

Gerald G May, M.D. “Awakened Heart: Living Beyond Addiction.”

San Francisco, NY: Harper Collins, 1991.

Rudolf Otto  – an introduction his  concepts /overview :

http://www.bytrentsacred.co.uk/index.php/rudolf-otto/the-idea-of-the-holy-1-summary

Retreating and backing away

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Today’s Scriptures: Isa 58-9-14    Luke 5:27-32 

Today I had to reverse back down a narrow path and around a bend, most unexpectedly.   I realised that the view going backwards is always different and sometimes difficult.  I amusedly saw how I was both backing away and retreating…it left me pondering…

Hindsight is a valuable tool to be part of our guide.  Upon reflection, we can re-enter past experiences, and refresh encounters that were particularly important for us. We can find strong positive influences and quite negative factors

Taking note of really significant events and people in our past can help us decide to move forward in new directions.  We can see more clearly what the real needs are which may enable us to grow into our personal fullness and we can invite into our life new mentors,  new voices and new music to dance to. We can choose in whose steps we walk.

A spiritual retreat is a way of stepping back over a period of time, usually with some guidance, to be able to recognize the unique ways in which the Spirit  has been working in our lives and to attune to the ways in which we may be called into the future.

We retreat into that sacred place where we go to pray  … intently entrusting our time, emotions, anxieties and needs to the Holy Spirit as our companion and guide.

As we set aside the past patterns and come with a sense of holy indifference as to future options, we allow a holy spaciousness to enter our vision.  Without being attached to any outcome, we let our own truth arise and simply attend to our feelings and responses.  A spiritual guide prayerfully supports  each retreatants unique journey. Quiet and time allow for the inner most things of our heart to arise from deep within.

I must say in retreating, there is sometimes  a sense of a need to back away also … the spiritual path can be tremulous and mysterious.

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It is empowered by the Holy Spirit, the dynamo, the dynamic of life.


PSALM    139     As your accompaniment

Yahweh, you examine me and know me,

you know if I am standing or sitting,

you read my thoughts from far away,

whether I walk or lie down, you are watching, 

you know every detail of my conduct.    vs.1-3

If I flew to the point of sunrise,

or westward across the sea,

your hand would still be guiding me,

your right hand holding me.     vs. 9-10


        See  SELECT READINGS NIV bible link

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