STAY WITH THEM

copyright creative-spiritual-directions.com   homeless
THE FACE OF HOMELESSNESS

I have heard it said  ‘Let them Stay’….  but this is not enough.

I have heard my heart say…Stay with them.

What I know as I have wondered and pondered over these days, there is no answer outside of us. We are the ones they look to. We are their hope. We hold within us the difference they need now.  Whoever they are.  I say  Stay with them. Let us not leave them.

All meditation of presence is nothing if we cannot abide with the other.

All our voice …  gestures –  empty intoning chants and gongs  – if we have not the love to stay and be with those who this day want us to be present to their plight…whatever it is and whoever is present to you this day.

Life is about our action and our witness of how have we stayed present to the other.

How did I build and grow in relationship with the other.  Did I go out to the stranger … did I go without those resources they seemed so much to need …   empty…

I am not called to go with the answer, I am called to be the answer.  My heart and faithfulness to my other self is all that is needed.

I was once in a war zone, and heard and saw the cries of the people.   They pleaded with me to tell the world… to tell “America”…they thought if only they “knew”, things would change.  Although I felt convicted I needed to make a difference, in being a change agent, all my responses were to me of little comfort or assurance.  Although having some capacity;  I knew not how.  I knew I was bereft and powerless. But I was still open.

When I met with a priest and community elder very early the next morning…  he came to me…He put his arm around my shoulder and embraced me gently and simply said…’if they wanted to be here they would be…if X organisations wanted to be here, they would be.’    You are here.  Stay now.  You are with us … You came to us as you are.  This is enough.

I felt Jesus with me in that moment and that assuring touch.

And so Jesus simply says in the face of no answers,  in the face of insurmountable obstacles, distress and unfathomable circumstances: “Stay with them….  Go out and meet them.  Go out beyond yourself and enter their world.   Abide with them.”

They want to be known at heart with you. One with you.  Share your bread of life.  Share the little you have with them.  Go forth.  It is enough.   You are enough.

Do not lobby and posture on how to let them stay.

You already have the answer.   It is a matter of the heart … my heart …

Ephphata    be open yourself .  You are enough.  You can go to them.  You can remain in the face of their struggle, with them; present to bear with them.  We make space in our hearts to remain with them.

At the heart of the matter in companioning, spiritual direction and counselling,  in loving as a Christian and a Jew  –  is the imperative  –  go out to the stranger …  make a place for them in our heart.

I do not want to be the clanging bell of meditation, but the silent sitting fully present to, and with my other who is seeking me.  May I be found fully present to the other.

Be not afraid for we are a small light in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome.

Do not worry who goes with you.

You are not alone.  copyright creative-spiritual-directions.com   homeless

Homeless

 

Arise

Created with Microsoft Fresh Paint

 “Look!

though night still covers the earth

and darkness the peoples,

on you Yahweh is rising and over you 

his glory can be seen.”

 

Isaiah 60:1-2


Image copyright - Inset artwork Grief by artistaeli, used with permission.

HOLY TRIDUUM

creative-spiritual-directions.muse du Louvre.com DESCENT fr cross
“If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”  Jn 14:19

 

Let me descend into your heart.

Descent from the cross.


A triduum is a three-day period of prayer, usually in preparation for an important feast or in celebration of that feast. Triduums recall the three days that Christ spent in the tomb, from Good Friday until Easter Sunday.

By


 

“Descent from the Cross”   ivory 1270 -1280  Muse du Louvre.

COMPASSION FATIGUE

2016-03-20 copyright creative-spiritual-directions.com. compassion

“Compassion fatigue”   – seems to me to be incomprehensible – even reprehensible.  Surely the heart does not stop caring.

How do we come to a place of “compassion fatigue”?  What is it that has shifted from caring in a tangible way, to complacency or even seeming powerless?

We become desensitized to that which would make our heart mourn or move us with compassion.  As I pondered  – I understood from a giant billboard SELF STORAGE.

As as a human rights worker, I was confronted by the term “compassion fatigue” from supporters who no longer wanted to see images of victims of human rights abuse.  The rawness of the constant suffering had become too difficult to bear.

I am not talking here of exhaustion. I understand we cannot stay in the front line of caring without support, care and respite. There is a time and a season for us.

I am talking of a turning point – a time at which we harden our hearts and deny our suffering world.  We deny our own capacity to suffer with our selves and others.  We deny extending ourselves to be compassionate to one another.

When people talk of agencies “they no longer trust” or when working with youth in desperate life situations – I am “warned” not to give too much.   Yesterday  I heard people decrying those who were speaking compassionately on behalf of the refugees.

Do we decry the voice of the poor?

Can we have ever had enough compassion?  How do we grow in mercy and compassion?

As Isaiah says let our hearts be broken…

that we may  weep with those who are weeping.

Rilke’s words talk of our God – a God of mercy and compassion -suffering with us today.

You are the poor one, you the destitute.

You are the stone that has no resting place.
You are the diseased one
whom we fear to touch.
Only the wind is yours.
You are poor like the spring rain
that gently caresses the city;
like wishes muttered in a prison cell, without a world to hold them;
and like the invalid, turning in his bed to ease the pain.
Like flowers along the track, shuddering
as the train roars by, and like the hand
that covers our face when we cry – that poor.
Yours is the suffering of birds on freezing nights,
of dogs who go hungry for days.
Yours the long sad waiting of animals
who are locked up and forgotten.
You are the beggar who averts his face,
the homeless person who has given up asking;
you howl in the storm.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke


from  “ The Book of Poverty and Death, III,18″   
Translated by Anita Barrows and Joana Macy, Riverhead Press, 1996 p.141

Seasonal Fruit

Deviant Art quaddie147289142
Week 4 Lent
Today’s Readings: Wisdom 2:1, 12-22 Jn 7:1-2, 10.25-30

I am noticing how I have moved the page axis towards creation a little more lately -thanks to a blog by Dylan Raines – campaigning for people in desperate need of water.  (I like the pun in his name and life call!   🙂 God has a sense of humour! too ).

Picking up on his blog stimulated my focus over the last few days in prayers for water and Si Laudate.

‘Inspiring’ is not too big a word.  But is a “handsome” word.

I like it because it is the infilling of the Spirit moving in us as we listen.   Consequently, our actions are in response to the promptings which we do not let fall into fallow ground.

What is spiritual direction if it is not listening in our daily life to what the Spirit is saying and responding.    “If today you hear his voice harden not your heart” constantly reverberates in me.

and    Ephphata….  the Aramaic word –   be open.

What strikes me about Dylan’s “campaigning” is the vigour and conviction which he brings to it.

Each of us is called: to love God and our neighbour – with all our heart, with all our mind and all our being/soul. (Matt 22.35)

There is no confusion in this.  To live in the way of passion is to live a life of compassion. With passion, we live with suffering; we live in the embrace of self and others in the true fullness of life.  Passion literally means suffering. The fire of passion is fuelled by love of God and others. Love suffers in compassion for the other.  May it be manifest in our lives.

A reflection may be – “By their fruits you shall know them”  (Matt 7:16).

Which spirit are we listening to and what fruit is it bearing right now?

Are we bearing good fruit in all seasons?


Photo image used with permission from Quaddie: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Icing-on-the-Top-147289142

Out of Silence

copyright creative-spiritual-directions.com. morn

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.