Lacrimarum valle

Week 4 Lent
Today’s Scripture: Sam 15:13 -114, 30; 16:5-13,  Mk 51-20

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“Let your hearts be broken,
not your garments torn”.
                                                               
Joel 2:13

If you be drawn to a quiet place of hidden truths and reflective shadows, be not afraid.

“Receive the storm that repentence brings.  Let the holy winds toss you to and fro.

You will be awakened to new depths as you wrestle with the life forces within and what seems like violence at first will lead you gently into the eye of God where all is calm and quiet like the eye of a hurricane.”

Quote from: “A Tree full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary” by Macrina Wiederkehr. OSB.

“Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit,

A humbled contrite heart you will not spurn.”     Ps 51:17

For you shall find the inner truth of who you are to God and who God is to you.

“O God help me to believe the truth about myself – no matter how beautiful it is!”


Quote from: “Seasons of the Heart” by Macrina Wiederkehr. OSB. (Order of St. Benedict) Religious, author, poet, spiritual director.

Highly recommended further reading:  http://macrinawiederkehr.com/    and details of her books and articles. Her lenten blog is titled: “To what are you nailed?”


** lacrimarum valle – latin – Vale of Tears

Quotes obtained from http://www.notable-quotes.com

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Energy of Faith

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Week 2 Lent
Today’s Readings: Gen 37:3-4,12-13,17-28 Matt 21:33-43,45-46

It is an interesting reality – our personal energy.   In some ways  I have often had high energy… it is a clear gift.  I see others do not have it in the same way it comes to me.   But it is there in each of us.  It is the power with which we each embrace life and live it.

Our energy for life is in some way tied particularly to our faith and values.  It is a zeal for life itself and a strength of conviction allied to a sense of meaning and purpose.  In times when I had become disillusioned or lost my way, my energy also waned until I found a new connection to meaning within myself.

There seems a correlation between the amount I give of myself in circumstances and the personal sense I have of it being  in accord with my values.  It is a faith that I am in the right place, or the right work or right standing with others….it is an outworking of my core beliefs about myself, my path and place at the time.

Faith in the rightness of things  generates the energy that things are worth doing and enables me to go the extra mile when needed.  Our commitment to our core beliefs, whether specifically religious or not, is lived out in small steps daily.  We step out incrementally growing in our faith and test its limits.

Two Insights from Thich Nhat Hanh, Author and Buddist monk.
Taken from:
“Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions.”

“Faith is the outcome of your life.   As faith continues to grow, you continue to get the energy, because faith is also an energy like love.  If we look deeply into the nature of our love, we will also see our faith.  When we have faith in us, we are no longer afraid of anything.”

and

“When you have faith, you have a lot of energy.  When you believe in something really good, true, and beautiful, you are very alive.”


Thich Nhat Hanh -“Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions.”p239, 241. Riverhead Books, Penguin Publ. NY. 2004.

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

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.

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