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

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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.

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?

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