Winnowed thoughts

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Week 4 Lent  Today’s Readings:  Josh 5:9-12   1 Cor 5:17-21   Lk 15:1-3, 11-32

We are all called to be winnowers… to cast aloft our dreams and thoughts, to winnow with the Spirit.  Discernment, like winnowing, is a gift which enables us to sift the motives of our heart; to raise up our inner most thoughts and find the wisdom of our way.

Ernest Larkin helps us appreciate it.  He says:

“Discernment has two focuses: process and problem.

It is a process insofar as it is progressive awareness of the movements of the spirits in our counsciousness. …

The “spirits” are thoughts, desires, and affective moods, which are the telltale signs of the Holy Spirit or opposing influences. …

Discernment is mindfulness, recollection, centredness. It is being aware of what is going on spiritually.”

In this season of Lent, in the Christian tradition, we are called to look inward and examine our hearts and practices, in the light of God’s word.  It is a particular time in which we turn our  attention to the questions of our heart and let ourselves explores some shadows.

In the silence of our hearts we may let some of the bigger questions arise …  What is the best I can do at this time?     

Can I explore more deeply choices available to me and be open to new directions or possibilities?

Larkin continues in a very practical way, noting process and problem work together:

“Discernment as problem solving is interpreting the spirits in order to determine God’s will.  Where are these feelings and sentiments tending?

Are they moving the person toward or away from God?

What behaviour and choices are they suggesting?

Discernment is concerned … with the trajectory or orientation. Where are  they pointing?

We are called to live beyond rote rules and in accord with God’s particular will for us.

God’s project for me is that I become the unique person I was created to be.   Discernment is the tool for the process.”   *

It takes courage and support to look at our shadows, to explore our choices and to choose growth.  A spiritual director or Christian companion is invaluable in being there for you to carry your thoughts and dreams through the process of discernment.

Quoted extracts  from “What to Know about Discernment” by Ernest E. Larkin. O. Carm

Published in Review for Religious, 2001. pp.162-3.  Published Society of Jesus St. Louis. Missouri. US Central and Sth Province.  Archives can be accessed . through http://cdm.slu.edu/cdm/ref/collection/rfr/id/559


 

Recommended Reading: “Silent Presence”, Ernest Larkin.  Dimension Books. N Jersey. 2000.


 

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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.*

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

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….

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

Unveiled wisdom

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Wk 1 Lent    Today’s Scriptures: Jonah 3:1-10  Luke 11:29-32

I awoke this morning before dawn, and all was in darkness and stillness. I saw how partially and gently light reveals the presence. Initially there is no colour  or form.  Our senses strain to codify that in which we are immersed.

Despite our inadequacy we wrest words out of the darkness to give expression to that which remains veiled and uncertain.

I am reminded of John O’Donohue’s reflection:

“Behind the facade of the familiar, strange things await us.  …  

We reduce the wildness and mystery of person and landscape to the external, familiar image. …

Familiarity enables us to tame, control and ultimately forget the mystery.”

We are furtive creatures, tentative and stumbling in the dark;  uncertain, full of doubts and hiddenness.  We do not know or admit ourselves to the mystery to which we belong, nor fully comprehend ..

“We make our peace with the surface as image and we stay away from the otherness and fecund turbulence of the unknown which it masks.”

The journey of our life is deep within, slowly being unveiled…as yet unknown…a new creation .. we are becoming.  We behold ourselves as we really are in the flux of life.

Again O’Donoghue’s gift with words expresses the wisdom of the sages, of clans, philosophers, saints and mystics:

“You do not have to go away outside your self to come into real conversation with your soul and with the mysteries of the spiritual world The eternal is at home – within you.” 

 

Dante quote  source St. Lib Vic


 

John O’Donohue – Onbeing interview.   Anam Cara means soul friend.

Anam Cara: Spiritual Wisdom from the Celtic World”. Published  Bantam Books, U.K.  1999.   p.121-122

Dante’s quote.. State Lib. Vic.

 

Gifted

SAMSUNG
 Today’s Scriptures:  Lev 19:1-2, 11-18  Mat 25:31-46

SAMSUNG

I was astounded…surprised… It was a gift to me that morning.  I saw this tiny flower   … as I passed.  It had stopped me in my tracks.  I hastened slowly. Like a flower in the desert it bloomed on a barren brick wall. Moved by its unexpected beauty I returned to take a photo.

To my greater surprise and delight, this young man chose to pose for me.

It became for me a moment of grace.  In some small way the flower was a precursor to a bigger experience.  It opened me to the wonder of that encounter.  The joy of the young man became my focus. He was quite unaware of the little flower and became the memorable gift.

We cannot be prepared for the unexpected; for those moments of inspiration or insight which come to us as gift.  No matter how much we may desire or seek after them, they are beyond our control …  they are gift given freely.

Something resounds deep in our spirit in these experiences. They remain with us as moments of being touched by the Other.  Often they prompt us or reorient our gaze or thought.

For people attuned in the arts this is the visitation of the creative spirit which imparts inspiration.

In Roman and Greek mythology, The Charites or Three Graces are daughters of the Gods,  known as benevolent spirits of giving and receiving – gracious in virtue, bestowing  beauty, wisdom and creative inspiration.  They were invoked particularly by artists, poets and musicians.

At various times, we all experience moments of grace –  bestowed on us as surprise from a source beyond us.   The experience is often marked by a spiritual recognition that this was “out of the ordinary”.

Often it is described as “suddenly”   or mysteriously,  and associated with an inner conviction of a truth or insight which is uniquely and personally significant. It may simply be a nuance or a word, but it resonates profoundly.

In some particular way grace finds us in a place of relative darkness and brings to us new light.  Grace is a light on our path to inspire us forward and leads us to new ways.

Whether we suppress them, forget them or cherish them, we are touched. Writers, artists and people of many cultures and faiths make space to wait upon the Spirit and become graciously receptive. They receive the gift and become instruments of the flow of grace.

Through contemplative spiritual direction individuals  revisit such experiences and prayerfully discern their personal meaning.  We grow slowly to recognize the spiritual presence and  foster an ongoing relationship with the Creator Spirit.


Suggested Reading:

“The God of Surprises”    Gerard Hughes.

Eerdmans Publishing Co.  2008