Friday, January 15, 2021

Waiting, Looking, Loving Time . . .

 


A Prayer

 You keep us waiting.

You, the God of all time,

Want us to wait for the right time

in which to discover

Who we are, where we must go,

Who will be with us, and what we must do.

So, thank you . . . for waiting time.

 

You keep us looking.

You, the God of all space,

Want us to look in the right and wrong places

for signs of hope,

For people who are hopeless,

For visions of a better world

that will appear among the disappointments

of the world we know.

So, thank you . . . for the looking time.

 

You keep us loving.

You, the God whose name is Love,

Want us to be like you –

To love the loveless and the unlovely and the unlovable;

To love without jealousy or design or threat,

And most difficult of all, to love ourselves.

So, thank you . . . for loving time.

 

And in all this you keep us,

Through hard questions with no easy answers;

Through falling where we hoped to succeed

and making an impact when we felt useless;

Through the patience and the dreams

and the love of others;

And through Jesus Christ and his Spirit, you keep us.

(By Lisa Terneus of the Iona Community in Scotland)

 


Thursday, January 14, 2021

When there is too muching!




Sometimes, Lord,

it just seems to be too much:

    too much violence, too much fear;

    too much of demands and problems;

    too much of broken dreams and broken lives;

    too much of war and slums and dying;

    too much of greed and squishy fatness

        and the sounds of people

            devouring each other

                and the earth;

too much of stale routines and quarrels,

    unpaid bills and dead ends;

too much of words lobbed in to explode

    and leaving shredded hearts and lacerated souls;

too much turned-away backs and yellow silence,

    red rage and bitter taste of ashes in my mouth

Sometimes the very air seems scorched

    by threats and rejection and decay

        until there is nothing

        but to inhale pain

            and exhale confusion.

Too much of darkness, Lord,          

    too much of cruelty

        and selfishness

            and indifference…

Too much, Lord,

    too much,

        too bloody,

            bruising,

                brain-washing much.

 Or is it too little,

    too little of compassion,

    too little of courage,

        of daring,

        of persistence,

        of sacrifice;

    too little of music

        and laughter

            and celebration?

O God,

make of me some nourishment

    for these starved times,

        some food for my brothers and sisters

    who are hungry for gladness and hope,

        that, being bread for them,

    I may also be fed

        And be full

Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace

 

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Healing Prayer . . .

 


Come, Holy Spirit ~

Replace the tension within us with a holy relaxation,

Replace the turbulence within us with a sacred calm,

Replace the anxiety within us with a quiet confidence,

Replace the fear within us with a strong faith,

Replace the bitterness within us with the sweetness of grace,

Replace the darkness within us with a gentle light,

Replace the coldness within us with a loving warmth,

Replace the night within us with Your day,

Replace the winter within us with Your spring,

Straighten our crookedness, fill our emptiness,

Dull the edge of our pride, sharpen the edge of our humility,

Light the fires of our love, quench within us the flames of envy,

Let us see ourselves as You see us, that we may see You as You have  promised ~

And be fortunate according to Your word, “Blessed are the pure of heart,

for they shall see God.”                                                             

(Anonymous)

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Taking the Plunge . . .

 



(This blog post was first posted a number of years ago, yet its message is still worth a second posting.

Happy safe and blessed New Year! sjh)


As I was sequestered over the weekend because of the Polar Vortex, I was able to take in the TV movie of Episode IV - Star Wars. I instantly could name the characters and groupings that appeared, such as: Luke Skywalker and his twin sister, Princess Leia, and all the other assorted heroes, villains, scoundrels, and droids – Anakin Skywalker, Han Solo, Padme, Jar Jar Binks, C-3PO, R2-D2, Chew Bacca, Jabba the Hutt, Obi-Wan-Kenobi, Darth Vader, and Yoda the Grand Jedi Master.  These George Lucas masterpieces have so many spiritual, philosophical, and psychological themes running through them as fictional space operas and fictitious galactic stories of a galaxy far, far away - that you can even find yourself in some or all of the characters!

The “good guys” of the Jedi are all bonded together by the Force – the energy and power that is to be used for the “common good” of the Empire. But as Master Yoda comments: “Yes, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice.” And, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

I write this because these characters remind me of how we all are given a CALL to become the more of who we are and that there is an inner bond between and among us as people of the “Force”!  We are all invited to touch into the “force” of God’s presence within us and then make the choices to live out through that presence. However, like Luke Skywalker, a time of training and transformation is always a necessary part of BE-coming our true, authentic Self.  St. Ignatius even designed his Spiritual Exercises for this purpose – along with many other spiritual “Jedi” Christian mystics who created paths and stages of transformation for union with God.

In our Gospel this Sunday, we read of the Baptism of Jesus. His cousin, John the Baptist, has been inviting the crowds to “take the plunge” of baptism of repentance.  In this Gospel, Jesus shows up and desires to be baptized as well. 

Now above these sacred waters, the heavens split open, and “cloud talk” thunders through this desert, and the Spirit descends in the form of a dove and hovers over these heroes and movers of the Mission! Jesus is named – Beloved! 

Jesus has no light saber for he is the Light, the Way, and the Truth - that God is Good News for all – not just a select few.  He is a Force of goodness, compassion, forgiveness and unconditional love.  His identity as the Anointed One will be revealed through his words and works – the blind will see, the lame will walk, the lepers will be cleansed, the deaf will hear, and the dead will be raised.  Jesus will eventually have to take a stand again and again against the “dark side.” The threatening glances of the religious leaders, and the rejection, suspicion, and animosity of the “establishment” will pursue him all his life. - He will be a disturbing presence – and eventually lose his life.

So what is the Good News for us?  Let us ponder:
• How have we been aware of God’s presence in our lives as we encountered the Light and Darkness in our lived realities?
• Instead of asking ourselves, “Where is God in this?” – Why not ask . . .
“How am I in God?”
• How does this Gospel invite us to “take the plunge” of entering into a deeper relationship with God through reading the Scriptures, seeking out a spiritual guide, or carving out a time daily for personal prayer or quiet reflection?
• Are we willing to be called, “Beloved” as God invites us into the Mission and Light?  Pray for the grace to be open to this “training.”

“Why is it so important that you are with God and God alone on the mountain top? It’s important because it’s the place in which you can listen to the voice of the One who calls you the beloved. To pray is to listen to the One who calls you my beloved daughter, my beloved son, my beloved child. To pray is to let that voice speak to the center of your being, to your guts, and let that voice resound in your whole being. (Henri Nouwen)

Gospel:

Gospel

This is what John the Baptist proclaimed: 
“One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water; 
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee 
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open 
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens, 
“You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Hide 'n Seek!

 



                            

A Prayer by St. Anselm of Canterbury

  

O my God, teach my heart where and how to seek You,
where and how to find You.
You are my God and You are my all and I have never seen You.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still I do not know You.
I have not yet done that for which I was made.
Teach me to seek You.
I cannot seek You unless You teach me
or find You unless You show Yourself to me.
Let me seek You in my desire,
let me desire You in my seeking.
Let me find You by loving You,
let me love You when I find You.

Amen

(Image by sjh)

The Grace for Big Dreams. . .

 



Disturb us, O God,

when we are too well pleased with ourselves,

when our dreams have come true

because we have dreamed too little,

when we arrived safely

because we sailed too close to the shore.

 

Disturb us, O God,

when with the abundance of things we possess

we have lost our thirst

for the waters of life.

 

Disturb us, O God,

to dare more boldly,

to venture on wider seas

where storms will show your mastery;

where losing sight of land,

we shall find the stars.

 

We ask you to push back

the horizons of our hopes;

and to push into the future

in strength, courage, hope and love.

~ attributed to Sir Francis Drake

(Photos by JF)