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Category Archives: spirituality

“. . . life itself is grace . . .”

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Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace. – Frederick Buechner

today’s thought

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No one’s death comes to pass

without making some impression,

and those close to the deceased

inherit part of the liberated soul

and become richer in their

humanness.

Hermann Broch
(

1886-1951, Austrian Novelist)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies.”

seeing the holy in the ordinary

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Several years ago (probably 1999 or maybe 2000), I attended a Spiritual Retreat led by Macrina Wiederkehr.  I will never forget this retreat; it was special in every way and Macrina Wiederkehr spoke to my heart.

I’m re-reading her book,  A Tree Full of Angels , and I am revisiting the same feelings I had during that Very Spiritual Retreat.

Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB., is an author and spiritual guide and a Benedictine monastic of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She travels throughout the United States and Canada as a retreat director. In her retreats seekers are guided through experiences of silence, contemplation, and faith sharing. Many of her retreat themes come from her writings. She also draws extensively from literature and poetry and enjoys creating rituals.

From A Tree Full of Angels:

What God most longs to discover in us is our willingness to embrace ourselves as we are at our beginning–empty, little, and poor. . . . Acceptance of our littleness makes it possible for our greatness to emerge.  Our littleness is not a choice.  It is simply the way we are.  Our greatness, however is a choice.  When we choose to accept the life God has given to us, when we allow God to fill our emptiness, we are choosing greatness.

. . . We are not the only ones with an ache in our hearts.  God’s ache for us is immense.  Listen to God’s ache in my paraphrase of Hosea 11:3-4, 8:

I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I held them in my arms, but they did not know that I was crying for them, that I was leading them with human ties, with strings of love. . .. I was like someone lifting an infant . . . Ephraim, how could I part with you?  Israel, how could I give you up.

. . . To pray is to touch God and let God touch us.  It is a matter of presence and response.  Prayer does nothing to make God more present, for God is always present.  Prayer is our response to the presence of God in our lives.

Although I know of course  the importance of Bible reading, now and then I receive nourishment from writers such as Macrina Wiederkehr, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, C. S.Lewis, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Andrew Murray – the list goes on.

Every now and then I just need to stop, look, and listen for God in the here and now – and reading Macrina’s book helps to give me perspective and peace.

amazing grace

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I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.
~ Anne Lamott

ah yes – I must always remember this

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“God is at home,” says Meister Eckhart, “We are in the far country.”

thank you – my friends

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prayer

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God, we pray a special blessing today on all who have worked so hard to make the National Day of Prayer observances the opportunities that they are for us. Remind us, Lord, that every day is to be a day of prayer. Thank You for our beloved country.  Amen.

Prayer is the little implement
by Emily Dickinson
Prayer is the little implement
Through which Men reach
Where Presence — is denied them.
They fling their Speech 

By means of it — in God’s Ear —
If then He hear —
This sums the Apparatus
Comprised in Prayer —

discerning the balance point

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Why am I doing what I’m doing?  What are my goals?  Am I keeping my eye on what is important?

Not being a terribly introspective person, I now and then take stock of myself: my motives, my perseverance, resolve, and my willingness to change when I SHOULD change – and to know when change is needed.

Several years ago, I knelt at the prayer rail during a Richard Foster Workshop/Spirituality Day Retreat and asked the gentle person who laid her hand on my head to pray that God would grant me discernment and wisdom.

That is actually my constant prayer.  My always prayer.

Quoting Elaine M. Prevallet:

Perseverance, as she walks that tightrope toward her goal, always needs her companion–the balancing pole of discernment that keeps check on motivations, on the one hand of self-protection, and on the other hand of self-promotion or self-interest. . . . Discernment must keep her sensitive even to the very subtle changes in her relationship to the goal. . . . and we have to learn to keep discernment as our steady companion as we walk securely and trustingly toward God.

I walk trustingly – and prayerfully – always wanting to discern the balance point.

Quote of the Day

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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike. – John Muir

prayer for today

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O God, Father of all, help us to forgive others as we would wish them to forgive us.  May we try to understand them as we in turn would like to be understood, in the hope that forgiveness will not be in order.  May we see with their eyes, think with their minds, feel with their hearts.  Then let us ask ourselves whether we should judge them, or judge ourselves and accept them as children, like us, of one heavenly Father.

~ William Barclay

Quote of the Day

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Growth is an erratic forward movement:

two steps forward, one step back.

Remember that

and be very gentle with yourself.

~ Julia Cameron

Easter

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Easter, which celebrates Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, is Christianity’s most important holiday. It has been called a movable feast because it doesn’t fall on a set date every year, as most holidays do. Instead, Christian churches in the West celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox on March 21. Therefore, Easter is observed anywhere between March 22 and April 25 every year. Orthodox Christians use the Julian calendar to calculate when Easter will occur and typically celebrate the holiday a week or two after the Western churches, which follow the Gregorian calendar.

the road to Jerusalem

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Last Sunday, Seguin First United Methodist Church traveled the Road to Jerusalem – a visual story for the children – and for the adults.

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The journey ended with the arrest of Jesus.  His ‘trial.’  His crucifixion.

Now – on Good Friday, we begin the Road to Joy – remembering that Discipleship is indeed a Journey.

Now Jesus and his disciples had been on the road going up to Jerusalem, with Jesus walking ahead of them. They were astonished, and the others who followed were afraid. Once again, Jesus took the twelve disciples aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to him.

Mark 10:32

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Good Friday

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The power of God’s mercy has taken hold of us and will not let go of us: therefore we have become foolish.  We can no longer love wisely.  And because we have emptied ourselves in this folly which He has sent upon us, we can be moved by His unpredictable wisdom, so that we love whom we love and we help whom we help, not according to plans of our own but according to the measure laid down for us in His hidden will, which knows no measure.  In this folly, which is the work of His Spirit, we must love especially those who are helpless and who can do nothing for themselves.  We must also receive love from them, realizing our own helplessness, and our own inability to fend for ourselves. . . . Mercy fulfills the whole law [Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration, 181]

THE MYSTERY OF GOD’S MERCY AND LOVE

Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. . . . One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah?  Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”   He replied, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:32, 39-43

teach tolerance

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Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Ephesians 4:2-3

Stand strong

The Southern Poverty Law Center counted 932 active hate groups in the United States in 2009. Only organizations and their chapters known to be active during 2009 are included.

All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.

Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list. Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.

Christ’s Hour

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In Communion with Christ’s Compassion

The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,

because the LORD has annointed me;

he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed,

to bind up the broken-hearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and release to the prisoners;

to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,

and the day of vengeance of our God;

to comfort all who mourn;

to provide for those who mourn in Zion —

to give them a garland instead of ashes,

the oil of gladness instead of mourning,

the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.

They will be called oaks of righteousness,

the planting of the LORD, to display his glory.

Isaiah 61:1-3

Wishing you Easter Joy

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ALWAYS EASTER

by Raymond A. Foss

Within our hearts
even in our journey
purposely walking to the cross

Always Easter
our Lord risen
living eternally
beating within our hearts

Tuesday of Holy Week

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THE LORD’S ETERNALLY NEW COMMANDMENT

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him.  If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in myself and will glorify him at once.  Little children, I am with you only a little longer.  You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’  I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

John 13:31-35

Prayer

Restore us all the more deeply to yourself in these holy days to come, Jesus, as we remember your work for the world’s salvation.  Redeem us in our time, Lord, while there is yet time for us to renew our discipleship and follow your way. [Thomas Merton – Seasons of Celebration]

Blessed is He Who Comes in God’s Name

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As he rode along, people kept spreading their cloaks on the road.  As he was now approaching the path down from the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to praise God joyfully with a loud voice for all the deeds of power that they had seen, saying,

“Blessed is the king

who comes in the name of the Lord!

Peace in heaven,

and glory in the highest heaven!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, order your disciples to stop.”  He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the stones would shout out.”

As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

Luke 19:36-42

Palm Sunday

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