Category Archives: Microblog
Being “Undone” at Christmas/a Christmas Prayer
Christmas, In our minds, is supposed to be a time of joy and coming home to all that is right in the world. It is supposed to be a time when we can set aside all the confusion and hurt and pain and believe again. However, more often, it is a time when the brokenness of our lives and world actually become more apparent because of the contrast and our inability to manufacture joy in our own strength and power.
It is easy to romanticize Christmas as a respite or reprieve from all that hurts but if we reflect upon that first Christmas, we see that it wasn’t a respite or a getting away from pain but a movement through it all that actually leads us home rather than some sort of a manufactured, illusory, temporary reprieve. Consider these words from Brother Keith Nelson, SSJE:
“Mary and Joseph’s consent to the divine initiative was offered in the thick of public disapproval, private confusion, painful risk, and gathering scandal. Being human, they struggled. If they had not come undone – if they had not broken open, even just a little – the words of the angel would not have had room to land and to grow in their hearts. They offered their lives to this mystery, trusting in its power to do more for them than they could ask or imagine.”
In many ways, Mary and Joseph had to experience a deconstruction of previous categories to enter into the strange experience of being part of the incarnation. Make no mistake – it was strange and foreign to anything they’d ever know. Our willingness to be “undone” and embrace it in these strange and foreign times that are modern life is the path home. It is the path toward wholeness and healing and the birthing of something new in us. What might God be birthing in you? As you let go of previous categories and conceptions of what makes up “the good life,” may you begin to see life in the context of His life in you … shaping you and bringing a life that is more than you could have imagined … free from anything but the God who is the lover of your soul.
Lord, in Your mercy, may I be undone and broken open so that my heart can receive. Give me the strength to trust and hope in what You are doing, not what I can see in front of me. Amen.
In the Absence … a prayer
Lord, thank You for giving me tastes of your goodness,
In the rising and setting sun …
In the embrace of another beloved soul …
In the kindness of a stranger …
In the smiling face of a child …
In You …
… as You speak to my heart in the early hours
… as You direct my steps when I can’t see
… as You save me over and over again
… as I experience Your presence with me
And then, I don’t seem to be able to taste Your goodness as it seems absent. I thank You for this too because it is Your goodness as well. In the absence, I am led to seek You and Your heart because I’ve tasted and seen that You are the only One worth seeking. You are the source of all goodness and life … whether in deep presence or seeming absence.
Stop … Notice … Listen
Stop … notice. John of the Cross wrote that discipleship is learning “to abide in that quietude with a loving attentiveness to God.” (Quoted by John DelHousaye in his notes “Union with Christ”) He is present and at work – are you stopping to notice?
by walking one makes the road
Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more; wanderer, there is no road, the road is made by walking. By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Wanderer, there is no road– Only wakes upon the sea.
Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.
a poem by Antonio Machado
Healing or Hurting
Anything in existence can be used for healing or hurting. A dog can be trained to offer therapy or to attack others. A knife can be used to cook a meal, to perform surgery or to injure another. Our words can heal or they can hurt. How are you utilizing all that is at your disposal?
Kiss the Son * reflecting on Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, he says
But do I dare?
The holy one
The gracious one
The almighty one
I could go on …
But the invitation
to draw close
in such intimacy
in such reverence
from the One who has kissed me
all the days of my life.
I am humbled
I am in awe
I bow and kiss the lover of my soul.
This, such intimacy, is life.
Ignatius of Loyola, “The Suspice”
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.
A Few Quotes from Bernard of Clairvaux
“What we love we shall grow to resemble.”
“Neither fear nor self-interest can convert the soul. They may change the appearance, perhaps even the conduct, but never the object of supreme desire… Fear is the motive which constrains the slave; greed binds the selfish man, by which he is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed (James 1:14). But neither fear nor self-interest is undefiled, nor can they convert the soul. Only charity can convert the soul, freeing it from unworthy motives.”
“The man who is wise, therefore, will see his life as more like a reservoir than a canal. The canal simultaneously pours out what it receives; the reservoir retains the water till it is filled, then discharges the overflow without loss to itself … Today there are many in the Church who act like canals, the reservoirs are far too rare … You too must learn to await this fullness before pouring out your gifts, do not try to be more generous than God.”
“There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is Curiosity.
There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is Vanity.
There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is Love.”