228 – Worthiness – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

Of all the writers I have read and reread, Thomas Merton ranks for me as one of the most important, influential, and challenging.   Today is marked on many calendars as a day to remember Merton and consider what he can offer us today.

I invite you to make time today to give attention and consideration to these words of his,

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.

Charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

 

227 – Ordinary Acts – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

Thomas Moore suggests,

The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.

Thanksgiving Day has come and gone for another year.  Now our “sights” are set toward Christmas.  What does that do for us?  Does it get us distracted?  Distracted from the small things, the simple things that happen every day, very near us that can be filled with holiness?

Maybe Moore’s counsel is good for us to hear.

I wonder what “ordinary acts” today hold more than we typically notice?

Charles

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

 

226 – Praise – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

One day away from Thanksgiving Day, 2014. How are doing? Do you need to go to the store again? Any housecleaning yet to do? Will it all get done? Well, one way or the other Thanksgiving Day will arrive and we make of it what we will.

Over the past few weeks I hope you have been getting not just you panty ready but also your spirit. Maybe the quoutes and thoughts offered here (and at commonplacebook.discipleswalk.org) have helped some.

Consider for a few moments today these words from P. Joel Snider,

Praise differs from thanksgiving, which is offered for a specific reason or a particular gift. Praise does not depend on any single deed or gift of God. It is a prayer, chorus, or hymn directed to God out of endless wonder from our endless discovery of who God is.

Praise goes beyond thanksgiving to express our amazement at God’s concern for us that exceeds our expectation, merit, or imagination. Thus, praising God begins in surprise. God provides more. God is more than we had hoped or dared to imagine.

(From: P. Joel Snider, The Upper Room Disciplines 2015: A Book of Daily Devotions, reading for June 3, 2015, p 166)

Does that register with you? Is there a movement that can happen from being thankful for a thing or person or event to praise? to wonder? to endless discovery?

What surprises will you encounter today and tomorrow as you offer thanks and praise?

Charles

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

Follow all the posts for Thanksgiving 2014 at –
http://commonplacebook.discipleswalk.org/tag/thanksgiving-2014/

225 – Perspective – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

Have you found some time over the last few weeks to “prepare” for Thanksgiving Day this year?  You know I don’t mean making your menu and buying the “fixings” for the big day, don’t you?

Those things are important but so is a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude.  It helps us to recall what is meaningful in our lives and what makes our lives meaningful.  As we call those to mind, we can often see things in a better light.

I recently came across these words from Henri Nouwen,

Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.

What has helped you over the last weeks to make the move Nouwen describes?

What helps you see God “in all of life” and not just in those moments you set aside for God?
What helps you see God in both the easy and hard times and see God as more than a means out of the hard times?
When you remember “God in gratitude,” what fills your heart and mind?

Charles

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

Follow all the Thanksgiving 2014 posts at http://commonplacebook.discipleswalk.org/tag/thanksgiving-2014/

224 – The General Thanksgiving – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

In the Book of Common Prayer (p 101) at the close of Morning Prayer the following prayer is offered.

Some of you are familiar with liturgical prayers and for some it is something out of your usual experience. In fact, you may have come along (as I did) in a church that had few if any good words to offer about “written” prayers. If the latter was your case, I urge you try on these words and see what draws you.

Why don’t you offer this prayer each morning for the next week and notice which parts of it resonate in your soul. When you find that connection, stay with it and focus on that. If it does not draw you, offer a prayer of support for those who find it a natural part of their prayer language.

Almighty God, Father of all mercies,
we your unworthy servants give you humble thanks
for all your goodness and loving-kindness
to us and to all whom you have made.

We bless you for our creation, preservation,
and all the blessings of this life;
but above all for your immeasurable love
in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ;
for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

And, we pray, give us such an awareness of your mercies,
that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise,
not only with our lips, but in our lives,
by giving up our selves to your service,
and by walking before you
in holiness and righteousness all our days;

through Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honor and glory throughout all ages. Amen.

Charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

Follow all the Thanksgiving 2014 posts at CommonPlace Book .

 

223 – Gratitude – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

I think it would be good as we approach Thanksgiving Day to have a chance over the next several weeks to exercise our “thankfulness” muscles.

Let’s take time this week to hear Albert Schweitzer,

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

Who has “rekindled” the flame for you?

When has there been a time someone was able to give you what you needed to see the light again, or to take on a task you did not have the energy for, or just to have hope for journey?

Who were they?  Did you express your “deep gratitude”?  Should you?

Take some time over the next days to let the Spirit call to your memory who has been there for you.

Charles

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

Follow all the posts at Commonplacebook.discipleswalk.org on Thanksgiving 2014

 

 

222 – Offering – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

Over the last two weeks we listened first to St Teresa and then to St Ignatius speak to us of what we offer to God.  Today let’s listen to these words from the Wesley Covenant Prayer,

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.

Do these words echo the same spirit St Teresa and St Ignatius encouraged?

Where do the words find you today?  Are you encouraged or are you put off?

Does this point to an attitude you desire or an attitude that is uncomfortable?

Maybe you can spend some time with this prayer and the prayers of the last two weeks and consider what draws you and what challenges you?

221 – Submission – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

Oct 22 (1 day ago)

Last week I shared a prayer of St Teresa of Avila under the heading “abandonment.”

I would like to continue the same line of thought this week with a few words from St Ignatius of Loyola,

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.”

What strikes me about these two quotes is how counter-cultural they are. Both speak to us of giving all to another. Does that fit well with our culture which seems so often concerned with getting more, holding what we have and and never having enough?

Ignatius found what was “enough” for him.

Is there hope we can likewise be satisfied?

 

220 – Abandonment – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

Today, October 15, is the Feast Day of St Teresa of Avila.  In keeping with my practice of the past few years, I will offer today a quote from St Teresa’s writings.  I came across this while reading  Dwight H. Judy’s Embracing God: Praying with Teresa of Avila, (p 19).

In Your Hand
I place my heart,
Body, life and soul,
Deep feelings, and affections mine,
Spouse – Redeemer sweet,
Myself offered now to you,
What do you want of me?
 
Give me death, give me life,
Health or sickness,
Honor or shame,
War or swelling peace,
Weakness or full strength,
Yes, to these I say,
What do you want of me?
 
(From “In the Hands of God” (Vol 3, pp 377-378, “The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila.”)

Are these words that only the religious professionals, the clergy, the monks, the nuns, those in “full-time” christian vocations utter, or are they in part or in whole for all of us who call ourselves disciples of Jesus?

Have you and I asked ourselves the question Teresa asked, “What do you want of me?”

 

219 – Confession – Intention on the Spiritual Journey

Let’s follow up on our thinking about “walls” with this from M. Scott Peck (found in The Different Drum),

Community requires the confession of brokenness. But how remarkable it is that in our culture brokenness must be “confessed.” We think of confession as an act that should be carried out in secret, in the darkness of the confessional, with the guarantee of professional priestly or psychiatric confidentiality. Yet the reality is that every human being is broken and vulnerable. How strange that we should ordinarily feel compelled to hide our wounds when we are all wounded!  Community requires the ability to expose our wounds and weaknesses to our fellow creatures. It also requires the ability to be affected by the wounds of others. But even more important is the love that arises among us when we share, both ways, our woundedness. With remorse, confession becomes a joy.

Do Peck’s words give any insight into how we find ways of moving beyond the walls we create?

When we “hide our wounds” are we building walls?  Does a need to appear “strong” contribute to our separateness from those around us?

But what about confession without the “ability to be affected by the wounds of others”?  Can confession, at times, only be a way to appear strong and yet maintain walls so we are unaffected by the wounds and hurts and pains of those around us?

Walls – Confession – Community

How do you see this relationship?  What gives us the desire and willingness to move closer to one another?