Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reflection for 15th day of Lent 3/20

Day Fifteen: Be playful today. Write a prayer with a twinkle.

            Whoop Dee Doo, God! What a lovely, joy-filled day! Terry came out and taught me how to play an interactive computer game, and we had such fun! I’ve never wanted to play games on the “net” – I was afraid I might get hooked and spend too much time on it. But this Scrabble-type game can’t be played until the other person/people have their turns, so I don’t think it will eat into too much time! And it’s an excellent way to work on my memory. We talked, laughed and had a great afternoon. Thank you, Lord, for good friends, companionship and ways to keep learning! Amen.

Reflection: 14th day of Lent: 3/19

 Day Fourteen: Can you approach your chores today as a meditation?

            I must have ben channeling this meditation! Even though I didn’t get to this until the day was almost over, it was a very meditative-type day! It wasn’t that I thought about the question and determined that it should happen, it just was. I made time for myself today, so I wasn’t rushed in getting to the various places I needed to be, and I noticed the people around me and making eye contact led to smiles. When I had to wait in traffic, somehow I was not frustrated. When I had to run multiple places to find what I needed, it made me feel like I was on an adventure, not a hassle. Thank you, God, for a lovely day!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

13th Lenten Meditation from SSJE

What makes it hard for you to Love? 

Frustration? Pain? I know that when I’m in pain, whether it is emotional pain or physical pain, I get too caught up in myself to let love flow. My words are sharp, and short. When I’m late and the traffic is slow, or even when I’m late due to my own procrastination, frustration moves to the fore. I don’t get road rage, exactly, but I’m definitely not loving those folks around me in their vehicles. I most often find that love doesn’t flow from me because I’m not loving myself: I have lost touch with how much God loves me. If (or when) I become aware of my negative attitudes towards myself, and begin to pay attention to God’s love, then I become loving. It’s that continual returning to God and the love flowing between us, that opens us all up to loving God and loving all others. It’s a discipline that I have yet to master: living in an awareness of God’s love for His creation, including myself.

Monday, March 17, 2014

12th Day of Lent

There was no Sunday meditation from SSJE...

Day Twelve: What acts of friendship have you initiated or received this week?

            The back and forth expressions of friendship expand through almost every encounter. Whether it be a phone call to check on a friend, smiles/greetings reflected back by strangers I pass on the street, or the ultimate sharing of Christ’s body and blood through the Eucharist, friendship and love are shared throughout my days. What a blessing it is to share this caring for others, as Christ taught us and continues to teach us to spread God’s love in this world. And what a blessing it is to receive that same love from others!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

10th Day of Lent

As we continue our Lenten journey with the brothers of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, today's reflection is about laughter and fun in the life of Jesus. Scripture doesn't mention times when Jesus told jokes, or tickled a child. But as a complete human being, surely he did those things. He surely laughed and elicited laughter from his friends. There surely were times of fun together, as with any relationship between friends does. The SSJE brothers asked us today: Is God present to you through joy? 

Now to me, Joy is different from happiness. Joy is a deeper, more complete "knowing", not something that can be fleeting like happiness. The following is my answer to the question:

      I am most aware of God’s presence in my life through the experience of Joy. Joy is that overwhelming sense of wellbeing (of being loved and cared for by God) that brings the certainty that, as St. Julian of Norwich said, “All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well”. And, through her statement, awareness dawns that the “shall be” has become present tense. No matter the circumstances, all things are well as we live into God’s love.

What answer do you have?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lenten Reflections - 1st 9 days of Lent

Day One: Where can you know abundant life? Where can you still grow?
            I can know abundant life by paying attention. Our Lord has richly blessed me in all ways, and if I am simply aware of what God is doing in my life, the abundance is overwhelming. I can grow my faith and awareness by scripture, prayer time, and sharing God’s blessings with others.

Day Two: What new word is God speaking to you today?
            The word I am hearing is “Less”. Less food, less drink, less noise: Less of all things in which I tend to indulge. I’m also hearing “More”. More quiet, more prayer, more silence with God, more focus on the important things which I have neglected.

Day Three: Write a wish for your journey along the way.
            My wish for this journey is to reclaim my relationship with God. I have abdicated God’s place as first in my heart, mind and most especially, time. I wish to again grow closer, devoted to quiet time with spirit, and give myself to that place of peace and consent, for the Trinity to reign in all areas of my life.

Day Four: Can you allow yourself to be vulnerable and be embraced?
            It is easy to be vulnerable before the presence of God, to allow myself to open before Him, and pour out my frailties and confusion, knowing that God loves me as I am, and frequently feeling His embrace of Love.
            Doing that with other people is very different. I have some difficulty with being vulnerable, but as I have aged and gone through all sorts of difficulties, it is becoming easier to let others see my weaknesses. At the same time, I have always been open to being embraced – at least in the ways of friendship and family. Yet I find myself continuing to strive to be the caregiver, even when I am hurting. The realization dawns upon me that I must allow others to care-give to me: that allowing others to reciprocate is also allowing them the grace to express love. There is a freedom, a relaxation in even the idea of being cared for that allows my shoulders and back to relax. Stoicism is not necessarily a good thing, I realize…

Day Five: What do you understand about who God is?
            I have a unique understanding of God, due to my experience of being “slain in the spirit” in 1992, on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. I truly believe that God allowed me to feel his unconditional love enveloping me through that experience, and I KNOW, without doubt, of God’s Love and can recall being completely immersed in it. I came out of that with the knowledge that Love encompasses all, and is the ultimate power that moves Creation and everything in it. God’s love is the current that holds creation in place, and it exists in each nano-cell of everything in creation, including the places that we term “void”. God is pure and complete unconditional love that holds the planets in their courses, and even the smallest parts of creation in that love. It is that love that allows “even the rocks to sing” – though we haven’t the ears to hear their singing.

Day Six: How could you be playful in showing love to others today?
            Playfulness is so easy at times, and difficult at others. Today, I will choose to be playful: with my spouse and my friends, as well as those I encounter. How? Well, smiling comes easily to me, and that is a way to impact anyone whose path I cross. Greetings to passersby can perk up their day. Perhaps it is simply an attitude change: deciding to be playful makes me so. I think that works! We’ll see.

Day Seven: What is your reminder that you are loved?
            Again (see Day Five) I KNOW this beyond anything else in my life. Remembering it on a moment-to-moment basis is, however, not where I live. It is my desire to keep this knowledge always in my awareness, for when it is, I am a better person to those around me – more loving, more joyful, more giving. This meditation itself is a reminder that the desire to keep God’s amazing love for all of creation in the forefront of my consciousness will make my life and the world a better place. May it be so.

Day Eight: Where was God for you today?
            God was in the beautiful sunshine and the singing of birds. I found God in nature around me as I walked down to get the paper. I found God in the smiles and waves of people on the street as I drove by. He was in the joy of children in the stores, in the hands of Theresa as she softened my hands and feet and made them prettier, in Amy’s strength as she massaged my aches away. I saw God in my sweetheart’s eyes as he greeted me. And God was in the words of Jessica’s story, which she shared as her Lenten discipline. God’s creation and His love surrounded my day, and I am blessed.

Day Nine: What does God especially cherish about you?
            What immediately popped into my mind was that God cherishes my failings. Now why that occurred makes me pause: I know God loves it when I am “right on” with him – aware and in love with God and all of His people. Yet I have a niggling feeling that He loves me even more when I struggle and fall short, as I do each and every day. In God’s wisdom, She knows that my desire is to be the best person I can be, and it aches God’s heart and God draws even closer to me when I fail to achieve that goal. God’s love is infinite and unconditional, and the cherishing continues without subsidence, even when I am at my weakest in returning that love to God by loving those I encounter.

Life Gets in the Way

I can't believe it has been over a year since I blogged anything here. There have been many changes, and for a while, I was too caught up in what was happening to even consider the thoughtfulness necessary to write about what those changes meant for my life.

From being a very involved (read that over-involved) vicar in a small mission church, to illness and accident, on into "retirement" from St. Paul's, and over six months of recovery from surgery following a fall and concussion, Lent 2014 has finally brought me back into introspection, connection and a sense of moving ahead.

I thank God today for for the Society of St. John the Evangelist for their Lenten videos and questions. This way of listening, meditation and prayer has helped to center me to contemplate my relationship with God and my small understanding of Who God is in my life.

As a way of sharing this with you, I will post my reflections on the questions posed by the brothers.
Since we are already way into Lent, the first posting will be all the questions and reflections thus far, continuing each day from this point on.

May God bless and keep you all,