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Thursday, April 30, 2015

direction, thursday

Thursday, April 30

Opening Prayer: Father, you alone know what lies before me this day, grant that in every hour of it I may stay close to you.  Let me today embark on no undertaking that is not in line with your will for my life, nor shrink from any sacrifice which your will may demand.  Suggest, direct, control, every movement of my mind; for my Lord Christ’s sake.  Amen. (A Diary of Private Prayer by John Baillie)

Scripture: Jeremiah 33:1-3

Journal: Who do you normally call on first when you are in need of guidance or direction?  What would it look like to take this verse to heart?

Christian life is ultimately this yielding to what God is doing in us through the Spirit of Christ.  It is the Spirit’s activity, yet, in a mysterious way, it is also truly our own. (The Journey Within by Kathryn J. Hermes)


Closing Prayer: Lord, be the first direction I turn when I am in need of guidance or clarity.  Help me to trust in your promise that when I call on you, you will show me great and hidden things that I do not know.  Amen.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

direction, wednesday

Wednesday, April 29

Opening Prayer: O God, you are the potter and I am the clay.  Mold me and shape me into the image you desire me to be.  I realize that I am a work in progress and I long to be all that you dreamt for me to be.  Help me to become something beautiful in your strong and tender hands.  Amen. 

Scripture: Jeremiah 18:1-6

Journal: How is God molding and shaping you these days?  Are you open to him doing whatever he wishes in you, or with you?

We desperately need men and women at our side who have disciplined their minds to think God: who God is and what he is doing in and among us; what it means to be created and chosen by God and how we get in on what he intends for us. (The Wisdom of Another by Eugene Peterson)


Closing Prayer: O my God, when will silence, retirement, and prayer become the occupations of my soul as they are now frequently the objects of my desires?  How I am wearied with saying so much and yet doing so little for You!  Come, Jesus, come, You the only object of my love, the center and supreme happiness of my soul!  Come, and impress my mind with such a lively conviction of Thy presence that all within me may yield to its influence.  Amen. ~Thomas A Kempis

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

direction, tuesday

Tuesday, April 28

Opening Prayer: O heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being: We humbly pray thee so to guide and govern us by thy Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget thee, but may remember that we are ever walking in thy sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (The Book of Common Prayer)

Scripture: Isaiah 43:16-21

Journal: Is there a new thing that God is doing in you these days?  What is it?

Tend only to the birth in you and you will find all goodness and consolation, all delight, all being and all truth.  Reject it and you reject goodness and blessing.  What comes to you in this birth brings with it pure being and blessing.  But that you seek or love outside of this birth will come to nothing, no matter what you will or where you will it. ~Meister Eckhart


Closing Prayer: Let nothing disturb you, nothing frighten you; all things are passing; God never changes; patient endurance attains all things; whoever possesses god is wanting in nothing; God alone suffices. ~Teresa of Avila

Monday, April 27, 2015

direction, monday

Monday, April 27

Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, help me keep my eyes on You.  You are the incarnation of Divine Love, You are the expression of God’s infinite compassion, You are the visible manifestation of the Father’s holiness.  You are beauty, goodness, gentleness, forgiveness, and mercy.  In You all can be found.  Outside of You nothing can be found.  Why should I look elsewhere or go elsewhere?  You have the words of eternal life, You are food and drink, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  You are the light that shines in the darkness, the lamp on the lampstand, the house of the hilltop.  In and through You I can see and find my way to the Heavenly Father.  O Holy One, Beautiful One, Glorious One, be my Lord, my Savior, my Redeemer, me Guide, my Consoler, my Comforter, my Hope, my Joy, and my Peace.  To You I want to give all that I am.  Let me be generous, not stingy or hesitant.  Let me give You all—all I have, think, do, and feel.  It is Yours, O Lord.  Please accept it and make it fully Your own. Amen. ~Henri Nouwen

Scripture: Jeremiah 6:16

Journal: What crossroads are you standing at these days?  What happens when you stand, and look, and ask?  What do you see?  What do you hear?  Do you gain any clarity about the journey ahead?  What are the ancient paths and how will you walk in them?

The real question is “What does this have to say to me?”  Those who are totally converted come to every experience and ask not whether or not they liked it, but what does it have to teach them.  “What’s the message in this for me?  What’s the gift in this for me?  How is God in this event?  Where is God in this suffering?” (Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr)


Closing Prayer:

O Beautiful Mystery
Where is the life that once held me
 in its sometimes gentle, sometimes terrible grasp?
That life lives on; I am every age I've ever been!
How easy it is to forget as I walk through the day
that I carry within me layers of life, layers of ages.
My life is a mystery story still unfolding
It is a good life full of joys and sorrows,
promises kept, promises broken
memories and forgetfulness.
O God of so much mystery
Continue to dwell in the layers of my life.
Be my way when I lose the way.
May it come to pass!
~Macrina Wiederkehr

Sunday, April 26, 2015

direction, sunday

Sunday, April 26

Opening Prayer: God be in my head, and in my understanding; God be in mine eyes, and in my looking; God be in my mouth, and in my speaking; God be in my heart, and in my thinking; God be at mine end, and at my departing. ~Sarum Primer, 16th century

Scripture: Proverbs 3:1-6

Journal: What direction are you seeking from God in your life these days?  What does it look like to trust in him and to lean not on your own understanding?  Who might be a helpful companion to journey alongside you in this discernment process?

Spiritual direction is a conversation with another in which we share our life, our experience of prayer, the movement of the Spirit within us.  As the other person listens, prays with us, and points out certain things we may not have noticed, we become more attentive and responsive to the Spirit’s action in our life.  He or she also helps us pay attention to God as he actively reveals himself.  God’s voice can be heard more clearly when the muddle of our thoughts is clarified. (Beginning Contemplative Prayer by Kathryn J. Hermes)

Closing Prayer: Grant me, O Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.  Amen. ~St. Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, April 25, 2015

the dance, saturday

Saturday, April 25

Opening Prayer: Forgive me, O God, when I demand that you dance to my tune, rather than me dancing to yours.  Forgive me when I try to make you play by my rules, rather than me playing by yours.  Forgive me when I try to determine the direction and agenda for my life, rather than operating by yours.  For, when I do this, it shows how far I still have to go—and to grow—in my relationship with you.  I am still such a child in my faith; filled with childish ways and childish attitudes.  Help me, O Jesus, to grow up fully into you.  You be the One who always determines how I live my life.  In your name and for your glory.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 7:31-35

Journal: What are you demanding from God these days?  Where are you trying to make the rules?  Where are you the one trying to set the agenda and the direction?  What song are you playing that God is refusing to dance to?

     Let us never be mistaken about one thing: Jesus only comes to us on his terms, not our own.  We can never demand, control, or manipulate him—although we constantly try.  Even though the incarnation proves that he is the God who comes, he does so on our turf, but only on his terms.  He is the one in control and he will not give that up.  We, therefore, cannot demand that God behave the way we want him to, or he will just not show up at all.  For when we try to dictate the how and the when of his coming, we have stopped seeking him altogether.  At that point we are no longer seeking God, we are seeking to become God.


Closing Prayer: Father, I abandon myself into Your hands; do with me what You will.
Whatever You do I thank You.  I am ready for all, I accept all.  Let only Your will be done in me, as in all Your creatures, I ask no more than this, my Lord.  Into Your hands I commend my soul; I offer it to You, O Lord, with all the love of my heart, for I love You, my God, and so need to give myself—to surrender myself into Your hands, without reserve and with total confidence, for You are my Father. ~Charles de Foucauld

Friday, April 24, 2015

the dance, friday

Friday, April 24

Opening Prayer: O Shepherd God, companion me on all the journeys of my life.  Dance through the darkness with me. (The Song of the Seed by Macrina Wiederkehr)

Scripture: Psalm 23

Journal: How are prayer and dance similar?  How is prayer like dance?  How is dance like prayer?  What dance does Psalm 23 call you to today?  A dance of trust?  A dance of contentment?  A dance of peace?  How does Psalm 23 draw you to pray today?

     And so began the stretch of some months of rising early and doing the things that it took to help get young children to day care and preschool and so forth, and then over to the church to spend time in the sanctuary alone with the little blue book: reading from the saints and the scriptures, reciting the psalms, whispering the prayers, and scribbling in my journal.  After a while, I would go upstairs to write until it was time to go and pick up the children and head off home.
     Somewhere in that spring an ancient rhythm began to resonate within me, calling me, drawing me, compelling me to join in the general Dance. 
     I seemed then, and still seem, to have no control over my heart’s response to that rhythm.  Like the way one’s feet start tapping when someone plays a country tune, one simply cannot stop even if one tries.  My advice is that if you do not want to tap your feet, stay away from the jukebox.  If you do not want to pray, then do not go near prayer books.  Once your heart has heard the music, it is happy only when it is dancing. (Living Prayer by Robert Benson)


Closing Prayer: Lord you are my Lover, it is you whom I desire.  You flow through my body like a stream, you shine on my face like the sun.  Let me be your reflection. ~St. Mechthildis

Thursday, April 23, 2015

the dance, thursday

Thursday, April 23

Opening Prayer: O God, union with you is a song that does not die in the hearing, a flavor which does not abate in the eating, and embrace which gives delight without end. ~St. Augustine

Scripture: Isaiah 55:12-13

Journal: When was the last time you became aware of God’s dancing and singing presence in the midst of his creation?  How did you recognize it?  What gave you eyes to see it?  What will help you see in that way more often?

The universe is dancing.  And the smallest bit of matter knows, unerringly and interiorly, the dance.  Let there be no more talk of flashing signal lights.  No more solitary figures sending out messages in quantum bottles to be picked up light years later on some distant star.  No more cumbersome cosmic intelligence network dependent on the measurable flight of photons.  The timing of this dance must take into account something more than the speed of light.  It must take in to account a “knowing” universe. (And the Trees Clap Their Hands by Virginia Stem Owens)


Closing Prayer: The heavens are telling the glory of God and all of creation is shouting for joy.  Come dance in the forest, come play in the field and sing, sing to the glory of the Lord. (Canticle for the Sun)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

the dance, wednesday

Wednesday, April 22

Opening Prayer: Lord God, Creator of all, let us praise you this day with all that we are.  Let everything that has breath praise you!  Praise the Lord!

Scripture: Psalm 150:1-6

Journal: What do you want to praise God in (v. 1) today?  What do you want to praise God for (v. 2) today?  What do you want to praise God with (v. 3-6) today?

Reflection: Keep risking that your heart’s desire is trustworthy.  There is always another, deeper step you can take toward more complete trust, a more all-encompassing possibility of love.  It will be this way until consecration becomes as ordinary and natural as breathing, until every act of every day is simply sacred, until there is no more separation of life from prayer, until each precious moment, awake and asleep, is consciously, knowingly infused with love, until compassion reigns and justice pervades all things, and until life becomes what it was meant to be: sheer enjoyment and pure dancing in the spaciousness of Love. (The Awakened Heart by Gerald G. May)


Closing Prayer:

In darkness and light
You follow me.
In my sighs and cries
You hold my hand.
In my anger and despair
You show me the way out.
In my own poverty as human
You send me angels to guide.

You dance with me
each day and night
Though I dance awkwardly,
You continue to coach me.
In my ripples of joy
I hear you laugh.

Thanks for dancing with me
You, the love of my life,
You, my Creator, Redeemer,
my Savior, Refuge and Rock!

I have kept on running
away from you
But you caught me
by your strong hands
asking me only
to dance with you.

~Elizabeth Padillo Olesen

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

the dance, tuesday

Tuesday, April 21

Opening Prayer: Lord God, may your presence, your Spirit, and your glory cause a celebration to rise up from deep in our hearts.  May we dance before you this day with all our might, whatever that may look like.  Amen. 

Scripture: 2 Samuel 6:1-15

Journal: What do you think it was that caused David to dance before the Lord with all his might?  What does that look like for you?  

     In the little blue book, on page 115, in the readings for week 17, where I would have started in with my father had I started in when he gave me the book and the note, there is this sentence written by Nikos Kazantzakis: “Only he who obeys a rhythm superior to his own is free.”
     More than a decade has now passed since I first read that sentence.  I did not even highlight it then, the way I did so many sentences in the book.  I was not seeking anything like that at the time and could not have had any idea what such a sentence might mean to me or anyone else.
     Nothing in my life is the same now.  I do not live in the same house or even with the same people.  Most of the material possessions that I had then are long gone, not by some great devout sacrifice on my part, but torn from my grasping hands by bankruptcy or divorce or other crisis.  I fight a constant battle against depression, and I live a life that pretty much keeps me out of the mainstream most of the time.  I am not complaining, nor am I bragging.  I am simply trying to make the point that since the day I said yes to the tune that called me to the Dance, nothing has ever been the same.  That is not to say, as some would have you believe, that everything has gone along swimmingly after my grand experience of the Transcendent.  Much of it, most of it, has been really hard.
     But from this vantage point, I can look back across those days and see that the rhythm of the Dance had begun to call me.  It was so new to me then that I did not recognize it for what it was, and for what it is.
     A life of prayer—or the spiritual life or the interior life, whatever term one uses for this journey that we have undertaken—is not completely linear, any more than one’s intellectual or emotional life is linear.  It is cyclical; it turns and turns again, and carries us along with it.
     It is that turning that caught my attention then.  It is that turning, that Dance, if you will, and its rhythms and steps and habits and joys and sorrows that draws me now.
     If we are to live lives that enable us to hear more clearly who we really are, then we will have to learn to move to a rhythm that is superior to the ones we have fashioned for ourselves, or the ones a consumer society has foisted upon us.  We will have to discover the rhythms of prayer and life that can be found in the steps of the Ancient of Dance of the Ancient of Days: the liturgy, the Eucharist, the calendar and the mass, the prayers of confession and intercession and recollection and contemplation, the habits of reading and retreat and working with our hands, the practices of hospitality and forgiveness and being with the poor.
     Our lives must be shaped by the same rhythms that shaped the ancients, those who have gone before us.  Only then will we be able to take up our places and join the general Dance. (Living Prayer by Robert Benson)


Closing Prayer: Lord God, draw me out on the dance floor of life this day and fill my ears and heart with the beautiful music of Your great affection.  Give me such an awareness of your presence that my feet just can’t be still.  Dance with me as I dance with you.  Amen.

Monday, April 20, 2015

the dance, monday

Monday, April 20

Opening Prayer: O God, Lover of my soul, give me the grace and the courage to take you up on your invitation to intimate, passionate union with you; it is what my heart truly longs for.  Amen.

Scripture: Psalm 149:1-5

Journal: What does the scripture today bring to life in you?  How does it make you want to praise God? 

     What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God.  What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously.  At any rate the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance.  We do not have go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing.  When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment where they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Basho we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash—at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
     For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness.  The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast.  The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair.  But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things, or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there.  Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
     Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance. (New Seeds of Contemplation by Thomas Merton) 


Closing Prayer: O God, Lord of all, with all of creation my heart rejoices in you this day. Your Spirit and your word are like music that leads my soul to dance! And what a wonder-filled dance it is!  Let me always be a good dance partner, willing and able to move to the leading of Your Holy Spirit.  Thank you that you take pleasure in your people.  Thanks you that you adorn us with salvation.  May we be glad and rejoice, may we leap for joy and spin around.  May we dance the dance of life and joy with you this day.  Amen.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

the dance, sunday

Sunday, April 19

Opening Prayer: My God and Father, Lord of the dance, allow me to see this day and this moment for what it really is—an invitation to dance the dance of life and faith with the One who made me.  May I dance this day with joy and passion, knowing that there will never be another one just like it.  In the name of Jesus I Pray.  Amen.

Scripture: Jeremiah 31:1-14

Journal: What is causing your soul to dance these days?

     The cosmic dance of the universe is perhaps best articulated in the last three paragraphs of New Seeds of Contemplation, Merton’s most popular and best-loved book.  The basic image is a favorite of the mystics, the image of God as bridegroom dancing with his bride, that is, all of creation, at a wedding feast.  How often we’ve seen at a wedding reception the bridegroom with an enormous smile and tender love sweep his bride into his arms and out onto the dance floor; then the other couples follow.  So also our cosmic God of creation.  He is so deeply in love with his whole creation, especially us his rational creation, that he is engaged in a joyous dance daily with us, the work of his hands.  This dance is going on all the time around us and in us, in every breath we draw and in every heartbeat.  To live fully then is to tap into this reality that lies below the surface of things and to touch this rich river of joy and love that is being poured out into this world. (A Traveler toward the Dawn by John Eagan)

Closing Prayer: Dance with me, O Lover of my soul, to the Song of all songs.  Romance me, O Lover of my soul, to the Song of all songs.  Behold You have come over the hills upon the mountain.  To me You will run, my Beloved, You've captured my heart. (Dance with Me by Paul Wilbur)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

moving deeper, saturday

Saturday, April 18

Opening Prayer: O God, my God, lead me into your desert and speak tenderly to me.  Allure me, open me up to receive your passionate love.  Betroth me to yourself,  capture me with your Great Affection, and make my heart completely yours.  Amen.

Scripture: Hosea 2:14-23

Journal: Listen to the voice of God as he speaks tenderly to you.  Write down what he says.

     The key to this home, this heart of God, is prayer.  Perhaps you have never prayed before except in anguish or terror.  It may be that the only time the Divine Name has been on your lips has been in angry expletives.  Never mind.  I am here to tell you that the Father's heart is open wide—you are welcome to come in.
     Perhaps you do not believe in prayer.  You may have tried to pray and were profoundly disappointed...and disillusioned.  You seem to have little faith, or none.  It doesn't matter.  The Father's heart is wide open—you are welcome to come in. 
     Perhaps you are bruised and broken by the pressures of life.  Others have wronged you, and you feel scarred for life.  You have old, painful memories that have never been healed.  You avoid prayer because you feel too distant, too unworthy, too defiled.  Do not despair.  The Father's heart is wide open—you are welcome to come in.
     Perhaps you have prayed for many years, but the words have grown brittle and cold.  Little ever happens anymore.  God seems remote and inaccessible.  Listen to me.  The Father's heart is wide open—you are welcome to come in.
     Perhaps prayer is the delight of your life.  You have lived in the divine milieu for a long time and can attest to its goodness.  But you long for more:  more power, more love, more of God in your life.  Believe me.  The Father's heart is open wide—you too are welcome to come higher up and deeper in.
     If the key is prayer, the door is Jesus Christ.  How good of God to provide us a way to His heart. (Prayer by Richard Foster)


Closing Prayer: Lord God, our Heavenly Father, lead us into your very heart this day.  Help us to know your deep, deep affection, not only for us, but also for your world.  In the name of Jesus.  Amen.

Friday, April 17, 2015

moving deeper, friday

Friday, April 17

Opening Prayer: O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of your presence, your love, and your strength.  Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for, living close to you, we shall see your hand, your purpose, your will through all things. ~St. Ignatius

Scripture: Matthew 14:23-32

Journal: Where is Jesus calling you to step out of your boat these days?  What does that look like?  Where is he calling you to deeper places with him?  To deeper trust?

     If nothing else you have to admire Peter's willingness.  I mean, at least he desired to step out of the boat and move toward Jesus--and dared to do so.  It was not an easy step, to say the least.  The step into deep waters never is.  It requires a lot.  Jesus was asking Peter to leave the security of the boat and his friends and his old life and ways, and to join him in a totally new and totally unfamiliar place.  A place of total surrender and total abandon.  That's what real life with God is all about.  We can't avoid it or deny it. 
     And when Jesus invites us to that place with him it always requires us to step out of our comfortable and controlled lives (and ways) and step into a life that is completely determined and ordered by him.  It is a place where real trust is necessary and real life is experienced.  Peter took him up on it.  Most of us never get that far.  Most of us hear the call and rationalize that it is for someone else.  Most of us hear his invitation to a deeper life with him and allow the wind and the waves to affect us, long before we ever consider stepping out onto the raging sea. 
     Peter's willingness meant that he was able to experience something that none of the other disciples (at this point at least) were willing to.  That is often the case with all of us.  So often we are simply unwilling--be it from fear, or preoccupation, or comfort, or control and agenda--to step out onto the sea (into the deep) with Jesus, where we must totally trust his care and his control.  The deep is a place where we cannot touch bottom, where we cannot control things, where we cannot manage life on our own terms.  The deep is a place where we have no idea what will happen when we actually set foot upon its waters.  Therefore, it is a place of total vulnerability, total surrender, and total trust.  Peter was willing to go there.  He stepped out.  He took nothing with him.  He completely let go of everything else but this burning desire to be with Jesus, wherever Jesus may lead, whatever Jesus might ask.  The call of Jesus is like that for us all.  Are we willing to take that step, whatever that step may look like?  Are we willing to join him?  If we really want to be his, there is no other choice.


Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us a willingness to respond to your invitation to step out of our boat, whatever that may mean, and to follow you as we step out onto the raging sea.  Amen.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

moving deeper, thursday

Thursday, April 16

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, give us the strength and the courage to follow you, wherever it may lead.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 5:1-11

Journal: What does it look like for you to put out into the deep water for a catch?  What is Jesus asking you to leave behind in order to follow him to new and deeper places?

     Jesus tests our limits and invites us to go out into the deep, far from the secure shores of large savings accounts, comfortable routines, familiar places and situations.  There have been many times when I felt overwhelmed by work and family responsibilities,  There have been times when I felt depressed, wanting to escape to the comfort of home or to the security of familiar tasks.  I was afraid of what lay ahead.  Every year we wonder where the money will come from to sustain our ministry.  But in every one of these situations, Jesus has been there beckoning me, beckoning us, beyond the security of shallow water to go with him into the deep. ~James McGinnis


Closing Prayer: Disturb us, Lord, when we are too pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore. 
     Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim.
     Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wilder 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 back the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.  This we ask in the name of our Captain, who is Jesus Christ. ~Sir Francis Drake

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

moving deeper, wednesday

Wednesday, April 15

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to stay dressed and ready for service today and to keep our lamps burning; that we might burn more and more with love for you.  Amen.

Scripture: Luke 12:35-40

Journal: What is burning within you these days?  What is the condition of your inner fire?  What does it mean to keep your lamp burning?  How will you do that today?

Cast aside everything that might extinguish this small flame which is beginning to burn within you, and surround yourself with everything which can feed and fan it into a stronger flame. ~The Art of Prayer

     There is a flame within us, started and sustained by God's Spirit, which we are required to tend.  It is the part of us that burns for God, for intimacy with him, and for his Kingdom to be revealed in this world.  In some this fire is a raging inferno.  In fact, it is so real and so present that if you get within a certain proximity of these people you will be warmed by the heat of its passion.  And in others this fire is weak and smoldering, like a dim wick that is on the verge of being snuffed out completely.  It is of no use to anyone. 
     And though we cannot control the source of this fire, we are called to tend and feed and fan its flame.  We are called to make sure to keep our lamps burning.  Therefore, we must be thoughtful and intentional as we consider how to nurture and grow this fire within us.  We must learn to listen and reflect and pray in a way that allows us to see how to create the proper conditions for this fire to thrive, and for its flames to grow.  We must regularly ask ourselves certain questions like: "What are the things that keep my inner fires going?  When and how will I make those things a regular part of my life?  What fuels my soul to keep me stumbling toward love?  Who are the people and what are the practices that ignite something deep within me?"  And when we finally begin to get a sense of the answers to some of these questions, we need to go to work; to start gathering these logs and tossing them on the fire. 


Closing Prayer: O living flame of love that tenderly wounds my soul in its deepest center!  Since now you are not oppressive, now consummate!  If it be your will: tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!
     O sweet cautery, O delightful wound!  O gentle hand!  O delicate touch that tastes of eternal life and pays every debt!  In killing you changed death to life.
     O lamps of fire!  In whose splendors the deep caverns of feeling, once obscure and blind, now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely, both warmth and light to their Beloved.
     How gently and lovingly you wake in my heart, where in secret you dwell alone; and in your sweet breathing, filled with good and glory, how tenderly you swell my heart with love. ~John of the Cross

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

moving deeper, tuesday

Tuesday, April 14

Opening Prayer: One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

Journal: The image that we most often behold is the image we will ultimately be formed into.  What do you spend most of your day beholding?  How is that reflected in who and what you are becoming?  What does it mean to behold the Lord?  How well are you reflecting him these days?

When the soul is occupied with looking away from present trials into the face of Christ, and making this a regular and passionate occupation, this soul will become more tranquil and still, and therefore more able to reflect the Being it adores.  This reflected glory will enable us to love our neighbor as ourselves. ~Marian Scheele

Truth sees God, and wisdom beholds God, and from these two comes the third, and that is a marvelous delight in God, which is love. ~Julian of Norwich


Closing Prayer: Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me.  My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”  Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, O God. (Psalm 27:7-9)