We experience humility not because we have fought and lost but because humility is the only lens through which great things can be seen ― and once we have seen them, humility is the only posture possible.
― Parker Palmer from The Courage To Teach
In Humility Is The Greatest Freedom
In humility is the greatest freedom. As long as you have to defend the imaginary self that you think is important, you lose your peace of heart. As soon as you compare that shadow with the shadows of other people, you lose all joy, because you have begun to trade in unrealities and there is no joy in things that do not exist. Continue reading “In Humility Is The Greatest Freedom …”
To be in the world is to be distant from the homeland of wholeness. We are confined by limitation and difficulty. When we bless, we are enabled somehow to go beyond our present frontiers and reach into the source. A blessing awakens future wholeness. We use the word foreshadow for the imperfect representation of something that is yet to come. We could say that a blessing “forebrightens” the way. When a blessing is invoked, a window opens in eternal time …
Our longing for the eternal kindles our imagination to bless. Regardless of how we configure the eternal, the human heart continues to dream of a state of wholeness, a place where everything comes together, where loss will be made good, where blindness will transform into vision, where damage will be made whole, where the clenched question will open in the house of surprise, where the travails of a life’s journey will enjoy a homecoming. To invoke a blessing is to call some of that wholeness upon a person now … Continue reading “Blessing in the Chaos …”
To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living. It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live. Continue reading “Prayer Is Our Humble Answer To The Inconceivable Surprise Of Living. …”
But there is this too. Respite. Rest. Letting the desert be the desert, without feeling compelled to bulldoze our way through it.
I think of a long stretch when I found myself in a soul struggle that had caught me entirely by surprise. Consumed by the wrestling and working and searching, I felt exhausted. After a time, my spiritual director, Maru, gave me this phrase: holy absence.
There are times, she said, sometimes seasons, for removing ourselves from the struggle. Time for sabbath. Time for rest. Continue reading “Desert Day 34: Holy Absence …”
Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord. — Zech 2:13
Where shall the Word be found,
where will the word resound?
There is not enough silence.
— T. S. Elliott from Collected Poems (Ash Wednesday)
To enter the unspeakable requires a quiet courage that points to what is often out of reach, though it is never far from us. Not unspeakable because it is awful, but because it lives beneath words. Not touching that silence and what lives there isolates us from the web of Spirit that connects everything. Then we lapse into what feels like a broken world of nothing. But entering that silence, the unspeakable shows itself as the thread of light that holds the web of life together. Feeling these threads, I am reanimated in a world where each small part contains everything. Continue reading “Desert Day 21: At Home In The Silence …”
The most important starting point in any definition of the classical labyrinth is a description of its physical construction. It is a single circuitous pathway, leading uninterrupted to a central position.
— Jim Buchanan from Labyrinths for the Spirit
There is one way in and one way out. There is a beginning and an end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is not only in the center, but the whole labyrinth is in him. We are not alone. Although at times it seems like I am journeying away from the center, I am actually well on the way towards it. In fact, it is very true that as far as direction goes, I am often walking away from the center – away from the very place I am trying to get to – wondering how I will ever get there by doing that! But experience has taught me – on the labyrinth and in life – that as long as I keep going, one step at a time, I can trust I will get there eventually. It isn’t only about finding God in the center; it is about recognizing that the whole labyrinth – our whole journey – is held by God, in love. Continue reading “Desert Day 14: The Labyrinth, A Metaphor For Our Journey …”
Pray as You Go, the popular prayer website and free app sponsored by the Jesuits in the UK, will be using Seven Last Words by James Martin as the basis for their free 2017 daily Lenten retreat.
Continue reading “Seven Last Words (Meditations for Lent) …”