Advent Day 28: Silent Night, Holy Night (Christmas Eve) …

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness—
on them light has shined.
— Isaiah 9.2

All grace comes precisely from nowhere—from silence and emptiness, if you prefer—which is what makes it grace. It is both you and yet so much greater than you at the same time, which is probably why believers chose both uprushing fountains (John 7:38) and downrushing doves (Matthew 3:16) as metaphors for this universal and grounding experience of spiritual encounter. Sometimes it is an uprush and sometimes it is a downrush, but it is always from a silence that is larger than you, surrounds you, and finally names the deeper truth of the full moment that is you. I call such a way of knowing the contemplative way of knowing, as did much of the older tradition. (The word “prayer” has been so consistently trivialized to refer to something you do, instead of something that is done to you, with you, in you, and as you.) Then, like Mary, you are ready to give birth. You are ready for Christmas … Continue reading “Advent Day 28: Silent Night, Holy Night (Christmas Eve) …”

Advent Day 27: The Gift of Christmas …

The American Declaration of Independence says we have an “unalienable right” to the pursuit of happiness.  God created us to be happy and joyful “in this world and the next,” and Jesus says the same several times in John 14- 17.  The only difference between the two is that any happiness that is demanded from life never becomes happiness because it is too narcissistically and self-consciously pursued.  The “joy the world cannot give” (John 14:27)  always comes as a gift to those who wait for it, expect it and make room for it inside themselves. The first is self-assertion, the second is self-surrender. The first is taking; the second is receiving. The two entirely different human dynamics.  You do not catch a butterfly by chasing it.  You sit still and it alights on your shoulder.  Then is chooses you. That is true happiness.
— Richard Rohr from Preparing for Christmas

Giving and Receiving

This prayer is based on the scriptural imperative to give of what we have received. Our gifts are recalled and named so we can see our abundance. We then respond with our willingness to share this abundance with others … Continue reading “Advent Day 27: The Gift of Christmas …”

Seeking the Light: Advent Prayers …

Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.
— Edward Hays from A Pilgrim’s Almanac

Continue reading “Seeking the Light: Advent Prayers …”

Blessed Are You Autumn …

Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.
William Cullen Bryant (Indian Summer)

An Autumn Blessing

Blessed are you, autumn,
chalice of transformation,
you lift a cup of death to our lips
and we taste new life. Continue reading “Blessed Are You Autumn …”

The Easter Challenge …

Every year it happens:
earth shakes her sleepy head,
still a bit wintered and dull,
and feels new life stirring.

Every year cocoons give up their treasures,
fresh shoots push through brown leaves,
seemingly dead branches shine with green,
and singing birds find their way home.

Every year we hear the stories:

empty tomb, surprised grievers,
runners with news and revelation,
unexpected encounters,
conversations on the road,
tales of nets filling with fish,
and breakfast on a seashore.

And every year
the dull and dead in us
meets our Easter challenge:

to be open to the unexpected,
to believe beyond our security,
to welcome God in every form,
and trust in our own greening.

— Joyce Rupp from Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season

Springtime Prayer …

Ever-renewing and energizing Creator,
come, stir in my dormant spiritual limbs.

Wake up my tired prayer.

Revive my weary efforts of care.

Sing hope into my discouragement.

Wash my dusty, drab attitude
with the cleansing rains of your vision.

Go deep to my roots and penetrate my faith
with the vibrancy of your grace.

Shake loose the old leftover oak leaves
of my tenacious ego-centeredness.

Coax joy to sprout from my difficulties.

Warm the buds of my relationships
so they bloom with healthy love.

Clear out my wintered debris
with the wild breeze of your liberating presence.

Nudge me, woo me, entice me, draw me to you.

I give you my trust and my gratitude as you
grace my slowly thawing spirit.

Light-filled Being, my Joy and my Hope,
let the greening in me begin.

— Joyce Rupp from Out of the Ordinary: Prayers, Poems, and Reflections for Every Season