O holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks, a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born …
— O Holy Night (composed by Adolphe Adam in 1847 to the French poem “Minuit, chrétiens” by Placide Cappeau)
Amazing that we made Jesus into the consumate answer giver because that is not what he usually does. He more often leads us right onto the horns of our own human-made dilemmas, where we are forced to meet God and be honest about ourselves. He creates problems for us more than resolves them, problems that very often cannot be resolved by all-or-nothing thinking but only by love and forgiveness. Continue reading “Advent Day 13: Fall On Your Knees …”
The flute of the Infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is love:
When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth.
How widely the fragrance spreads! It has no end, nothing stands in its way.
The form of this melody is bright like a million suns …
― KABIR from Songs of Kabir Translated by Rabindranath Tagore
Biblically, tenderness is what follows when someone reveals to you your own inner beauty, when you discover your belovedness, when you experience that you are deeply and sincerely liked by someone. If you communicate to me that you really like me, not just love me as a brother in Christ, that you take delight in me (and would, even if I’d never written a single sentence), then you open up to me the possibility of liking myself. The look of amiable regard in your eyes banishes my fears, and my defense mechanisms (such as insulation, name-dropping, and giving the impression that I’ve got it all together) disappear into the nothingness of my non-attention to them. Your warmth withers my self-disdain and allows the possibility of self-esteem. I drop my mask of pretentious piety, stop impersonating Brother Teresa, quit disguising my sanctimonious voice, start to smile at my own frailty, and dare to become more open, sincere, vulnerable, and affectionate with you than I would ever dream of being if I thought you didn’t like me. In short, what happens is I grow tender. Continue reading “Advent Day 12: The Gift of Love …”
Even the best of human love is filled with self-seeking. To work to increase our love for God and for our fellow man (and the two must go hand in hand) – this is a lifetime job. We are never going to be finished. Love and ever more love is the only solution to every problem that comes up. If we love each other enough, we will bear with each other’s faults and burdens. If we love enough, we are going to light that fire in the hearts of others. And it is love that will burn out the sins and hatreds that sadden us. It is love that will make us want to do great things for each other. No sacrifice and no suffering will then seem too much. Continue reading “The Most Necessary Work Is Always Love …”
This experience called “depression” is isolating to a greater extent than I imagined could be survivable, but I realize that this incredibly isolating experience ultimately reconnected me with the human community in a deeper, wider, and richer way.
— Parker J. Palmer from Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression
The Mystery of Depression
Learn to embrace mystery
Twice, in my forties, I spent endless months in the snake pit of the soul. Hour by hour, day by day, I wrestled with the desire to die, sometimes so feeble in my resistance that I “practiced” ways of doing myself in. I could feel nothing except the burden of my own life and the exhaustion, the apparent futility, of trying to sustain it. I understand why some depressed people kill themselves: They need the rest. But I do not understand why others are able to find new life in the midst of a living death, though I am one of them. I can tell you what I did to survive, and eventually to thrive— but I cannot tell you why I was able to do those things before it was too late. Continue reading “Depression and The Spiritual Journey …”
If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.
— Joseph Campbell
Continue reading “Work is Love Made Visible …”
What if I am not sadness?
What if I am not grief?
What if I am not my victim’s story
Nor am I my pain?
Continue reading “What If I Am Not Sadness?”
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
— Melody Beattie
Continue reading “Gratitude for the Work of Loving the World (Thanksgiving Meditation) …”