Desert Day 42: Children Of God …

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
— Matthew 19:14

Vulnerability

Vulnerability is something we instinctively reject because we are taught from kindergarten on that we must protect ourselves, control our behavior and our lives. But in becoming man for us, Christ made himself totally vulnerable for us in Jesus of Nazareth, and it is not possible to be Christian while refusing to be vulnerable. Continue reading “Desert Day 42: Children Of God …”

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Desert Day 35: Humility And Contemplation …

Abba Xanthias said, “A dog is better than I am because a dog also has love but, unlike I myself, the dog does not pass judgment.”

Abba Sarmatas said: “I prefer a person who has sinned if he knows that he sinned and has repented, over a person who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous.”

Humility and contemplation are the invisible twins of the spiritual life. One without the other is impossible. In the first place, there is no such thing as a contemplative life without the humility that takes us beyond the myth of our own grandeur to the cosmic grandeur of God.  In the second, once we really know the grandeur of God we get the rest of life – ourselves included – in perspective.  Reaching the moon told us how really insignificant we were in the universe.  We begin to rethink all our dearly held notions of human consequence.  Humility leads directly to contemplation. Continue reading “Desert Day 35: Humility And Contemplation …”

Desert Day 23: The Forgetting Of Love …

What is the origin of ‘evil’
in this non-dual reality?

The forgetting of love.
The flight from Source.

There is no force working ‘against’ love.
There is only this forgetting.
This alienation from our nature.
This imagined separation from the Whole.

When we are in pain
and cannot be with our pain,
we blame.
We attack.
We reduce others to objects.
We call people names.
We find scapegoats.
We seek revenge. Continue reading “Desert Day 23: The Forgetting Of Love …”

Advent Day 19: Jesus Was A Refugee …

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt …
— Matthew 2:13-14

Jesus Is a Refugee

If we read 2:13-14 in the context of Matthew’s Gospel, we realize that even in his childhood the Son of Man already lacked a place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20). Disciples would face the same kind of test (Matthew 10:23; Matthew 24:16). Continue reading “Advent Day 19: Jesus Was A Refugee …”

Advent Day 18: Born In A Manger …

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!
— Dr. Seuss from How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Hidden and Revealed

Every year we hear the same stories. Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels, foreigners – all on different journeys and all converging in Bethlehem. These stories, carols, church services, school plays: the same every  year but also different. Different because we are different every year. Every year we bring ourselves to these stories, and we’re alway changing. We’ve had different experiences, we’re asking different questions. We’ll see something new, hear a detail we never noticed. A word, a phrase, a meaning will come to our aid in a new way. Continue reading “Advent Day 18: Born In A Manger …”

Advent Day 10: Healing Peace …

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.
— John 14:27

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground. Continue reading “Advent Day 10: Healing Peace …”

Vulnerability Is Not Weakness …

Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice , vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding under-current of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to be something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, refusing our vulnerability we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity. Continue reading “Vulnerability Is Not Weakness …”

If We Are Willing To Sit Quietly And Wait For A While …

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
— Thomas Merton from No Man Is an Island

Without new ground rules, we will revert to the norms implicit in any culture that tell us how we are supposed to talk to each other. In our culture, these include politeness, a ban on inquiring into things that are “none of your business,” and a willingness to give the other the benefit of the doubt. In academic settings, these conventional rules are overlaid with another set that encourage competition: we should question each other’s claims, think oppositionally about what we are hearing, and be ready with a quick response. Continue reading “If We Are Willing To Sit Quietly And Wait For A While …”

A Different Kind of Fast …

The kind of fast drawing me this season isn’t leaving behind of treats like chocolate or other pleasures. This season I am being invited to fast from things like “ego-grasping” and noticing when I so desperately want to be in control, and then yielding myself to a greater wisdom than my own.

I am called to fast from being strong and always trying to hold it all together, and instead embrace the profound grace that comes through my vulnerability and tenderness, to allow a great softening this season.

I am called to fast from anxiety and the endless torrent of thoughts which rise up in my mind to paralyze me with fear of the future, and enter into the radical trust in the abundance at the heart of things, rather than scarcity. Continue reading “A Different Kind of Fast …”