Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Blossoming Darkness of Faith

Open your heart to the blossoming darkness

Embrace the unknowns.

Say goodbye to the heart's drought

but not to the heart's struggle.

Offer compassion

to all that is incomplete in your life.

I'll meet you in community

in the heart and soul of the holy struggle

and the blossoming darkness.

The Merciful One has opened

the beautiful door of night;

We have accepted the invitation.

The soft petals of night receive us

and heaven listens to us

offering our "yes" to the sacred struggle

of spiritual growth and friendship.

So much is up to us.

Can we take the risk of stepping into

the gracious space of the unknown?

Let us hold hands with our doubts

and stand in the bright darkness of faith

_Macrina Wiederkehr

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fresh Bread from the Oven of my Heart

And in this frigid hour when the earth has the odor of dust and is so sad I wish I could beat on all the doors and beg pardon from someone and make bits of fresh bread for you HERE
in the oven of my heart.
-Caesar Vallejo

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My Keen Whispers

My shoes and I are back from our Louisiana trip. It was my Keen Whispers first time to be out of Fort Smith and out of state. They are the most comfortable pair of shoes I have ever owned and since my hip surgery they are a true godsend. I have a thing about shoes. We become friends. When I have to throw away a pair of shoes because they are worn out, it isn’t easy. I think of all the places we’ve visited and what a support they’ve been. Once I buried a pair of shoes in St. Louis because it seemed more reverent to bury them than to throw them into some unknown dumpster away from home.

Walking is a necessary and important part of one’s health. What kind of shoes you wear while walking makes all the difference in the world. In an article I once read about the spirituality of walking the author said, Never trust a thought that doesn’t come from walking. Perhaps that is a bit of hyperbole but I like it. I have walked my way into stories and poems. I have walked my way into acceptance and forgiveness--into gratitude and inspiration--into understanding and trust. My walks are generally not the super strenuous kind but more of a contemplative stroll. It is almost autumn and I am thinking about the fallen leaves my Keen Whispers and I will crunch through. Perhaps, if we can find the time, we will do a bit of lounging in the hammock in the pine grove. There are times when we take a prayerful walk through our labyrinth. That’s what I call Soul Walking. There are so many ways to pray with your feet.

This morning as I sat under my sycamore tree I prayed about my feet (and my shoes) reflecting on some of the places we’ve journeyed. I even went back to my childhood, remembering how difficult it was for mom and dad to buy us shoes at all. I prayed about the people today who would love to have the pair of shoes I buried in St. Louis because they need them, worn soles and all. And I prayed about your feet too, whoever you are—reading this blog: I hope you will always have someone in your life to massage your feet. I hope that the places your shoes carry you will be filled with adventure and inspiration. May you have happy feet.

In a few days my Keen Whispers and I will travel to Little Rock for a Eucharist and conference, celebrating the jubilees of the Sisters in our diocese. Their next trip will be to California. We get around.

Become a disciple of joy! Massage someone’s feet this week. Choose someone weary who needs a bit of encouragement.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Walking Trees

“To find your creativity
You have to leave the city of your comfort
and go into the wilderness of your intuition.
You can’t get there by bus--only by hard work, risk
and by not knowing what you’re doing
or where you’re going.
What you discover will be wonderful.
What you discover will be yourself.
-adapted from Alan Aida

These words massaged my soul this morning as I sat by my window praying. I asked God to help me go into the wilderness of my intuition. Most of us know more than we think we know but we have to be very still to touch the depth that is in us. And truly, there is a depth in each of us that we have not yet discovered. And so I asked, in prayer, to be given a memory that would stir up my creativity and imagination--a memory that would remind me of who I really am. The memory came very quickly and it is so dear...the face of a little girl arose in my mind's eye.

Many years ago when I was teaching grade school in Dixie, Arkansas (3 grades in one class room) I provided a sharing time for the children to talk about something from their lives that the rest of us might enjoy. A little girl raised her hand and told us that if we wake up in the middle of the night we should be sure and look out the window. She then proceeded to explain that at night the trees, who are tired of just standing still all day, start walking around and sort of visit one another. Fortunately the Spirit was very present to me at that moment and I didn't say, "Oh, that is just your imagination." I said something like this: "You know, I think maybe I've seen them at times also." Some of us talk about imagination as though it is false but that is where our dreams come from. And so I would say to all you grown-ups who are so busy with matters of such great importance, look out your window in the middle of the night (or even in daytime) and you, too, may see the trees walking about. The trees in the photo above look sort of like walking trees and I thank for it. If my Sycamore tree ever decides to go for a walk I hope it remembers to return to my cedar swing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Great Dawn of God,

As the earth’s quiet turning offers us a new day/, let your soft light fall gently upon all that has grown dim in our lives./ God of our ancient longings/, pour yourself into the spaces of our lives/ where we have become stale, weary or indifferent./ Enlighten and refresh our minds and hearts/ that we may step into this new day as one expecting miracles./ May we live this day with the kind of presence/ that enables us to discover that we were created to be disciples of joy. / Great Dawn of God, hear our prayer. Amen
~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~
--prayer by Macrina Wiederkehr
I'll be using this for our morning prayer Sept. 19 during a retreat I am leading at the Jesuit Spirituality Center in Grand Coteau, LA - Pray for all the disciples of joy who will be attending.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September’s 3rd gift

Listen to your Loneliness

Listen to the Silence

I am watching myself live more and more these days which, at times, gives me considerable concern and at other times evokes much enjoyment. It is all part of my evolving call to live more mindfully. This morning during one of my moments of pacing as opposed to centering, I suddenly heard the voice of a character in one of Linda Hogan’s novels saying: “I think people talk because what lives inside silence scares them.” She may be right. Even I, who write so much about silence find myself, at times, fearing the core of silence. What lives inside silence scares me. What lives inside silence is the terrible beauty of being alone with the Alone. What lives inside silence is the challenge of nada, nothing but being—pure being. That sweet eternal darkness that has no voice—the beauty of someone Divine holding me. Can I bear the mystery of being alone with the One who is all-one? What lives inside silence is the Great Loneliness. Many of us fear the loneliness. Oh! Anything to smother the loneliness: surf the web or the TV channels, collect friends on facebook, call someone on the phone, have three more cups of coffee, clean out a closet, text someone to tell them the sun is out or you’re eating deep fried onion rings (or something else that they really don’t need to know). All those things are fine. They aren’t evil; they can even be fun. But you know what? Sometimes they get in the way of transformation. They get in the way of spiritual growth.

There are some who move beyond their fears and find inside the silence, an immense peace. On some days I experience this peace but there are times when I still surrender to the fear.

September’s third gift is to find grace in loneliness,
immense peace in silence.

Waiting for the third gift.


The third gift is slowly being revealed to me.
...and I have not yet decided
whether this will be
an almost daily or
a mostly weekly blog.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Prayer to the God Within

O God of Every Season—You are All we can imagine You to be. O Ancient Love, are Our Hope through all Seasons of Life.

You are The Power hidden in the Ground of our Being.
You are The Seed in our Growing.
You are The Rain that Softens our Dry Hearts.
You are The Mountain we climb to get a better view.

You are The One we wait with in moments of Darkness.
You are The Hunger in all of our Yearning.
You are The Breath in our Breathing.
You are The Transformation in our Growing Seasons.

You are The Song we sing in any kind of weather.
You are The Love in our hearts reaching out to the lonely.
You are The Promise that keeps us hoping.
You are The Life behind all our dying.

You are The Dawn moving through darkness each morning.
You are The Morning Mist rising from the pond.
You are The Storm Cloud covering the sun.
You are The Rainbow rising in our tears.

You are The God hidden in bread and wine on our altars.
You are The Guest at our dinner tables.
You are The Fire in our passion for life.
You are The Gift in our lives that waits to be given.

You are The Center of all we have been,
all that we are and all that we yet can be.

-Macrina Wiederkehr

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

September’s 2nd Gift

I have been trying to watch myself live lately. What I see is often disappointing. I see one who moves too fast, thinks too fast, and often speaks too fast. That is why I chose the practice of pausing for my first September gift. When I get caught up in frenetic movement it is difficult to see things and people clearly. It is difficult to experience joy. When I move so fast some of the loveliness of life becomes a blur that seems to get in my way. This is not living from the soul because, you see, the things that get in my way are, in reality, a part of my life. They, too, have their beauty and they have a right to be here; yet my busyness prevents me from seeing the offering of their lives and so I miss the splendor of the moment--and that’s a shame. Likewise, when I am in constant movement I miss the joy of all the things I fail to notice. Dom Columba Marmion, OSB speaks of joy as being the echo of God’s life in us. And in one of her novels, Eugenia Price says, "Joy is God in the marrow of our bones." That is September’s second gift for me. I WANT TO BE A DISCIPLE OF JOY! Early this morning I heard joy’s invitation, Come follow me! What would our lives be like if (even in the midst of daily disappointments and sorrows) we were forever trying to remember the joy within? The amazing face of a Squash Blossom spoke to me this morning. It was a disciple of joy. It spoke without words. The moment was pure grace and now I know beyond a doubt, I AM CALLED TO BE A DISCIPLE OF JOY.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September's 1st Gift

A new month is a bit like a hidden treasure trove. I don’t know what it holds; it is still mystery. I love beginnings: new years, new months, new weeks, new days—even new moments when I can live slow enough to notice them. Actually it is the vigil of September. It is still August 31. This is my prayer of anticipating September. I am remembering that I hold the key to unlocking September’s potential. I spend a little time dreaming of the untold stories, the new people I will meet in this month, the pieces of wisdom I will acquire, the insights that will well up from my depths, the kindnesses I will both give and receive, the prayers that will fill up this month. And yes, even the sorrows of this month. They are all waiting in the mysterious treasure chest of a month that is on the horizon. It will be a month full of possibilities and I want to be in it with all my heart. Will I be open? Will I be receptive to all that can be?

September, I welcome you. As I step into your pages I am asking for three gifts. The first gift is this: Help me remember to pause. I know now that it is not enough to write a book about Seven Sacred Pauses. Remembering to pause is a spiritual practice.

Help me remember to pause.