Saturday, September 15, 2012

My Words Come Back To Haunt Me

It was September 13th of this year and I was in somewhat of a blue funk.  Don't ask me exactly  what that is but it just sounds like somewhere one would rather not be.   One of my sisters in community made a suggestion.  She said, "Why don't you check out the reflection you wrote for today in the Living Faith Publication."  I decided to take a look as I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.   It was a reflection on Luke  6: 27-38 and I had focused on this text:

...Love your enemies...
...pray for those who mistreat you.

All I can say is that after reading it I thought:  SOMETIMES YOUR OWN WORDS COME BACK TO HAUNT YOU.   Here is my reflection:

In reading our gospel for today you may be tempted to ask, “Is this good news?”   Who among us knows how to love with such generosity?   This kind of loving requires a bigheartedness that you probably think you don’t own.   This is precisely where you are into flawed thinking.  You already possess this Christ-like love though it may be  dormant from underuse    We probably all have a tendency to wonder why we should  waste our love on enemies.  Yet love is never wasted.   Difficult as it is, our squandered  love may be a bandage for someone’s tormented soul. 

To help you with this difficult assignment I am giving you a new name.  It is actually a name Jesus gave to you. Your new name is ‘be merciful’.  Thus as you continue reflecting on Jesus’ poignant  yet somewhat distressing mandate to love your enemies, let your new name wash over you like a cleansing antibiotic.   Imagine being freed from harmful toxins in your body simply because you are loving when it isn’t easy.  [My P.S. to this is that living in community isn't always easy]  But it's good!  ...and by the way, no one was really mistreating me!

Incidentally, reflecting on community living I chose the photo above (borrowed from the web) because the birds on the line remind me of community.  There can be support in togetherness.  However, if you look further down on the branch you will see a little frozen loner.  I've been meditating on that loner.   The trick seems to be knowing how to juggle solitude and community.  Thus knowing when to join the group is wisdom.  And knowing when to step out of the group for awhile is also wisdom.


...and don't forget to be merciful
to yourself and to others.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Put yourself on the path of BLESSING

From early Christian time the first hour of the day has been given over to praise.  A spirit of joy permeates this hour.  All is new and fresh.  Light is beginning to encompass the darkness.  We are summoned from sleep, called to wakefulness, invited to behold the face of the dawning day.  This is the hour of  resurrection. The very act of rising from sleep is our first antiphon.  The lamp of life within us has been restored through the goodness of sleep.  With our lamp lit we go forth to give praise for the new day:

As new light streams out of the darkness, we open wide our hearts
to the healing light of your Encircling Presence.
Open our eyes to the opportunities this day has to offer.
Surprise us with small joys and pieces of beauty 
scattered through the hours.
O Beautiful Presence, help us this day
to taste the joy of being awake.
May this simple prayer come true in our lives today.

--taken from my book, Seven Sacred Pauses

This lovely image of St Benedict blessing the morning was taken at St. Benedict's Center in Schuyler, Nebraska  the weekend of September 7-8, 2012.  About 95 retreatants were fortunate enough to step into the path of blessing.  It was a weekend in which we considered how to live more mindfully.  As I move away from that sacred space into other sacred spaces I  continue to ponder just how (each day) to put myself on the path of blessing.    I invite you to do the same.  The blessings are always present.  Mindfulness is the key. You are invited to notice that everything is blessing you.  All you do is put yourself on the path:  the trees, the plants and flowers, the great sky above you and the earth below,  the lakes, streams and oceans, your joys and sorrows,  your creativity, your moments of gratitude, your doubts and your deep faith,  the people you love and the people whom you find it difficult to love, your hours of work, your hours of leisure!  All is blessing!   Put yourself on the path--the path of blessing.