Archive for the ‘Endurance’ Category

Importance of Prayer

In these days of frequent atrocities, it is easy to despair and believe the lie that we are powerless against the forces of Evil. Recall these words of a saint very familiar with overwhelming acts of violence:

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.

-Mohandas Gandhi

Abide in the peace of Christ that passes all understanding. Abiding there in and of itself is a powerful antidote to evil. Then speak your fears and requests from this place of peace. Be confident that such prayers have always stormed the gates of Hell and changed war into peace. “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen

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I have just come in from weeding our driveway. Yes, you read that right. Our home is built into the side of a small mountain. We have a gravel driveway which works very well when it rains – water is absorbed and does not flood our home. However, weeds grow with wild abandon. Why? Why? Why?
In our carefully tended garden there are places where nothing grows. We fertilize, mulch, mix in compost. Nothing. Why?
I do not know. There is the old adage that what we pay attention to, grows. Not so much when it comes to the weeds in my driveway. As always, I am trying to find the message in these weeds. Here’s what I have come up with.

1) we live in a fallen world
2) we are not in control
3) home ownership in the woods has it’s pitfalls
4) I’m getting old.

OK- obviously I’ve got nothing. Perhaps some things just have to be borne in life with a sense of humor. When we are old and rickety, we just might want to let the weeds grow. Winter is always around the corner and nature will have it’s own revenge on those ridiculous weeds.

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When prayer became my primary vocation, in all honesty, I saw it a my default operating system. No longer able to withstand full time employment or even to responsibly and consistently volunteer, I began to see prayer as the way I could justify my existence. Was I in for a surprise! God has provided for my every need, including a husband who cherishes me and a retreat-like home condusive to prayer, meditation and healing. Then God brought into my life teachers and friends to support my new life as a Christian mystic and contemplative. I have come to see prayer as not only aligning myself with the Kingdom of God but as an essential foundation for God at work in time and place. My heart has become filled with joy, cradled with peace and empowered in Christ-conciousness. All I can say is “Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you!”

Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.

-Mohandas Gandhi

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I just received this from Sojourners. This ancient view of Christians is a far cry from how we are seen today.

Christians live in their own countries, but only as guests and aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and endure everything as aliens. … They are as poor as beggars, and yet they make many rich. They lack everything, and yet they have everything in abundance. They are dishonored, and yet have their glory in this very dishonor. … They are abused, yet they bless. … In a word: what the soul is in the body, the Christians are in the world.

-Letter to Diognetus, an early Christian writing whose author is unknown

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I, like millions of others, have a chronic condition that causes me days of extreme pain and zero visible accomplishment. My daughter has the same. When we are together and in pain the presence we are to each other is a unique and holy kind of love. It is truly very hard to be with someone in their pain. It is almost reflexive to run away physically if not emotionally. When we ourselves are in excruciating pain, we too want to run from ourselves. The current psycho-babble admonition to be fully present is at best annoying and at worst cruel. But when two people in pain are together, there is a bond that needs no words. That is where I am today. I am not practicing being present. I am gratefully remembering I am in the Presence of Holiness.

May God bless us with the gift of tears to shed with those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.

– Four-fold Franciscan Blessing

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Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness.

-Corrie Ten Boom

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“The universe has no beginning or end, and God is entirely present within every particle of it.”

Excerpt From: Eben Alexander, M.D. “Proof of Heaven.” Simon & Schuster

This book was recommended to me by a fellow patient in a waiting room of my doctor’s office. I did not expect to like it but curiosity won out. What is different about this book in comparison to other Near Death Experience memoirs is that it is written by a skeptical scientist and it is not beholden to any religion or philosophy. In part, it describes the experience of union with God that I sometimes have experienced in meditation in the past decade. Please read it with an open heart.

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“Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.”

– Rachel Naomi Remen from,
A Time for Listening and Caring

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Remembering the Light

There is a light in this world, a healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometimes lose sight of this force when there is suffering, too much pain. Then suddenly the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.

– Mother Teresa

I see this light in Pope Francis and am very thankful for such light to be recognized in these times. Of course, it would have been sweet to have a Pope Teresa ….

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Being Wound Up

May nothing wind you up, nothing affright you; everything comes and goes. God, still, is just there; through patience all will be achieved. If you have God, you lack nothing. God alone will do.

– A Prayer by Teresa of Avil (trans. by James Alison)

There is nothing that gets me off track more tham being “wound up” in a way that seems beyond my control. This happens most often when I am feeling insignificant. If I remember this in time, it reminds me to just breathe in God’s presence. If I don’t remember, God has blessed me with an understanding and ever calm husband. He too is God’s presence.

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