The Fullness of Spirit

Such wisdom in this post…I felt moved to share it. Thank you Bernadette!

somebodylovesmeblog

For a few years now I have been feeling something that I could not put my finger on, or explain to myself or anyone else.  Experiencing my mom’s last few days with her, before her death, intensified that mystical feeling within me.  Those days with my mother, truly a blessing, could only be described as overwhelming, intense love; a fullness in the physical space around me, spilling over into the interior of my heart and spirit.

That is the word to describe the feeling…fullness.  Since I have become closer to Jesus, and filled with the Holy Spirit, my being feels more dimensional and “full.”  No matter what is happening in the world, or around me in my personal life, that fullness inside me helps to keep me grounded in The Truth.  It helps me to look past whatever the physical or material reality is, and try to look at things…

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Reclining at table

Jesus, we’re told, often “reclined at table,” with his disciples and with others. I wonder, do I ever ‘recline’ in the fullness of what this word might mean applied to Christ?

When I imagine Christ reclining, I see Him vulnerable, open, receptive, comfortable, resting. His feet are not under Him bearing the weight of His body, but outstretched. They are not ready to run or prepared to fight, but up and resting.

Similarly, His arms are not flexed and ready for action. He might be lying back on one or the other of them, using it for support.

How much more calm and prepared would our bodies be to receive nourishment, if we could recline, as our Lord did, trusting, relaxed, at peace, not only in our surroundings, but in our humanity.

Pray we are able to recline in peace knowing that our sins have been recognized and forgiven; our souls washed clean by His Blood.

Are you shy? Or an introvert?

Introvert. Leonard Pitts writes this in a recent column in the Miami Herald:

The word is not a synonym for “shy,” though as a boy, I was that, too. But where shyness is an outsized fear of other people’s disapproval or of social embarrassment, to be an introvert is to be inward turning, more at home in small, intimate groups than large, boisterous ones. It is to prefer the quiet to the loud, reflection to exhortation, solitude to socializing.

For years, I struggled with that, wondered why I prefer the rainy afternoon spent watching old movies or reading a book to the sunny afternoon at a backyard barbecue watching people do the electric slide. Then, last year, I chanced upon a book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It was the first time anyone had ever explained me to me. Turns out I’m not the only one. Turns out introversion is perfectly normal.

I think it fits me. How ’bout you?

Thomas Merton’s continuing relevance for today’s youth

Daniel P. Horan, O.F.M. writes recently of the continuing relevance of Trappist monk and prolific spiritual writer, Thomas Merton, in America, a Catholic magazine. I’d recommend the entire article to you, here, but was particularly struck by this paragraph mid-way through:

There is much that can be said about the still timely insights Merton presents to us about engaging other religious traditions. Perhaps the most pertinent is the need to live honestly in the tension between maintaining one’s own faith commitments and humbly learning from the experiences of others, all the while holding onto the belief that we are indeed, somehow, “already one.”

How simple and how challenging for so many in today’s world, but how important if we’re all to get through this world together.

The Boundless Beauty of Holy Ground

What do we miss when we ‘don’t look deeply enough.’ Great post by Michelle Lesher SSJ from God In All Things.

God In All Things

This is a guest post by Michelle Lesher, SSJ.


Picture it. An August retreat. A sunset as beautiful as any I had ever seen. The colors turned the sky into an artist’s canvas and I felt compelled to immortalize it using the camera on my brand new smart phone – Should be easy, right? I think not. Instead, what I got was shot after shot of a blurry hazy ball of orange nothing. Frustrated, I held the camera face down in front of me trying to figure out how in the world to zoom in so that I could see something; anything with a little more clarity. I accidentally pushed the shutter button and this is what I saw:

Sand Close-up

This was most definitely not the lovely sunset still happening in front of me! In fact, it took me a few moments to realize what I was seeing – the sand magnified…

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Faith

I began this year, 2014, planning to document the little miracles of my life as they occur along the way. And there have been so many: Our daughter’s job loss and her subsequent move and reemployment; her house sale, house purchase; our grand-daughter’s birth, my ability to be present when she was born; and so many little revelations, blessings, and consolations along the way.

I feel certain this most recent job loss is also gift from God. And, as the pastor, whose car’s brakes failed and rolled over the cliff while he was in church, was heard to say, “I can’t wait to see what good God has planned from all this.

In the meantime, I am called to have Faith.

Faith in His goodness.
Faith that He has our lives in his hands and will provide all that we need,
Faith.
No matter whether our circumstance is easy or hard, faith that His love is constant and sure.
Faith in His care of us.
Faith that He is present with us always, longing for us to be present with Him.
Faith that He is in control and that we should have no fear.
Faith.

Losing ourselves in God’s plan

Book CoverIn today’s world of blatant self-promotion and scrum to have one’s qualifications stand out from the rest of the crowd, Thomas Merton’s writing resonates. Critiquing his own early fervor, he said he unconsciously sought to have it ‘become spectacular’ and ‘draw attention to itself.’

In much of my world outside this virtual space, where with all of you I’m coming to understand a different way, self-promotion is often a default way of presenting oneself. Advice like, ‘if you don’t sing your own praises, who will?’ and ‘you have to be your own advocate if you want to succeed,’ are standard in many professions.

As we all become increasingly familiar with the mechanics of communicating online through various social media, there are growing numbers of folks seeking to teach us how to maximize our ‘hits’ and grow our network of friends and followers, to get the word out.

Many have worthwhile advice. But I long for there to be greater value placed on humility; for acknowledgement of the shoulders we all stood on to get where we are; for some appreciation of God’s work through each of us; for less grasping to ourselves and more embrace of shared recognition.

Merton described it this way:

The fervor of those days was special and young. It can inspire me to seek a new and different kind of fervor, which is older and deeper. This I must find. But I cannot go back to the earlier fervor or to the asceticism that accompanied it … What has begun now must grow but must never seek to become spectacular or draw attention to itself—which is what I unconsciously did in those days, proclaiming that I was a poet and a mystic. Both are probably true, but not deep enough, because then it was too conscious. I have to write and speak not as an individual who has cut himself off from the world and wants the world to know it, but as the person who has lost himself in the service of the vast wisdom of God’s plan to reveal Himself in the world and in man. How much greater, deeper, nobler, truer, and more hidden. A mysticism that appears no longer transcendent but ordinary. December 11, 1958, III.237–38

Merton, Thomas (2009-10-13). A Year with Thomas Merton (Kindle Locations 5833-5835). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

Would that the small seeds of love and appreciation that we share here as witness to God’s transcendent power in our lives were ordinary.

 

So Long Sweet Summer

Beautiful poetry and photography sooth my soul.

Wendy L. Macdonald

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So Long Sweet Summer

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So long sweet summer

I’ll miss the warmth of your sun

as autumn cools the air

and I read by the south window

under a soft wool shawl

instead of out in my garden chair

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So long sweet summer

I’ll wait patiently for your return

 when three seasons have passed

 and like a faithful lover  

 you bring me fresh flowers

because we’re reunited at last.

~

Wendy ❀ 2014 

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How can you tell that I love summer?

Thankfully there’s beauty in each season.

It’s true for the seasons of our lives too.

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I’m choosing to live in today.

So often I’ve waited for something special to happen

 only to see the unexpected take its place.

There’s beauty in the unexpected 

if I trust that God is in it.

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My prayer list has grown longer with time.

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Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are!

Tami hits a special note for me with her blog today. You too, maybe.

Lessons by Heart

Have you ever been comforted by the Lord? Have you been released from bondage, had your eyes open to things which you previously could not see? Been cleansed of sin?

Second Corinthians opens with this:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation, who consoles us in all our affliction…”

Why did He do this for us?

“… so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.” (vs. 3-4)

Frustration is running high at the moment. I’ve been searching for someone who’s been in my shoes and shown the way out of the mess.

Those who’ve never been through what I’m dealing with are able to provide some relief, but very little experiential help.

Those who have been there, done that…

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~ ❀ Friends & Roses ❀ ~

I am so humbled and cheered by Wendy’s wonderful work that marries, seemingly seamlessly, the beauty of her words and pictures. Today’s gift is about friendship, which I pass along to all of my virtual friends. Thank you to Wendy and thank you to all of you for abiding with me in this space.

Wendy L. Macdonald

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I love spending time with a friend when there’s mutual

 acceptance, appreciation, and admiration present.   

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The spider and the rose don’t have a lot in common, 

but I suspect that they’re mutually beneficial. 

The spider isn’t envious of the rose’s beauty;

 nor is the rose threatened by the spider’s cleverness.  

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I love spending time with a friend who thinks the best of me

and wants the best for me.

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I like honest friends. 

Friends that humbly warn me

 if they think I’m wandering off the path are treasures. 

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 I appreciate friends that aren’t defensive

if I lovingly warn them about straying too. 

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Is any pleasure on earth

as great as a circle of Christian friends by a good fire?  

~ C.S. Lewis

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I’ve cheated when it comes to spending time with friends.

 I…

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