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Posts Tagged ‘openness’


John 14: Seek Presence

Thursday, November 30, 2017

With the institution of the gift of Eucharist, Jesus promises that he will remain with us always. Matthew 26:26-28

With the gift of bread and wine as the real presence of Christ, the Spirit dwells in us today. Mark 14: 22-24

With the physical remembrance of transformed bread and wine, of God fulfills the promise to live among us. Luke 22:19-20

With the gift of Eucharist, or Thanksgiving, we have the way to be in the real presence of God. John 14

Richard Rohr, OFM writes: “The Eucharist is an encounter of the heart, knowing Presence through our available presence. In the Eucharist we move beyond mere words or rational thought and go to the place where we don’t talk about the Mystery anymore; we begin to chew on it. Jesus did not say, ‘Think about this’ or ‘Stare at this’ or even ‘Worship this.’ Instead, he said, ‘Eat this!’ It was to be a bodily action and a social action with the group . . . We are the very Body of Christ. We have dignity and power flowing through us in our very naked existence – and everybody else does too – even though most do not know it. This is enough to steer and empower your entire faith life”. (Rohr 299)

We can infer from these verses and Rohr’s words that realizing the true presence of God in our lives will not happen when we are alone in a quiet corner contemplating God’s existence. Rather, we best find God as we act as Christ asks us to act, when we abide in the Spirit as the Spirit urges, and when we agree to become the Body of Christ as God invites us.

Finding the True Presence, then, is more likely when we are moving through our days with Christ ever on our minds and in our hearts, hands, lips and feet. We find the presence of God when we are truly open and thankful. We encounter the presence of God when we remember that Eucharist means Thanksgiving, and when we thank God for all that we have and all we are.

Richard Rohr, OFM. A Spring Within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations. Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016.

When we use the scripture links and drop-down menus to compare varying translations of these verses, we discover the presence of God within.

 

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Romans 12:1-2: This Age

Monday, October 24, 2016pauls-letter-to-the-romans

Jesus has spoken to his own generation and he speaks to ours.

I urge you, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. (NAB)

Paul reminds us that our own generation lures us to sleep if we are not watchful.

So here’s what I want you to do. Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (THE MESSAGE)

We might call one another to holiness, to newness of the heart, to openness of the mind.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (DOUAY-RHEIMS AMERICAN)

A 17th Century depiction of Paul writing his epistles

A 17th Century depiction of Paul writing his epistles

We step outside of that familiar place where we begin as children, come to age as adolescents and form our conscience as adults. We examine our fears, our motives, our addictions and our loves. We take stock of our resources. We rest in God. When we examine our own generation, what do we have to say for ourselves? What do we have to say about this age?

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to examine other translations of these verses, we begin to see humanity’s march toward union in Christ. 

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Job 28: The Inaccessibility of Wisdom

Tuesday, September 20, 2016pearl-of-wisdom

A Favorite from September 9, 2010.

This is how we feel many times when we are at our wits end – that we have no access to wisdom, no way of figuring out where we are, where we want to go and how we will get there.  The clamor of the world quickly erases all of the serenity we stored up to carry us through the day.  We feel as though wisdom is ephemeral and unpredictable when in truth it is solid and consistent.  Wisdom – true wisdom – is always present and open to the moment.  True wisdom is the voice of God within that calms the interior and exterior turmoil just as Jesus calms the storm on the sea.  When our little boat is being swamped by gigantic waves, and when we feel that understanding is unreachable, it is time to consider how much silver, gold, copper, pearls and sapphires we have in the mine of our being.

No price can be paid for wisdom.  There is nothing that is wisdom’s equal.  Beasts have not trodden it.  It is not in the abyss.  Death does not know it.  So where is it?  And why are we enslaved by the fear of its inaccessibility?  Perhaps we do not look for wisdom in the proper place. There is only one true place for true wisdom . . . God knows the way to it, it is God who is familiar with its place. 

Click on the image to visit the Peace Partnership Counseling and Education site, or go to: http://peacecounseling.org/2016/06/01/the-oppression-of-should-the-wisdom-of-why/

 

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Sirach 3:17-29: An Attentive Ear

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Woman whispering and woman listening on a white background

These words are so simple. These words ask so little. These words bring us so much.

Be humble in everything you do, and people will appreciate it more than gifts.

God says: Listen to the words of my servant Sirach. Watch the actions of my incarnate self. Ease into the hands of my always-present Spirit. Be humble, as I am humble. You will receive more than you can imagine.

Don’t try to understand things that are too hard for you, or investigate matters that are beyond your power to know. Concentrate on the Law, which has been given to you. You do not need to know about things which the Lord has not revealed, so don’t concern yourself with them. 

God says: When I ask you to focus on the Law, I am speaking of the Law of Love that I show you in the life of Christ. Love your enemies. Gather those on the margins and tend to them. Your reward in this life and in the next is waiting for you.

Many people have been misled by their own opinions; their wrong ideas have warped their judgment.

God says: It is tempting to listen to yourself alone. While it is true that you need to test the teachers, prophets and spirits to see if they come from me, remember that listening to yourself alone is dangerous for it narrows your world. Open your ears to my voice and attend my wisdom.

Stubbornness will get you into trouble at the end. If you live dangerously, it will kill you. A stubborn person will be burdened down with troubles. 

God says: The attentive ear is always open and discerning because it spends more time listening to me than any other voice that clamors for your attention. When you listen to me, your hear good news that overwhelms the chaos of the world.

There is no cure for the troubles that arrogant people have; wickedness has taken deep root in them. Intelligent people will learn from proverbs and parables. They listen well because they want to learn.

God says: When you think more of yourself than you do of others, you cannot hear my voice. Your ear cannot attend. Your eye no longer sees the beauty that surrounds you. Put your pride behind you and follow me. Open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your heart. The peace and joy I have already planted in you will begin to grow and flourish. Hope and fidelity and love will mark you as my own.

 

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Job 6The Reply of the Innocent

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Favorite from September 6, 2009.job-innocent-suffering-300x225

It is true that sometimes we are completely innocent of any wrongdoing and yet we suffer.  One of the primary questions we ask as human beings is this:  Why is it that things sometimes go so wrong for us and so right for others?  We also ask: What have we done to deserve suffering and how do we cope without falling apart entirely?  Some of us even ask: How long can I go on?  Is life worth living?

Today we hear from Job, the man who suffers through no fault of his own.  His fidelity attracts Satan’s notice and so he becomes an object of play in the devil’s evil game.  Job describes with beautiful metaphors how quickly his friends abandon him, being undependable as a brook, as watercourses that run dry in wadies . . . [they are] caravans [that] turn aside from their routes [to] go into the desert and perish. 

In today’s Gospel (Mark 7:31-37) we hear the story of how Jesus opens ears and a throat when he says words that he also says to us: Be open!  In MAGNIFICAT, the mini-reflection for Morning Prayer reads: Jesus opened the ear of the deaf man that he might hear in a new startling way the word of salvation.  What we hear as good news, we proclaim as good news: that is our task as disciples.

How we arrive at not hearing is not important; nor is the question about why we have become silent in our isolation.  What is important is this: That one has come who releases all of us from our bondage – whether these chains have been acquired through our own action or inaction, or whether we are innocent slaves.  One has come to call us to unity, and this one calls to each of us: Be open!

Be open to a surprising newness.  Be open to pardoning and being pardoned.  Be open to miracles in our lives.  Be open to the amazing potential we possess.  Be open to proclaiming the good news that we are free and need not toil futilely.  Be open to the life of discipleship.  Be open to union in Christ, with Christ himself.  Be open . . .

This is easy to hear but difficult to do.  We might turn again to Job who knows the pain of separation . . . and also the joy of reunion.

Whether we suffer in innocence or through our own action or inaction, our reply to the one who created us can be the same.  When we hear the voice that calls, let us all answer:  We are open to the possibility that we might live again!  This is our best human reply to the divine.

And this is the greatest miracle of all . . . that whether we suffer through guilt or whether we are innocent . . . we can all be open to God . . . for we are all sought by God for to each of us he says: Be open!

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 6.9 (2009). Print.  

Click on the image above for more on the suffering of the innocent, or visit: http://www.thelakesanglican.org.au/why-does-god-allow-suffering/ 

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1 Corinthians 2:10: Scrutiny – Part II

Friday, September 9, 2016scrutiny-248x248 (1)

The Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

When a political, social or religious structure prohibits us from asking questions we need to be wary.

When friends, relatives or colleagues tell us to keep secrets we must not go along with the group.

When we are tempted to conceal truth, to fog reality or look the other way we are obliged to seek clarity and advocate for openness.

God says: Do not be afraid to scrutinize your surroundings; honest questions bring you to the truth.  Many will attempt to keep you far from me and away from the light but I can and do permeate all space.  I am present in all times.  I penetrate closed doors and I enter hard hearts. I soften stiff necks and I convert the most twisted sinner.  So do not fear inquiry; it becomes you.  Do not be afraid to allow your doubts to generate questions that will free you from fear.  I am open to each of you.  I have told you who I am and how I am.  I know all about you for I have created you in my image.  Scrutinize everything, even me.  I long to hold you within my own heart.

For more reflections, type the word Ask God or Asking God into the blog search box to see where the Spirit leads you.

A Mini-Noontime reprise, originally posted on August 28, 2012

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Sirach 51: 13-30: Pursuit of Wisdom – Part III

Saturday, September 3, 2016path-of-wisdom

Come aside to me, you untutored,
    and take up lodging in the house of instruction;

How long will you deprive yourself of wisdom’s food,
    how long endure such bitter thirst?

We remember the verses from Proverbs 9: Wisdom has set up her house and prepared her banquet.

I open my mouth and speak of her:
    gain wisdom for yourselves at no cost.

Take her yoke upon your neck;
    that your mind may receive her teaching.

Wisdom has sent her handmaidens to invite all who long for her consolation. (Proverbs 9)

For she is close to those who seek her,
    and the one who is in earnest finds her.

See for yourselves! I have labored only a little,
    but have found much.

Acquire but a little instruction,
    and you will win silver and gold through her.

Wisdom asks that we abandon our foolishness; she invites us to choose her path. (Proverbs 9)

May your soul rejoice in God’s mercy;
    do not be ashamed to give him praise.
Work at your tasks in due season,
    and in his own time God will give you your reward.

Wisdom knows that patience and openness to God bring us insight, understanding, strength and peace. Let us be faithful to the gift of God’s wisdom. Let us share in the hope of God’s Wisdom. And let us rest in the love and joy of Wisdom’s care.

Tomorrow, a prayer for Lady Wisdom.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore Proverbs 9, we hear Wisdom’s invitation to join her. For a reflection on Wisdom’s Path, click on the image above or visit: https://heartofashepherd.com/2014/12/01/proverbs-132-33-a-mans-destination-is-determined-by-the-path-he-chooses/ 

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Baruch 2: The Road to Destruction or Redemption – Part I

Tuesday, November 24, 2015road to destruction

The apocryphal book of Baruch tells us how to live in exile; and in particular Chapter 2 gives us an important, two-fold message.  It reminds us that God always fulfills promises, and it also gives us an outline of how we might make our way back to the covenant we have chosen to abandon.

In Chapters 16 to 18 of Revelation we come upon something that reminds us of the infinite forgiveness and mercy of God.  We see once again that in God all things are possible.  We have understood the importance of being faithful in small ways to God.  We have understood that closed, exclusive groups which stultify possibility and potential, darkness which hides and subsumes potential, and silence which conceals and enables deceit . . . will never conquer openness which spawns universal communion, light which calls forth authentic life lead in integrity, and praise of God which magnifies truth and joy.

Light_at_the_End_of_the_RoadIn the end, God’s will of universal openness and light leads to jubilation.  The dark world which opposes this truth germinates in envy and ends in destruction.  And those who work so hard at building up a closed empire of self rather than an open kingdom of all, bring about their own  destruction at their own hands.  We see this countless times.  What is the allure of the darkness and deceit that is so tempting?  It is the same siren call of Satan to Adam and Eve in Eden, You will be like gods . . .

There is something about the road to perdition that answers our human need to control.  There is something about this broad highway leading to the wide gate that brings comfort to those who travel it in their closed special groups.  The aching longing to be the bride who is rescued and loved by the steadfast, powerful groom is universal.  Yet we insist on filling this yearning with superficial, finite relationships which ironically do not satisfy . . . and which ultimately destroy.  We must respond to the summons of the road and choose redemption rather than perdition.

Tomorrow, Part II.

Adapted from a favorite from November 8, 2008.

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John 17:1-5: Glory, Part VIII – Unityuniversality

Sunday, July 26, 2015

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes for us Unity and Variety (12:1-14); we are accustomed to looking for those characteristics that define as unique.  Today we look at the idea of glory as found in the unity of God’s variety.

Today’s lesson on Glory: The great diversity we find in God’s creation call us to come together in unity through Christ.

It is true that there is great variety in God’s creation and that we are a part of that variety.  It is also true that many of us are uncomfortable when approached by a person or an idea that varies from what we expect or want.  Today we read this prayer of Jesus’ in which Jesus intercedes for all — and not some – of the people. So what do we do about those who are not on our invitation lists, in our lunch group or book club, on our street, in our political party or in our church pews? How do we begin to include all of creation that we have not regarded as one with  all of us?   When we hear Jesus today, we understand that he glorifies God by obeying God in making this universal call to all.

This is the call to find unity rather than division is one which we must take up and then extend to others.  This is the call that gives glory to the Father.  This is the call that we can answer if we reply with the patience, openness, and understanding of Christ.

For this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 

Let us spend time today with Jesus’s words as we consider who and what separates us from God’s glory that calls all to be one in Christ. And let us reflect on our concept of eternal life as described by Jesus.

Adapted from a reflection written on August 17, 2008.

 

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