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Posts Tagged ‘understanding’


Friday, October 8, 2021

colossians worthyColossians 1:9-12

Worthiness

We have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please God in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to God’s glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and[ patience; joyously giving thanks to the Creator, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

It is a simple task to search a Bible Concordance to look for the verses that reference the quality of worth. Both Old and New Testaments give us insight; the letters of Paul alone serve as a springboard for understanding. We might search dictionaries or leaf through entries in a thesaurus to arrive at a better appreciation of what it means to be worthy of God; multiple connotations referencing financial, personal and social worth give us a great deal to ponder.

As we go through our busy days to rest weary heads on tired pillows, we may often wonder about the concept of worth. If we are stressed in our workplace or neighborhood we may feel undervalued or over-used. If we struggle with family difficulty we might speculate about the worth of demanding relationships. In all of this tussling and turmoil there is one sacred place in which we can find rest . . . and St. Paul reminds us of this today.

We have not ceased to pray for you . . . and so we pray for one another.

Be filled with the knowledge of God’s will . . . and so we rest in the knowledge that God sees and understands all that we experience.

Spiritual wisdom and understanding . . . and so we spend time each day asking God for guidance and protection.

Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . . . and so we witness to the Gospel and look for clarity.

Strengthened with all power . . . and so we look to God for courage.

Attaining steadfastness and patience . . . and so we ask for fidelity and wisdom.

Joyously giving thanks to the Creator . . . and so we thank God for the love placed in us.

We who share in the inheritance of the saints in light . . . and so we thank God for the worthiness engendered in us.


Use the scripture link above to compare various versions of these verses, and ponder the value of worthiness

Image from: http://gracechurchin.org/sermon/colossians-47-18/

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Friday, August 27, 2021

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Bedouin Tent in the Sahara

Jeremiah 30

A Cry of Dismay

In this portion of Jeremiah’s prophecy, we have a reprise of oracles already spoken. Perhaps we need to hear this message once more. We have heard and read these words and yet, do we fully comprehend God’s promise?

The Old Testament God unleashes the storm upon those who have fallen away from the covenant. God guides, admonishes and protects. The New Testament God lives our trial with us. Jesus heals, restores and redeems. The Spirit comes to live within each of us to console, fortify and counsel.

Let us spend some time today with these verses so that we might more fully understand. Read the four Bible versions on the scripture link above, or choose others from the drop-down menus on the scripture site. Listen for God’s unique response to our own cry of dismay, and determine to rest in the peace that only God can give.

A cry of dismay we hear; fear reigns, not peace.

Be not dismayed. Behold, I will deliver you from the far-off land.

You shall again find rest, for I am with you.

“The outcast” they have called you, “with no avenger”.

See! I will restore the tents of Jacob.

When I summon you, you will approach me.

You shall be my people, and I will be your God.

See, the storm of the Lord!

When the time comes . . . you will fully understand.


To read a blog post on women in scripture dwelling in tents, click on the image above or go to: http://www.womeninthescriptures.com/2012/05/dwelling-in-tent.html

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Monday, July 26, 2021

Jeremiah 7

Abide 2Prayer for Remaining

Reform your ways and your deeds that I might remain with you in this place . . .

Put not your trust in deceitful words . . .

If each of you deals justly with your neighbor . . .

If you no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow . . .

If you no longer shed innocent blood, or follow false gods to your own harm . . .

These are words we hear from God through the prophet Jeremiah sent to us over the millennia. What might we reform? How might we speak less deceitful words? When have we oppressed those living in life’s margins? Who are our false gods? Let us take notice of ourselves, our actions and our surroundings as we pray.

Gentle and Gracious God, you visit us in this place today. We thank you for your presence.

Faithful and Loyal God, you abide with us in this time today. We thank you for your mercy.

Just and Powerful God, you strengthen us when we falter. We thank you for your fidelity.

Compassionate and Generous God, you forgive us when we stray. We thank you for your understanding.

Healing and Loving God, you restore us when we fail. We thank you for your stillness.

Constant and All-knowing God, you bind up what we tear down. We thank you for your wisdom.

We praise you for abiding. We thank you for enduring. We thank you for remaining. Amen.


For more on Jeremiah 7 and words from the mystic Adrienne von Speyr on fidelity, enter the word Remaining into the post search bar and explore.

Learn more about Von Speyr at: http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/authors/adrienne_von_speyr.asp

Image from: http://unafamiliaalaskena.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

John 14:26-27

holy-spirit-dove[1]Prayer for Understanding

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John 14:26-27)

We crave to be heard and understood yet all the while God’s counsel is before us. As we continue our Lenten journey with the prophet Amos, let us listen for the wisdom sent to us on the wings of the Spirit.

First Word: Put away black-and-white thinking. May we learn to see both sides of every story, listen to both hearts in every argument. Holy Spirit, bring us your counsel.

Second Word: Step away from corruption and nepotism. May we have the courage grapple with dishonesty in ourselves and others. Holy Spirit, bring us your fortitude.

images[9]Third Word: Be open to transformation and redemption. May we be open to the healing presence of God. Holy Spirit, nurture in us a loving awe of the Lord.

First Woe: Be wary of the ease with which violence creeps into our lives. May we grow to understand how violence insinuates itself into our lives. Holy Spirit, send us deep and lasting wisdom.

Second Woe: Be prepared for deep mourning that threatens to drag us into darkness. May we grow in faithfulness and devotion to God. Holy Spirit, instill in us fidelity and piety.

Third Woe: Turn away from your worship of little gods and turn toward the Living God. May we grow in our awareness of false teachers and preachers. Holy Spirit, engender in us deep knowledge of God’s ways.

holy spirit image[1]We crave to be heard and understood; let us listen for God’s Word . . . and let us ask for understanding of the world’s Woes. Let us give thanks to God’s prophet Amos who speaks to us today.  As we continue our Lenten journey, let us pause to listen . . . to reflect . . . and to pray, in Jesus’s name, and in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


For more information and images of the Holy Spirit, click on the images above.

For more on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, including a link to a more in-depth discussion, go to: http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/f/FAQ_Gifts_HS.htm  

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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Psalm 119:129-136

Pe

The revelation of your words sheds light,
gives understanding to the simple. Steady my feet in accord with your promise
. . .

God is revealed to us in the person of Christ, in the written word of
inspired scripture, and in us, God’s creatures fashioned in God’s own image.

God says: You struggle so much to find me and
yet I am with you always. You wear yourselves out seeking my wisdom and yet you
are filled with my Spirit of counsel and understanding. You work so hard at
imitating me yet all you must do is read my word each day to allow it to become
part of your sinew and bone. You ask for stability, predictability and
authenticity yet each of you carries within my promise fulfilled. So plant your
feet on the rock of my promise, armor yourselves with the truth of my word, and
restore yourselves with the renewal found in my promise that I have planted in
each of you.

Once we give ourselves over into God’s capable hands we experience a sense
of relief. Once we surrender to God’s great plan and time we have a sensation
of belonging. Once we allow ourselves to believe in God’s promise we find our
proper role as Children of God  . . . and we find that God has revealed
himself to us most honestly and generously.

Jesus says: I give you praise, Father, Lord
of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise
and learned you have revealed them to the childlike.  Yes, Father, such
has been your gracious will.
  (Luke 10:21)

Tomorrow, Sadhe.


For more on how Pe speaks to us of God’s word to us, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/pei.htm

 

 

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

imagesCASJ62CEPsalm 119

Message, Promise and Call

How I love your teaching, Lord! I study it all day long.

Last week we reflected on our portion as children of God.  As we examine stanzas nine through thirteen of Psalm 119, we find God’s gift to us: God’s message, promise and call.

Teth: Inversion, the Concealed Good – God’s plan is one of ideas and lives turned on their heads.  Do we see the good concealed in all harm?

Yodh: The Infinite Good – A small suspended point signifies God’s infinite goodness. Can we see this limitless good in the smallest of people and in the smallest places of creation?

Kaph: The Power to Actualize Potential – We are made in God’s image and so we have the potential to embody God’s Word.  This is our message: we are constantly called to fulfill the potential planted in us at our inception.

Lamedh: Aspiration, Contemplation of the Heart – Scholars suggest that this letter serves as a symbol of a loving student who seeks to gain wisdom from the sage or teacher and so we too, contemplate the goodness of God’s own heart.  This is our message: we are constantly drawn to God’s goodness and insight.

Mem: Fountain of Wisdom – All true wisdom that nourishes and lasts is found in God and so we rely on this wisdom as source and foundation of understanding, counsel and guidance.  This is God’s promise: Christ will always be present to us.

When we study God’s word, we encounter God’s message . . . Christ, God Among Us.

When we study God’s word, we are gifted with God’s promise . . . the Spirit, God’s Wisdom Within Us.

When we study God’s word, we give thanks for God’s goodness . . . The Creator, God’s Call to Each of Us.

Tomorrow, A Prayer to Hear God’s Message, Promise and Call.  


For a Bible reading plan, click on the image above or go to: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/27/a-bible-reading-plan-for-readers/

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Friday, January 29, 2021

MemPsalm 119:97-104

Mem

Your command makes me wiser than my foes, for it is always with me . . . I have more understanding than all my teachers, because I ponder your decrees . . . I have more insight than my elders, because I observe your precepts . . . From your edicts I do not turn, for you have taught them to me . . . How sweet to my tongue is your promise . . . through your precepts I gain insight.

God’s commands, decrees, precepts and edicts are often seen as roadblocks because they are too often presented to us by those who think in an either-or, black-white, dual way. In reality God’s law is the Law of Love bringing us wisdom, understanding, insight, sweetness and promise.

God says: If you worship with others who see me full of wrath and revenge, remember that they and I are in a conversation in which I am bringing them to my Law of Love. If you worship with others who see me as a passive force of kindness only, have patience with them as well and remember that they are afraid to see the injustices that surround them. If you find yourself impatient with my plan and its timing, remember that you and I are also in conversation and that you see only a small portion of the universe.  In the end, I make my promise to each of you, I live in union with all of you even when you turn away. Remember that I love you dearly and well. Remember my promise to you. Remember . . .

How do we struggle against our foes? How do we gain wisdom greater than our teachers and insights greater than our elders? How do we taste the sweetness of God’s promise? We rest in God daily, turn to God in every hour, live in God each moment. We read and ponder God’s Word, reflect and meditate on God’s message, enact and carry out God’s Law of Love.

The Lord’s Law of Love is pure, enduring forever.  The statutes of the law are true; all of them just; more desirable than gold, sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.  (Psalm 19:10-11)

Tomorrow, Nun.


To learn more about the letter Mem as a fountain of wisdom, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/mem.htm

 

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Monday, November 23, 2020

images[3]Psalm 92

A Hymn of Thanksgiving for God’s Fidelity

Fidelity: faithfulness, loyalty, patience, understanding, questioning and answering, dialog, forbearance, union, love.

From St. Joseph Edition of The Psalms notes: This is a didactic psalm, that is, both a praise of the Lord and an instruction of the faithful. The psalmist meditates on God’s way of acting.  His love and faithfulness are reflected in everything he does, but they must be comprehended. Ultimately the happiness of the wicked will fade like seasonal grass, whereas the lot of the righteous will be like the great trees whose roots are planted on solid ground. For the latter, new seasons are promised in the courts of God. God’s joy is like a new spring in the life of believers.

Again our theme of renewal. Again the idea that a righteous life is more difficult to live than a wicked one, but that true serenity and joy is found by struggling to live a life of justice.

I like the point in the citation above that God’s acts are a demonstration of his love and fidelity and that we must strive to comprehend this idea . . . an idea which is so difficult for so many humans . . . because fidelity is such a demanding quality . . . and we humans appear to be much too fickle and willful to comprehend its depth and true meaning.

Each day as we go through each hour, how do we as God’s creatures express God’s fidelity? How do we express God’s love? Are we faithful when it is convenient or when we have the time or energy? Do we love those who please us most? We recall Paul’s words to Timothy: I remember you constantly in prayers, night and day.  I yearn to see you again, recalling your tears, so that I may be filled with joy, as I recall your sincere faith . . .  (2 Timothy 1:3-4) This is the same letter in which Paul states that he is already poured out like a libation and there are times when we feel this pouring out rather than gratitude. But when we look at verse 3 of this psalm we see again the idea of loving God faithfully by praying day and night. And when we are spent . . . we might at least raise eyes and hands to heaven to thank God, and to ask that God lighten our load.

Prayer and petition are important as we near and enter into Advent, even when we feel spent. When we come to the end of an exhausting day, we can light one small candle in the darkness which comes so quickly at this time of year in our northern hemisphere, and we can repeat the antiphon we find as part of the Liturgy of the Hours Night Prayer: Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace, alleluia.

With this simple act and prayer we might remain faithful . . . even though we are spent. And so we pray . . .

We know that you watch over us, O Lord.  Grace us with the patience and perseverance to keep hopeful watch with you . . . as faithfully as you keep wonder-filled watch with us.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, together with the Holy Spirit. Amen.


THE PSALMS, NEW CATHOLIC VERSION. Saint Joseph Edition. New Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Company, 2004. 243. Print.

Image from: http://brotherdismas.blogspot.com/2011/05/saturday-of-4th-week-in-easter.html

Adapted from a reflection written on December 4, 2007.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Prayer[1]Daniel 10:12

Visions

Fear not.  From the first day you made up your mind to acquire understanding and humble yourself before God, your prayer was heard. 

The prophecy of Daniel is full of metaphor, symbolism and mystery and yet it is in this prophecy that we see the coming of the Son of Man predicted. (Daniel 7:13 and 8:17) Today we reprise the mysterious vision that presages so much fear and so much hope.

God says: I see that you are determined to follow me and this brings me joy.  I also see the pitfalls and obstacles in your way and this brings me sorrow.  I abide with you as always.  I accompany you through fire, pain and death.  I raise you up when you are fallen.  I restore you when are spent.  I rescue you when fire consumes you.  Did I not save my servant Daniel?  Are you not as important as he?  Read this story of Daniel and humble yourself as Daniel does.  Trust in me as this young man does.  Acquire knowledge of me as this young prophet does for you are destined to be as significant as any prophet of mine in the days of old.  Each of you is precious in my eyes.  Each of you has the potential to prophesy for me.  Each of you is welcome to take refuge in the limitless safety of my most sacred heart.  When you shelter with me your smallness expands to the boundless horizons of my mind.  When you remain in me your fears and anxieties become the sinews of my protective arms.  When you act in me your tears and sorrows dissolve into mists that nourish the dry nights of the soul.  Read about Daniel’s visions today, bring me requests, and give yourself hope for many tomorrows.  Know that I hear every prayer you utter in the turmoil of the day, in the shadows of night, in the company for friends or in the solitary stillness of your heart. 

To further explore the visions of Daniel, enter his name in the blog search bar and choose another reflection.


Image from: http://impactwithprayer.blogspot.com/2011/04/god-hears-our-prayers.html

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