Archive for August, 2012

Prayer in six directions

We turn to the east an face the rising sun. God is praised for the gift of new life, of new days, of youth, of beginnings.

Turning towards the south, thanks are given for those people, events and things which warm our lives and help us to grow and develop.

The sun sets in the west, and so we praise God for sunsets, nights, for the endings in our lives.

As we face the north, we remember the challenges and difficulties in life.

Bending down to touch mother earth, we praise the Creator for the things which sustain our lives.

Finally, as we gaze into the sky, we thank God for our hopes and dreams.

Centered in the Creator’s universe, we remember God’s mighty deeds in our lives and can thus move into the future.

— Michael Galvan, “Prayer in six directions: An Ohone (Native American) way of prayer”, in Hannah Ward and Jennifer Wild, Human Rites, p. 24.


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Cherished by God

…the desiring heart finds true fulfillment in enabling the happiness of others: in hospitality and openness to the other we recover the joyous possibilities of our interconnected selves. We long for authentic experiences of Sacred Presence. We long too for the healing of those broken communities in which we now feel trapped. We long for communities practicing relations of intimacy and mutuality. All of this comes together in our yearning for justice. Our longing for reconciliation and an end to violence is realized only by the prioritizing of justice. Longing for water, longing for life and longing for God come together in a resting place where desires are satisfied and fulfilled in justice for vulnerable communities and the earth’s own economy. This is our yearning, our hope: that the earth’s woundedness will be over and together we shall know each other in a flowing world where our yearnings are realized in truth, peace and love. Only then will we awaken to a deeper yearning, and know ourselves held and cherished by the desire of God.

— Mary C. Grey, Sacred Longings, p. 211-12

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Caring for the earth

Rather than presuming that this world is disposable, that we merely pass through on our way to eternal bliss, could we develop an ethics of care which extends to all forms of life, and the very possibility of there being a future life? Christian hope can have no higher longing than the coming of the kingdom of peace and justice. But this very ideal is placed within the rhythm that our lives be surrendered to the mercy and hope of God, source of life. It may be that the very possibility of heaven depends on a resurrection story for the earth itself.

— Mary C. Grey, Sacred Longings, p. 147-8

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Spiritual direction

On a fundamental level, spiritual direction is a dance that is attuned to the rhythm of the Holy Spirit. On the practical level, the spiritual director needs to be attuned to the spiritual directee’s unique rhythms, which in turn emerge from the person’s unique faith and daily experiences. The art of tuning to the spiritual directee’s rhythms requires the spiritual director to carefully listen, as reflected in openness and sensitivity, to the spiritual directee’s various cultures.

— Jung Eun Sophia Park, “Cross-Cultural Spiritual Direction: Dancing with a Stranger”, in Presence, Vol. 18, No. 3, Sepbtemer 2012, p. 49

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Sacred longing

And I was wanting nothing and

it was fullness and it was like aching for God

and it was touch and warmth and

darkness and no time and no words and we flowed

and I flowed and I was not empty

and I was given up to the dark and

in the darkness I was not lost

and the wanting was like fullness and I could

hardly hold it and I was held and

you were dark and warm and without time and

without words and you held me.

— Janet Morley, All Desires Known, (London 1988), p. 56

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Light burning bright

By keeping our eyes on God, by listening in prayer, we grow more deeply aware of God’s unconditional love — that God cares for us more than the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. Through prayer we become aware of the deepest mystery of life — that God is all in all, that God is a rock and refuge, that God’s kingdom of holiness is within us and within each person we meet.

The familiar story of the lilies of the field presents to us a vital challenge — a challenge which we encounter daily. This challenge is wrapped in the blanket of a decision: a choice to live life to its fullness as a mystery, or to live life in its smallness as a problem. If we choose to view and live life as a problem, the kingdom of God cannot live deeply within us; God’s way of holiness grows dim. If we choose to perceive and live life as a mystery, then the kingdom of God will be vibrant and alive within and around us. We will be a strength for others, a light burning bright in so much darkness in the world.

— Maureen Conroy, RSM, Journey of Love, p. 64

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Hand in hand with the experience of conversion is the process of purification. As our hearts change and we begin to surrender to God’s shaping us, we need to be purified in the more subtle, seemingly unknown areas of our hearts. God’s grace penetrates the dark crevices of our being and brings them into the light. The process of purification can sometimes be painful as we become more deeply aware of our sinfulness and our need to be cleansed. However, when we are bathed in God’s overflowing love and rooted deeply in God’s gracious heart, then this process becomes a gentle, life-giving movement.

This experience of purification is portrayed by one of the steps of the potter forming the vessel. One time-consuming step is the potter working out the air bubbles in the clay. The potter spends hours, with his hands getting dirtier and dirtier, working out the impurities in the clay. The vessel must be free of all air bubbles for it to become a masterpiece. Our God acts the same way in us. God enters lovingly into the core of our sinfulness to work out all our impurities, all our “air bubbles.” Truly, “we are the work of your hands.”

— Maureen Conroy, RSM, Journey of Love, p. 10-11

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