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Mothering Nature I was shown something the other day.  In one way I had the feeling that I knew this already.  But in another way, it shocked me. I mulled it over for an entire day.  And still land on it at times. The Earth as a rational, sentient wholeness that can not only live in harmony with Man, but can understand his needs and respond to them. I spent my childhood sitting in fields of long grass and walking miles through the...

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I feel as though I have been being built all my life. At first, clearly, it was God doing the building. But as his absolute nature of being the Builder diminished and I was left, more and more to participate in the process, I became, understandably, increasingly doubtful of who I am. Sometimes what I was working on mystically would come crashing down so hard that I thought I was at the very beginning of my flight into the world,...

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The Faithfulness of God I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray.  I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and reassure you. (Isaiah 46:4) Life is long and hard.  Especially when you are aligned with God. For Jesus, his “life” was only about three years long.  The life of his ministry.  The life of his walking God into the world. There were no gray hairs on his head the...

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1 Last night the geese came back, slanting fast from the blossom of the rising moon down to the black pond. A muskrat swimming in the twilight saw them and hurried to the secret lodges to tell everyone spring had come. And so it had. By morning when I went out the last of the ice had disappeared, blackbirds sang on the shores. Every year the geese, returning, do this, I don’t know how. 2 The curtains opened and there was an old man in...

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And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9a) I always thought that were I ever to encounter romantic love—in myself for another, in another for me—even if it meant turning my back on God and all his being, I would choose love. Love over God. I am spiritually gifted.  Magnificently so. And I live on Earth. Where other’s rejection of me because of this...

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The Smallest Creatures And Their Mess I feel like my whole life has been defined by bugs. I suppose I should feel like it has been defined by God. But I don’t. It’s the bugs. They are always there. Even when you don’t want them to be. But, then, why would I ever want them to be there? I grew up on the coast of Maine, a state where its greatest boast is that in the long, long winters THERE ARE NO BUGS. No bugs when I...

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The Big Future Hope is that smoothness that helps to ease your thoughts into the future. It might come to us unbidden.  A chance thought that catches our attention. If only…. Or, Perhaps…. It will be there when I get there. Or, maybe he will be there. Or, even, I might get to do it. All possibilities. That open the door in our mind that allows us enter the world that hasn’t been yet. A world of dreams that come to life in our...

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Undeserved Love So the servant came back and reported these things to his master.  Then, in anger, the master of the house told his servant, “Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the city, and bring in here the poor, maimed, blind, and lame.” (Luke 14:21) The uninvited. Perhaps that is what grace is. Or what it feels like. A random gifting. I haven’t eaten anything solid in over three weeks and here you are...

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(by Linda Barton) Bhutan, November 2000 The young boy Maybe seven grabbed my hand In the dark Held it tight Tighter than I have ever been held He led me through a small gate We were crushed and I worried for him His size I wondered why me He wanted something from me Not what I had expected But to tell me to Go slow Be careful and watch for my life His body shook and I knew He feared for his I moved slowly He pulled me past the others...

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Defilement When I first thought about this subject matter I couldn’t really get a hold of it. Isn’t every space that exists a sacred space? Hasn’t God created everything, making it so? And then when I sat down to think about it some more, an image came to me.  And it led me to see what I really believe about sacred spaces. Now right off the bat, there really is a difference between personal sacred spaces and...

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(by Ziggy Rendler-Bregman) When I am silent it is possible to see particles of dust collide without making a sound, each speck of carbon from the bone of some fallen bird. When I am silent it is possible to hear how song lines flatten the edge of time, my own heartbeat below the bridge, where a stream with its memory of cloud flows into a deeper river. When I am silent it is possible to take the smallest hand and walk the garden wall...

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(by Johanna Courtleigh) I close my eyes to see myself there in the darkness where my heart begins her breathing. I am breath. The give and take of planets and trees. The rise and fall of tides. The painted skies of dawn and sunset. The chrysalis opening. The cocoon giving forth to wing. I sit in the darkness and speak my name. I call myself back. Name myself as though I am the mother. Hold my breath in the quiet of my arms. Cradle and...

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Ida It’s funny, choosing my own grandmother to be a saint. She was my nemesis as a child.  The person who stood between me and myself.  Who did her best to block any affirmation and acknowledgement coming my way. It is funny because just the writing of the above sentence caused an image to flash through me.  It was of my grandmother as a child herself. Second to the youngest.  Three older sisters, one older brother.  I know from...

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(by Kimberly Childs) I’m finding God in the dark places The old age home with its stench of feces A truck’s shadow concealing an oil-drenched rainbow Shiny supermarket fruit have no flavor Give me an orange persimmon bruised brown The avocado’s rough rind reveals creamy green Things are not what they seem Disaster is a gift wrapped in grief Loss is an addition of great value Look at the one who weeps And see their...

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Raise Me Up, Lord. I have strong feelings about sidewalks. Having grown up in the country—so country that most of the road I lived on wasn’t paved—in that setting I have no problem with taking a walk with the dogs down the middle of the road.  Or on a leaf-strewn path through the woods. But get me to a place where there are more cars than trees and I get more demanding about what my feet land on when I am outside and getting...

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Turning Inside Out We have an insides.  And we have an outsides.  And, in the usual manner of things, the outsides are what is valued.   The look.  The sound.  The actions. Yes, we manage to say, from time to time, that someone is beautiful on the inside.  But does that comment ever have any real impact on anyone? But we are in ordinary time and ordinary life when we care about our appearance.  Our behavior.  Our life. When we step...

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The Body And The Blood When I sat still for a few minutes and wondered where was my favorite place to pray, at first I felt a bit defeated.  I have prayed in all sorts of places.  Fields.  Bus stations. Chapels.  Cathedrals.  Church after church after church.  Walking down the street.  The big stuffed chair in my room. How could I choose a favorite place? But after a few minutes of prayer, ironically enough, I saw before me the small...

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Peering Through As a mystic I feel as though I spend much of my time in the dark.  It is a place that shares more with worlds that exist in cartoons than with what we experience in our world every day.  There is a lot of slipping and sliding around. Silence is crucial.  Knowing how to detect something around you so that you can become still is necessary for survival. In spite of the increased challenge in finding my way around,...

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Intimacy There is a meal that offers us a sacred intimacy with God. And with our neighbors. And with those we have never even met before. How amazing it is that during this season of Lent, we are free to feast with God any time that we wish. We do not have to measure our participation in the meal. We do not have to question what is being served. We are free to accept all that the altar-table offers us. It is a meal with Jesus. And a...

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The Echo Of Hate There is something that is left after you have forgiven someone.  And what is left feels like ashes. Soft flakes of what you can pick up after all that emotion has been burnt away. Forgiveness can be very efficient at deleting from your mind and heart and soul that shackle that kept you folding over in pain at the memory of the event. Forgiveness can be the key.  But what is left over when you are free has its own...

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly The Good The Good thing about quiet is the beautiful music that is there.  The swirling tones that enfold you. The Good thing about quiet is how I can hear better what you are thinking and feeling when you aren’t speaking to me.  The quiet has its own voice.  Its own knowledge. Its own approach to life.  It can go inside you to places that you aren’t even aware exist.  The Good thing about...

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(by Henri J. Nouwen) Do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. You might be afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant....

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(by A. F. Learmont) OSL stands for The Order of Saint Luke. When healing is mentioned, the first thought is usually the physical state of the body, a particular ailment or affliction; thus concentration of thought is purely on the physical. Man, however, is not wholly a physical being. Basically, he is a spiritual being. He has been created in the likeness and image of God, and God is a Spirit. God formed man out of a living soul....

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(by Joe Simmons, SJ) This past weekend witnessed the canonization of seven new saints in Rome.  For holy men or women to be recognized as capital-S Saints in the Roman Catholic Church, typically two miracles need to be attributed to their intercession.  Usually these come when someone is healed without an easy medical explanation. Call me the modern skeptic, but I always found this litmus test to be… well… troubling, I guess.  In my...

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Round Tones It’s almost onomatopoeia: sounding like its meaning. Like the word, buzz. OW— on the way to an OU-ch. It always strikes me when words contradict themselves. Take the word, rock: As a noun it means something that is absolutely stationary. As a verb it means to be in movement. Radical movement. Movement with sharp edges. So, back to groaning. That can be agony. Or joy. Or so I’m told. It’s fun to see what...

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