Friday, December 16, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and twenty-five

Richard Rohr, Adapted from Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr, pp. 31, 11-12.
We tend to manage life more than just live it. We are all overstimulated and drowning in options. We are trained to be managers, to organize life, to make things happen. That is what built our First World culture. It is not all bad, but if you transfer it to the spiritual life, it is pure heresy. It is wrong. It doesn’t work. It is not gospel.
If Mary was trustfully carrying Jesus during this time, it is because she knew how to receive spiritual gifts, in fact the spiritual gift. She is probably the perfect example of how fertility and fruitfulness break into this world.
There is a great banquet that utterly relativizes and situates all our daily emotions, hurts, addictions, and plans. When you abide in your true Godself, as Mary did, the small self is always seen as limited, insecure, and surely good—but still passing away. We must eat from this big table to know who we really and finally are.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and twenty-four

The Essential Rumi, trans. Coleman Barks, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994, p.22.
Inside this new love, die.
Your way begins on the other side.
Become the sky.
Take an axe to the prison wall.
Walk out like somebody suddenly born into colour.
Do it now.
You’re covered with thick cloud.
Slide out the side. Die,
and be quiet. Quietness is the surest sign
that you’ve died.
Your old life was a frantic running
from silence.

The speechless full moon
comes out now.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and twenty-three

Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 191.

Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before we even know what up is. Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would define suffering very simply as “whenever you are not in control.”

All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain. If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it.

If we cannot find a way to make our wounds into sacred wounds, we invariably become negative or bitter. If there isn’t some way to find some deeper meaning to our suffering, to find that God is somehow in it, and can even use it for good, we will normally close up and close down.

Sign up for daily reflections from Richard Rohr.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and twenty-two

Steve Jobs, from a commencement speech at Stanford in 2005

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart…

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and twenty-one

Teresa of Avila, The Interior Castle

Just as we cannot stop the movements of the heavens, revolving as they do with such speed, so we cannot stop the movement of our thought. And then we send all the faculties of the soul after it, thinking we are lost, and have misused the time that we are spending in the presence of God.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and twenty

Galway Kinnell, "Saint Francis and the Sow"

The bud

stands for all things,

even for those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on its brow

of the flower

and retell it in words and in touch

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;

as Saint Francis

put his hand on the creased forehead

of the sow, and told her in words and in touch

blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow

began remembering all down her thick length,

from the earthen snout all the way

through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,

from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine

down through the great broken heart

to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering

from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:

the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

Hear the poet Galway Kinnell read his poem.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and nineteen

Cynthia Bourgeault, Love is Stronger than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls. Texas: Praxis, 2007, 186.

The Kingdom of Heaven is not higher but aliver; it is right here, just on the other side of that “terror we can just scarcely bear”’; the only thing lacking to embrace it is the depth of our hearts.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and eighteen

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype, Ballantine 1996, p. 468

What it is we are hungering for can never be fulfilled by a mate, a job, money, a new this or that. What we hunger for is of the other world, the world that sustains our lives as women. And this child-Self we are awaiting is brought forth by just this means - by waiting. As time passes in our lives and our work in the underworld, the child develops and will be born. In most cases, a woman’s nightdreams will presage the birth; women literally dream of a new baby, a new home, a new life.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and seventeen

Gerald May, Wisdom of Wilderness. New York: HarperCollins 2009, xiii-ix.

Oh my divine love, never again reassure me. I do not want to know everything will be all right. I never want to be secure again as long as I live. Give me no safety. Only give me this livingness forever, this power-of-being, though I know I will die of it, of love exploding.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and sixteen

Exodus 3:11-14

Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and fifteen

Gerald May, Wisdom of Wilderness. New York: HarperCollins 2009, xiii-ix.

I have come to hate that word [cope], because to cope with something you have to separate yourself from it. You make it your antagonist, your enemy. Like management, coping is a taming word, sometimes even a warfare word. Wild, untamed emotions are full of life-spirit, vibrant with the energy of being. They don't have to be acted out, but neither do they need to be tamed. They are part of our inner wilderness; they can be just what they are. God save me from coping. God help me join, not separate. Help me be with and in, not apart from. Show me the way to savoring, not controlling. Dear God, hear my prayer: make me forever copeless.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and fourteen

Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, Trans. Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996, 119.

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,

then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,

go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like flame

and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.

Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.

You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and thirteen

John 11: 1-45, NRSV Translation

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.

Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him.

Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.” Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and twelve

From The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks. New York: HarperCollins, 1995, p. 260.


Your grief for what you’ve lost lifts a mirror
up to where you’re bravely working.

Expecting the worst, you look, and instead,
here’s the joyful face you’ve been wanting to see.

Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open,
you would be paralyzed.

Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding,
the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated
as birdwings.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and eleven

Hadewijch of Antwerp, quoted in For Lovers of God Everywhere: Poems of the Christian Mystics, ed. Roger Housden, Carlsbad, CA: Hay House, 2009, 60.

The madness of love
Is a blessed fate;
And if we understood this
We would seek no other:
It brings into unity
What was divided,
And this is the truth:
Bitterness it makes sweet,
It makes the stranger a neighbor,
And what was lowly it raises on high.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and ten

Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert, (New York: New Directions, 1960) p. 43.

A brother came to Abbot Pastor and said: Many distracting thoughts come into my mind, and I am in danger because of them. Then the elder thrust him out into the open air and said: Open up the garments about your chest and catch the wind in them. But he replied: This I cannot do. So the elder said to him: If you cannot catch the wind, neither can you prevent distracting thoughts from coming into your head. Your job is to say No to them.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and nine

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. Stephen Mitchell, trans. New York: Vintage, 1986, p.41-2.

Therefore, dear Sir, love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away, you write, and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast. And if what is near you is far away, then your vastness is already among the stars and is very great; be happy about your growth, in which of course you can’t take anyone with you, and be gentle with those who stay behind; be confident and calm in front of them and don’t torment them with your doubts and don’t frighten them with your faith or joy, which they wouldn’t be able to comprehend. Seek out some simple and true feeling of what you have in common with them, which doesn’t necessarily have to alter when you yourself change again and again; when you see them, love life in a form that is not your own and be indulgent toward those who are growing old, who are afraid of the aloneness that you trust.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and eight

Stephen Mitchell, A Book of Psalms, Selected and Adapted from the Hebrew. New York: HarperPerennial, 1993, 4.

Even in the midst of great pain, Lord,

I praise you for that which is.

I will not refuse this grief

or close myself to this anguish.

Let shallow men pray for ease:

“Comfort us; shield us from sorrow.”

I pray for whatever you send me,

and I ask to receive it as your gift.

You have put a joy in my heart

greater than all the world’s riches.

I lie down trusting the darkness,

for I know that even now you are here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and seven

Matthew 10:8

Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and six

Wendell Berry, from "Sabbaths 2001", in Poetry, Vol 181, No. 1, pp. 6-8.

Sit and be still
until in the time
of no rain you hear
beneath the dry wind's
commotion in the trees
the sound of flowing
water among the rocks,
a stream unheard before,
and you are where
breathing is prayer.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and five

Simone Weil, from "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God" in Waiting For God. New York: Harper & Row, 1951, 105.

The key to a Christian conception of studies is the realization that prayer consists of attention. It is the orientation of all the attention of which the soul is capable toward God. The quality of the attention counts for much in the quality of the prayer. Warmth of heart cannot make up for it. The highest part of the attention only makes contact with God, when prayer is intense and pure enough for such a contact to be established.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and four

Gregory Orr, Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2005.

To be alive

To be alive: not just the carcass

But the spark.

That's crudely put, but…

If we're not supposed to dance,

Why all this music?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and three

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation (San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2000), 55.

If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a creative tension between our limits and our potentials. We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials God gave us. We must take the no of the way that closes and find the guidance it has to offer -- and take the yes of the way that opens and respond with the yes of our lives.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and two

Philip Novak, “Developing Your Awareness,” in Inner Knowing, ed. Helen Palmer. New York: Tarcher, 1998.

The mere act of trying to hold the mind to a single point, an act with which higher forms of meditation begin, teaches the beginner in a radically concrete and experiential way that he or she has little or no control over the mental flow. All attentional training starts with this failure. This is the first great step in the work of objectifying the mental flow, that is, of seeing it not as something that “I” am doing but something that is simply happening.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred and one

Arthur Green, Your Word Is Fire. New York: Schocken Books, 1977, pp.15-16.

Any teaching that places such great emphasis on total concentration in prayer must . . . deal with the question of distraction. What is a person to do when alien thoughts enter his mind and lead him away from prayer? . . . The Ba’al Shem Tov . . . spoke against the attempts of his contemporaries to . . . do battle with distracting thoughts . . . He taught that each distraction may become a ladder by which one may ascend to a new level of devotion . . . God is present in that moment of distraction! And only he who truly knows that God is present in all things, including those thoughts he seeks to flee, can be a leader of prayer.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lectio Divina - One hundred

From President Barack Obama’s Tucson Memorial Speech, January 12, 2011

For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man's mind.

So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

But what we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

After all, that's what most of us do when we lose someone in our family - especially if the loss is unexpected. We're shaken from our routines, and forced to look inward. We reflect on the past. Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lectio Divina - Ninety-nine

Francis Vaughn and Roger Walsh, “Technology of Transcendence,” in Inner Knowing, ed. Helen Palmer. New York: Tarcher, 1998, p.

The sixth quality cultivated by the technology of transcendence is wisdom, which is something significantly more than knowledge. Whereas knowledge is something we have, wisdom is something we become. Developing it requires self-transformation. This transformation is fostered by opening defenselessly to the reality of “things as they are,” including the enormous extent of suffering in the world. In the words of the psalms, this is the recognition that we are “as dust . . . our lives are but toil and trouble, they are soon gone, they come to an end like a sigh’ (Psalm 90); “what man can live and never see death?” (Psalm 89)