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Book of the Month: Schola Caritatis: Learning the Rhythms of God's Amazing Love

  Starting a new feature for the next several months called Book of the Month.  I will present one of my books and tell you a little of the ...

Friday, May 27, 2022

with open hands

There is a certain movement to the life of the Spirit within us; a movement that has been written about by the saints and poets and pilgrims for centuries.  It is the movement from clenched fists to open hands.  It is a movement that involves letting go of the things that fill and dominate and consume and control our inner space, so that we can make room for the Spirit to speak, move and act. 

It all starts with a willingness to see, and then to release, what is old and tired and broken down and worn out, in order to receive what is new and beautiful and vibrant and alive.  You would think that it would be an easy choice.  You would think that we would be eager to let go of such things, but you would be wrong.  Opening our hands requires great courage and conviction.  We are far too attached to what is comfortable and familiar, even if it is also destructive and dysfunctional.

Give me the courage, Lord Jesus, to completely open my hands to you.

 


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

opening our hands

jesus opened his hands
to the will of the father
and calls us to do the same

we can either 
open them voluntarily
or he can open them for us
but one way or another
it’s going to happen

letting go is one of
the most significant
movements of life with God

if we never learn to let go
if we never open our hands
we can never hope to receive
what the father wants to give us
after all only empty hands can receive

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

get a move on

“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity.” (Heb. 6:1) 

There is such a beautiful and terrifying invitation in that statement; something we all deeply want, yet something we are afraid to move toward.  Most likely that’s because what it’s going to take to get to that next level of maturity is costly.  It is not nearly as costly, however, as it is incredible.  It is oh so worth it! 

We live in a world that seeks minimum investment for maximum return.  Unfortunately, spiritual maturity doesn’t work that way.  Maybe that’s why so many seem stuck or stagnate in their lives with Jesus; they are simply unwilling to invest, or endure, whatever it takes to get to the next level of maturity—especially if it involves moving downward rather than upward.  And make no mistake about it, spiritual maturity almost always comes about as a result of descent rather than ascent.  It’s the Jesus way. 

The strange thing is that when we finally muster the courage to follow his leading, wherever that might be, we find that the way downward is actually the way to freedom and life, if we are willing to take that step.  What does stepping toward maturity look like for you these days?

Lord Jesus, give me the courage to take that next step toward spiritual maturity, whatever it may look like.  Amen.

Friday, May 13, 2022

so good

 Have always loved this piece.  It's really beautiful and a little terrifying.  I don't know about you, but I tend to choose what is comfortable and familiar, rather than what will mold and stretch and form me into the image of Jesus.  Luckily, he will not let me get away with that for long.


I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,
--and I still don’t know how it happened—
the sea came.
Without warning.

Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,
less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew then, there was neither flight, nor death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbors,
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

Breathing Under Water by Sr. Carol Bieleck, RSCJ


Tuesday, May 10, 2022

stigmata

could it be
that the deepest
union with Christ

comes not through ecstasy
but through suffering

him knowing my pain
and me knowing his

Monday, May 9, 2022

one thing

“You still lack one thing…” (Luke 18:22)

It is easy to say that Jesus is our one thing, but it is much more difficult to live as if that were true.  All we have to do is look carefully at our lives, they will tell us the truth.  Whatever we spend most of our time and energy thinking about, consumed with, worrying over, building, defending, and protecting—that is our one thing.  And any “one thing” that we put before Jesus is a disordered affection.  Jesus demands to be our first and truest affection, not just one of many.  That’s exactly what he is trying to tell the rich young ruler: “If you put anything before me, then it is your God.  So take your pick, the choice it up to you.”

Lord Jesus, don’t let me fool myself; show me what my one thing is.  And if it is anything other than you, then please give me the strength and the courage and the grace to leave it behind and follow you.  Amen.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

disruption

when i really
come to believe in
the goodness of
your heart

i will be convinced
that disruption is
not about frustration
but invitation