Posts Tagged With: Therese of Lisieux

Wake Up? Do I Have To?

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Our new rescue pup, MayBelle, is a delight and a handful. Although she’s supposedly 4 years old, she is in many ways experiencing puppyhood with us. Like a puppy, she goes from wild to zonked out. The pic here caught her sincere question: “Do I really have to wake up now?”

I wonder if that’s a question for all of us, along our way.  Do I really have to wake up now?  Can’t I sleep through this?  Sometimes in our lives, for many reasons, we may deliberately elect to keep sleeping.  Perhaps more often, we may have habits which anesthesize us:  mindless activity, lots of TV or video, looping and repetitive thought patterns, addictions of various types, aggression in word or deed, even relationships where we’ve given over our freedom and simply echo another.

Every major world religion speaks of waking up (in some form) as entry to spiritual practice and fullness, integrity of vision and action.  Most of us who name ourselves disciples don’t wake up just once.  We are going along – really committed to our journey, to deepening faith, to living what we profess – and discover, often to our chagrin, that we have stumbled upon yet another way we resist or zone out or shirk freedom or live less than we truly desire. Whether it is due to fear, pain, lukewarmness, laziness, pride, regret,or listening to voices that lie to us about who we truly are…. We are nodding off – again.

The waking up we are invited to requires our persistence, certainly, but more – a huge helping of grace accepted and leaned upon. And a looking and listening in the right direction.

If we truly want to stay awake (hmmm…didn’t Jesus advise that?), the best way is to take a shortcut.  Look to Jesus. Remember the Creator of all is in relationship with us personally.  Listen to the Spirit, Companion-Dweller, wondrously living and forming us and praying for and with us from within.  And lean on this Trinity to be our alarm clock.  Stop doing it on our own steam.  Let God be our ongoing wake up call, just by confiding always,  leaning heavily, asking for the love and help always available to all of us.

St.  Therese of Lisieux referred to Jesus as her elevator who lifted her, as she was unable. She – like many saints – rejoiced in being small.  It showed God’s tender faithfulness in reaching into their littleness. (“For God has looked with favor on his lowly servant” – Luke, Magnificat.) If we acknowledge our attachment to sleepiness, our fears, our paralysis, our littleness, God will meet us there.  In fact God already does, we just forget and need to be re-minded (metanoia – no worries, also God’s work in us). 

Do I really have to wake up now?  Absolutely not.  But if we do ask this grace to wake and stay awake – and let God’s great love (grace) help us in the middle of our patterns and experiences and thoughts that keep us captive sleepers – our perspective, words, values, decisions may change. We will find the courage directly from the source of our life and love, letting go of our inabilities and leaning in to God’s great sufficiency. Then, a prayer typed up for me by a young student decades ago will not only make sense, but have the wings to carry us.

Lord, I am at the end of all my resources. Child, you are just at the beginning of mine!

What joy and comfort! Believing and KNOWING this to be true, we can be in each moment awake, happily humble, with abundance to share.

These words will not only make sense, but circle us with truth we can live in and from:

The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw – and knew I saw – all things in God and God in all things.
– Mechtild of Magdeburg

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And yes, MayBelle loves living “awake” too!

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Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Why Not Live Our Whole Life as a Dance?

SAMSUNGJOY!  SMILES!  DANCING!  Advent (and LIFE!) practices!

This year I have been reading a number of ancillary works on Therese of Lisieux, my ‘confirmation saint’ and one of my (thank God, many!) familiar companions within the communion of saints.  As I finished one of these texts today, I came across an excerpt of a song that I wanted to share with you all, as Advent’s O Antiphons draw us daily closer to the celebration of the mystery of the Incarnation.

Joy, rooted in utter confidence in God’s mercy and love, was for Therese a way of expressing her love of God.  She invited the novices she mentored to PRACTICE SMILING.  This joy of which Therese spoke was not for her – or for her novices, or us – the absence of suffering or the presence of comfort and consolation. It is a way of making concrete our gratitude for God’s tenderness with us and for us, and God’s entering into everyday companionship with us.  It is a way of making concrete – literally – with our faces – our trust (or desire to trust) the Abba that the Babe of Bethlehem will tell us about and connect us with in wondrous ways.  It is a “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” sung in the very everydayness of each of our lives – from laundry and dishes to errands and bill paying, from creative work to doldrum must-dos, from loving and caring to weeping and mourning.

In a time when we hear of Laughter Yoga meetings and the great value of humor and lightheartedness for our health, it strikes me that this young Carmelite friend tutors us to live this in a very grounded way.

thereseLife brings moments of happiness and of suffering — seasons sometimes of both.  Our weaknesses and sufferings Therese sees as opportunities to both let God lift and carry us (Jesus’ arms as the elevator, as she puts it), and as ways to give our lacks of courage or downright failures or very difficult pains to God who can meet and transform and use these.  Her confidence in God’s love – felt or not – is a reciprocity to this extravagant love she has received.  And she insists that that confidence should appear in our manner of speaking, walking, talking – and appear on our faces!  Smiling and communicating a positive presence are possible for us to choose — and they make a difference in others’ days as well as enhancing our own.  Truth is more that whatever this moment’s emotion, pain, joy, work, delight, grief bring.  Truth is that we are “rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians).  Will we choose to inform our way of being with this truth, and so communicate Good News?  Evangelize, if you will.

What better way to prepare a way, these last days of Advent, for our hearts to welcome the Child of Christmas with true eyes that see hope and wonder?  God enters our vulnerable flesh, our everydayness, our seasons and moments.  Can we live in the reflection of that joy, that gift?  Can we inform our faces?  Our lives?  Our tones of voice?  Our interactions and chores?  Our work?

Can we just smile?  How about practicing that this week — all of us?  Perhaps we might find we can do more than smile…. we can make of life a dance!  Or better, we can wake up and say yes to dancing, as our Dance Partner stands by with hands and arms outstretched, inviting our entering in.

Check out this prayer/song, from the text on Therese of Lisieux.  May we celebrate being here and now – alive as we are in this moment, with whatever music is playing!

“Teach us, Lord, to put on anew every day
Our human condition
Like a ball gown, that makes us love about you
All its small details like indispensable jewelry.

Make us live our lives –

Not like a game of checkers, where everything is calculated,

Not like a sports match, where everything is difficult,

Not like a theory that breaks our head –

But like a feast without end
Where the encounter with you is being renewed
Like a ball,
Like a dance,
In the arms of your grace,
To the universal music of love.” *

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us!  May we open our hearts to learn this lesson, this way.  

* [1] Song sung by Madeleine Delbre (1904-1964):  Nous autres, gens des rues.  Quoted in Therese of Lisieux and Marie of the Trinity: The Transformative Relationship of St. Therese of Lisieux and her novice, Sister Marie of the Trinity,  by Pierre Descouvement, trans. By Alexandra Plettenberg-Serban

Categories: Advent, Carmelite, Saints | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dazed to Dancing: Depending Disciples

United with the moment by moment story of Holy Week, today an empty tomb and a Jesus transformed turns we dazed disciples to dancing delighters.  Jesus is raised!  Abba has raised him!  Some have seen, others believed, many have witnessed – and we rejoice!  Hearts just broken are invited to soar!

“You changed my mourning into dancing!” (Ps. 30:12) 

In the midst of the Easter Vigil last evening, a few verses (of so many) particularly caught me.  In Exodus 14, Moses instructs the complaining freed and fearful Israelites, who are thinking it might have been better for them to be slaves in Egypt:  “Fear not!  Stand your ground, and you will see the vistory the Lord will win for you today.  These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.  The Lord himself will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

So many places in scripture remind us that it is God who acts.  Our job is to know ourselves as little, dependant, blessed, cared for, provided for, precious, called, chosen – and to not get in the way.  Remain.  Be still.  Keep still.  Watch.  Wait.  Be Awake.  In the midst of the holy night we have just commemorated, the mystery shows Jesus in wait.  It is Abba who comes to the tomb.  It is God who raised Jesus from the dead.  God’s name is faithfulness, presence, life, love, hope.

Therese of Lisieux comes to mind here.  She knew herself as little, and that littleness was great, as it highlighted the greatness of God who cared for her.  It made her a child who ran to the arms of Jesus whenever she needed to be lifted, calling his arms her elevator, as she had no way to climb any height of perfection.  Her perfection was in trust and leaning, depending and hoping, and in knowing it was God’s desire that would make her whole and holy.  “All is grace.”

Yesterday we noted the women who remained by the tomb, feeling what they felt, being near the One they loved.  Loss has stilled them.  And Jesus, with all human life poured out, had been carried and closed in that tomb, more than stilled.  Past the point of waiting, in death the utter emptiness of the house of his body cries out:  Where has he gone?  Where are you hiding?  And the one Jesus named Abba answers first with ripped curtain and thunder clap – and then with rolled stone and empty burial cloths.  He is NOT here!  He has been raised!  He goes before you!  Do not look for him among the dead.  Go!  He will come to you!

Jesus ever goes before us.  His living and dying and rising are his own – and they are ours.  United with him, we disciples live too these mysteries.  And we remember that dancing is the proper response to what God does in our lives.  Leaping and spinning are in order (see last year’s Easter blog post at https://inspirited.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/leap-and-spin/ or Northumbria Community’s reading for Easter).  Emotionally the change is a quick one, and we sputter and breathe to catch up.  All the pain of Friday (Jesus’ and ours – and all the world’s and creation’s) is more than real, but the real-est real, the truest true, the surest sure is the glory of this day, the amazement of God’s action and life, the eternal of the Creator of the Universe’s specific invitation to union with the Trinity in love and forever.

All chains break.  All tears shared, held precious, and resolved in laughter.  All ruptures healed.  All limping mended.  All lacks filled.  All thirst quenched.  All hunger satisfied.  All darkness enlightened.  All longing filled.  And because this is all provided by a lavish God whose very identity is an extravagant insanely committed love, the abundance is WAY over the top.  (Like 5 loaves and 2 fish making TONS of leftovers!).  And we can collaborate with it!  That is our mission and call!  Alleluia!

Can we touch this amazement today?  Perhaps we can be reassured by Moses’ words.  “These Egyptians whom you see today you will never see again.”  Whatever makes us each fear re-capture by what hounds us, and tempts us to despair and to settle for a known enslavement  – this we are rescued from.  Depend on the God who acts in raising Jesus, who whirls and dances with and over our coming to him with his Beloved son.  And dance your way to serve and tend and care for – his sheep, the earth, the poor, your family, the annoying, the hurting, the old, the young.

“Fear not…be not discouraged!  The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in his love.  He will sing joyfully because of you as one sings at festivals…  At that time I will bring you home…  when I bring about your restoration beofre your very eyes, says the Lord.”  (Zephaniah 3: 16b-20 excerpts)

God brings about our restoration, our rescue, our redemption.  We may not even know what that means.  And that’s alright.  Regardless, we can learn to lean and remain and be still.  We can put on our dancing shoes and kick up some joy!  We can pray to depend when we’re dazed, to trust when we feel tried, and to look for the evidence of the loving gathering raising action of the Creator of all.  And we can tend to one another in this confidence.

Happy Easter one and all!  And may the season bless you with new ways to be, a new joy, and a closeness and peace in the presence of the Risen Jesus.  Measuring the mystery is useless.  Dancing the delight as disciples – this can lighten our hearts and be witness of a something more we still are learning about.  Blessed Easter journeyings.

Categories: General | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

While We Know Joy, God Discovers Tears: WITH-ness this Lent

In a stable Mary holds her infant son, and wonders at his crying.  The story tells of shepherds, of wise men/kings, of angels and Glorias, the Star, and of celebrating on the part of all the human witnesses.  And Jesus cries, as all babes do – and Mary must have listened – aware of her son, aware of this son – and pondered the mystery.  God takes on human flesh.   “Mary… is stunned at what the exchange is meaning: while [man] is getting to know joy, God is discovering tears.” *

What has this to do with Lent?  It’s the Christmas story.  But we know that incarnation and self-donation and presence and cross and resurrection are all of a piece.  As one Advent hymn lyrically captures 2 Corinthians 8:  “He became poor, that we might be rich: Flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone”.  God’s great desire to be one with us creates the salvation we so long for, and the way home.  God’s desire for us and this salvation are quite literally way and truth and life to us in the here and now.  God, willing to enter tears and joy and all humanity, redefines love.  With Gospel eyes, we can’t miss this love in Jesus.  If only we take off our too-familiar-with-the-stories presuppositions and perspectives.  This is where seeing like children (as Jesus often encourages), with fresh wonder, is essential. 

What if we ask to have the scales fall from our older eyes so that we might truly see the following? 

Faith means literally to set one’s heart by (as has been explored in pre-Lent posts): and we are not the only or the first ones to set our hearts.  God is faithfulness, God doesn’t do faithfulness.  God’s heart is always being set.  In Trinity, we know the Father, Son and Spirit set their hearts on one another and pour out all unceasingly.  This Trinitarian God desires the same kind of communion with us.  It is God, therefore, who “faiths” first: God sets God’s heart on us!  God believes in us.  Why?  That question makes no sense to love, which needs no reason – it is in essence always free. 

God enters all of our reality to save us from the inside out.  WITH is then not only Emmanuel’s translation (God is with us), but our greatest peace.  We are never ever alone, whatever our circumstances and the feelings and thoughts that connect with them.  We can, in trust, cast all our cares on God who cares for us (1 Peter 5).  Why?  Again, because our very identity is found in being God’s Beloved Ones who have God WITH, always:  a loving, humble God who finds it delightful to accompany us at every moment of our journey. 

This Lent, perhaps what bears reflection is this WITH-ness of God, who always sets his heart first on us.  All we do is response and grace.  In response, you and I who know ourselves as desired disciples can follow the One – Jesus.  He showed us what love really is in his WITH-ness with us.  This Lent, we can practice and claim more as our own the disciple’s discipline of WITH-ness too.  God’s WITH-ness, born of love, is witness to us!  🙂 

When you and I practice WITH, we have come in church documents to call it solidarity  – a presence with another or others that is acting according to our connection one with each other.  It is a living in response to the fact that we are all one community, one body, one communion.  There is a special quality of God’s presence to us, as seen in the life of Jesus, that we might practice most deliberately in our own circumstances this Lent. 

Let me describe it with an image.  If my arm hurts, as it has the last few days, the rest of me is compensating.  I make adjustments, reach and twist and sleep and even walk differently.  Something has been pulled and needs perhaps rest, perhaps good stretching.  I am mindful of it. 

In the Gospels we see that Jesus walked among hills, near the sea, in villages and through crowds.  And his attention was often drawn to the “hurting limb”:  the paralytic lifted through the ceiling, the blind man on the side of the road, the woman with a long debilitating hemmorhage, the lepers who knew no home, the bent over woman living on the edges of the temple, the widow who had lost her son, the Samaritan, the Canaanite, the sinner, the poor.  As naturally as my attention goes to my arm due to its soreness, Jesus was drawn to be especially WITH individuals most in need.   

We learn from Jesus’ living that God delights in being WITH all of us, but particularly chooses to be WITH those of us, and those parts of us, most hurting – whether that hurt is seen by others or not.  Since such vulnerability merits God’s special presence and nurturing, healing attention; it merits ours.  Is this the preferential option for whoever is poor?  Perhaps.  And why wouldn’t we want to be WITH in love in the same way the One who saves us shows us?  The way the One who loves us has and is WITH us. 

Therese of Lisieux said at the end of her life that she would spend heaven doing good upon the earth.  She had great desire for other souls’ good during her life, and she wished to keep up this work after her death.  In this, she was very interested in the same things that interest her Love, the One who desired and saved her and was WITH her.  But this was a way she grew into.  She, more than many, told us through her autobiography of her struggles to look beyond herself to be servant and companion to those she found difficult.  Her ‘little sacrifices’ were nothing other than disciplines that helped her get out from her own thinking about her and into the ability to be WITH the other.  She did not assume she knew the heart of another, nor did she need to.  She simply served and chose the discipline to see the other and act in gentleness and compassion, with much prayer, and in small ways, as she could.  These small disciplines, her “little way”, changed her, shaping her desires.  We call her saint.  More importantly, they were expressions of love in the same pattern as Jesus’ love, and so they were life-giving to the other.     

The being present to the part of the body that hurts, to the person who annoys, to the challenge that discomforts us – these are not easy things.  In each of our lives these movements may be expressed differently (and different days offer different opportunities – even different hours or moments!).  But what if you and I attempted to do this to be united with a loving, desiring God who wants all to know joy?  What if we practiced choosing in moments a union with a God who chooses to discover tears in entering humanity — and will choose so much more of our limits and struggles too? 

This is not an invitation to beat ourselves up over our own struggles to love.  Practicing makes perfect.  It’s about bringing a willingness and a hope to be WITH, and trusting grace to help us see and act bit by bit.  It is an invitation to plant small seeds, to follow little ways (like Therese), to see with Gospel fresh eyes, and to count on God’s mercy to help us as we depend on others to support our growing too.

What of acting for the hurting this Lent in some way?  Political action on behalf of the vulnerable?  Looking out for children without sufficient adult support in your circle?  Serving the homeless, or the out of work neighbor, with kindness and respect as well as physical support?  Volunteering at a hotline?  Training with your pet to visit the elderly?  Planting flowers for an elderly relative or neighbor?  Being mindful of those in your circle with decreased mobility who may need driving to appointments or shopping?  Looking into the eyes with an intention of good of those we don’t know how to serve who ask for money?  Carrying granola or fruit bars in our car to give out instead of money at city street corners?  Contributing our unique skills for someone else’s good?  The HOW of this is limited only by our imaginations, let’s broaden them and brainstorm possibilities – perhaps with each other here, or with friends or family, or in small faith communities!

What we choose may not be large or take much time.  But it is a choosing to act in accord with the FACT that we are WITH others with needs in the communion of love that God establishes because we are family in him.  It may be a hospitality too to some hurting part of ourselves, and seeking the care and mercy and support and forgiveness and gentleness we need on our own journeys. 

Whatever you and I do, it is good to remember that it is not to earn or achieve some illusion of ‘now we’re being good people’.  It is as simple as my attention to my overworked arm.  It is appropriate care to a need in our family/in our communion, and we are inspired to it by the life of Jesus which expresses the love and desire of God for us. 

Let us again learn to set our hearts.  And perhaps we can pray and consider our call to be faithful as God is faithful.  In this is a living in our true identity, not a spiritual fix-it project to be a better person this Lent. 

Let our eyes see your willing entering of our tears, O Lord.   Comfort us.  And train us as we choose to practice loving as you love, in being WITH.  Care for those most in need, O God, and make us partners in this presence that is healing and saving and life.    

 * Iaian Matthew on John of the Cross, Ballad seven in The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross

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Ashes and Fire

Early in my twenties, I lived and taught and ministered in a little town called Waynesville in western North Carolina at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains.  I noticed that there were an amazing number of churches in the area and remember saying that in the midst of so much beauty, what else could we humans do?  If you ever have the opportunity to go to Maggie Valley, adjacent to Waynesville, there is a magnificent church named St. Margaret of Scotland where behind the altar the entire wall is glass.  One prays looking out on the ever-changing grandeur of the wardrobe of the trees that cover the mountains.  Long before “awesome” hit the exclamation chart for contemporary culture, I caught my breath at the wonder and – had I been of another generation – might have hummed “How Great Thou Art”. 

But this says nothing of ashes!  In this tiny town in a tiny parish with a tiny school attached, one of my involvements was to teach religious ed on Sundays to first and second graders.  Such little persons!  A couple of weeks before Lent, we were speaking of Ash Wednesday and I asked them if they knew what ashes were.  One young man, eager to please, shot up a hand and, waving it, said, “yes, yes, YES!”  Of course I called on him.  He said he’d like to show everyone, and that Granddad could come to class next Sunday, he was sure, and he was ashes, his parents said.  Like many such moments in retrospect, I have no idea what I said.  But I think of it today, and of the little eager boy with no desire but to share what he knew.

The phrase Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return is infrequently used any longer (in my experience) as ashes are placed on foreheads all over the world today.  Repent and believe the Good News or Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel has echoed more often in Lent-beginning ears of late.  I prefer those myself, but am brought to think of ashes today.

Ashes are the remains after a fire.  My young friend’s Granddad’s ashes were the remains after his full life.  And I am led to reflect on the brave and important work of Ernest Becker in his The Denial of Death (1973).  In the introduction Becker considers a certain human urgency to pursue a heroic life, to stand out, to be more important than others, to attain a cosmic specialness, to earn one’s self esteem.   Later he cites Jose Ortega y Gasset’s words on facing that life leads to its eventual loss, and the efforts we humans expend to cover this with “a curtain of fantasy where everything is clear” and ideas, to be used as “scarecrows to frighten away reality”.  (The Revolt of the Masses, 1957).     

Facing ashes and dust as where we come from and where we go… this brings us back from looking for the wizard behind the curtain, the ultimate idea, the best achievement, the most complete ‘answers’ we can find to the riddles of human life.  This is a place where we would prefer not to have clarity!  Death happens, and I know that with a different and highlighted certainty that comes to many of us in the time after the loss of someone dear.  (My Dad, John Elwood Cahoon, died in February 2010).  And I extend my heart and hand to those reading who walk grief’s road in any way.

So, on this Ash Wednesday, is all this morbid?  What brings us hope?  Do the limits of our lives bring a preciousness and beauty to our involvements and loves and commitments and faithfulnesses?  Yes.  But today, I offer a different take, grown out of recent reading, re-reading, and reflection.

Therese of Lisieux, in her Story of a Soul, finds great freedom when she moves from being motivated by fear in encountering God to walking in confidence and love, at God’s invitation.  She says that when the latter emerged in her life, she didn’t walk any longer the path to holiness, “I flew!”  In the realization that what is most real is God’s love for us, the need to earn or achieve or count or worry fell away.  Psalm 96 tells us that God governs God’s people with faithfulness.  We are led not by a string or a rule set or fear or achievement, or brought to wisdom by study or experience alone.  It is God’s faithful love which guides us. 

In Chicago in 2005 I was substitute teaching a high school class of freshmen (and women!).  Somehow we spoke of saints and one young man said they were the ones who loved God best.  A slight young woman raised her hand and said, “No.  I think they’re the ones that knew that God loved them the best.”  14 year olds!  How wise. 

I think this awareness is hope, and lights any path we are to travel on our human way with true sanity.  In Beatrice Bruteau’s Radical Optimism, she notes that the root of sin may well be a lack of freedom that we have because we are somehow trying to preserve ourselves in being, very similar to Becker’s language of our need to seek heroism.   We are actually small and limited, yet the love we are loved with enlarges us and brings us into union with the never-ending, the Trinity, with creation.  We cannot preserve ourselves in being.  But we may find that we no longer need to hide from our temporal time-clock because our being is held by Being itself in love, without our doings.

What if being faithful to the Gospel this Lent means that we are invited to remember that the dust we come from is stardust, that the involvement we have in the universe is to first know how essential a creation we are (Psalm 8, 139 or Paul’s “we are God’s work of art”), that our embracing of poverty (Franciscan style) is an awareness of our need and incompleteness and creatureliness – and a God who loves all of who we are so much that God embraced it and became it in Christ?

If we are rooted and grounded  in love (Ephesians 3), then we are personally-existentially-ultimately safe.  And, strengthened in our inner being (again, Ephesians 3!) we can live in and from that safety, and come to embrace that all are the same kind of holy and well-loved dust made flesh.  And we can live our lives extravagantly. 

Do you know this story? 

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him: ‘Abba, as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace as far as I can, I purify my thoughts.  What else can I do?’  Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven.  His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you will, you can become all flame.’

If we are rooted in love, we can choose to have our lives become all flame…  to live boldly, stubbornly, and with abandon all to which we are called… and in so living bring light to others. 

I hope my young friend’s Granddad’s life was flame… and that all of ours may be, today.  We can turn from the need to be our own reason and origin, let go our posturing that we are other than loved creatures, and embrace the magnificence of the story we are actually in.  We can relax the tension with which we live, and harken to living not to prove or earn anything, but only to be flame and light.  Of course, we ebb and flow with our ability to hold this truth… just like we see tatters of clearness.  Part of our experience includes terror and anxiety associated with death’s reality, as Becker names it.   But that too is part of being human, and the One who is our origin and the One who lived this way of being on earth, and the One who dwells within us – this holy Trinity know us and are compassion and tenderness.  May we live brightly and tenderly with others, and with ourselves, a fullness of life we did not create but know and believe is ongoing.  And may the fires of our lives resolve into precious ash, in the end, handled and breathed into anew by a loving Creator.

As the presider at the Ash Wednesday service I attended said today at the close of his reflections.  “We are in a great story.  If you find a better one, let me know.  But I think God is a genius!”

Categories: Lent, Living in Love | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments