Advent - Silence

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Advent - Silence

Then hear now the silence

He comes in the silence

in silence he enters

the womb of the bearer

in silence he goes to

the realm of the shadows

redeeming and shriving

in silence he moves from

the grave cloths, the dark tomb

in silence he rises

ascends to the glory

leaving his promise

leaving his comfort

leaving his silence

So come now, Lord Jesus

Come in your silence

breaking our noising

laughter of panic

breaking this earth’s time

breaking us breaking us

quickly Lord Jesus

make no long tarrying

When will you come

and how will you come

and will we be ready

for silence

your silence

-Madeleine L’Engle “Ready for Silence”

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Shaming

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Shaming

Shame [sheym] noun

  1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
  2. susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame.
  3. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.

When used as a verb, it may say more about the person using it than it does about the victim. Make no mistake, in some situations we can be the victim and the aggressor.

Think about the moments that you have been subjected to shame. Someone in a classroom projecting it upon you perhaps. A “friend” using it to gain some delusional ground on you. Yourself… heaping an invisible dose of it around your neck; allowing it to effect every situation, decision, and relationship in our path. Anyone in any circle will eventually find that shame has no staying power. It may do damage, but eventually it will be revealed for what it is.

Church, shame is a cheap substitute for conviction.

Shame has no place in our faith, relationships, or work. Friends, shame is an insecure method of connection that will never end in true community. Co-workers, there’s just no place for it in the office; It’s simply not endearing, and we can smell it's toxins.

NO one can be shamed into believing. There is no belief there, just emptiness and frustration. Ben Franklin once said “whatever is begun in anger ends in shame”. If this is true, this is very telling of anyone using shame as one of their tactics or techniques.

It attempts to steal hope and life from us. It should have no place and we should walk out of the room when and if we feel it’s presence. It is poison.

Richard Rohr says the Church became so preoccupied with the fly in the ointment, the flaw in the beauty that we forgot and even missed out on any original blessing. We saw Jesus primarily as a problem-solver rather than as a revealer of the very heart and image of God (Colossians 1:15f). We must now rebuild on a foundation of goodness, and not on a foundation of original curse (or sin). We dug a pit so deep that most people and most theologies could not get back out of it. You must begin with yes. We cannot begin with no, or it is not a beginning at all.

May we spread hope, not venom. May we bring peace, not hurt and chaos.

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Hope

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Hope

We all need hope. Sometimes we forget about it until we realize our need of it. At times, the word itself seems empty and unattainable. Hope is mentioned anytime anyone aspires to encourage, rally, or inspire the masses. It resonates in our minds, hearts, and souls. It resonates because we are all in need of hope. Hope for a better, brighter tomorrow. Churchill said, “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”

Hope teaches. Hope is active. Hope doesn’t sleep. Hope stands up. “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” -MLK Jr. Have hope. Hold it close. Never let go of it. Most of all, give it. Prayer has historically been a source of hope for humanity. The connection with human health and prayer has been studied for decades. Dr. Herbert Benson, a cardiovascular specialist at Harvard Medical School and a pioneer in the field of mind/ body medicine discovered what he calls "the relaxation response," which occurs during periods of prayer and meditation. His studies have found that the body's metabolism decreases, the heart rate slows, blood pressure goes down, and breathing becomes more calm.

This state is correlated with slower brain waves, and feelings of control, tranquil alertness and peace of mind. This is significant because Benson estimates that over half of all doctor visits in the U.S. today are prompted by illnesses, like depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and migraine headaches, that are caused at least in part by elevated levels of stress and anxiety.

In Scripture we glean wisdom and insight not to be missed. There is much to learn from the margins; those parts of the stories that aren’t the main storyline. In most of the early text of Scripture where prayer is mentioned, you will find prayer and meditation. If we are more actively grasping for the words to voice our prayers instead of meditating on a Passage or verse while being still and silent, we are missing the full meaning and purpose of prayer. Hope rings out in the stillness of prayer and meditation.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life. Amen.

-Saint Francis of Assisi

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Contemplating the Trinity

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Contemplating the Trinity

Sunday is Trinity Sunday (First Sunday after Pentecost). It is an appropriote time to look at the dynamic between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is a dynamic that is important to the doctrine and heart beat of the Church.

*Let us live in this love and this happiness, you and I and all of us, in the love of Christ and in contemplation, for this is where we find ourselves and one another as we truly are. It is only in this love that we at last become real. For it is here that we most truly share the life of One God in Three Persons.

*God in His Trinity of subsistent relations infinitely transcends every shadow of selfishness. For the One God does not subsist apart and alone in His Nature. He subsists as Father and as Son and as Holy Spirit. These Three Persons are one, but apart from them God does not also subsist as One. He is not Three Persons, plus one nature therefore four! He is Three Persons but One God. He is at once infinite solitude (one nature) and perfect society (three persons). One infinite Love in three subsistent relations.

The One God Who exists only in Three Persons is a circle of relations in which His infinite reality, Love, is ever identical and ever renewed, always perfect and always total, always beginning and never ending, absolute, everlasting and full.

In the Father the infinite Love of God is always beginning and in the Son it is always full and in the Holy Spirit it is perefect and it is renewed and never ceases to rest in its everlasting source. But if you follow Love forward and backward from Person to Person, you can never track it to a stop, you can never corner it and hold it down and fix it to one of the Persons as if He could appropriate to Himself te fruit of the love of the others. For the One Love of the Three Persons is an infinetly rich giving of Itself which never ends and is never taken, but is always perfectly given, only received in order to be perfectly shared.

It is because the Love of God does not terminate in one self-sufficent self that is capable of halting and absorbing it, that the Life and Happiness of God are absolutely infinite and perfect and inexhaustible. Therefore in God there can be no selfishness, because the Three Selves of God are Three subsistent relations of selflessness, overflowing and superabounding in joy in the Gift of their One Life.

The interior life of God is perfect contemplation. Our joy and our life are destined to be nothing but a participation in the Life that is theirs. In Them we will one day live entirely in God and in one another as the Persons of god live in One another.

As Christ says ‘I in them and Father, You in me, that they may be made perfect in One…and the glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be One as we are One’ and ‘In this shall everyone know you are my disciples—if you have love for one another.’

*Thomas Merton New Seeds of Contemplation

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