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Pray, even if you feel nothing, see nothing.
For when you are dry, empty, sick or weak, at such a time is your prayer most pleasing to God, even though you may find little joy in it.
This is true of all believing prayer.
“The secret of your life is written on (and in) your heart’s desire and it was placed there by God.
The time has come to return to the Journey. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, no matter what the circumstances, you can pick up where you last left off. For you see desire is the map God has given you to find your purpose in life, to live the only life worth living. For it is at the place where our greatest desires and deepest pain meet that our divine destiny is calling us.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive? What makes you experience God and life most deeply? Where do you find bliss and joy and the love of God? Go do that…because you see the world is desperate for people who are aflame with the love and passion of God in their hearts being lived. The world is in need for people who have come alive.
We must realize that God has sort of “rigged” the world so that it only works when we embrace risk as the theme of our lives, when we live by complete faith in God and with utter abandonment to Divine Providence. All attempts to find a safer life or to live by the expectations of others will just kill your soul. And that is not life or living, that is mere surviving. As the bumper sticker on my car reads, “Love is our Soul purpose.” Find what brings Divine Love into your hearts and go and do whatever you can to share that Love.
Life is short! Do not wait or hesitate for the so-called right moment or right time or for the money to come first. Leap now! Either God will catch you or you will sprout wings. God is calling us out of our comfort zones to live lives of complete abandonment to His love and care. Trust that the desires of your heart were in fact placed there by God, and when you seek God, He will indeed give you those desires.
And here is the kicker: don’t ask yourself how you would follow your heart’s desire for that question will cut your divine dreams and desires off at the knees.
“HOW” is never the right question to ask. “WHAT” is the question to ask yourself. WHAT would you dream for yourself? WHAT does your heart truly long for? WHAT makes your Soul sing?
With regard to following your heart’s desire – a desire placed there by God – our “job” is to ask WHAT we would do. As for the question of HOW, well that’s God’s job…so you do your job and let God do His.
“But You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate…and rich in faithful love…”
God’s love is relentless; pursuing us to the ends of the earth and to the very corners of our hearts. God’s love is a love that never ceases, comes when we least expect it, and is rarely, if ever, ‘deserved.’
God’s love is extravagant; poured out upon us like rain showers on parched earth. God’s love is tenderness in the midst of our sometimes harsh reality. God’s love is loyal, even when we or others are not. God’s love is eternally faithful, perpetually abundant, and immediately available.
God’s love is the Love which shapes our lives and makes us who we are today.
And on this very day, I pray all of us will know and see and taste the goodness of God’s deep, abiding Love.
The late afternoon sky reminded
me of old,
worn out bones,
ashen gray but
filled with a holy spirit,
mine and God’s.
and it left me wondering this question,
if my life would be as much of a gift to those
who have been such a Gift to me?
“Gratitude prepares a space for grace to reside.”
Jimmy, an A.A. old timer
I am a firm believer that the two primary ways that grace comes to us and enters us is one, through a wound in our hearts and/or two, when space has been prepared.
You see I know God is in the “Grace Business” for I am a wounded sinner who has experienced divine grace more than I can even recall. But I am learning that grace does not force itself into me, rather I must open myself up to it, empty myself of all that is ego, then and only then does grace come rushing in.
I must be intentional in preparing a space and for me that space is created through gratitude. Gratitude is a reality that claims that God IS and therefore all is well. Gratitude knows that all things, moments, and experiences can be and become blessings when seen through the eyes of ‘thank You.’ Gratitude understands that nothing lies outside of God and God’s will for if anything did stand outside of God’s hands then God is neither omnipotent nor omnipresent.
Gratitude understands that in truth all things are present now, that I do not need to beg God for them, and that trust and thankfulness are the keys that open us up to the blessings of grace in all things. Gratitude is about fleshing out my “thank You’s” to God. It is about knowing I am only what and who I am because of God’s grace. And let me tell you, I need grace, daily, sometimes minute by minute because the world wants to ensnare my heart, strangling it with fear and dread.
I have to empty myself out and make some space for grace and the space I need to empty out is where the ego resides, for my ego takes up a great deal of space. But empty I must if there is to be any room for grace. I am to be like Mother Mary (who was full of grace) who in order to be so full of grace had to be emptied of herself…as in when she said “be it done to me according to Your Will.”
I am rarely in the headspace for grace, but when I shift into gratitude, I am always in the heart space for grace to come and come it does: in ways unexpected, messily, tenderly, forthrightly, surprisingly, but always, always does God’s grace faithfully come.
To see ourselves as we truly are—a wisp of love itself—is perhaps our deepest fear. But it is also our greatest grace.
If we are to be the new human, we must begin by embracing Love, which always seeks to incarnate itself.
Love is enfleshed everywhere. Everywhere the Holy One is shouting and whispering, ‘Let me love you.’ And all that is asked of us is to receive. In reality, that is our life’s work [to let God love us]. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less.
“In each one of us there is such a deep wound, such an urgent cry to be held, appreciated and seen as unique and valuable. The heart of each one is broken and bleeding… An experience of being loved and accepted in community, which has become a safe place for us, allows us gradually to accept ourselves as we are, with our wounds and all the monsters. We are broken, but we are loved.”
I was listening to one of my favorite shows on the radio the other night (yes, I still listen to the radio!), the deliciously soulful NPR show “On Being” and the host was interviewing one of my favorite Christian Irascibles, the Lutheran pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. She was speaking at the Wild Goose festival and the topic happened upon her depression and how she dealt with it: she named it Francis. I was struck by the hilarity and compassion that naming her depression afforded her. When asked a direct question about does she preach and teach about her depression she smacked it out of the park and left my mouth agape. Nadia said, “I try and preach from my scars and not my wounds.”
What gentle truth: I try to preach from my scars, not my wounds.
She essentially sums up Jean Vanier’s quote, the essential message of what it means to be a human being seeking God; that journey that leads us from our own wounds to the wounds of others and the beautiful healing experience of scars.
I love my scars, almost perversely so. Some of them are physical, like the ones on my arms, and some are covered up with kanji tattoos of sacred text on both forearms, and some have been rendered almost invisible due to the aging process. And some, well most, are the invisible ones , the ones that only God and I know about, the ones that only show themselves in holy moments of intimacy, prayer, and community
I am wounded, no doubt. But I am loved. The real struggle for me is do I spend more time focusing on the truth that I am wounded or on the amazing truth that I am loved, beyond words, by a God Whose loved is infinitely faithful and present? The answer to that question reveals a great deal about where I am spiritually.
Our scars are the perfect reminders of this creative tension in which we must live – that creative tension of living between the “already and the not yet.” I am whole, but not yet. I am perfectly human but not perfect. I am indispensable yet divinely unique. I am loved by God, but I forget. I am a shining example of God’s love taking place but I am broken and wounded and wound others as a result sometimes.
The truth is I am not my wounds, but I am my scars.
My scars are reminders of the place where God entered my life, and entered my wounds. Each scar I have – whether seen or unseen – is a blessed reminder that God is right now, and always has been, with me. Our scars are indeed reminders that God is with us in the pain and the healing, in the suffering darkness and the tender light. God comes and sits down on the floor with us in our darkness and reaches out to touch us, to simply BE with us, saying I AM here. Our scars remind us that even though God may not have delivered us from the the trial or tribulation, God did indeed come to us in Love, to be with us in the darkness and confusion. I have experienced this Truth many times: when my father died; when my son died; when my mother and brother died; when all hope seemed so lost that I thought the only obvious answer was death…in all those moments, God came. And my scars are a reminder of God’s holy visitation.
Our scars are God’s calling cards, reminders of his faithful Presence, enduring love, patient tenderness, and infinite wisdom and power.
So the next time we glance down at our physical scars or feel the pang and tug of the unseen ones, whisper a prayer of Gratitude in remembrance that you may be wounded, but you are Loved.
The hunger deepens and becomes more and more insistent for ridding ourselves of the tremendous burden of pretensions. We long for relationships in which it is no longer needful for us to pretend anything. The clue to the answer is in the awakening within us of the sense of living our lives consciously in God’s presence.