Sunday, January 07, 2018

Sunday Morning Five Twenty Four Freewrite

It has been a long time since I have just let the finger fly with abandon across the keys. Actually, I do a lot of private "freewrites" at examen.me now. So great that my Renovaré Institute Praxis Exercise for January is the examen too. This practice has so enriched me. I like doing the Creighton University Online Retreat with it too. This last week, we were to look at our "Two Ways of Desiring" and asking what we really want. It so lines up with everything that I am learning in other areas too. The byline question of this week is, "What do I really want?" There are six words to think about:

Riches, honors, pride. Poverty, dishonor, humility.

And wouldn't you know it, in the midst of this, I had a very dishonoring thing happen to me! At first I was very mad and upset, but then God reminded me of His way. I cried (sobbed - ugly cry) most of the morning on Thursday. But even in the midst of the storm, I knew Jesus was with me. I felt the freedom to cry and process. It turned out really good in my relationship with Rachel as she cut and colored my hair, and I cried. I am not usually a mess like that. I am not a faker though. I cannot hide my unhappiness, but there was something very powerful in allowing myself to cry in front of Rachel like that. I asked George and Nancy and Kim to pray. There was something very powerful in that too. Nancy went on a run and sent me a picture of a fire, but I am not exactly sure what that meant. 

All that said, there was resolution and peace with FIVE people in FOUR hours. I had to apologize for my anger to THREE out of the FIVE and admit my anger (even though by the time I talked to him, I was not angry anymore) to another. All resolutions were very sweet.

There is no denying that what happened was very unjust, and my Spiritual Director says I have a strong sense of justice, and that is so true. All that to say that dishonor leads to humility, and by the time the peacemaking came, I was in a position to be humble, but he had to remind me of that fact in the midst of the storm, but the point is: I HEARD HIS VOICE IN THE MIDST OF THE STORM! That is huge for me. I knew even if he was ASLEEP ON A PILLOW in the stern of the boat (so funny that this was also the passage for our Kingdom Community that same night), I would be OK. I did have faith that I would get to the other side of the sea safe and sound. I knew that he cared. I knew I was not perishing. It was definitely a storm, but I weathered it WITH HIM.

HUGE! 

My Spiritual Director said that Ignatius says that when desolation comes, consolation is right around the corner, and I actually knew that. I was almost excited for desolation because I knew that God wanted to do a deeper work in me. 



Wednesday, January 03, 2018

4. Wonderful Memories of It's A Wonderful Life


It's a Wonderful Life is in my top 5 favorite movies and Jimmy Stewart is my favorite actor (He is from Indiana, Pennsylvania, and his dad and my great grandfather were elders in the same church, and my father's cousin's earliest memory was dressing Jimmy Stewart's Oscars in doll clothes while my great grandfather and Jimmy Stewart's father talked in the Stewart Hardware Store (they were displayed in the window)).

6926161This has recordings of interviews with many of the actors, and it tells all the in and outs of the production.

It was absolutely DELIGHTFUL!!!!!

I got it from Library2Go. It is narrated by Jimmy Hawkins who played one of the children in the movie. Great thing to listen to since we watch it every Christmas!

1-3 Practice of the Presence of God, The Game with Minutes, and Letters by a Modern Mystic

3028087Image result for cover of the practice of the presence of god

These are all "rereads" for me. I try to read them regularly, but I am reading all three for the Renovaré Institute and "The Game with Minutes"  is the assignment for this week's Kingdom Community. This is my second read of in a week of  The Practice of the Presence of God  so you can read that review. 

I am still on that quest to experience God 24/7/365, and I particularly liked what Brother Lawrence said, "He sometimes permits bodily diseases to cure the distempers of the soul" (p. 141), and I found that to be quite true since I had excruciating pain from December 30 until 11:30 today (when "Magic Margaret" the PT that I have not seen for five years and usually takes months to get in to see, had an opening). I took a horrible fall on December 19, but it did not manifest it self until a painful "catch" in my mid-back on December 23rd and then hopped all over my back until it all came crashing down on December 30. The pain drove me to Him. I thought those days of morbid pain were over. Other than the terrible blip during the Renovaré Institute in October, I have not had morbid pain since 2013, and since then only little pains here and there that were quickly alleviated. It was the fall. But I digress. Pain is a good teacher, and Brother Lawrence concurs.

Favorite quote: 
There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it; yet I do not advise you to do it from the motive. It is not pleasure which we ought to seek in this exercise; but let us do it from a principle of love, and because God would have us.

The Game with Minutes - For some reason, this is the second most read post on this blog. I have no idea why. It is a little gem of a book and if you get the version that I read, you get both this and Letters by a Modern Mystic in one volume. It is a fun thing to do with others, and I am hoping all nine people in our group practice this game so we can have a good discussion about it!

Favorite quote - what we "win" doing The Game with Minutes:

We develop what Thomas A. Kempis calls a “familiar friendship with Jesus.” Our Unseen Friend becomes dearer, closer and more wonderful every day until at last we know Him as “Jesus, lover of my soul” not only in songs, but in blissful experiences. Doubts vanish, we are more sure of Him being with us than of anybody else. This warm, ardent friendship ripens rapidly until people see its glory shining in our eyes—and it keeps on growing richer and more radiant every month.

Letters by a Modern Mystic - Oh how I adore this book. It is Brother Lawrence for a person who has an active life out in the real world. I have not read it in three years. So I was due! You can read my former review that is linked.

One quote:

Here is something we can share with all of the people in the world: They cannot all be brilliant or rich or beautiful. They cannot all even dream beautiful dreams like God gives some of us. They cannot all enjoy music. Their hearts do not all burn with love: But everybody can learn to hold God by the hand and rest. And when God is ready to speak the fresh thoughts of heaven will flow in like a crystal spring. Everybody rests at the end of the day, what a world gain if everybody, could rest in the waiting arms of the Father, and listen until he whispers (p. 80-81).



YAY! 2018 reading is off to a great start! All my favorite quotes are in a word processor now ready for the paper I will write in July! 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life - Week 17a

I wanted my Christmas meditations to sync with the Online Spiritual Exercises. So, I get to do this "extra" week that is not part of them this year because of where Easter falls on the calendar (April 1). I am so glad I felt the "nudge" from God to go on to this week because if you could have read my examen prayer journaling this morning, you would have read my heartfelt desire for JESUS! I love what the "Getting Started" for Week 17A says:

"This week doesn’t take us into new territory. It just takes us deeper. We begin this week with our desires. I renew my desire, my passion, my choice, to be with Jesus — to want to know him more intimately, to love him more deeply, to follow him with more of my heart. This week is not one of deeper struggle or more intense thinking. This is a week of affirmation. All week, in many very concrete ways, in the background experience of the in between times, I say, “Yes, this is what I want. This is what I choose. To be with you, Jesus.”

This is a week to deepen these graces by enjoying them. I know that this deepening relationship with Jesus is changing me, freeing me, moving me to learn even more about him, all because I love this person who loves me so completely, so unconditionally. I just feel it all week — and enjoy it. I like the way I’m becoming. I like what is opening up in me.

All week I will pause, perhaps especially in the most difficult moments, and smile with a deepening inner smile. The riches and the honors just don’t have such a hold on me. The poverty experiences, even moments of humiliation, don’t terrify me as much. I smile because I understand and am becoming more and more attracted to Jesus’ way of living his life — moving away from the path to pride and toward the path to humility before God.

Each night this week, I let my words of gratitude come from deeper and deeper in my heart. The messiness or difficulties — even the failures or sin of my day — don’t take away my gratitude. They deepen it. I’m grateful because Jesus is drawing me into a joy I hadn’t known before. It is a joy that is dependent not on my successes but on my life being placed with Jesus, in God’s hands."

AMEN! 

For Longing

One of my clients for Dial a Book Deliveries had given me poetry by this Irish priest, but I just found him in my Yearly Examen too.

For Longing
Poem by John O’Donohue 

blessed be the longing that brought you here
and quickens your soul with wonder.
may you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire
that disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
may you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease
to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
may the forms of your belonging – in love, creativity, and friendship –
be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
may the one you long for long for you.
may your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
may a secret providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
may your mind inhabit your life with the sureness
with which your body inhabits the world.
may your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.
may you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
may you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...