Joan Chittister, The Rule of Benedict – In Sanskrit, it is written: necessity changes a course but never a goal. Benedictine spirituality – flexible, sensible, realistic at all times – sets loud and clear goals but models a number of ways to achieve them. Perhaps there is no surer proof of Benedict’s awareness that spirituality is a neither a formula nor a straitjacket than this chapter. (Chapter 50, The Rule of Benedict). Benedict values nothing more than community prayer, the Opus Dei. In other chapters he organizes it minutely and schedules it for seven times a day. “Nothing”, he writes,” is to be preferred to the Work of God.” And yet, when the ideal is confronted by the real, Benedict opts for the sanctification of the real rather than the idealization of the holy. If there is work to be done at a great distance from the chapel, the monastic is to see that it’s done. Holiness is not an excuse to avoid responsibility. Spirituality is not an escape from life. Spirituality leaves life. Spirituality is what stabilizes us in the middle of confusion and gives us energy to go on doing what must be done even when the rest of life taxes and fatigues and separates us from our own resources. (222-3) (italics mine)
Kelli: As we start off another week, it’s good to be reminded that holiness, wholeness, God’s presence and healing are equally available to us on Monday as they were in the church building on Sunday.
Thomas Keating, The Heart of the World – Our capacity for the transcendent is what distinguishes us most from the rest of visible creation. It is what makes us most human. (7)
Kelli: these are $25 words (transcendent, sanctification, idealization, spirituality, holiness) to describe a peaceful and peace-filled reality. What is boils down to is this: in the times we spend in intentional, interior silence, we hold the door open for Holy Love to change us into restored, resurrection people.
Holy Spirit, rain down….
Practical, real-life discipleship…Today’s Inspiration, breathing in…
When it comes to a question of our forgiving other people, it is partly the same and partly different. It is the same because, here also, forgiving does not mean excusing. Many people seem to think it does. They think that if you ask them to forgive someone who has cheated or bullied them you are trying to make out that there was really no cheating or no bullying. But if that were so, there would be nothing to forgive. They keep on replying, “But I tell you the man broke a most solemn promise.” Exactly: that is precisely what you have to forgive. (This doesn’t mean that you must necessarily believe his next promise. It does mean that you must make every effort to kill every taste of resentment in your own heart—every wish to humiliate or hurt him or to pay him out.) The difference between this situation and the one in which you are asking God’s forgiveness is this. In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s we do not accept them easily enough.
From The Weight of Glory
Compiled in A Year with C.S. Lewis
Kelli: One of the underlying truths of the parables of Jesus is (excuse the grammar): you get what you focus on. If we focus on tragedy and violence, we will only notice more tragedy and violence. That is not to say we blissfully ignore the troubles of our time. It does mean that we focus on the places we see grace so those places will grow and good will overcome evil. I write this blog post today for myself as much as anyone else. Perhaps we all need to be reminded that our lives can have purpose and meaning despite the pain and tragedy.
God bless us every one.
Another story. “God’s kingdom is like a pine nut that a farmer plants. It is quite small as seeds go, but in the course of years it grows into a huge pine tree, and eagles build nests in it.” Another story. “God’s kingdom is like yeast that a woman works into the dough for dozens of loaves of barley bread—and waits while the dough rises.” Matthew 13:31-33, The Message
Disciplines 2014, Upper Room – ..(these parables relate) to our contemplation of God’s prevailing love. The amazing plant that emerges from the tiny seed and the airy loaf, fully leavened by yeast, do not happen instantaneously. The process takes time. It requires patience to see the results. And waiting is not easy….We can see the signs of God’s ‘kingdom come’ all around us every day. But we also experience God reign as coming – that is, not yet here. Sometimes the areas where we await the coming of God’s reign hold our attention more than the places where we see clear evidence of God’s kingdom. We become obsessed by the broken relationship with a family member or friend. Our spirits are troubles by the senseless acts of violence we witness in the world around us. Tragedy abounds. Where is the mighty tree that grows from the tiny seed? Why is that flat dough not growing to rise over the edges of the bowl? We are often called to live faithfully as we wait for God’s reign to come – for God’s love and grace to be fully evident in circumstances where we desire them most. We can wait because we know God is true to God’s word.
Timeless God, grant us the patience to plant the seeds and mix in the yeast, knowing that you are faithful and that your reign will come, Amen. (Peter Velander, 246)