"Look at the full moon tonight and savor the gentle light of Sister Moon."
"Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth." -Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 92
Since we're learning how to "welcome," I wanted to share a link to the "Welcoming Prayer," offered to us by Mary Mrozowski:
"There are three movements of the prayer:
Feel and sink into
what you are experiencing this moment in your body.
what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine Indwelling.
Let go by saying:
“I let go of my desire for security, affection, control and embrace this moment as it is.”
“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, [God’s] boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God.” -Pope Francis, Laudato Si, 81.
How sensitive are we to the “caress of God”? How well do we reciprocate?
I find that cultivating gratitude is one way to develop sensitivity to the presence and action of God, Br. David Steindl-Rast is a guiding light:
As we meditate on meal preparation this week, I'd like to share an insight from Wendell Berry that has resonated with me pretty deeply over the past few years:
“To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. In such desecration we condemn ourselves to spiritual and moral loneliness, and others to want.”
1st Sunday of Lent: "Plan this week to savor the wonderful creation of God that you are! Choose
positive self-talk and avoid putting yourself down." Perhaps we can gain inspiration for cultivating positive self-talk by "listening" more closely to God: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCqdoEF_Uus
One thing that brings me joy is being involved in Loving communities. I am especially grateful today for the Agape Community, in MA, where I met both @perk and @Oliver. Earlier today, @perk and I connected over the phone with Bob (the architect who designed the houses at Agape) and Alicen (a YDS student who is currently in Jerusalem), to discuss next year’s St. Francis Day at Agape. The event will be called “Celebrating the Agape Story: 30 Years of St. Francis Day!”
The act of self-emptying through letting go of thoughts and returning to the "sacred word" has helped me to be more peacefully present in general. I sometimes like to pair this with a mantra, like the Jesus Prayer, which I'll say while going about my day. In CP the sacred word is only returned to when you sense that you are lost in thought, whereas the mantra is more rhythmic and consistent. I also like Ram Dass's mantra "I am Loving Awareness." I got into the groove with that at Phish on NYE!
My primary contemplative practice is centering prayer. I currently practice 20 minutes a day, usually in the morning after waking up. I've been practicing much more diligently after starting spiritual direction, and since starting to practice with Marjorie. We try to pray together once per week when possible, often in a chapel. My experience with the prayer has been very positive. The basic mechanism is to empty out the self in order to "surrender to the presence and action of God within."
Here's an excerpt from Henri Nouwen's Reaching Out. The Last line is: "And when he left I knew that he had revealed to me what community really means." Perhaps we can take some time to reflect on similar experiences. Perhaps we can cultivate gratitude for those friendships, places, and communities that have promoted moments of deep presence, perception, and connection. And perhaps we can commit ourselves to being more sensitively present to the immediate neighbor, and to Christ in them.
A progressive, intentional, and contemplative Christian community is coming in several months!