Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lessons from the ashes...

From Egotism and Cruelty
to Love of Ones Neighbor and Friendliness
to Prayer and Faith
Love the title pages in this film!
Part 2 can be viewed on this same link

If my life had title pages for the lessons I've learned, or rather, like Cinderella,
pointing to the lessons I am about to learn...it's a fresh perspective on perspective, eh?
There is something innate to the human soul that knows that, every so often, one must make a journey of descent, be smudged, lose one's lustre, and wait while the ashes do their work. All ancient traditions, be they religious or purely mythical, abound with stories of having to sit in the ashes. We all know, for example, the story of Cinderella. This is a centuries-old, wisdom-tale that speaks about the value of ashes. The name, Cinderella, itself already says most of it. Literally it means: "the young girl who sits in the cinders, the ashes."  Moreover, as the tale makes plain, before the glass slipper is placed on her foot, before the beautiful gown, ball, dance, and marriage, there must first be a period of sitting in the cinders, of being smudged, of being humbled, and of waiting while a proper joy and consummation are being prepared. In the story of Cinderella there is a theology of lent. ~ excerpt by Fr Ron Rolheiser OMI

Friday, February 15, 2013

We should try unceasingly to allow each one of our actions to become a moment of communion with God: not a studied act, but just as it comes from purity and simplicity of heart.
~Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God

My Little Brother

Today is my brother's birthday.  Even now, (at our advanced age - I know, I'm older) I can still see his wide open smile from boyhood that shines fresh and engaged in whatever is happening in any moment...the only thing wider than that smile are the arms he opens wide to all, huge hearted and welcoming.  I'd love to ride our bikes together again in that wide dirt circle, speeding through the carport again and again, plop against that old barn in the back and talk about nothing which was everything, read together, oh,oh,oh, and him insisting no, no, no.  He is our kids favorite!  They have felt all this and more from him!  I love that in our adulthood we can still run to the bridge and wish on the moon, hold hands and pray in the Father's love, relish all that is good while holding in open hands all that breaks our heart.  I love the tenderness of his heart.  I love his laugh, his serious side, the way he zooms in close, forehead to forehead, connecting with people, while the world holds it's breath, waits (watching love in action does that to the world)  I love you little brother, and I miss you every day.  Time to book a flight!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Minute to Win it!

Feasting before the fast, we play a quick game of gratitude...in one minute write all you are grateful for, then share with one another.  It's a fun and simple way to honor God's Blessings before the fast.  Just as Jesus entered the desert "full of the Spirit" it is good to recall the fullness of God's love experienced in our lives as we enter a season of simplicity, seeking to deepen that life in us.  I love her list! 
Your turn...what are you grateful for...in one minute?  Go ahead, write it here!

A Blessing for Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners
or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—
Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.
This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.
This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.
So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are
but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made,
and the stars that blaze
in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.
~Jan Richardson

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Love this

Family-a Cosmic View

I get these daily astronomy photos and find them so awe-inspiring,
but this weeks description drew me into playful reflection...

Bold lines are from the original description of the above photograph...
Typical in grand spiral galaxies
( aka the massive and complex family tree in which we all live and from which we all come)
dark dust lanes
(you know who you are and where you’ve been)
youthful blue star clusters
(the delight of youth's unique gifts that keep perpetuating the legacy)
and pinkish star forming regions
(ah…love making; love begetting love)
trace spiral arms that converge on the bright nucleus of older yellowish stars
(the embraces shared with love-worn elders, big-hearted wisdom, grandparents)
But this composite hints of two anomalous arms that don't align with
the more familiar tracers

(two who were once strangers fall in love, make a life, and the family expands)
Seen here in red hues
(passion, blood & roses, the cost and glory of love, like God’s own self-donation in Christ)
sweeping filaments
(the mysterious ties that bind)
seem to rise from the central region
(heart/gut, home)
evidence of energetic jets of material blasting into the galaxy's disk
(don’t need to spell this out, do I?)
The jets are likely powered by matter
( and what matters, the daily lived reality in which we cling to one another)
falling into a massive central black hole! 
(Could be your child's room, the disorienting busyness of life,
the way the days turn into years,
or the deepest mystery that holds us all) 

But look...isn't it glorious, residing in the heavens, bigger than anything
I could ever imagine, and more magnificent than I have ever dreamed.
Now tell me this imagery doesn’t speak to the best of the experience we call family…