Tag Archives: contemplate

Cardinal Newman Celebrates

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 21, 2017

cross - carved

Cardinal Newman Celebrates

John Henry Newman appears for a second time in this anthology of spiritual excerpts. Yes, he was originally an Anglican priest. While still an Anglican, Cardinal Newman preached some sermons in Oxford that were gathered in several volumes. These excerpts show Newman celebrating both Christmas and Easter.

In the Christmas sermon, Newman expresses joy. Yet, a solemn, serious joy. More subdued. He certainly refers to the seriousness of life, for it is a burden to live through. “For one day we may put off the burden of our polluted consciences, and rejoice in the perfections of our Saviour Christ, without thinking of ourselves, without thinking of our own miserable uncleanness, but contemplating His glory, His righteousness, His purity, His majesty, His overflowing love.” [1]

Yes, Newman acknowledges that we ought to commemorate this great Festival! Blessed by angels in heaven and godly people on earth, he invites everyone to come and contemplate that Divine Mystery, come to earth.

In the Easter sermon, Newman begins with the “Gift of the Quickening Spirit. He moves to the wonderful events immediately following. Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed. Christ is within us, without us, dispensing blessings and granting sufficient grace to His church universal.

Yes, celebrate! Yes, there is joy at the empty tomb. As Richard Foster adds, “…the final word of Christian witness…is reserved for Easter: “Christ is risen.” He is risen indeed.” [2]

 

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000, 330.

[2] Ibid, 333.

Contemplate Guidance with John Ruusbroec

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 2, 2017

 

immeasurable prayer power.jpg

Contemplate Guidance with John Ruusbroec

Fr. Ruusbroec lived in the 1300’s in the Flemish part of what is now Belgium. When a teen, he went to live with his uncle (a priest). John studied for the priesthood himself, became ordained, and later entered a religious house with his uncle. Fr. Ruusbroec became known as a contemplative, a spiritual writer and thinker who wrote and published a number of treatises. Excerpts from The Spiritual Espousals are included here.

In this section, Fr. Ruusbroec discusses the importance of unity of mind and spirit, and the several manifestations of unity within a person. I was struck by the following description:
“There is no more precious vessel than a loving soul and no more beneficial drink than the grace of God. It is in this way that a person will offer to God all his works and his entire life with a simple and upright intention and will also, above that intention, above himself, and above all things, rest in that sublime unity where God and the loving spirit are united without intermediary.” [1]

My goodness! What riches there are in these short few sentences! Fr. Ruusbroec wanted to aid his readers in becoming closer and closer to God. The way for the good Father was to strive to practice regular, rigorous interior (that is, inner) exercises. And, as we reach a state of more and more closeness, we may indeed approach that “sublime unity.”

I wonder quite what Ruusbroec meant about “God and the loving spirit” are indeed united without intermediary. I suspect that if this was coming from a Roman Catholic, it verged on the outskirts of Catholic theology. (Interesting! Seriously.)

“This unity of the spirit is where we are to dwell in the peace of God and in the richness of charity. Here all the multiplicity of the virtues comes to an end, and they live together in the simplicity of the spirit.” [2]

Ah, for the good Father, it all distills down to the unity of the spirit. And, what can be more blessed and God-given than for everyone to have the opportunity to receive these blessed gifts. Dear Lord, gracious God, help the readers (me, included) to take what John Ruusbroec dearly wished. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

@chaplaineliza

 

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000), 286.

[2] Ibid, 287.

God Our Advocate. Centering Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ADVOCATE 1 John 2-1 KJV

God Our Advocate. Centering Prayer.

I used Centering Prayer today! I also prayed in ways with words, especially since I was doing intercessory prayer. As a small church pastor, I have regular circumstances come up where I need to focus specifically on parishioners, friends of the church, and other situations. In other words, I spent some time with God today, in prayer.

As mentioned yesterday, for the month of September, I will choose a name of God found in the Bible. I’m using that for my word of the day. My word—Name of God for today is Advocate.

When I centered with this Name of God, I did not have long to wait before two words surfaced. “Righteous” and “peace.” I am not sure how these words apply to me yet. I’ll keep ruminating over them. If I find out, great. If I don’t, then that’s okay, too. They are two excellent words that came into my mind.

I am purposefully not looking up the verse I cite before doing Centering Prayer. I want to be true to the concept of using one word and sitting with it. Ruminating on it, and rolling it around in my mind. Seeing whether it will resonate. It is only afterwards that I looked up the passage, and discovered further depths to this Name of God.

As found in 1 John 2:1, the Apostle John tells his readers they have an Advocate in heaven: Jesus Christ the Righteous One. Just in case anyone happens to sin, we have someone who will speak in our defense and on our behalf. (Excuse my levity. Of course everyone sins. We are all human.)

Oh, another thing that surfaced on the rolling video screen of my mind as I contemplated the word Advocate? Different scenes from two different Joss Whedon television shows. More random stuff. I’m used to that sort of thing when I ruminate and contemplate, though. It’s difficult for me to get my mind to calm down. However, with practice, it gets better. Watching that internal mental video screen can also be fascinating. The wide-ranging internal connections and word association football going on in my mind, I mean.

God, thanks for this great word association, today. Thank You for being my Advocate. I know I need it, on a regular basis.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Embrace the Everyday Presence of the Sacred

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, June 4, 2015

Clipart Illustration  -  Black And White Senior Couple

Clipart Illustration –
Black And White Senior Couple

Embrace the Everyday Presence of the Sacred

Each day, every day, we are presented with all number of choices. Each thing, every facet of day-to-day life is potentially sacred. Hallowed. Such qualities as beauty, intimacy, community and imagination. All of these can be blessed, and a way of accessing the soul within.

Divinity? What is that? How is divinity quantified? How much does it weigh? What color is it?

I don’t think the writer of our chapter for today—Thomas Moore—would look upon divinity or soul in such a quantitative, measurable way, either. Yet, he describes soul—divinity—as an everyday function. We ought to be able to find it in ordinary experiences, and circumstances.

The problem is that so many people are so far from any idea of the soul, at all. Oblivious, really.

As Thomas Moore says, “When we are so estranged from the everyday presence of the sacred, how can we rekindle a relationship with the soul? There are many ways, though they’re not necessarily easy. A good beginning is to stop what we’re doing every so often—take time out from the crazy pace we’re caught up in—and use that time to contemplate, whether through formal meditation, or by talking to each other more deeply, or simply by enjoying nature.” [1]

Oh, I need to slow down and pay attention to the everyday happenings of the day. Look more closely and celebrate each one’s blessed ordinary-ness. I need to care for my soul, using everyday things. Activities. Meditation and prayer. Yes, celebrate the everyday people, too. Like me.

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Handbook for the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 27.

A Prayerful Look at the Marvels of Nature

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 11, 2015

bluebird and lilacs

A Prayerful Look at the Marvels of Nature

My prayer guide was specific today. Check out nature.

Watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. (It was cloudy and overcast today, so no luck there.) Or, contemplate the waves of the ocean, a mountain lake, a waterfall. (Sort of difficult to do, seeing as I don’t live by either the ocean or the mountains. I could have gone to Lake Michigan today, but it was really blustery, and the temperature was dropping. It will be in the single digits overnight.)

Another suggestion was to look closely at a tree, a leaf, a beetle, or an animal. I did the next best thing, on this windy and chill and blustery day. I looked at a bird’s nest. My son had found a bird’s nest on the grass under a tree some two years ago. He still has it in a drawer in his room. So, I looked at the nest closely.

My instructions? “As you contemplate God’s creation, try to come to a better appreciation of God’s beauty, power, goodness, love, wisdom.”

I examined this nest—this creation of one of God’s creatures—with great interest. I’ve always been interested in birds and their nests, ever since I found one up in the cherry tree in my mom’s backyard in Chicago. (I found a nest, I mean. Not with a bird in it.)

This particular nest is in excellent condition. I suspect it could be used by any bird of the right size this coming spring. Just looking at it, the nest seems to fit a bird about the size of a robin. (I know smaller birds use smaller nests.) Marvelous construction! Larger branches are used at the bottom. Mid-sized branches and twigs daubed with some kind of mud hold the whole thing together. Plus, swirled, dried grasses line the inside of the nest to make a soft cushion for the eggs, and afterwards, the newly hatched chicks.

I am reminded of where Jesus talks about birds of the air in Matthew 6. He mentions that God the Father watches out for them, just like with this nest. Yes, I am in awe at this nest. This home for a bird, and resting place for eggs, and later, baby birds. Such a wonderful method of construction, and made with economy of materials. I would like to see humans make as functional a home for a bird in such a neat, tidy and well-made way. (Kudos to all of you, birds!)

God, You said You would watch out for me just as much as You watch out for all the birds. I know I have nothing—well, very little—to complain about! But Lord, please, help me to have faith in You. Give me the patience, hope and perseverance to keep on keeping on. And, thank You for such a marvelous object lesson from a bird’s nest.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.