Tag Archives: pastoral care

Community? In the Midst of Imperfections.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Sunday, December 20, 2015

church gathering - meant to be a church choir

Community? In the Midst of Imperfections.

I serve as a pastor. Yet, I feel especially called by God to be a pastoral care giver. To come alongside of people, and walk with them for a bit. Through problems, trials, and difficulties.

Especially at this holiday time of the year, I hear about the difficulties people have with family members. Sometimes, whole sections of families. And often, these people are having fear and anxiety over family gatherings. Supposedly festive times, but somehow morphed into awful, judgmental, anxiety-ridden occasions.

I seldom can do anything for people other than listen. If they ask, I do have several simple things to suggest. For example, limit the time spent with these difficult family members. Yes, show up, if necessary, but often you can choose how long you spend in their company. Be selective when accepting holiday invitations. You do not need to attend every party or dinner or function. And, most important, try to have your own transportation when possible. If the family members are becoming unbearable, you can excuse yourself. It is all right. Do what you need to do.

In my Advent meditation for today, Henri Nouwen brings up Parker Palmer and his writings on community. I know that many people think that “community” and “family” are places where we are all feeling warm and fuzzy feelings about each other. And in the best of all possible worlds, that kind of community and family would be marvelous. A portion of people even get to experience that warm, genial, loving kind of community and family, on a regular basis. But, many people do not.

Nouwen says that Palmer says: “community is the place where the person you least want to live with always lives….Community is in fact the place where you are purified, where your love is tested, where your childhood of God is constantly put through the mill of human relationships.” [1]

I know I have idiosyncracies that can drive other people up the wall. Just as much as others’ habits and manners and ways of doing things can drive me wild, too. God, help me not to bug other people. Help me to be careful not to be too annoying. Help me to do my part. And, I have faith that You will take care of the rest.


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] Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from Henri J. M. Nouwen (Linguori, Missouri: Redemptorist Pastoral Publications, 2004), 44.

More About Feelings, in Ignatian Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, May 23, 2015

God cleans the inside

More About Feelings, in Ignatian Prayer

I am a touchy-feely kind of person. Always have been, always will be. It’s the way God created me to be. I can appreciate people for whom intellect is all important. Gee, sometimes I get all up in my head and be all intellectual about something, too. But my primary focus is all about feelings. Pastoral care. Sympathy and empathy. I suppose that’s one reason Ignatian prayer and meditation appeals to me so much.

We’re continuing with Margaret Silf’s book Inner Compass; so much in that book to assist us in our journey with God! Again, the steps of Silf’s process with feelings are similar to the steps of the Daily Examen we viewed earlier this week. This examination can be positive or negative, depending on the sort of feeling touched upon.

Silf gives a striking description of how my “inner furniture” can be disturbed—by others as well as by me. You know the “furniture” I mean. That “inner furniture” in my secret inner room, deep inside of me. Or, my feeling-place inside. St. Ignatius taught his friends how to track their feelings and moods, too. He showed them how to “discover the deeper movements in their hearts, learning to recognize the sold-ground mods as consolation and the moods of inner turmil as desolation.”[1]

Sadly, others may not realize where that “furniture” is located, or when they may crash into it, unknowingly. Another amazing (and again, sad) thing is that we may not be aware of this “inner furniture” until after we’ve crashed into it. That’s why I need to keep in regular contact with God. I need to regularly pray and reflect upon what is happening to me in my daily life. That’s on a daily basis—or, at least several times a week.

And the best part is: God will help me to make a regular practice of this “housecleaning.”

I’m afraid I do not take regular advantage of God’s kindness, God’s offer of assistance. At least, I am not consistent with my prayers for Daily Examen. (“Review of conscience,” as Silf calls it.) Dear God, help me to be more consistent, especially since You are ready and waiting for me, every evening, at the end of the day. Thank You for the opportunity. Please, help me, God. Amen.


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 sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

[1] Silf, Margaret, Inner Compass: Introduction to Ignatian Spirituality (Chicago: Loyola Press, 1999), 50.