Tag Archives: soul

Soul Athirst for God, and Psalm 42

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, July 21, 2017

Psa 42 deer, soul

Soul Athirst for God, and Psalm 42

I haven’t ever been in a desert. I haven’t ever been really, truly thirsty. However, I know much of the land where the Bible was written is either desert or semi-arid. Lots of people in the Bible were seriously thirsty, some more often than not.

Yet, Psalm 42 talks about thirst on at least two levels. Yes, actual, physical thirst. The kind that is a physical need. However, the psalm also speaks of thirsting after God. “As the deer longs for the water brooks…” The psalmist’s soul is thirsting after God, after some knowledge of the Almighty. Yes, even thirsting after the close relationship with God.

Do I do that? Can I say that I have a close relationship with You, O God?

With Dietrich Bonhoeffer I earnestly pray, “Lord God, awaken in my soul a great longing for You. You know me and I know You. Help me to seek You and to find You. Amen.” [1]

Along with the sons of Korah, I can readily say that my soul is athirst for the Lord. Sometimes.

Lord, why am I so wishy-washy? I only too well know, as Bonhoeffer says, “the thirst of our passion for life and good fortune.” [2] From time to time, I even cringe when I think of how I have left You behind, thoughtlessly tossed You aside to go after my own affairs and interests.

Dear Lord, forgive me. Help me to amend my ways. Help all of us to walk in Your ways. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of 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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 55.

[2] Ibid.

More about Meditation, and Psalm 62

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Psa 62 my soul in silence

More about Meditation, and Psalm 62

Dietrich Bonhoeffer preached a sermon on Psalm 62 early in his ministry, when he served as assistant pastor to a German congregation in Barcelona. He took as his text verse 1: “For God alone my soul in silence waits; from him comes my salvation.”

“To be silent does not mean to be inactive, rather it means to breathe in the will of God, to listen attentively and be ready to obey.” [1] When we are silent before God, what happens? I realize that some people—mistakenly—think that means to become completely blank and without thought. While I understand some forms of meditation involve some sort of emptying one’s mind of thoughts, I don’t think this is the kind of directed meditation and prayer that God wants us to do.

Bonhoeffer rightly goes on to say that some people grumble that only few become aware of those deep, loving, profound things that God wishes to say. God does, indeed, speak winning words to us: “I love you.” Yet, why is it that relatively few people fully realize the enormity of God’s personal love, caring and guidance in each person’s life?

“…We are so afraid of silence that we chase ourselves from one event to the next in order not to have to spend a moment alone with ourselves, in order not to have to look at ourselves in the mirror.” [2] Oh, how perceptive of Herr Pastor Dietrich! As Bonhoeffer mentions, these times are comfortless, even fruitless.

I know so well that merry-go-round of the urgent, of the necessary, of the endless to-do list. And, what about the demands of work? The voices and cries of the children, the aging parents, and the extended family? The rounds of the visits, the events, and religious obligations. I don’t have any quick fix, sadly. The extremes of becoming a martyr to all of the busy-ness or trying to set up walls of obliviousness both confront me.

Dear Lord, preserve me from all such clutter in my head and heart. Lead me to come before You in spirit and in truth, seeking after Your presence, Your silence. And then, may I seek after Your will in my thoughts, words and life. Please, God, may it be so.

@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] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 49.

[2] Ibid, 50.

Lessons for Your Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 30, 2015

flowers in sidewalk cracks

Lessons for Your Soul

I love reading anything Melody Beattie wrote—including this chapter of the book Handbook for the Soul. Somehow, I can connect with almost everything she writes. (It’s both a funny/ha-ha thing as well as a funny/that was strange! kind of way.)

Like, for example, where Melody wrote that “we are all at different stages of growth, so we each need different things to trigger that connection to the soul.” [1]

That is so true. I have been thinking for a number of recent years about this life I live. When I consider myself, and the things I’ve stopped doing, and I see how far I’ve come. Or, when I think of what is happening in the experiences of people around me, and feel for them. About what is going on in their lives.

I’ve reflected just recently that life is a journey and that we are all at different stages. (My words, precisely.) And then, I read the same words in Melody Beattie’s chapter tonight. In a word, wow.

I also resonate with Beattie’s comment that we all go on automatic pilot, sometimes. (Don’t we, though?) I was just mentioning this to my daughter the other day. Sometimes I don’t realize it until afterwards—how much time on automatic pilot I have spent. And what has this “pilot” been but a limitation? Just keeping time? Making the same-old, same-old. Marking time, setting for second best. That’s what I can get up to, in my head.

Keeping time and zoning out is definitely not staying in touch with my soul.

I’m not sure, but I suspect that even that is part of this journey all of us are on. Hopefully, God willing, I will see whether I can concentrate on getting closer to God. And, that is a good thing. I pray that I may continue much longer than a month in June.

@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.), 186.

Journey to Soul

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, June 27, 2015

birch wood path

Journey to Soul

Journeying. Traveling. All of us, each of us is on a journey through life. Some are more aware of the fact that each of us has a soul. Some, less so. Our souls are on that journey, too. (According to Benjamin Shield, the author of today’s chapter in Handbook for the Soul.)

I loved the image that Shield gave us in this chapter: that of Michelangelo freeing his marble sculptures from the stone that encased them. “All he needed to do was chisel away everything that was not the completed sculpture, and it would appear. This is the nature of the soul—perfect, yet hidden. Our ‘marble’ can be chiseled away by the passionate desire to know our soul as well as its obstructions.” [1]

Can one “know” the soul? Or, is it best to hold the soul lightly? As I might wear a loose garment? As Shield says, “being completely present with an open heart and open mind.” [2] I see this as being in the ‘now.’ Being open, with no expectations, no preconceptions, no baggage from yesterday. (Or, realistically speaking, as little as possible.)

Clearing the mind is a good way to attempt being completely present. Breathing is another good way. But what if I am focusing too much on negativity? Self-judgment? Especially if I am reactive towards any person, place or thing in my life? The best way to shake off all of this “past remorse or future insecurity” is to let go.

Letting go. I know how to do that. I’ve done that for a number of years, already. Good to know. I appreciate different takes on similar subject matter. Different riffs on the same theme. As Shield said, “Don’t be fooled into thinking you are alone on your journey. . . . It is simply that we take different paths along our collective journey toward the same destination.” [3]

It’s a relief knowing that. As I said before, good to know, God! Thanks! (And I am not being snarky, either!)

@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.), 171.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid, 173.

Regaining Soulfulness

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Friday, June 26, 2015

SOUL be the soul of that place

Regaining Soulfulness

Ah, for the old days, when a high percentage of Americans attended church on a regular basis. (I am only being partially serious.) I’m talking earlier in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Actually, by today’s standards, church and synagogue attendance has gone down. However, more people are saying they are “spiritual, but not religious.” Whatever that means—because it means different things to different people.

The author of today’s chapter, Phil Cousineau, said that many more Americans do not associate with a specific house of worship today. (This is borne out by reports made about spirituality and the “nones” in various recent newspapers and news magazines.) However, Cousineau was interested in the expressions “divine spark” and “soulful.”

What do you think of when I say “divine spark?” Do you think of something like “the measure of the depths of our lives”[1] when I mention that? This can be contemplation. Slowing down enough to enjoy writing a letter. Attentiveness, thoughtfulness, mindfulness. These are the areas in which I find some suggestions. Good suggestions, too, I may add.

Moreover, according to Cousineau’s chapter in the Handbook for the Soul, there is some kind of American myth that aids in isolationism. Regardless of this tendency to isolation, many people are drawn toward connecting, meeting together, in a cohesive matter. Whether associated with a faith tradition and meeting place, or not. And, that is a welcoming and positive thing! Amen!

Whether you or your loved one believe in connecting, whether contemplating the mysterious continuity that is this world, or the spark inside of you and me is made to go higher and higher, we can say amen for that!

Please, God, help me—help us to become more and more like God. Less and less like the world.

@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.), 162.

Soul and Experience(s)

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, June 10, 2015

God making a way

Soul and Experience(s)

I’ve worked as a chaplain here in Chicago for a number of years. Yes, I have striven to walk alongside many people in my time being a chaplain, sometimes more successful, sometimes less. These patients, their loved ones, and others have come from many faith traditions and various backgrounds.

I suppose that’s one large reason I have interest in a number of different ways of approaching God, the Higher Power, or the Source. Or, Great Spirit, or the Holy. Different ways of naming the ineffable, that transcendent experience.

It is a similar interest I bring to the chapter from Handbook for the Soul today. Brian Weiss brought up a number of interesting ideas, things that I am not particularly familiar with. Like regression back to previous lives. This is something unfamiliar. However, the feelings and emotions Dr. Weiss brought out were very much familiar. And, right in my area of expertise.

One statement Dr. Weiss says is one I can totally agree with: “We are souls having a human experience.” It doesn’t matter whether the experiences are good or bad, positive or negative. Each of us is a flesh and blood human with a soul. Each of us goes through all kinds of stuff, regardless of our faith traditions or belief structure.

Yes, Dr. Weiss brings up an interesting idea. I have my reservations, true. Yet, I believe some people are helped by what the doctor says and the actions he takes.

I hope and pray some people are similarly helped by what I say, and by the actions I take, too. Please, God, may it be so.

@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 .

Paying Attention to Soul and Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 2, 2015

birds silhouette sunset

Paying Attention to Soul and Prayer

I love the book I am using as a guide in the month of June. I really do. But, you all don’t know quite what kind of book it is. So, Handbook for the Soul is a compilation, a complete change of pace. This new book traces different ways of relating to our souls. Today’s author lifted up paying attention.

Robert Fulghum wrote this message, for today’s chapter. Did anyone pay attention to what I wrote as I write this post?

Here is a pertinent paragraph: “Sometimes during the day, I consciously focus on some ordinary object and allow myself a momentary ‘paying-attention.’ This paying-attention gives meaning to my life. I don’t know who it was, but someone said that careful attention paid to anything is a window into the universe.” [1]

Fulghum then mentions, step by step, a typical day in his life. A day when he is allowed to nurture his soul, and find beautiful and satisfying things to do and say. Of course, he is not able to do all these things–to check them off an internal list every single day. It is then that his life might go off-track, mentally, emotionally and spiritually speaking. But—that’s okay. Sometimes those things happen.

I need to ask myself: do I pay attention to others? To myself? About what aspects of my work, my life, my very being? About which subjects should I say nothing?

Again, I mention something Fulghum wrote, at the end of this chapter: “I don’t expect that anyone’s life will be lived exactly according to plan. But I do expect that life will go well if I simply pay attention to the positives, as well as to the negatives, of the mixture that is in me and is in the rest of the world.” [2] Hopeful, positive words, indeed.

These are words that can nourish the soul, words of gentleness, encouragement and comfort. I think practically everyone deserves a little of this way of thinking (and acting!) each day. God willing, I might be able to be that kind of person.

@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 of the Soul, Richard Carlson and Benjamin Shield, editors. (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1995), 12.

[2] Ibid, 16-17.