“The [person] who lives and acts
according to the grace of Christ dwelling in [him or her],
acts in that case as another Christ,
as a son [or daughter] of God,
and thus … prolongs in [his or her] own life
the effects and the miracle of the incarnation.”
Thomas Merton

Speaking of being still 

November 15, 2017 — 1 Comment


Flickering Mind
by Denise Leterov

“Lord, not you,

it is I who am absent

At first

belief was a joy I kept in secret, 

stealing alone

into sacred places:

a quick glance, and away-and back,

circling

I have long since uttered your name

but not

I elude your presence.

I stop

to think about you, and my mind

at once

like a minnow darts away

darts

into the shadows, into gleams, that fret

unceasing

Not for one second

will my self hold still, but wanders

anywhere,

everywhere it can turn. Not you,

it is I am absent.

You are the stream, the fish, the light,

the pulsing shadow,

you the unchanging presence, in whom all

moves and changes.

How can I focus my flickering, perceive

at the fountain’s heart

the sapphire I know is there?”

“For Your mercies’ sake, O Lord my God,
tell me what You are to me.
Say to my soul: “I am your salvation.”
So speak that I may hear, O Lord;
my heart is listening;
open it that it may hear You…

After hearing this word,
may I come in haste to take hold of You…
The house of my soul is too small to receive You;
let it be enlarged by You.
It is all in ruins;
may You repair it.”
Saint Augustine


“Prayer in Thanks for the Little Flying Dinosaurs We Call Dragonflies Because
they are unbelievably cool, that’s why, and we casually glance at them when they whiz past, and rarely if ever sit down in a daze and contemplate the fact that they are astonishing miracles, the saber-toothed tigers of the insect world, and they are the most amazing aeronautical engineers and fighter pilots, and they come in all colors, and sometimes on a hot day there are dozens of them in the air all at once, stitching patterns and conducting maneuvers that I would have given a thousand bucks for in the old days when I was a young supple athlete; to move like that, changing directions in a split second, wow! But then my mind suddenly is filled with dragonflies in basketball shorts and soccer jerseys, so we had better close up shop with this prayer, and yet again, for what must be the millionth time in fifty years, thank the Engineer for absolutely first-rate design and construction. What an artist, what craft, what imaginative leaps! And so: amen.”
Brian Doyle in his “A Book of Uncommon Prayer: 100 Celebrations of the Miracle & Muddle of the Ordinary”

“”When all of my effort is turned towards You
because all of Your effort is turned toward me;
when I look to You alone with all my attention,
and don’t turn aside the eyes of my mind
because You enfold me with Your constant attention;
when I direct my love to You alone
because You, who are Love’s self has turned You to me alone.
And what, Lord, is my life,
save that embrace where Your delightful sweetness so lovingly enfolds me?”
Nicholas of Cusa

Spirit speaks–All Sons and Daughters 
“Your Spirit speaks, it moves in me
And I’m awakened to Your love
You’re drawing me onto my knees
And I’m astounded by Your love

You spoke life into my lungs
You are the air I breathe
You are the air I breathe
Still You move inside of me
You are the song I sing

You are the song I sing, Jesus
You cover me with arms that reach
And I’m amazed by Your sweet grace
You set me free, You washed me clean

And I’m forgiven by Your grace
You spoke life into my lungs
You are the air I breathe
You are the air I breathe

Still You move inside of me
You are the song I sing
You are the song I sing, Jesus
With every breath I breathe

With every song I sing
I want to shout it out
Lord I am listening
To every word You speak
I’ll go where You will lead
To love the least of these
My greatest offering”
All Sons and Daughters

Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.  Ephesians 1:3 The Message

“The spiritual life starts at the place where you can hear God’s voice,
       where somehow you can claim that long before your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your school, your church touched you, loved you, and wounded you—     long before that, you were held safe in an eternal embrace.
You were seen with eyes of perfect love long before you entered into the dark valley of life….
The spiritual life starts at the moment when you can go beyond all of the wounds
         and claim that there was a love that was perfect and unlimited,long before that perfect love became reflected in the imperfect and limited, conditional love of people.
The spiritual life starts where you dare to claim the first love.”
Henri Nouwen

“Let the risen Jesus enter your life —
welcome him as a friend, with trust: he is life!
If up till now you have kept him at a distance, step forward. He will receive you with open arms.
If you have been indifferent, take a risk; you won’t be disappointed.
If following him seems difficult, don’t be afraid.
Trust him,
be confident that he is close to you, he is with you, and he will give you the peace you are looking for and the strength to live as he would have you do.”
Pope Francis


“Paul (in Ephesians 1) is saying that you and I were “spoken forth” out of the heart of God’s love before the foundation of the world. That is a truth of radical significance. Here is the ultimate ground of our identity. You are a beloved child of God, spoken forth out of the heart of God’s love before the foundation of the world. The union of a man and a woman that brought about your physical conception is only the secondary cause of your being. The primary center of your identity is the heart of God’s love before the foundation of the world.”
from “The Deeper Journey: The Spirituality of Discovering Your True Self” by M. Robert Mulholland Jr.

“Through Your own merciful dealings with me,
O Lord my God,
tell me what You are to me.
Say to my soul,
I am your salvation.
Say it so that I can hear it.
My heart is listening, Lord;
open the ears of my heart
and say to my soul,
I am your salvation.

Let me run toward this voice
and seize hold of You.
Do not hide Your face from me:
let me die so that I may see it,
for not to see it would be death to me indeed.”
Saint Augustine

Matt Redman’s When I Needed A Saviour
from the album “The Heart Of Worship”

“Looking back on time,
Seeking to remind myself of all Your mercies,
I can testify, on every page of life,
Your grace just keeps unfolding and unfolding.

You made me fruitful in the land of my suffering, Father.
You made me hopeful in the place of no hope;
Poured oil of gladness on the wounds of my struggling, and You
Poured oil of healing on the depths of my soul.

When I needed a Saviour, You were there, You were there.
When I needed a Healer, You were there, You were there.
When I needed a my Father, You were there, You were there,
You are here, You are here.

Ever since the day
I looked upon the cross I’ve realised Your mercy.
For every stage of life, sweet and bitter times,
Your love just keeps unfolding, and unfolding.

You made me fruitful in the land of my suffering, Father.
You made me hopeful in the place of no hope;
Poured oil of gladness on the wounds of my struggling, and You
Poured oil of healing on the depths of my soul.

When I needed a Saviour, You were there, You were there.
When I needed a Healer, You were there, You were there.
When I needed a my Father, You were there, You were there,
You are here, You are here.

My Saviour, my Healer, my Father

You made me fruitful in the land of my suffering, Father.
You made me hopeful in the place of no hope;
Poured oil of gladness on the wounds of my struggling, and You
Poured oil of healing on the depths of my soul.

When I needed a Saviour, You were there, You were there.
When I needed a Healer, You were there, You were there.
When I needed a my Father, You were there, You were there,
You are here, You are here.”


Speaking of tears

September 27, 2017 — 3 Comments

 “Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.  
They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are,
but more often than not God is speaking to you through them of the mystery of where you have come from
and is summoning you to where,
if your soul is to be saved,
you should go next.”  Frederick Beuchner


“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?”
Psalm 137:1-4


“Christ says ever and always, “Give me your pain, your sin, your sorrow.
My Life I give in exchange for all that finds you.”
Leanne Payne in Restoring the Christian Soul

“Let Your Mercy Rain”
by Chris Tomlin from his “See the Morning” album)
(no music link available)

“God, You have done great things
God, You give grace to the weak
And bless the brokenhearted
With a song of praise to sing

You reached down and lifted us up
You came running, looking for us
And now there’s nothing
And no one beyond Your love
You’re the overflow
You’re the fountain of my heart

Let Your mercy rain
Let Your mercy rain on us
You’re the faithful one

When the world’s falling apart
Let Your mercy rain
Let Your mercy rain on us
How deep, how wide, how long, how high is Your love … is Your love

How deep, how wide, how long, how high is Your love … is Your love
Oh, God
Let it rain”

A song that talks about how we don’t have to fully know who God is to worship Him.
“Just a glimpse” by Israel Houghton

“I don’t have to fully know
Just how far Your love can go
To sing of Your love for me
I don’t have to comprehend
How Your mercy never ends
To sing of Your mercy

And all I need is
All I really need is
Just a glimpse of You
And I’m in awe
Just a glimpse of You
My God
Just a glimpse of You
And all I can do is worship
All I can do is worship You Lord, yeah

And I don’t have to clearly see
How amazing grace can be
To sing of Your grace for me
And I don’t have to fully grasp
The measure of Your holiness
Oh, to sing holy holy, holy holy

And all I need is
All I really need is
Just a glimpse of You
And I’m in awe
Just a glimpse of You
My God
Just a glimpse of You
And all I can do is worship
I worship You

All go ahead and worship him tonight
We worship You
We lift up our voices in praise
And thanksgiving Lord
We worship You
I worship You, yeah, yeah, yeah
We worship You Lord
In spirit and truth
We worship You
We stand in child like amazement
Oh, with our eyes wide open
We worship You
With our hands stretched wide
We worship You
With our hearts wide open Lord
We worship You”

“The human mind is perpetually busy trying to control things, trying to figure things out, 

clinging to the latest idea, 

grasping at the nearest straw.

 It works very hard trying to make sense of things by endlessly seeking to put everything into categories and boxes and systems of thought. 


Sometimes even God himself gets relegated to a category or a box in my mind rather than being free to be God in my life. 

It seems that my mind will go to great lengths to fix things, control things and defend against anything that would disrupt my carefully fully constructed equilibrium…


It’s not that the mind is bad; it’s just very limited in its capacity to move us toward the union with God that we seek. The intellect can set the stage but cannot provide the drama of true encounter. 


Our experience with human relationships tells us this: thinking about someone one is not the same thing as being in their presence. Knowing facts about someone, studying the details of their life, admiring them from afar is not the same as being in relationship with them or allowing oneself to fall in love.” Ruth Haley Barton in “Invitation to Silence ”

Great-grandmother and great-grandson

me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mqd8MoiCbcI
Your Great Grace by Matt Redman

“It’s there in the newborn cry
It’s there in the light of every sunrise
It’s there in the shadows of this life
Your great grace

It’s there on the mountaintop
It’s there in the everyday and the mundane
There in the sorrow and the dancing
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
There from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

It’s there on a wedding day
There in the weeping by the graveside
There in the very breath we breathe
Your great grace

Same for the rich and poor
Same for the saint and for the sinner
Enough for this whole wide world
Your great grace
Oh, such grace

From the creation to the cross
Then from the cross into eternity
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me

There in the darkest night of the soul
There in the sweetest songs of victory
Your grace finds me
Yes, Your grace finds me”

No more fake news!

August 30, 2017 — Leave a comment

We hear a lot these days about fake news–stories put out as being true when really they are just fabrications, wishful thinking, and sometimes outright lies. No one thinks fake news is a good idea. No one defends it. Everyone thinks in principle it’s a bad idea, including me. 

But I realize when it comes to talking with God, I naturally fall into a fake news mentality. I don’t want to admit to Him–let alone myself–the painful truth. Not surprisingly, this doesn’t bring me close to God. I stay hidden behind my mask, keeping the real me buried. This is not unlike the Pharisees whom Jesus called white-washed tombs: pretty on the outside but a very different story inside. And this cuts me off from His grace. Instead, when I am honest and transparent with Him, it opens up the way for His love, acceptance, and redemption to flow into my damaged heart. 

Renovation needed


“To relate to God in the honesty of yourself, your heart must be exposed to God. If you were angry, be the angry person before the face of God. Are you prideful? Be the person filled with pride before God. Are you selfish? Be the selfish person before God. It does not help to pretend you are otherwise. You’re not fooling God.” Jamin Goggin and Kyle Strobel in “Beloved Dust” 

The same upside and downside


“I only know Divine unconditional, radical and reckless love for me when I dare to approach God just as I am. The more I have the courage to meet God in this place of weakness, the more I will know myself to be truly and deeply loved by God.” David Benner in “The Gift of Being Yourself”

The hidden depths


“The willingness to see ourselves as we are and to name it in God’s presence is at the very heart of the spiritual journey. But it takes time to feel safe enough with ourselves and with God to risk exposing the tender, unfinished places of the soul. We are so accustomed to being shamed and condemned in the unfinished parts of ourselves that it is hard to believe there is a place where all of who we are the good, the bad, and the ugly will be handled with love and gentleness.” Ruth Haley Barton in “Invitation to Silence”

A good song for encouraging us to make time for longer conversations with our Father:
“King Of Glory (You Rescued My Soul)”
by All Sons and Daughters

I know a place where I can find You
Here in the valley of the shadows
Give me eyes to see
Where You’re leading me

I know a place where I can feel You
Here in the freedom of forgiveness
Give me strength to hold
Fast to what I know

You restore my soul
I’m Yours alone
Oh King of glory
When dark gives way to light
Your hope will rise
Oh King of glory

I know a place where I can hear You
Your truth is a whisper in the chaos
Give me faith to stand
Strong in this rushing wind

You restore my soul
I’m Yours alone
Oh King of glory
When dark gives way to light
Your hope will rise
Oh King of glory
[x2]

Surely goodness
And mercy
Follow me
Every moment
I will dwell with You

You restore my soul
I’m Yours alone
Oh King of glory
When dark gives way to light
Your hope will rise
Oh King of glory

I was struck as I read this: “Relationships develop when people spend time together. Spending time with God ought to be the essence of prayer. However, as it is usually practiced, prayer is more like a series of email or instant messages than hanging out together. Often it involves more talking than listening. It should not be a surprise that the result is a superficial relationship.”                        from “The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery” by David G. Benner

Life *is* busy. And just like my body can survive on fast food, my soul can survive on prayer texts and email messages.

But God is looking forward to a long conversation with me–one that will take more than a few minutes grabbed on the fly, and one where my attention is not so distracted that I never get around to actually having a dialogue with Him about what is really on my heart. 

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. John 15:4


Come away My beloved…

A variation of an old hymn I learned at a recent retreat,
sung by Alanna Story
“I am the Lord’s I know”

2017-06-10 2017 6 10 to 7 4 USA summer 1638

“Whether I live or die,
Whether I wake or sleep,
Whether upon the land,
Or on the stormy deep;
I will stand confident
For all my fears have been eclipsed
by my Father’s Love

So I won’t be afraid,
I won’t be afraid,
I am the Lord’s I know

Nothing shall separate
From His unbounded love,
Neither in depths below,
Nor in the heights above;
I will stand confident
For all my fears have been eclipsed
by my Father’s Love

So I won’t be afraid,
I won’t be afraid,
I am the Lord’s I know

Even the wind and the waves obey you
And at the sound of your name kingdoms fall
My hope’s secure in the hands of a sovereign God”2017-04-19 146

“Finally I am knowing in my depths that God is for me and with me and in me. …This is the most important kind of knowing in the human experience, and it comes only as we are quiet enough to let the faithful presence of God holds us in our brokenness until our brokenness is healed by love. 

This self is smaller, in one sense, than the ego identity, because it does not need to be big in order to prove itself to the world. 

This self is truer, because it does not rely on image management to find acceptance in the world. 

This self is softer, because it does not rely on hardened defense structures to keep itself safe in the world. 

This self is freer, because it knows itself to be finally and ultimately held safely in a Love that is unchangeable and real.

This Love does not lose track of us no matter what dark places we must walk into. It is a Love deeper than any abyss that we might fall into. It is a Love with the power to heal any brokenness we might encounter.” 
Ruth Haley Barton in “Invitation to Silence ”

The way

June 3, 2017 — Leave a comment


“Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I put my trust in You.


Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”             Psalm 143:8


When my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who know my way. Psalm 142:3