Sunday, November 30, 2008

Enter His Gates With Praise

Shout joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
worship the LORD with cries of gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
Know that the LORD is God, our maker to whom we belong,
whose people we are, God's well-tended flock.

Enter the temple gates with praise, its courts with thanksgiving.
Give thanks to God, bless his name;
good indeed is the LORD,
Whose love endures forever,
whose faithfulness lasts through every age.
--Psalm 100


I thank everyone who participated in this venture, and wish you many blessings on your continued journey with God. Perhaps you've found something that will help you keep up 15 minutes more a day...please feel free to share what that is in the comments, so others may benefit. If you are used to the internet prompt, I encourage you to transfer your habit to Sacred Space, which has a lovely lectio divina series of prompts for each day.

If you prefer books with short reflections, here are a couple of suggestions:

Bangley, Bernard. Nearer to the Heart of God: Daily Readings with the Christian Mystics. Paraclete Press. (An ecumenical text, this really has beautiful selections. The best I have seen of its kind....)
Griffin, Emilie. Doors to Prayer: An Invitation. Paraclete Press.

I'm also a huge fan of Fr. Thomas Dubay's Fire Within, which isn't "reflection style" but has meaty observations for the journey into full communion with God. He has shorter books but none better, because this is a masterpiece.

And finally, if you like the photos, many of these and more I wanted to use are in my Flickr Favorites photostream.

Blessed advent all, and thanks again! Let's pray for each other, and I'll see you next year!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Stay with it

If birds stop beating their wings, they quickly fall to the ground. Unless your soul works at holding itself up, your flesh will drag it down.

You must renew your determination regularly.

Oddly, a spiritual crash leaves us lower than when we began.

Clocks need winding, cleaning, and oiling. Sometimes they need repair. Similarly, we must care for our spiritual life by examining and servicing our hearts at least annually.

There is plenty of time for other things. You do not have to do it all every day.

Stay with it. Time flies away. Keep your eyes on heaven. Don't throw it away for earthly things. Look at Jesus Christ and be faithful to him.

Live, Jesus! To whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all honor and glory, now and forevermore. Amen.

--St. Francis de Sales,
Introduction to the Devout Life

Friday, November 28, 2008

Week Four: Check-in

Picture source.

Welcome to our last "virtual coffee talk" about how the past week has gone.

Has the holiday (in the USA) made it more difficult, or is it a source of prayer for you? The theme of the prompts has been "going forth" from here, if that aids your reflection. Any struggles? Any fruit you wish to share?

Feel free to comment in the comments box.

(Two days left in November!)

Our closing scripture:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)


God speaks to us in the silence of the night. In concrete terms what actually happens when we experience silence? Often we feel rather uncomfortable because we are not used to silence. Our world is filled with noise - radio, television, constant chatting about this and that - words, words, words. When we pray, we do not change our human nature and so for this reason we may find silence difficult even at times of prayer. There exists the temptation even to fill the entire experience of Lectio Divina with words. Of course it is necessary to take time to read the Word of God, to meditate on it and to pray it with words and thoughts which arise spontaneously from our hearts but it is equally important to leave space for silence where God speaks to us in the sound of a gentle breeze.

The voice of God is so gentle that we run the risk of suffocating it with the noise within ourselves. Consciously we enter into silence and leaving aside our beautiful words and holy thoughts for a moment, we reserve a space which we hope God will fill. I have often been surprised by the number of people who do not seem to understand the value of silence and who cannot appreciate its place in Christian prayer.

The silence to which I am referring is not merely an empty space, a lack of words; it is a desire to which God alone can respond. There is a type of silence which is not Christian. Everything depends on one's intention. If we want to use the time of silence to sleep or daydream or for relaxation, that is not Christian prayer. It is, however, possible to enter into silence with the best of intentions and after a few minutes to fall asleep or become distracted but if our intention is to communicate with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, it remains prayer. To appreciate the value of silence, we must be convinced that God lives and works in us whether we are awake or asleep. God does not need our beautiful words and holy thoughts but our desire. What do we really desire? If we really desire that God transform us, He will do it.

--from the British Province of Carmelite Friars

Thursday, November 27, 2008

i thank you god for this most amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

--e.e. cummings

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action.

--Meister Eckhart

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Abba Lot came to Abba Joseph in the desert and said: Father, as best I can I keep my little rule, I fast, I pray and meditate, I live in peace, and I purify my thoughts. Now what else should I do?

The elder stood up and stretched out his hands, and his fingers were tongues of flame. He said: Why not become all fire?

Apophthegmata Patrum

Monday, November 24, 2008


Lift up your heart to God with simple love. Let God be your aim rather than the things he can provide. Try to forget the world and everything material. Focus on God alone.

When you begin you will only find darkness. This is like a cloud of unknowing. You will not be able to identify it. As you reach out to God, this dark cloud will always be between you and God. There is nothing you can do about it. It will prevent you from seeing him clearly. Neither the reasoning powers of your rational mind nor the affections of your emotions will permit a complete experience of God.

Accept this as natural. Try to be comfortable and content in this darkness for as long as it takes. Continue to call out for God. If you are going to have any experience of God in this life, it will be in this cloud and in this darkness.

You have a knowing power and a loving power. God, who gave both of them to you, is incomprehensible to the knowing power. But he is entirely comprehensible to the loving power. This is the miracle of love.

The Cloud of Unknowing