Tag Archives: Spirituality

Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen (A Book Reaction)

I read Nouwen like I listened to the stories of my grandparents: I want to carry the family likeness. I want to receive these stories, these words, into the depths of my being and live from that source.

Each day’s reading in *Bread for the Journey* is a short letter of sorts, a little note to live by. They’re small reminders that say, “Don’t forget who you are and the family who is with you.”

The daily sections are short and easy to read; they’re a wonderful way to start the day. In my case, I read them beside Scripture and prayer and let Henri’s words weave the life of Scripture and prayer together. For me, it’s like I’m watching my grandfather live the spiritual life and speak about it right beside me, every morning. I read Scripture and then hear his voice, his thoughts before dawn.

A Fruitful Devotional Practice: “Examen”

A Fruitful Devotional Practice: “Examen”

“Examen” (ex ‘ah men) is an ancient practice of examination of oneself in the light of Christ. The idea is to attentively draw close to Christ, the Light of Life, who will in a singular moment illumine his great love for us and illumine the darknesses of our hearts which have failed to notice his love and his calling.

The practice is a formative and comforting practice and fits well in the liturgical prayer rhythm of compline or late-evening prayer, which is where forms of such have been practiced for many, many years.

The prayer of examen can flow smoothly in this rhythm: Continue reading

A Fruitful Devotional Practice: “Lectio Divina”

A Fruitful Devotional Practice: “Lectio Divina”

Lectio Divina is an ancient practice of reading Scripture that intends to lead the reader into a participation with the text. It is slow, filled with intent, and rich for laying one’s being toward the presence of God. I feel this is a great way to start the day.

Step 1: Lectio (Read)
This step is the simple reading and listening to the word of God. This reading is done slowly, perhaps even two or three times over a passage. The goal is to Continue reading

The old turns to the new; we fall but upward.

It is through struggle and question that we’re grown; it is God’s presence in the wrestling that we find as our greatest consolation.

This gift is only discovered when the old desire to win, to stand out, or make a name for ourselves fades away. The old turns to the new; we fall but upward.

The early desires are a part of the human experience, a natural lean. They’re the foundational, security building hierarchy of needs sorts of things; we’ll scratch and dig all night for them.

But then the dawn comes and we realize that getting to the gold of China is futile with our fingernails, so we sit up, look across the rim of the hole we’re in, and see the first rays of the Morning Sun.

We pause and watch. This moment has a restful, simple eternal feel to it.

With each inclining degree of light, our questions and our strivings shift. Personal security and personal name no longer preoccupy; instead, we feel a simple warmth to pour into the lives of others, and a freedom to fade, as the sun will also do later in the day, across the western horizon. There to go, there to go.

It’s this awakening of time that Rohr is speaks about, this coming to, or being awakened, to a life that has questions and pursuits (these have been worked at for years). Answers have come but then their paradox follows; a volley like this bats across the years.

More than a question is suffering and struggle. As we carry the scars that come along in our time, our demand for answers fades, replaced by the soul’s desire to just be with God who becomes our consolation more than any gift he could send. It is God alone we come to desire; it is God alone we desire to share.

 

[Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr (Book Reaction)]

 

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Impress-ability and Wisdom

Impress-ability and Wisdom

Could it be that much of western culture believes that the more impressive an item must be, the more life it must contain? What if wisdom is an opposite of this: the more life something contains, the more that something reshapes and redefines what we find impressive?

The big, powerful, and attractive are impressive in our culture; we all feel drawn to them in our seasons. We often associate these things with vitality. The more we see these large traits, the more we feel their gravitational pull. This pull and wiring of desire propels is to then pursue these abstractions in our religious dialog (moments we see in hindsight that struggle to get beyond religious salesmanship).

Continue reading

How Would You Define “Grace?”

How Would You Define “Grace?”

[Enter your thought here.]

Here’s why I ask:

The essence of grace has been something I’ve been wrestling with a lot lately. I’m working through the jumble I’ve inherited from all over: dear friends, theologians I admire, and cliche that’s magnetized to my conscience (as I view it in hindsight).

I believe my concoction is confused, but what’s most perplexing is how I feel I have so many answers for such a simple (and essential) question.

I wonder, “Why the diversity?” Continue reading