Something to think and pray about this weekYeah, I realized yesterday [Tuesday] that "Something to think and pray about this week" means this is the opening text all week, which is good in some ways -- you return to the same thing over and over again and it grounds you through the week somewhat, and you potentially see new stuff as you continue to go back to it. I do find it a little weird to be meditating on Sunday Sabbath all week. (Also the fact that it starts with "The Jews...")
It was the Jews who taught us to observe the sabbath, though they kept it on what we call Saturday. The book of Genesis described God as resting on the seventh day. That story at the beginning of the Bible is not history but myth, a picturesque way of conveying a vital truth: that God existed before the world or time, and is the creator of all. The notion of working hard and creatively for six days and then resting on the seventh has entered deep into human history. The sabbath, whether we celebrate it on Saturday or Sunday (or on Friday as the Muslims do), is not just a day of rest. It is also the Lord's day, when we give time to God.
That seems like a simple and cheering idea. The father of monasticism, Saint Benedict, had a lovely phrase for it: vacare Deo; Finding space for God. It means changing the tempo of our lives, taking it easy, stopping after a week's work to see where we are going. For some people that means slowing down, if they have a demanding job on weekdays. For others, especially as we grow older, one day is much the same as another, and we do not need much slowing down.
Reading it today, what stuck out at me was "The notion of working hard and creatively for six days." Not that I think we should have to "earn" Sabbath (I mean, part of the whole point is "grace"), but that idea that we are called to both work and rest.
Begin the PrayerThis is not exactly aimed at low church Protestants, is it?
Wednesday 11 February, Our Lady of Lourdes
Dear Jesus, I come to you todayTo love Jesus as I am loved by Jesus. Wow, that's pretty intense.
longing for your presence.
I desire to love you as You love me.
May nothing ever separate me from You.
Thinking about the, "May nothing ever separate me from You"... initially it feels weird to me because duh, "neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons*, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord," but then it occurs to me that we separate ourselves from God -- that we turn away, that we close ourselves off, etc.
*The gloss says, "or nor heavenly rulers," apparently the KJV etc. just say "rulers," which is why I was thinking "principalities" when I was trying to remember this line. Huh, dictionary.com lists as one definition, "an order of angels;" learn something new every day. Yeah, I am not so good at this meditation thing, am I?
Your death on the cross has set me free.I kinda squirm at the "Jesus' death on the cross has saved us all," 'cause of all the problematic implications (e.g., that God required blood sacrifice to reconcile humanity to Godself). The "I can live joyously and freely without fear of death," though, is good (though I would I would say it's Jesus' resurrection that [should] frees us from the fear of death -- we've had plenty of martyrs, and this is different not just because of Jesus' specialness).
I can live joyously and freely
without fear of death.
Your mercy knows no bounds.
What really stuck out at me in a good way was the idea of boundless mercy. At the talk last night [Wednesday], Jeff asked why all this focus on "justice," when really "mercy" is greater, and is a theme in all three traditions. (We were talking about A Common Word -- content of and reactions thereto.)
To be conscious about something is to be aware of it. Dear Lord help me to remember that You gave me life. Thank you for the gift of life. Teach me to slow down, to be still and enjoy the pleasures created for me.I don't have anything to add to this.
To be aware of the beauty that surrounds me. The marvel of mountains, the calmness of lakes, the fragility of a flower petal. I need to remember that all these things come from you.
Mark 7, 14-23I know that Jesus elaborates and says that it's all these bad actions that defile us, but whenever I hear the beginning I think "It is not what we put in our mouths that defiles us, but what comes out of our mouths." I, um, kind of have a bias toward The Power of Words.
Then he called the crowd again and said to them, "Listen to me, all of you, and understand: there is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile." When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, "Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, "It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
What are you saying to me, Lord?
Need Inspiration?Harsh judgements, retaining of past hurts Yeah, those are definitely things I need to work on.
Jesus directs our focus to what is inside us. We find good and evil inside our hearts. Harsh judgements, retaining of past hurts, thoughts of greed and misuse of others are part of the human heart as well as the love that dwells there. Prayer purifies the thoughts and desires of the heart as we allow the love of God in Jesus Christ to flood our personalities.
What is stirring in me as I pray? Am I consoled, troubled, left cold? I imagine Jesus himself standing or sitting at my side, and share my feelings with him.I feel like there's so much in all these various blocks of texts to think about, that it's actually kind of hard to meditate on them because I don't have one single thing to meditate on (to carry with me throughout the day) but rather lots of things to think about. "Am I consoled, troubled, left cold?" I am consoled by the reminders of grace and love, troubled by the invocation of the salvific power of death on the cross, challenged by the call to let go of harsh judgments and past hurts. And those are just the things I can think off of the top of my head, without going back and rereading this post.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end.