The first practical suggestion we can make to improve our prayer life is to be honest. If you are angry at him because he seems unfair in the burden you are carrying lately, tell him! If you are not quite ready to be chaste and faithful to your marriage commitments, tell him!
The splendor of the Spirit is to encourage gifts. To invite risk. To reach out beyond safe boundaries. To unite. To celebrate diversity. To "go where no one has gone before." The Holy Spirit encourages us to use our ingenuity, resources and gifts to help build up the [kin]dom of God. To become co-creators with God!
During the fifty days of Easter, we have a chance to “unpack” the "rest of the story." Here are my reflections on the Resurrection side of the story of Jesus' Paschal Mystery – my own experience of new and risen life – not later – but right here, right now! What I have discovered and the good news I wish to share with you is that if you are willing to unite your life, your own cup of suffering and dying-to-self with Jesus, then he, too, will raise you up! (See the Holy Week Arise for the first part.)
Holy week is an awesome time for us to be touched by the healing power
and love of Jesus. He invites us (1) to accept our own cup of suffering,
(2) to let go of our life and unite it to his on the Cross and (3)
and, if we do that, to rise with him to new and wonderful life.
My trusty Synonym Finder says that to be broken is to be “shattered / smashed / crushed/ mangled / fragmented / ruptured / torn / split / cracked / damaged / destroyed / defeated / outdone / ruined /weakened. Have you experienced any of these during your life? More than once? In this issue, we will reflect on the strange words of Jesus: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9) and search for the treasure buried beneath the rubble.
In order to “Listen and Speak as Jesus Did” we need to grow in three dimensions: (1) the way we talk to ourselves and listen to what’s going on in our bodies / feelings / mind /and will; (2) the way we talk and listen to other people; and (3) the way we talk and listen to God.
A very, very long time ago, in the beginning, there was night. Only night. Darkness covered the abyss. And there was an all-absorbing silence. No song to be heard, no music; a Word to be spoken, but no world to be spoken to. But there were some who longed for a new Word to be spoken. A Word that would also be a Light shining in the terrible darkness that humans had perpetrated on one another. Then one starry night . . .
I’d like to share with you my reflection on St. Luke's story of the Annunciation (1:26-46) that uncovered for me some astonishing insights about Mary’s process of discernment. It has profoundly influenced my life.
I don't think there are any two words with more magic and power than to say "thank you." A "thank you" to God or to people who goes out of their way for us keeps the door open and the relationship well-oiled. We can even learn to say "thank you" for the difficult lessons that life sometimes ekes out of us.
We know that the Word of God is powerful. What we often don’t realize is that our words are powerful too. They can hurt, they can cut our loved ones to the quick, and they can heal. Bringing nourishment and new life to those we love, or a stranger on the street we may never see again.
This is the second of a series of reflections to explore ways we can listen and speak as Jesus did. In this issue of Arise we will explore ways we can seal out the devastating impact that hurting words have on ourselves and others and how we can nourish others with healing words.
Communicating in the Style of Jesus: Listening and Speaking as Jesus Did This twenty first volume of Arise, I would like to offer some reflections on the kind of communication that makes us whole, that heals, nourishes / strengthens /encourages / inspires. I think a “short course on how to communicate lovingly and civilly” could be helpful for us (me included). E-mail, texting, Facebook, Twitter, I’m afraid has not enhanced our ability to do much more than chat, which I have seldom found nourishing.
I wonder if kids growing up today know how to have honest, open dialogue, the kind of sharing of mind and heart that friends do that truly nourishes and establishes lasting bonds of friendship.
Moreover, our etiquette, our manners for communicating, is also deteriorating. I find that people don’t acknowledge phone calls or notes anymore. And this past summer we have witnessed a breakdown in public discourse, incivility that I find alarming.
During this coming volume of Arise, I will be sharing some of this with you. I very much need to revisit it myself. Throughout this year, beginning with this issue, I will present several of these writings to help us explore the question for ourselves: Can we listen and speak as Jesus did?
Change can happen. And living in the present moment is the key. The key to finding God and oneself and other people.
And it happens almost without effort. I used to beat myself up over not being able to do what I should or wanted to do. But now, the change comes because I’m being changed from deep within! By God.
Change happens by letting go. By surrendering by giving up our own will.
Nonetheless, every day, as my house wants to get dusty, I want to think: I was the one who accomplished this! And then I go back to prayer. And I realize, and rejoice and give thanks, that it is Jesus’ love that is doing the transforming.
Editor’s note: In this issue I would like to reflect on my own journey as a priest and then my experience of the Church and the priesthood today. A major theme here is my deep love of the sacred liturgy which I try to live “in season and out of season.” As we prepare for the coming feast of Pentecost I invite you to be aware of the movement of the Holy Spirit in your own life as well.
Rejoice with dear readers! This May 24th I give thanks to Jesus for granting me the gift of serving as his priest for 40 years. It’s an astonishing thing really, when you consider that I have carried it through 31 years of manic depressive illness with all the vagaries of life which that rocky road affords.
My prayer is looking forward as I reflect on these years: We need a New Pentecost in the Church these days. We need to have the windows flung open once again, as Pope John XXIII did fifty years ago and let the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit shake us up. No! We need a hurricane to blow through us.
Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
This is the Easter part of the Paschal Mystery of Jesus. If the last Arise was about broken pots and fragile humans, about surrender and dying to self, this issue is about the dawning of a new day, about waking up from our mediocrity , about gathering strength, enthusiasm and exuberance for life, about finding and building community and being empowered by the Spirit of God instead of the power of money and greed and hate. I will tell you the story of my own Easter this year for I believe that “what is most personal is most universal.” Here’s the story . . .
Easter, doesn’t always come on Easter, but, if you wait awhile, it always comes
Here are my thoughts on my priesthood written on the occasion of my twenty fifth anniversary of ordination on May 24, 1994. I am not quite sure what I’m going to write for my fortieth; that depends on my courage and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I hope you will look for it later this May 2009 Remember, I have a different perspective on priesthood -- perhaps a truer perspective than many priests are willing to admit.
For one, I am a wrier, and two, i have viewed it as they say, "From both sides now."
Here’s what I wrote in May 1994 . . .
Unless a grain of wheat dies...
The Mystery of Human Suffering
Lent 2009: Be in solidarity with those who are suffering
2009: A Call for Courage and Community for All Americans
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