Finished writing in an entire journal yesterday, and it’s time to begin a new one! These are my prayer journals, the worn one on the left is the old one. Took me a little over four months to fill every inch with essays on prayer and spiritual journeying. Also if you swipe you’ll see a little communion sacrament I made and gave myself this morning. Though our priest can not bless it, I said a little prayer and took it as a symbol of what we would do in church, which I feel is ok.
What are your thoughts on homemade communion during the stay at home order? .
I like to follow the breadcrumbs of authors I admire. If an author quotes another or happens to really like a certain book or person then I investigate whomever they suggest. St. John of the Cross is one of those breadcrumbs. I’m so excited to read his work. This book is 800 pages, not exactly something I can take to bed with me, however the task of reading it at my desk will feel very much like a joyful study. His writing is often quoted by some of the most inspiring theologians of all time including Thomas Merton and Saint Therese of Lisieux, so I’ve been looking forward to reading his work for a while now. Can’t wait to dive in!
Today is Good Friday! I feel so much joy today I can barely contain myself. My heart feels so full of love, as if it glows. The light of Jerusalem seems to be with me today.
Do you ever feel this way?
“Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.”- Nehemiah 2:17
Before I received a book deal to write about the Poletown neighborhood of Detroit razed for a GM plant in 1981, I went around telling everyone the story of the neighborhood’s demise by the hand of GM and the City of Detroit, because I thought a memorial of some kind should be built. Some told me to leave it alone. But a couple others (like two people) encouraged me to explore the story and the people involved. I knew God was telling me to follow him into the story because the story haunted me for many months, and I mourned and wept for what the people had gone through while they fought to keep their homes and churches. From following God’s breadcrumbs, I eventually became so knowledgeable about the story that I felt confident enough to ask a publisher if they’d be interested in it. I felt like Nehemiah wanting to reconstruct the wall of Jerusalem. From this journey I learned to follow the whispering voice that sometimes plagues me to do something. For a year God taught me how to follow his voice, how to read signs and people, when to leave things alone and when to push. I will forever be His student. I still have a lot to learn. I’m still astounded by the ways God revealed the story to me piece by piece, and I am even more astounded by the way I dropped everything just to follow his lead, and I got a book deal out of it. Something for which I had been praying for a long time. This was no small miracle. Don’t ignore the inner voice telling you to do something or say something. If it has plagued you long enough, and it comes from a place of love and truth and does no harm to any soul, then follow the voice in your heart, in which dwells the living Christ.
Contemplative Vision by Juliet Benner is a book about contemplating religious art with prayer in mind and using it to expand our prayer life by gazing at the face of God through it, seeing His face and meditating about the art’s purpose/story, and the artist’s time creating it. The book discusses using art as a purpose to expand our faith and awe. For instance, the artists who create icons of Christ meditate on his face for hours while painting him. Just beautiful! .
For months I did my own personal study on tears, because I was crying everyday for various reasons, mostly for other people. Not really knowing what would come of it, I began journaling my experience and realized that my tears for others and tears for my family were a form of contemplative prayer for them. I confided in a priest, telling her that I was crying a lot and, for example, I wept over the story of Jesus learning that his beloved friend, John the Baptist, was beheaded. I wept for John and I wept for Jesus. The priest just blinked at me and she said, “but weeping for someone is not doing anything to help them.” I said “surely my weeping is felt in heaven and my tears are cast upwards as a prayer and shed back down to earth as a blessing of love for whom I am weeping.” I said this in so many words, and as I spoke I realized for the first time that my weeping was prayer. These days when all we CAN do is pray and weep, surely our tears are blessed. It is OK to cry. Tears heal us in so many ways. They are a prayer for your people and a blessing for you. .
Maybe this will be white noise today, but maybe it will be some relief.
I recently watched a documentary about Lorna Byrne, the woman who sees angels. She has seen them her whole life. They speak to her, they tell her things. They are with everyone, she says. Everyone is born with a guardian angel that stays with them their whole life. Despite all the detailed stories about what they say and what they look like, I think her most valid point or lesson is that it doesn’t matter if you’re an atheist or if you practice a different religion, you have a guardian angel. We all do, because we are all a piece of God’s light. We are all very special this way. The angels are here to protect us, we are their treasure. And if we think about this for a moment, one can really understand that every single person deserves dignity and mercy, because every single person is
an extension of God, no matter what. While the whole world is battling against a sickness that is trying to kill our sense of peace
if not our elderly loved ones, perhaps it has instead unified us? It
has proved that we are all in this together. It seems every person is
scared or concerned. And even though we have laid oceans of distance between us, making ourselves islands, it is only to save each other and in this we are closer than ever.
I have posted the documentary on Lorna Byrne to my bio. Enjoy!
These are my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s OK!
“…Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so I may know how many there are.” —1 Chronicles 21:2
Most of the first part of Chronicles is a genealogical list, which I skipped in my reading. But then the book goes on to speak of David’s
rule as king. As king, David did the best he could, but like all humans he was not perfect. He’s written some of the most beautiful psalms (poems & songs) deticated to God,
because he truly felt he and God were in it together, he truly felt God’s presence in his life and it overwhelmed and inspired him. So the fact that he asks for his troops to be counted so he can measure his army’s strength is very unlike him. In this action he separates himself from God and is relying only on numbers, & on his own strength and pride. The simple definition of ‘sin’ is an act which separates us from God. So David was wrong to count the strength of his men, when he knew (and it had been proven to him many times) that God had his back, that God was with him. By this he pushed God away, thus separating himself from God, thus committing a ‘sin’. But don’t worry, our ‘sins’ are not counted by God. I think this shows that fact. That neither we should count against God, nor should we think God is counting against us. We simply try to keep our faith, and pray God will help us keep our faith in Him. We must hold fast to the sleeve of God’s robe or to God’s hand like a child who does not want to be lost in a world crowded with trivialities. In David’s case he said he was sorry to God and went on his merry way, hand in hand with Him (or if you like, Her) after this, and left with us his beautiful and inspiring dedications to his One & Only True Love.
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