On Readings for the Day of Pentecost

June 5, 2022

INVISIBLE ENERGY

OPENING PRAYER

Keep silence.

Cry out.

Be still.

Dance.

Hunger deeply.

Be satisfied.

Love kindly. Do justice.

Walk humbly with God.

Even in darkness

be light.

You are nothing

but the light passing through you.

In this is your strength

and the glory of God

that will prevail

to the ends of the earth.

Steve Garnaas-Holmes

*Unfolding Light *

http://www.unfoldinglight.net

CHECK-IN/SHARING

          Take an inner assessment of how you are doing and feeling as summer begins.  Then take some moments and recall a time when you experienced WIND.  If you’re in a group, share what you feel comfortable speaking about.

SCRIPTURE

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. Acts: 1-4

GUIDED MEDITATION

Today I thought we’d think about forces that are not visible, but can be powerful.  In the familiar story of the day of Pentecost, I notice three invisible energies -sound, wind, and the Spirit.  Let’s imagine for a few moments that our room is filled with those three things, right now, here, today.  Let’s relax our bodies from our toes up.  Let’s breathe in God’s Spirit of light, love, strength, and healing power.  Let’s use all our five senses in imagination to picture the scene in our room.

Can you imagine hearing a rushing sound of wind?  What does that sound remind you of?  Can you imagine feeling actual wind?  Perhaps you can smell a sweet perfume or fragrance – another invisible power.  Can you feel “in-spired” (breathing in) new ideas or attitudes or dreams?  Hold a conversation with a comforting God image about where you feel energized, or not, in your life right now.  Ask what might the Spirit be enlivening you to do or to be in the coming days, in the months of this summer.  Ask where Spirit might be calling you to share your unique gifts/ideas/fragrance.  Remember that rest is also a type of invisible energy, a way of recharging for future activities.

Here’s a wonderful poem/prayer about REST by Joyce Rupp.

SPIRIT OF PUTTER

Slow me from the frantic pace,

Help me halt the constant pressure

Of getting the hurried things done.

Let me dawdle the day away,

Ease into the morning snail-like.

Savor what I usually zoom by,

Tinker with stuff here and there.

And at the end of the idle day

Let me be content with doing nothing

Except enjoying my time with you.

Today: I’ll not feel guilty about slowing down.

CLOSING PRAYER

a blessing for when you’re running on fumes

and the summer is starting

(unless, of course you’re fine. and if so, call me.)

Sometimes I am paper

thinning at every touch.

Responsibilities and duties and errands

are wearing me down.

There is not enough time or energy

or finances or imagination.

I hardly recognize myself.

I can’t keep going, but I can’t rest.

God, can You help me slow down?

I just need a little shelter and a long breath.

I need a real summer.

Give me space to curl up for a while.

Hold me until I can feel my shoulders drop,

and I am freed from what can’t happen right now.

Let me think only about what is gentle and lovely,

what is bountiful and unencumbered on this on this too-heavy day.

God, scoop me up into life as it is.

Stop me from running ahead,

so I can be here in this space for the moment.

May this summer be a chance

to return to myself, once again.

Amen.

Kate Bowler

For Palm Sunday, April 10, 2022

FEELING LIKE A DONKEY? Healing from 2nd-class experiences

In adult workshops, I use my children’s book, Zeesha’s Tale, A Story for Christmas and Easter (gorgeously illustrated by Lena Shiffman) to help participants heal from their experiences of feeling “second class,” identifying with each of the three donkeys in my story and feeling the affirmations from poems from the book, Love Poems from God, Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, Daniel Ladinsky, editor

The title character of my book, Zeesha, is a young donkey who is told by his mother one night, “Tomorrow you will be ridden by a stranger.”

          To help Zeesha become willing to carry a stranger, his wise mother Seila tells two bedtime stories – the first about their long-ago ancestor, the she-donkey Lal, who could see angels when her master could not.  That master eventually not only sees the angel but prophesizes that a king will come out of Israel.

          The second story is of Seila carrying Mary to Bethlehem to give birth to her first son.  When Zeesha learns that the man he will carry will die soon after arriving in the city, he is again reluctant to carry this stranger.  His mother mentions a great miracle about to happen and explains,

          “You see, my young one,

          At times we are called to resist evil,

          Or to carry to new birth,

          Or to travel through the valley of the shadow of death.

          But sometimes we must simply wait in the dark

          For hope to arise like a star.

Then, if we listen to the angels whispering to us,

          We can take our small part in God’s great plans.”

“Tomorrow your will carry a stranger.”

The arc of the story, from being “ridden by” to willingly “carrying” a stranger is complete. 

Following are the reflective questions I ask the workshop participants to ponder, and a selection of wondrously affirming poems I encourage them to interiorize as God’s approval and acceptance of each of them with their individual gifts.  Instead of a guided meditation, I ask a question, in italics, before each poem.

IDENTIFYING WITH ZEESHA

-Have you ever been afraid to try something new or to trust a new opportunity? 

-Where have you been afraid to go? 

-Have you ever been afraid of someone unlike you – in gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, faith, or personality?

-Who or what helped you with those fears?

-When you’ve been proud, perhaps overly proud, could you still feel Mother God’s loving gaze on you?

-When have you been reluctant to go through or bring others through a dark time – a time of disease, death, loss, sadness, depression? 

-What “mother figure” has helped or supported you in times of fear or doubt? 

-How have other people, human ‘comforters’ helped you in the dark?

-Have you ever peppered God in prayer with more and more questions? 

-Were you stalling, fearful? 

-Were you simply childlike and inquisitive?

-Could you feel God being as patient as mother donkey Seila was?

HEALING WITH LOVE POEMS FROM GOD, Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West, Daniel Ladinsky, ed.

CLARITY IS FREEDOM

Teresa of Avila

(What does your animal or plant already know?)

I had tea yesterday with a great theologian,

and he asked me,

“What is your experience of God’s will?”

I like that question –

for the distillation of thought hones thought in others.

Clarity, I know is freedom.

What is my experience of God’s will?

Everyone is a traveler.  Most all need lodging, food,

and clothes.

I let enter my mouth what will enrich me.  I wear what

will make my eye content,

I sleep where I will wake with the

strength to deeply love

all my mind can

hold.

What is God’s will for a wing?

every bird knows

that.

THE SILK WORM

Rumi

(What can you miraculously do, like a creature of earth?)

I stood before a silk worm one day.

and that night my heart said to me,

“I can do things like that, I can spin skies,

I can be woven into love that can bring warmth to people;

I can be soft against a crying face,

I can be wings that lift, and I can travel on my thousand feet

throughout the earth,

my sacks filled

with the

sacred.”

And I replied to my heart,

“Dear, can you really do all those things?”

And it just nodded “Yes”

in silence.

So we began and will never

cease.

IT IS A LIE

Meister Eckhart

(Can you let go of judgmental images of God?)

It is a lie-any talk of God

that does not

comfort

you.

HOW DID THE ROSE?

Hafiz

(Can you let your soul feel God’s encouraging Light?)

How

did the rose

ever open its heart

and give to this world all of its beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light against its being,

otherwise we all remain too

frightened.

AN IMAGE THAT MAKES THEM SAD

Meister Eckhart

(Can you color a picture of God that makes you smile?)

How long will grown men and women in this world

keep drawing in their coloring books

an image of God that

makes them

sad?

EACH SOUL COMPLETES ME

Hafiz

(Can you let yourself believe that your soul helps complete the Divine One?)

My

Beloved said,

“My name is not complete without

yours.”

I thought:

How could a human’s worth ever be such?

And God, knowing all our thoughts – and all our

thoughts are innocent steps on the path –

then addressed my

heart,

God revealed

a sublime truth to the world,

when He

sang,

“I am made whole by your life.  Each soul,

each soul completes

me.”

THE CHRIST’S BREATH

Hafiz

(Imagine your are a musical instrument, or pen, or paint brush for God.)

I am

a hole in a flute

that the Christ’s breath moves through-

listen to this

music.

REST IN PRAYER

Catherine of Siena

(Let’s REST in prayer!)

The sun hears the fields talking about effort

and the sun

smiles,

and whispers to

me,

“Why don’t the fields just rest, for

I am willing to do

everything

to help them

grow?”

Rest, my dears, in

prayer.

MY SWEET, CRUSHED ANGEL

Hafiz

(Believe that you have danced with God WELL!)

You have

not danced so badly, my dear,

trying to hold hands with the Beautiful One.

You have waltzed with great style, my sweet crushed angel,

to have ever neared God’s heart at all.

Our Partner is notoriously difficult to follow, and even His

best musicians are not always easy to hear.

So what if the music has stopped for a while.

So what if the price of admission to the Divine is out of reach tonight.

So what, my sweetheart, if you lack the ante to gamble for real love.

The mind and the body are famous for holding the heart ransom,

But Hafiz knows the Beloved’s eternal habits.  Have patience,

for He will not be able to resist your longings

and charms for long.

You have not danced so badly, my dear,

trying to kiss the Magnificent

One.

You have actually waltzed with tremendous style,

my sweet, O my sweet,

crushed

angel.

BEAUTIFUL CREATURE

HAIFZ

(God pursues us with un-ending love and delight.)

There is a beautiful creature living

in a hole you have dug,

so at night I set fruit and grains and little pots of wine and milk

beside your soft earthen

mounds,

and I often sing to you,

but still, my dear, you do not come out.

I have fallen in love with someone

who is hiding inside

of you.

We should talk about this problem,

otherwise I will never leave you

alone!

PERFECT EQUANIMITY

Hafiz

(Could we release the idea of God saying ,“Don’t”?)

Look how a mirror

will reflect with perfect equanimity

all actions

before

it.

There is no act in this world

that will ever cause the mirror to look away.

There is no act in this world that will ever make the mirror

say “no.”

The mirror, like perfect love, will just keep giving

of itself to all

before

it.

How did the mirror ever get like that, so polite,

so grand, so compassionate?

It watched God.

Yes, the mirror remembers the Beloved

looking into itself as the Beloved shaped existence’s heart

and the mirror’s soul…

and if God ever hits you with a don’t –

He has His fingers crossed,

He is just fibbing

for your own

good.

WHENEVER HE LOOKS AT YOU

Thomas of Aquinas

(Imagine God’s child-like delight in YOU!)

God see nothing in us that He has not given.

Everything is empty until He places

what He wishes into it.

The soul is like an uninhabited world

that comes to life only when

God lays His head

against us.

The delight a child can know

tossing a ball into

the air,

my Lord confessed He experiences

whenever He looks

at you.

God sees nothing in us

that He has not

given.

TO SEE AS GOD SEES

Meister Eckhart

(Imagine yourself, your “creature” being infused with God’s seeing, knowing, and feeling.)

It is your destiny to see as God sees,

to know as God knows,

to feel as God

feels.

How is this possible?  How?

Because divine love cannot defy its very self.

Divine love will be eternally true to its own being,

and its being is giving all it can,

at the perfect moment. 

And the greatest gift

God can give is His own experience.

Every object, every creature, every man, woman, and child

has a soul and it is the destiny of all,

to see as God sees, to know as God knows,

to feel as God feels, to Be

as God

is.

HEALING OUR ‘TREE’

On Readings for the 4th Sunday in Lent, Year C

March 20, 2022

Opening Prayer                    HEALER

We look to you for graceful balm,

Your medicine for our interior life.

Reach toward our old heartaches.

Help us to end what causes distress,

To release what stunts our growth

In becoming all we are meant to be.

Show us our troublesome blind spots

So we are not secretly ruled by them.

Touch the soreness of our spirit

And heal us of our inner ailments.

Today: I bring what hurts in me to the Healer.

Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, March 17

Opening question for sharing:  What type of tree would you wish to be?

Scripture

Isaiah 55: 1-3a

Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!  Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food.  Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live.

I Corinthians 10: 13

God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Luke 13: 6-9

Then Jesus told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none.  So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none.  Cut it down!  Why should it be wasting the soil?’  He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it.  If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

Readings

Be done with the god of demanding,

the god of Not Good Enough.

Be done with the God of No.

            Turn to the God of Yes,

            the God of Let Me Nourish,

            the God of I Believe In You.

                        The God of mercy, God who gives,

                        God of what takes time,

                        God of hidden gifts unfolding.

                                     Let the God of Yes dig around your roots.

                                     Feel the patient fingers.

                                     Feel the disturbance.

(Of course, that one is also

the God of Manure

for which there is another word.)

            Let the God of Manure

            turn waste and refuse into food,

            death into life.

                        Let the God of Yes bear fruit in you,

                        the fruit of Yes for others,

                        for nourishing, not judging.

                                     This very day you may have the chance

                                     to lay down your axe

                                     and take up a trowel.

Be a gardener of Yes,

and your own roots

may be nourished.

            Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light, www.unfoldinglight.net

Guided Meditation

            With your eyes closed, relax from your toes up in three parts, breathing in God’s light/comforting darkness, love, strength, and healing power.  Surround yourself with those gifts of God as you breathe out.  Hand over to God whatever feels heavy or burdensome as you exhale.  Hand over to God the things of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, so that you might encounter God in God’s eternal NOW.

            Imagine yourself as some type of tree, perhaps a favorite tree from your childhood, or whatever type of tree you wish to be like.   Look at yourself as this tree.  Where do you find growth? Where are you growing, branching, and flowering?  Where do you sense places of blight, disease, or deadness? What hopes or dreams or prayers seem to have withered?

            Imagine Jesus as the kind-hearted gardener in his parable, gazing at you as the tree.  First of all, Jesus is thrilled with your tree and praises you saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”

            Then, ask Jesus for help with the withered parts of the tree that you have looked at.  What “fertilizer” would you ask of Jesus to help heal the deadened parts of your tree, to help your tree sprout leaf and fruit, to help your tree grow strong and perhaps shelter others?

            Spend some time talking with Jesus about your own places of loss and death, and asking for help to live and thrive.

Advice from a Tree

Dear friend,

Stand Tall and Proud

Sink your roots deeply into the Earth

Reflect the light of a greater source

Think long term

Go out on a limb

Remember you place among all living beings

Embrace with joy the changing seasons

For each yields its own abundance

The Energy and Birth of Spring

The Growth and Contentment of Summer

The Wisdom to let go of leaves in the Fall

The Rest and Quiet Renewal of Winter

Feel the wind and the sun

And delight in their presence

Look up at the moon that shines down upon you

And the mystery of the stars at night.

Seek nourishment from the good things in life

Simple pleasures

Earth, fresh air, light

Be content with natural beauty

Drink plenty of water

Let your limbs sway and dance in the breezes

Be flexible

Remember your roots

Enjoy the view!

-llan Shamir

Closing Prayer                      CONSOLER

You remain our core consolation

When depression digs deeply

Into the remains of our energy,

When loss obliterates our joy

And emptiness predominates,

When turmoil rules our mind

Or disappointment engulfs us.

You are a gentle touch of kindness,

A soothing word of genuine support,

A strengthening hug of sympathy.

Today: The Consoler abides with me.

Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, March 18

Connecting in Lent

On readings for the first Sunday in Lent, Year C

Opening Prayer

GENTLEST OF WAYS

          Expectations of you to be harsh and demanding

Fade with the gospel reality of your gentleness:

Showing mercy to a sinner ready to be stoned,

Curing years of an ill woman’s hemorrhaging,

Touching disdained lepers with tender concern,

Weeping at the gravesite of a beloved friend,

Awakening the dead, forgiving the arrogant,

Gathering playful children whom disciples shun.

Everywhere in your life there is tangible evidence

Confirming the truth of your gentle kind-heartedness.

Today: I approach all life with gentleness

-Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, February 28

Opening question for sharing

As we begin this Lent, how are you doing?  How are you feeling physically, mentally, and spiritually?

Scripture

Luke 4: 1-13

After Jesus is baptized, he goes into the wilderness and fasts.  He is tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread, worship the devil and thus rule all the kingdoms of earth, and throw himself down from the top of the temple to see if God or angels will catch him.

For the beginning of this Lent, I am going against the trend to give up something in solitary penance, as Jesus did in the wilderness.  I’m going to suggest that we take on something that connects us with God, with nature, with others, and with our deepest selves.  Here are some readings you might find helpful in finding how you might connect and what you might take on during this time before Easter.

Readings

Do you think there is anything not attached by its unbreakable cord to everything else?

Mary Oliver

Connections lay undiscovered beneath the surface of our everyday interactions with others.  How might we live differently with the realization that they are there?

 -Joy, in Friends of Silence newsletter, March 2022

Make the next 40 days prayerfully powerful in a new way. Don’t simply “give something up;” FAST from what paralyzes you from embracing Christ’s example (Is it fear? pride? a grudge?). Instead, FEAST on trust: His offer of companionship now (making burdens light) and His offer of peace ahead that surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7).
       It is hard to move from one global crisis to another. Challenges such as a pandemic, inflation and war can drain our well of hope. Yet, God gives us the freedom to choose how we’ll respond. God offers to work with us, through us, and in us if we accept the invitation. Through us, God can glorify any situation.

-Maria G. Cressler, Executive Director, Ignatius House, Atlanta, GA

FINDING JOY IN GIVING AND RECEIVING

Lorri Brining

GIVING

Giving of time

Lending an ear

Giving comfort & understanding

Making time to care

          -for a pet

          -for home and family

Being patient

Giving smiles     

Remembering Jesus

-in all my work and interactions

          -in how I treat people I meet or pass on the street.

Being nonjudgmental

Trying to be considerate

Giving kind advice or gentle redirection

Modeling patience and peace, but not indifference

Joy in helping others without resentment or fear

Being courageous

Getting involved

RECEIVING

Invitations

Constructive criticism

Kindness

Jesus, through scripture & daily prayer

Love

Resolutions

Solutions

Revelations

Puppy kisses

Compliments

Grace

Trust

Appreciation

Gratitude

Humility

Inspiration

Motivation

Consolation

Direction

Blessings,

Hope

Healing

Opportunities

Meditation

Gradually relax all parts of your body from your feet up to your head, three times breathing in God’s light, love, and comforting darkness, God’s strength and power to heal.

Imagine yourself at the beach using all five senses in imagination. There’s enough sunshine for you to feel pleasantly warm but not overly hot. You hear the waves lapping on the shore, the calling of seagulls, and the soft murmur of the wind in the pines. You’re walking at the water’s edge, watching the foam roll onto the sand at the leading border of the waves. You can feel your bare feet sinking into the damp sand as you walk. You can almost taste and smell the salt tang in the air.

As you amble along, you notice that something has washed up on the shore just a few feet in front of you. You realize it’s a bottle, so you walk over to it and pick it up. Inside is a description, in words or pictures, of an invitation to your heart’s desire for this Lent.  It’s a description of ways to connect with God, with others, with Nature, and with yourself, by giving and receiving. What is that desire and invitation?

As you are pondering the contents of the bottle, Jesus walks up.  Share with him your heart’s desire.

Meditational Art Project

On a clean piece of paper, write some of the ways you’d like to give and receive this Lent.  Or write parts of the readings that especially move you.  Cut out pictures of nature from magazines or art books and paste them in and around the words on your Lenten Sheet.  Keep your artwork near you to look at and enjoy during this holy season.

Closing Prayer

New Prayer for Peace

How do we pray for peace from half a world away?

How can words salve and soothe real wounds,

Assuage real fears, wipe tears from real eyes?

God of endless compassion, transform our prayers

From words into bridges that span the distances

Between us, uniting our hearts in yours.

Every time we turn our keys in a lock,

May we remember all who are losing their homes. 

Every time we step into our cars,

May we remember all who are having to flee.

Every time we embrace our children,

May we remember all who are trying to shield theirs from war.

May our besieged brothers and sisters

Be drawn into the arms of the suffering Christ,

And may our cry be heard as one voice

Ringing out from every corner of the earth:

God of endless mercy, grant us peace.

Amen

Cameron Bellm, courtesy of the Society of Jesus @wearethejesuits

FINDING THE GOOD

On readings for February 20, 2022

7th Sunday after Epiphany, Year C

Opening Prayer

Beauty Giver

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

This we’ve heard from wise ones in the past.

You have given us perceptive eyes and ears

To discover what charms and gladdens us.

Everywhere beauty awaits our contemplation

In nature, music, art, word, drama, dance,

In human landscapes of body, mind, and soul.

To behold and receive these inspiring treasures

All we need do is awaken our dulled awareness

And bring a nonjudgmental openness of mind.

Today:  With a grateful heart I find and receive beauty.

Joyce Rupp, Fragments of Your Ancient Name, February 16

Opening question for sharing

When has something “bad” turned to good for you?  When did a loss, or a failure, or mistreatment from others eventually turn to good for you?  Share only what you are comfortable talking about.

Genesis 45: 3-11, 15

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph.  Is my father still alive?”  But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.  Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.”  And they came closer. 

He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt.  And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.  For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest.  God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.  So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

   Hurry and go up to my father and say to him. ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay.  You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, you herds, and all that you have.  I will provide for you there – since there are five more years of famine to come – so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ 

And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

Guided meditation

          Use the relaxation talk to relax from your toes up to your head, breathing in God’s light, comforting darkness, love, strength and healing power three times.

          Put yourself into the scene where Joseph tells his brothers his true identity.  Use all five senses in imagination. You might be a participant or yourself as an observer.

  • Imagine the throne room or courtyard where the conversation is taking place.  How grand is this place?  What decorations are visible?  What robes is Joseph wearing?  What do his brothers wear?  What are the expressions on his brothers’ faces?  What does Joseph show of his own emotions?
  • Listen to Joseph’s woods.  Hear the silence, the frightened silence of his brothers.  What other sounds are in the room?
  • Is there incense burning in this room?  Can you smell the ‘shepherd smell’ of Joseph’s brothers, or the smell of fear?
  • Can you ‘taste’ the tension in the room, since the brothers are brought back having been found with stolen goods (planted by Joseph)?
  • Can you feel the tension in the room?  Can you feel it dissipate as Joseph continues to speak?  Is the air stirred by fans of throne attendants?  Is it hot or cool?

Now, feel the emotions as Joseph kisses his brothers, and they finally are brave enough to speak with him.  What feelings wash over you?

At the end of this scene, have a conversation with any comforting God-image you can imagine – Mother/Father God, Comforting Holy Spirit, Jesus as friend.  Speak from your heart about a time when you felt mistreated by others or another.  Has anything good come from that bad time?  Perhaps not.  In that case, ask your God-image for the grace to heal from the experience and perhaps makes some sense of it at a later time.  If you can think of something good, imagine what possibilities, or new awareness, or spiritual growth came from that time of stress, sorrow, or pain.  Take time to listen to God tell you more about your dark times, and how God can bring light to them.  Be very gentle with yourself as you reach to find forgiveness in yourself for these others who harmed you.  Ask for grace to find the good in future events, beauty in difficulties and grief.

Share whatever you are comfortable talking about with others in your group.

Related readings

When you finally learn that a person’s behavior

has more to do with their own internal struggle

than it ever did with you… . you learn grace.

Anonymous Face Book post

IT ACTS LIKE LOVE

It acts like love – music,

It reaches toward the face, touches it, and tries to let you know

His promise: that all will be okay.

It acts like love – music, and

tells the feet, “You do not have to be so burdened.”

My body is covered with wounds

this world made,

but I still longed to kiss Him, even when God said,

“Could you also kiss the hand that caused

each scar,

For you will not find me until

you do.”

It does that – music – helps us

to forgive.

Rabia, Love Poems From God,

Ladinsky, ed.

IN HIS SANITY

If all the tenderness in this world could reflect

from my eyes, would you accept

that love?

If all

the forgiveness

the heavens have known could be offered

from one

face,

would you accept that

divine pardon?

In His sublime sanity –

every moment God offers

that to

us:

anything that might

comfort.

St. Francis of Assisi,

Love Poems From God, Ladinsky, ed.

THE FOUNDATION OF GOD

My perfect Lord sang,

“Less likely is God to condemn my hand’s action

than condemn any

soul.”

How could that be possible,

my heart thought?

And the Christ, knowing all minds, replied,

“Forgiveness is the foundation of God’s

being.”

St. Catherine of Siena,

Love Poems From God, Ladinsky, ed.

Closing prayer

Within its translucent beauty,

Surrounding us in its mystery,

Curving back upon itself with promise

Empowering us with its faithfulness,

Bringing peace, hope, healing,

Is God’s love.

Thus, life’s sojourn can be walked

Without weariness,

Lived without fearfulness,

And celebrated in joyousness.

Love, God’s love.

Rev. Dr. Raymond E. (Bud) Hearn,   

        Reaching Toward Infinite Light, p. 51