To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue

This may sound strange, but I’ve been thinking of joining a dispersed religious order for people from all walks of life. That means married people like me can join. This would be a great next step for me in that it would give me a community of folks like me who are intentionally doing everything they can to grow spiritually. This is different than a church community. I love my fellow St. Philips peeps, but I think I could learn a lot from a group like this. And the thought of being in this type of community fills me with joy. There are two I’m looking into, one is a Franciscan order and the other is Anamchara, a Celtic fellowship that is supported by the Episcopal Church. In Anamchara they use John O’Donohue’s, To Bless the Space Between Us, as their prayer book, from what I understand. Just having this book in my house is a blessing! From it exudes so much life and lushness and creation and love—every word is so beautifully chosen. So as I’m discerning what to do, this book will help guide me I think into the next phase of my life of perpetual spiritual growth.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila

Just started this!! I love St. Teresa of Avila, no one messed with her. If you need human strength, her words can help. I’ve heard this is her book about prayer but as I’m reading it, it seems that it is more about the intentional spiritual journey, the drawing closer to union with God, and the way to ‘perfection’. Perhaps I heard wrong or maybe I’m misinterpreting the book so far, but as I’m envisioning her descriptions it seems to be more of a pilgrimage to the pointing to God, which we are striving to do.

I had a little castle, but I put this appropriately shaped barnacle in the scene instead. Can anyone guess why? 😄 hint: it has to do with the book. Haha 🥸

Ruusbroec and his Mysticism by Paul Verdeyen

Jan Ruusbroec was a Flemish mystic of the Middle Ages. This book is only an introduction to his work and life. He was a man who only wrote when the spirit moved him to do so.
He would walk into the forest to be alone often taking a tablet with him in case the spirit moved him to write something. I wonder if he was more of a nature mystic? 🤔 Some of his work still exists and is included in this book. 💕

The book of Malachi

True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips. He walked with me in peace and uprightness and turned many [to a union with God].” (Malachi 2:6)

There is no doubt that to know God better, is to finally have peace. I never knew true peace in my life until I began to intentionally spend more time with God. I begin every day with study and meditative prayer. I take at least two walks a day to be in nature (my dog needs it too). And these walks helped me get into a routine with prayer because I used my walk time for centering. As I did it more I loved it so much I now incorporate prayer into my study time too. This has made me more receptive to love and mercy. But there are no words that could convince anyone, you simply must try it. Get out into nature with the intention of seeing God, and increase your prayer life (can start simply with gratitude), and see what happens–I’m guessing your spirit will fly and true peace will be yours.

The book of Zechariah

“…’Return to me,’ declares the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will return to you,’…” (Zechariah 1:3)

Zechariah is another prophet. He and the prophet Haggai (see yesterday’s post) are both trying to encourage the people to complete Jerusalem’s temple, but the people keep getting distracted by other things. Sounds a lot like when God calls us to do something, but OUR plans take over or we are sidetracked and veer off God’s path. Zechariah was there to herd the people back to finish what they started.

Kind of like me finishing these Bible posts for the entire Bible. I said I was going to do it, so here I am finishing what I was called to do. Now there are only two posts left until we’ve done them all! Whether they helped you or not I’m thankful to all of you who have supported me in this endeavor. I enjoyed this journey probably more than anyone else. 🙃And I do encourage everyone to read the Bible, especially if it’s something that is nagging you–that might be God calling!

Not only is it a great goal to read the whole thing, but it is also great protection against people who use the Bible as a way to spread hate and fear. If you’ve read it, you can set many people straight (including yourself) and possibly inspire with your knowledge of Christ as love and mercy. It is better than sitting back allowing the world to fester in its own lie (fear and hate), as I did for so many years, almost to the point where I started to believe the lie myself. Get back to building that temple inside of you! 😄

The book of Habakkuk

“The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to tread on the heights.” (Habakkuk 3:19)

Habakkuk awaits the ruin of the unjust Babylonians. He complains twice to God that he wishes God would act now and “destroy” them. There are a couple of points here. First, as we all probably know, God doesn’t work on human time. God’s time is a mystery, but I CAN tell you that when I recite my prayers very slow, they feel much different than when I say them at a “normal” speed. I think when we slow down, something perhaps we’re not used to, it surprises our Spirit and we can then easily sense the difference. Like the intellect is finally giving way to the heart—and that is a special feeling. Second, sometimes the ruin of something allows for the growth of something better, we just have to be patient and eliminate ALL of our worldly expectations and allow God to move us through the fire.

The book of Nahum

“You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more than the stars of the sky, but like locusts, they strip the land and then fly away.” (Nahum 3:16)

Warning: according to Grammarly, my post today sounds worried and sad. 😬

Here, like in my Bible post on Joel, we have mention of the locusts again, generations after Jonah warned them of their evil ways the Assyrian city, Nineveh, has forgotten God again. Nahum is a prophet who had a vision of Nineveh’s destruction and is sent by God to warn them. The city was destroyed fifty years after Nahum’s prophecy.

So (forgive my venting) here is my prophecy, sort of: In 2019 our economy was doing very well. Just about every cute and affordable home in my neighborhood (I live in a historic downtown) was bought and torn down to make way for large and expensive ones. What happens when the character and the spirit of a place die? When I look at much of my town now, I feel like life itself has been stripped away from this place and replaced with the synthetic, opportunistic goals of a dying people. The houses they build look so cold and dead to me. What happens when the economy tanks and regular folks like me can’t afford big houses like that or can’t afford to maintain them? Not to mention the environmental impact when buildings are torn down, discarded, and new ones are built in their place. What happens to the neighborhood, the city, the people?

Once the area is no longer suited to their investment needs the newcomers who are using these homes solely to increase their pocketbooks will move on. And who will be left but the people who had always called this town their home–but now my town is almost unrecognizable, ruined (in my opinion) by opportunistic people (locusts) such as these.

The book of Micah

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” (Micah 5:2)

Now here’s something…WE, our bodies, hearts, and minds are Israel. Now, read it to reference yourself: “…though you (you the reader) are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me (Christ) one who will be ruler over Israel…” In other words, out of each person who seeks Christ—the beautiful qualities He represents, love, charity, grace, mercy, etc., for those who seek to be these things, Christ will be born in them—and something very old, from ancient times, perhaps the purity of God’s first creation? If we could ever strive to be that pure! Free of malice and deceit, not only against others but against ourselves. There is something very organic in Christ, very real and that is why we call Him Truth. And Truth is always pure. Though we are small, we can do great things if we abide in Truth.

Paul’s 1st Letter to the Corinthians

“Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh…three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Saint Paul is so good and his words so powerful that I did not think this needed any additional stuff from me. No explanation is needed.
Who doesn’t love Saint Paul the Apostle?

The book of Jonah

“You have been concerned about this plant [providing you shade], though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:10-11)
Jonah loved a single leaf that was providing him shade while he sat back to watch what would become of the evil city of Nineveh, but he sat idly by while a worm ate up the leaf he loved. How stupid, right? Well God explains that God too, loved the people of Nineveh, so how can God sit idly by and watch a “worm” (evil) eat it up? God sent Jonah, a prophet, to relay God’s message to the king of Nineveh, but Jonah disliked the people of the city so much he escaped this call, in which case he was brought back to the city in a whale’s mouth.
The story of Jonah is so charming and cute! Though it is meant to be looked at as an allegorical tale, I think it shows God’s sense of humor, and that God will stop at nothing, when God calls, to show us what our calling is. Not only that, but it proves that God’s call for us is to help each other see God, recognize God, and know that God loves us no matter who or what we are/were. And its message says that we are to help those we dislike. Even those who storm the capital because of their “confusion”. How can you help someone see God today, tomorrow, etc.?