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 🥸
Beginning a Journey…
And so the journey begins…
I have decided to join EYSJ this year, a program offered by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan for spiritual discernment and discovery. I have mulled over this decision for three years and I’m finally doing it. It’s a program required by the diocese before lay people are recommended for seminary school, but through the program you discover what God is really calling you to do, which may not be ordination but some other ministry. So I am open to whatever I discover and thrilled to meet some new friends along the way! Also excited and terrified in a good way! Wish me luck or prayers! ☺️
Thomas Merton: The Seven Storey Mountain
Finished it over the weekend. It was so good! I could have done without part one, but I guess it was useful to see how far he came from not giving any thought to the existence of God to becoming a Trappist monk. Wish I were still reading it. Merton is an excellent teacher, I feel like I finished a long journey with a dear friend. If any of you out there are in a discernment period to possibly go to seminary school, which is something I wrestle with often, you should definitely read this!💕
Halfway through the Bible. If you’re on Instagram follow this hashtag!
We are halfway through the Bible! Since the Fall of 2019, I have been writing really brief reviews of the books of the Bible. They are my own contemplative thoughts that no one has to agree with, but I hope speak only truth and leave room for your own contemplation.
The order I have been following is the below. Given to me by a priest and a friend. .
Leviticus Galatians Numbers Colossians
Ruth Acts (of the Apostles)
2 Samuel Mark
2 Kings 1 Corinthians
2 Chronicles 1 Peter 2 Peter
Psalms (I SUGGEST READING ONE A DAY THROUGHOUT)
Ecclesiastes 1 Timothy 2 Timothy
Song of Solomon 1 John 2 John 3 John
Daniel 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians
Jonah 2 Corinthians
The Book of Revelation
I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book. For many, the book of Revelation is one of the most frightening books of the Bible. I too was afraid to read it thinking it would destroy my faith out of fear. But I read it…carefully…and was fascinated by it. It is one of my favorite books now, because it is so colorful, dripping with allegory, and Jesus is alive & speaks again, so I’m immediately inspired. There is so much to study and make out if this book.
We have the Apostle John who has seen a vision of Christ and is told to write down all he will soon see as a prophecy of things to come. “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” ( Revelation 1:17)
This quote said by Christ sums up everything: He said this to His faithful servant, John, someone who meditated and gazed on the face of Christ consistently, in everything he did and Christ tells him to not be afraid (because to you, John—we could insert) I am the First and the Last. We must begin our faith with Christ and continue our faith with Christ throughout our days, make Him first and make Him last, the first thought in the morning and the last thought at night. Make Christ and His truth your everyday, and you should not be afraid of anything you read in Revelation (or life’s trials), but only be in awe and marvel at the mystery of it yet to be truly understood
Sunday morning on the front porch.
A little porch reading and reflection for this beautiful Sunday morning. .
Isn’t that cup cute? It’s part of my grandma’s everyday china when she first got married. Cool thing: I started putting coffee in a teapot so I never have to leave my front porch for a refill! Yay
The Book of Esther
In what simple way is God calling you to act that would draw you closer to Him? For me it was spending a year to read and study the Bible. .
These are my own contemplative thoughts. If you disagree with the below that’s ok! .
Before Christ, in the Old Testament, under the old covenant, only priests were allowed near the altar, and they acted as the mediators between God and man. The book of Esther is symbolic to this as it describes her standing in the inner court in front of the king’s hall. The king sees Queen Esther just outside his inner court, HE FINDS FAVOR IN HER (a statement we read often in scripture when God’s relationship to his people is discussed) and holds out his scepter to her as a sign that it is ok to approach him. She moves towards him and touches the very tip of his scepter, a sign of her obedience and humility. To me her approach is like those hoping to come to God either for the first time or after a long hiatus. We have to approach with humility and an open heart, yet we do not have to be pure, or holy, or of a certain worldly stature. We are allowed to come as we are. Esther, who despite knowing she was doing something against the man-made laws of the day said she would approach the king to save her people the Jews from being slaughtered, “even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” In this statement she showed her bravery. This kind of bravery is what God wants to see from us, wants us to cut through all the worldly “laws” like our own expectations, guilt, rules, etc., right to Him. And He will find favor in us for this—we will become his special students in that moment, He will take us under His wing and show us wonderful miracles and bless us tremendously, especially show us how to find His kind of joy in this life if we keep our eyes open to Him. .
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The Book of Romans
These are my contemplative thoughts, you might disagree and that’s OK!
“The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17
Faith in Latin is fides which was one of the highest and most honorable virtues in Ancient Rome among the people involved in public affairs. Fides was a form of trust and an unwavering reliability in someone. But this virtue was considered the foundation of partnerships. Now if we are to take Paul’s quote here which was originally stated in Habakkuk 2:4, and apply it to the term ‘fides’, we could easily change the verse to: the righteous will live by an unwavering partnership with God. The minute we turn our gaze to God, He turns his gaze to us. We both act as a mirror—with Him being the real image we are supposed to reflect. Swipe 👉to see two mirrors reflecting on to infinity—an unwavering, undistorted image as long as the original image remains undistorted.
Even if we sometimes feel He has left us, He has not. His gaze is on us and is unwavering so long as we always keep Him the main focus of our hearts, which, if done with love, should help us through all things in our day to day life.
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