Showing posts from April, 2013

Surprised by Joy

Sometimes, we are surprised in life... We may be surprised by gifts... Or, by the visit of a loved one we have not seen in a while... Sometimes we are surprised by the turn of events... And sometimes, we are surprised by joy... We might not see it coming... Sometimes we pray for something, perhaps not really imagining that we will receive it - to which I admonish - be careful what you pray for! On March 17th, the Feast of St. Patrick, I prayed for a change of heart - and for a clean heart... I asked to be rid of all that does not serve, like the mythological snakes that were driven out of Ireland... In the cleansing many things were released, and the process still continues... Space was created for other things to be received... And for other things to be... A new place of indwelling was created within a cleansed heart... An invitation was sent out - and everything began to be seen and experienced with new eyes, and yes, through a new heart... This week, a g

I Have Everything I Need

On Wednesdays, after teaching my morning yoga class, I head off to St. David's, an Episcopal Church nearby, where I meet a small group of lovely women for centering prayer, a form of Christian meditation. It is a real blessing to meditate regularly in community. The wonderful woman who pastors this church, and I, entered into a lively discussion of the readings for this past Sunday's liturgy. She shared what she preached on, and I shared insights gleaned from my own pastor's homily, at the Jesuit parish that I belong to in Georgetown. Sunday, was Good Shepherd Sunday, and the psalm for the day was Psalm 23rd. This has never been one of my favorites, but it's grown on me over the years. I always gravitated towards others, and in my late teens/early twenties, as a liturgical musician, I gave myself the task of setting the psalms to music. Well, that didn't exactly go very far! Recently, I found excerpts of my renditions - lyrics and chords, on torn pieces of pap

The Greening Power of God

On Monday we celebrated "Earth Day," which very appropriately came in the midst of a spring bursting with colors and teeming with rebirth. I started the morning by going down to the river to say my morning prayers and take in the beauty of leaves just starting to unfurl, on a very cool and crisp day before teaching my yoga class. I focused on "Earth Day" by reading a letter attributed to Chief Seattle. There is some controversy over whether he actually authored these words in 1854 as they are written - but whether or not he did - his letter captures the essence of the beauty of celebrating the environment, our inherent oneness with everything in creation, and the importance of being good stewards of its gifts. Here is a link to the speech: The last few weeks have been nothing short of magnificent as various trees and flowers come into full bloom. This week, red bud trees and dogwoods are making their presence known ev

The Song of a Servant

Awakenings comes in so many ways... Sometimes awakenings are subtle, and other times, not so much... Sometimes they hit us over the head with a brick, while other times it happens softly with just a mere glance... Sometimes we awaken with a word, or a touch, or a song... Sometimes we are led back on a path we had left behind, in mysterious ways... Sometimes we are led to journey back home after a long sojourn in many foreign lands... Sometimes we are led back very deeply into our hearts... During Holy Week I heard "Servant Song" by David Haas, and it moved me profoundly. I had not heard it for a very long time time, but it called to me and spoke to me, and awakened a deep longing I could not understand - presaging consequences I could not have foreseen... So many places I have walked, but I never imagined retracing certain steps... Many biblical passages arise in my heart and mind unbidden - tumbling out of me with such force and determination and such insis

Lessons from the Fish

The river is totally calm, and the sky and the trees on the other side of the riverbank are clearly reflected in the waters... Every once in a while a bass jumps out of the river and splashes about with such joy, it seems as if it is dancing! There are weeks at a time I come down to this river and never see one at all, but today, they are very active, and every few minutes another one hurls itself heaven-ward, sending out undulating concentric ripples into the stillness and the silence... The bass are the only ones seeming to enjoy the river this morning, and myself of course. I have come to do my Loving-kindness meditations, and most especially pray for a soul facing her fifth surgery in recent years, with one more to go... The prayers tumble out of me, as if they are being prayed through me, only to be punctuated by the occasional splash of the fish. One of them jumps several feet above the water with its mouth very wide open, momentarily suspended in mid-air, as if it has some

May the Mundane be Glorious

Blossoms explode everywhere, in a symphony of colors - finally, spring has awakened, arising from its deep slumber - and everything is in bloom everywhere at the same time! The daffodils are dancing - cherry trees, Bradford Pears, and forsythias - clothed in delicate blooms embroidered by nature - are making a triumphant display of their spring tunics, just about anywhere my eyes choose to rest... I go for a walk on this magnificent day, gorgeous beyond words, grateful for this season and the beauty that it brings... I am in awe and mindful of every delicate flower and emerging bud, so triumphant and glorious, bursting with life... I watch a Cardinal joyously dancing from perch to perch... I reflect on sacred time spent with a soul companion traversing the greatest challenges of her life, tasting in my heart, the beautiful prayer that arose from her own, simply titled, "Glorious Day." She is told by a gifted seer, that while there are difficult times yet to navigate, the

Living in the Layers

"By means of all created things, without exception, the Divine assails us, penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible, when in fact, we live steeped in its burning layers." ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Chardin was a Jesuit scientist - a brilliant paleontologist, geologist, and philosopher, whose works were at times banned. His insights and reflections were well before its time and helped pave the way for more recent philosophical, theological, and scientific discourse. He was silenced by the Church, and yet he did not lose his faith. He was born in 1881, and died in April of 1955, just a few months before I was born. These words came to me precisely at a time when I have been reflecting on how the very essence of our beings seems to be comprised of layers. All the significant issues in our lives are similarly constructed of layers, and somehow we must revisit them again and again and again... This poem came to me yesterday, an

An Unexpected Journey

Sometimes our lives take unexpected turns... We might undertake an unforeseen journey... Today, on this first day of April, spring seems to be finally in the air. A week ago today, we had so much snow on the ground, we received the gift of an unexpected picture-perfect postcard moment. Significant snow had eluded us all winter and I had given up the hope to take in such a beautiful scene. But today is entirely different. It's been sunny for the most part and definitely much warmer than it was just seven days ago... Today is also Monday of the Easter Season, and for those who followed my entries of the last few days, you already know that Holy Week took on a special meaning and sacredness this year. I wrote to a friend yesterday that this journey was entirely unexpected for me. I did not set out to be moved so profoundly and did not intend to fully immerse myself in the week. And yet, I was led to do so... I wrote to another friend today that life doesn't always follow t