Lectio Divina – Wednesday 31may23

Wednesday 31may23 / 0849 / cell / .5

Visit of Mary to Elizabeth feast day – scriptures from app: Lectionary – Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, Church House Publishing, Aimer

Zephaniah 3:17bhe will rejoice over you with gladness, he will renew you in his love;

Psalm113:5 Who is like the Lord our God, that has his throne so high, yet humbles himself to behold the things of heaven and earth? 6 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ashes,

Romans 12: 9 Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; 10 love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. 11 Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. 15b…do not claim to be wiser than you are.

Luke 1:45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’ 46 And Mary said,‘My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Lectio – scriptures in bold are the ones that initially “spoke” to me.

Meditatio – personal application – seems like Love is on our side…grateful for that. Rejoicing, Renewing, Raising, Relating, Regarding with favor – re-writing it helps it to “stick”…will trust Spirit to help that too.Chesed tattoo

Oratio – Thanks Lord for the above. May I have the grace to be aware of how you are Rejoicing, Renewing, Raising, Relating, Regarding me today and always. Forgive me when I miss the mark and get distracted by stuff. Thanks for your chesed…Love you.

love you too…keep keeping on; any suggestions?; good to remember that my ways / thoughts aren’t your ways and thoughts, to anthropomorphize myself…and my pace is usually slower than yours; thanks I will try and “trust in the slow work of God” thanks Teilhard; yeah, good guy that Teilhard, blessings my beloved; amen

Contemplatio – took this and my life into Centering Prayer.

Reflections on this post: The tattoo of the Hebrew word ‘chesed’ is mine, a permanent reminder of the steadfast love of the LORD. The link to Teilhard de Charden’s prayer is to the Ignatian Spirituality webpage.  I can’t endorse everything about Jesuits but I just finished their Spiritual Exercises – 19 annotation as step one in my noviciate in OCL  and my relationship with Jesus was definartely deepened through that 32 week prayer retreat. FYI – the next step in the noviciate is a course of study which I’m pretty sure will be some training with Brother Brian so I can be a spiritual director for those wanting to do the Spiritual Exercises. Here’s that link if you’re interested in learning more about that training.

It is with some trepidation I’ve included some of my personal communique with the Holy One as part of the Oratio movement. I put in italics what I imagine the Holy One saying to me – I want to listen as much as talk so… I hesitate to include this deeply personal content because I don’t want to even hint that I’m somehow special – hearing the voice of the Creator AND part of my “showing up” on this blog is letting you all know how Love and I relate…it’s not traditional – it’s deeply personal, not everyone’s experience. AND my prayer and hope for everyone, to have some kind of personal experience of chesed – “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases / His mercies never come to an end / They are new every morning / New every morning, great is thy faithfulness O LORD / Great is Thy faithfulness”… to quote a few lines from a song by Edith McNeil we’ve sung at GoWC-C forever. Peace and love to you all, now and always, as we walk this pilgrimage of faith and life together.

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On being sparkly in 2023.

This was a homily I gave at GoWC-C on Epiphany Sunday, Jan.8/23 so there are some comments that might not make sense…but pretend you were in worship that day.

Morning, When I read the order of service for the first time this morning, I saw there were songs about light, we heard a poem about glistening stars, Larry’s epiphany song that uses the words of the angel and that Owen had put the reading from Isaiah just before I’m speaking, it seemed to me to affirm in a small mystical way that what I’m about to say, my meditations and thoughts are already a bit pleasing to my rock and my redeemer. Thanks be to God.

As I used Lectio Divina to reflect on the readings – the verses that stood out for me were from Isaiah which Tabitha just read.

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

and then a few verses later that phrase…

Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice,

Ever since Paul wrote that song about being radiant I’ve liked those words for some reason.

When I used the second phase of Lectio to listen to what Spirit wanted me to hear about my life using those words as a starting place… this is sorta what I heard…

It sounded like Spirit was saying – Stephen – Arise, shine; for your light, Stephen’s light, my light has come. There was something very personal about these words … the glory of the LORD has risen upon me.

I wasn’t sure what that meant but glory sounds good… so I looked up what glory meant in the original Hebrew – not to do Bible study but if those words were important it would be good to know what they meant in the original…OK it was Bible study…but just a little. My gut sense was right – Strong’s online concordance says that glory in Hebrew means honor, abundance, dignity, splendor…

Sounds like all that good positive stuff…is come upon me from the LORD. It sounds like Yahweh, the Creator of the Universe is blessing me – whether I know it or not… and I’m supposed to get up and shine because light, honor, dignity, abundance has come upon me. I think it means when I get out of bed in the morning, glory, light is shining on me … maybe all night … that’s encouraging.

Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.

Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice,

So when I arise…get up…become aware…wake up… to the glory, the blessing of the LORD – I shall also see that I’m radiant … BE RADIANT … doesn’t seem that I have an option… see the glory and be radiant… wake up, be alive… be radiant … It sorta sounds like it wasn’t really something I did…I need to get up and look, acknowledge the reality, what’s happening … AND then I shall see that I’m radiant… which according to Strong the Hebrew word – means I’ll be like the sparkles on a flowing stream – be cheerful – OK…that’s interesting…being cheerful…sparkles on water are very cool…sparkles on snow is one redeeming aspect of winter…that hoar frost or rime ice – both are lovely.

SO… I’M HEARING THAT When I take time to acknowledge that the Creator honors me, likes me…I’ll be more cheerful -…sparkly even …

Linda and my kids and grandchild will like a more cheerful me. I like being happy.

SO … According to what I heard from Spirit – I can be cheerful, happy, maybe even joyful and sparkly… When I meditated on what sparkling might be I realised that what I think is sparkly and how Spirit wants me to sparkle is sometimes different … I feel I sparkle when I’m witty, often sarcastic comments and questions. Sometimes I use substances to make me sparkle…after a couple drinks I’m very funny and witty…and after too many not so much. Next day not sparkly at all. I’ve discovered, after many attempts on my own that I sparkle the best when I’m really listening to others, to Spirit, to my body and soul … my mind’s a gift from Creator and it’s critical analyzing of everything and fear of being wrong often gets in the way of my using my gifts, my sparkling, the grace, love and wisdom of Spirit I can share with others and self with Love’s help. It can block the glory coming in and the radiance going out.

Reminds me of what Jesus said in his commentary on the beatitudes “You are the light of the world, don’t hide under a bushel O NO… Let your light shine, that others may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Our sparkling brings glory to Creator, Mother of us all…that’s good…I want to bring honor and glory to God…seems like it’s a full circle…glory shines on me and my radiance brings glory to source of glory. I like that.

Marianne WilliamsonAnd that reminded me of a Marianne Williamson line … Our deepest fear is not that we’re inadequate.  Our deepest fear is we are powerful…sparkly… powerful beyond measure. I added the sparkly bit … SHELBY could you screen share that summary, while I read what Williamson wrote.

Our deepest fear is not that we’re inadequate. Our deepest fear is we are powerful… powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves,“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. – so it’s OK to include this in a worship service…

Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. She’s sounding like Isaiah…Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. She continues…

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.


Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice,

I can – Arise, shine; for my light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon me.  I can see that reality and be radiant;

AND that would be a great place to stop, but the next words seemed important to Spirit as well and they are – my heart shall thrill and rejoice,

For some reason Spirit also wanted me to pay attention to how my heart is thrilled and rejoices because my light has come and the glory of the LORD is risen upon me…God’s favor…sounds like the angel song to shepherds… Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth, peace among those God favors… those whom the glory of the LORD rises upon… we sang that this morning.

And when that came to my mind in my prep time I realised I was back to the Christmas story… and Epiphany Sunday theme…the mystery Creator was revealing to the world in the baby Jesus … Paul talked about in the 2nd chapter of Ephesians – the expanded version of the mystery we heard in the reading – is that how Christ is our peace – freedom from fear – and in his flesh he has made both Jew and Gentiles into a new creation. He broke down the hostility between them. A Christmas Miracle. Today we celebrate that the incarnation of Love in the baby Jesus, was revealed to folk from outside the religious / cultural / political scene of the time… Magi, sorcerer supreme or wisemen, Kings, however you name them… They were outsiders and they worshipped along with angels and shepherds and devoutly religious Jewish men and women… and us. They saw the light, got up out of the east and they have sparkled throughout history for their faithful witness.

The light of Christ, the peace of Christ … the glory of the LORD is shining on us all… no matter your age or cultural background, no matter how you name your gender and sexuality, no matter your education or economic situation … we are all sparkly – because the Light of Christ, the glory of the LORD is upon us all.

Let me close by encouraging us all… if Stephen Murphy can be sparkly…cheerful because of Love’s gracious healing abundance in my life … anyone can … at least that’s what I heard Spirit say to me. I know we’re still mourning the death of Jake and the fact we will no longer hear his voice or see his smile … and something tells me he’s pretty radiant now and would probably want us to be radiant as well. Mourning is important. Shining the peace of Christ is important. I wonder how much Jake could help us do that from where he is now but that’s another discussion.

Arise, Grain of Wheat – shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon all of us, all of humanity.

May the LORD help us see and live out of that abundant grace and love so the world can see our radiant cheerfulness and peacefulness; the world can use some peace and cheering up; let your hearts thrill and rejoice with this good news, today and all of this new year.


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First week as a novice in OCL … and being myself – by dying…

The last part of this title is highlighted at the end of this blog and connects with the intensive the Growing in Wisdom folk did at the end of September, entitled Radical Discipleship – Preparing for the Autumn of Our Lives – a nice way to say getting ready to die. Before I go Growing in WIsdom logoany further I wanted to acknowledge that last blog I wrote that I was going to blog more of the process of discerning to become a novice in the Order of Common Life. Sorry to disappoint but I’m not going to blog it. I have it written out if anyone wants to read it, or take me out for breakfast and hear it in person, but it seemed a bit much so no blog. However I am going to blog some of my reflection on the first week…of noviciate and spiritual exercises and some of Thomas Merton’s ideas about “soul” – a central part of who I am and what I think about.

One thing that stood out for me that week was that despite being a novice and doing the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises (ISE) … I’m still me, good, bad, ugly and beautiful. I’m doing this and my life goes on. Loving Linda and everything – Linda being the easiest to love. Listening – spiritual direction is ongoing and continues to be a blessing, mutual I hope. Laboring – I’m slowing getting back into stained glass creation … mostly buying glass and I’ve got some projects on the go, which feels good. 

It is interesting / providential that the main thing that stood out as I reviewed my first week of journalling from the ISE was the day I meditated, using Lectio Divina, on Isaiah 34:1 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: repeated in vs.7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” These words spoke to me about the LORD creating AND forming me. There was something about creating and forming that resonates with me. I journaled “I was moved that I’m more than created…thrown together from star dust… I was formed and made. Special attention to details… a unique creation … formed seems more personal … like when I make a stained glass piece … each one takes time to form and put together, makes a special bond with creator and created that is unique … each piece / I am unique and I have a unique bond with Love who made me. ; Thanks for the effort you made in creating me, Love.”  … was part of my response in prayer or colloquy – as Ignatius calls it. 

Part of my weekly review was also recording a sense of excitement, almost giddiness that seems to be going on in my soul when I think about ISE. Not sure why, maybe Suhail’s big build up contributes and years of +ve reinforcement. Maybe my soul is happy anticipating connecting with love so intentionally for 32 weeks. Whatever the reasons, it was also good to be reminded that this is a process, by my logical side…the part of me that likes to be in control and is wise enough to let my heart and body have equal says, sometimes. I’d say the combination of the three enable my soul to express itself. 

I just read some of Merton’s thots on the soul in Loving and Living (Kindle version) “Speaking as a Christian existentialist, I mean by “soul” not simply the Aristotelian essential form but the mature personal identity, the creative fruit of an authentic and lucid search, the “self” that is found after other partial and exterior selves have been discarded as masks.This metaphor must not mislead: this inner identity is not “found” as an object, but is the very self that finds. It is lost when it forgets to find, when it does notLoving and Living know how to seek, or when it seeks itself as an object. (Such a search is futile and self-contradictory.) Hence the paradox that it finds best when it stops seeking: and the graduate level of learning is when one learns to sit still and be what one has become, which is what one does not know and does not need to know. In the language of Sufism, the end of the ascetic life is Rida, satisfaction. Debts are paid (and they were largely imaginary). One no longer seeks something else. One no longer seeks to be told by another who one is. One no longer demands reassurance. But there is the whole infinite depth of what is remaining to be revealed. And it is not revealed to those who seek it from others. Education in this sense means more than learning; and for such education, one is awarded no degree. One graduates by rising from the dead. Learning to be oneself means, therefore, learning to die in order to live. It means discovering in the ground of one’s being a “self” which is ultimate and indestructible, which not only survives the destruction of all other more superficial selves but finds its identity affirmed and clarified by their destruction. p.4”  (bold type by me)

Not exactly sure how to make the connection between these two experiences on my present pilgrimage but the spiritual exercises continue to call me to a deeper place in Love and dying to self is a good way to do that so I’ll go with that for now.

As usual comments or coffee is always welcome. Blessings to us all as we live into dying to self and being born in Love. The first Sunday of Advent is in 5 days so here we are. advent wreath

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New Beginnings – Fall 2022

For most folk fall has become a time for new beginnings…almost more than New Year. That is the case for the fall of 2022 for everyone in my immediate family. Our youngest son, Thomas started a new job as a high school Electronics Teacher. Zee, his new wife / partner, started a new job as a MD in a couple urgent cares here in Winnipeg. Linda, my partner / wife, will probably start a new job as a supervisor in HSC, Winnipeg’s largest hospital – after beginning her well earned retirement in spring ‘22. With 40 years of nursing experience she has much to offer and feels she wants to contribute due to nursing shortage…go Linda go. Recently we celebrated our first granddaughter, Adley-Jo’s, first birthday with her parents in Nova Scotia. Joel, our eldest son, begins the fall as a brand new PhD candidate and Kathleen – his wife / partner of almost 10 years – started work again, after a year of maternity leave. She also starts fall ‘22 as part owner of the counselling business she works for / with. Life is certainly rich and full for us all.

This is my first blog after my lengthy announcement in January re: the postulancy in the Order of Common Life (OCL – https://www.orderofthecommonlife.org). No doubt many of you are wondering why I haven’t blogged since…I wonder too.  A quick synopsis of those months is – the postulancy went well. I managed to get to the bi-weekly zoom meetings, watch the weekly information videos by Jared and even journaled most weeks … all that was expected of me, much better than last time. Seems when the postulate is ready the postulancy takes. There seems to be a deeper felt connection with the folk in our cohort than many of my other zoom encounters which was one of the subtle confirmations that OCL is a good place for me to be. My next blog will be more about the postulancy and subsequent decision for novitiate, if you’re interested, read on and comment, ask questions, etc.

SO – my new thing for fall of 2022 is – after careful consideration, prayer, meditation, reflection, conversations I have decided to start the fall of 2022 as a novitiate in OCL – actualizing a long time desire to be part of a religious order. I’m still years from becoming a vowed member but whatever the outcome it will be a wonderful time … joy in the journey. (thanks Michael Card. https://youtu.be/GfW61yKyirY ) This decision comes with some anxiety … Can I do it right? … and excitement as I open my heart, mind, soul, spirit, body to whatever Love (my latest naming for the Source of All) will do in my life.

Like any good religious order there are expectations for novices including doing a course of study and the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises – a 32 week spiritual experience / practice which I’ve been interested in for years. I’m going to do the exercises first and am blessed that my present spiritual director just finished training to accompany folk in the exercises. Our first weekly meeting is tomorrow. Thanks be to God…or Love as the case may be. This discernment process highlighted that my deepest soul / heart’s desire is to be open to the love that created the universe and a commitment to do whatever Love invites me to – and OCL seems to part of the invite – so here we go. One of the other expectations is to meet with a group of novices monthly and it’s great there are 3 other novices in Winnipeg. My pilgrimage continues, with new companions and Love only knows what awaits me round the bend…

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Last word in 2021 about a new beginning in 2022

I’m wanting to blog something about my decision to do the postulancy for Order of the Common Life beginning January 2022. I did something similar with the Order of Sustainable Faith in 2017 – Jan-Jun. 4 years ago to the month, interestingly. Doing the postulancy for OSF (going through their Invitations & Commitments: A RULE OF LIFE written by jared patrick boyd) was an intentional response to my fascination around religious orders, probably because of my relationship with folk in religious orders. My first job as a married man was with the Sisters of Good Shepherd. Sr. Monica, their prioress and my supervisor at the time, introduced me to silent retreats, contemplation and spiritual direction. She introduced me to my first spiritual director, a Jesuit, Fr. Crouch, SJ. That led to my training in spiritual direction at St. Benedict’s Retreat and Conference Center. I’ve been in a spiritual director’s peer supervision group for over 20 years which has included Sr. Carmela, SSMI and more recently Sr. Laurette, SGM. St. Francis and his protege, Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM continually model how to follow Jesus. My fav. contemplative writer, Fr. Louis (Thomas) Merton, OCSO was a Trappist. My soul has benefitted much from those sisters and brothers. However in 2017 I realised that I wasn’t ready to put the time and effort into the commitments and let it go. 

My first entry in my Lectio Divina journal in 2021 was a meditation on Psalm 18: 2  My God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, the horn of my salvation and my stronghold. 24  I was also wholehearted before him and kept myself from iniquity.” Those last words seem to speak to me and I journalled – “beginning to toy with the importance of asceticism. I’m shielded no matter what but what if I shielded myself more?”  That interest in asceticism “a severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons. Oxford ” has grown over the months. I wasn’t really interested in a severe self-discipline rather was following a deepening desire to do whatever it took to grow closer to the Holy One, living more out of Love, no matter how religious it looked. 

Most of my life I’ve avoided being thought of as “more spiritual than thou” especially as a PK, but this year was growing in my willingness to look that way if that’s what it took to be more aware of Love, Light and Grace. Union has become a theological mystery I’ve been invited by Spirit to explore…be Love, be Light, be Grace. I’m not an evil person AND I often miss the mark, especially in how I treat others and myself. I’m very aware of the forgiveness that flows like a healing river and live quite free of my “sins” AND I’m aware that spending time in prayer, meditation, contemplation, reading, writing along with my retirement activities of loving, listening, and laboring – stained glass creating – are ways I connect with Love and learn to be Love. I’m also aware that there are many things I spend time on that distract me from union, that Love. 

So let me elaborate how I feel I was led to a way of life that will help me deal with / mature past some of those distractions. It’s good for me to document the process…which if you’re still reading…process.

On Monday, July 12, 2021, 12:10 AM, Beloved Servant <belovedservantosf@yahoo.com> wrote:

Hi, Stephen,

This fall The Order of the Common Life (previously The Order of Sustainable Faith) will be releasing online materials for those interested in learning more about the Order. Would you know of anyone by chance that would be interested in stepping a little deeper into monastic spirituality through participation in a 12-week experience, either through an online self-guided experience or as part of a group? 

Warmly, Sister Dixie

This email led me to check out OCL and what Dixie was writing about. It turned out they were sharing was Contemplative Foundations. I’m all for learning more about contemplation and was interested in what changes had happened to OSL, so I signed up. From the first video of Jared share – an Overview of A Contemplative Foundation, I was aware of how his approach and words articulated my soul’s desires. As I watched the videos, journaled my responses to the questions and participated in Dixie’s discussion group about the weekly content; my sense that OCL could be a way to deepen my connection with the Holy One grew. My possible affiliation with OCL became part of my prayer and thought life. There were some significant moments in Lectio Divina that seemed to speak directly to that question, a solid yes. 

As I participated in CF I discovered that I was finding space in my life for the videos, journalling and meetings. These Spirit directed activities were gently pushing other, less spiritual things, out of my life…gently, lovingly but firmly. It was like I was being given a taste of what it might be like for my life to be fuller of the things of Love and Wisdom rather than Prime and Netflicks. I was filled with hope that the way of life that a 21st century religious order would invite me to…the commitments… could be manageable. It would cost something…time, effort, money AND it felt like an invitation to grow in love and grace rather than a demand – not too acetic but intentional. 

However I knew that Linda needed to be on board 110% or I would have to do something that would better fit our lives. When I asked her if I should try postulancy again, she said that she’d like to as well…not now, but after she retired. Seemed like another solid yes, so I asked for an interview with Bro. Brian OCL, and was accepted, paid some money and I’m starting a 6 month postulancy in the Order of the Common Life on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. We’ll meet every second Wednesday for 6 months, among other commitments, and then discern where I go from there. As I write this I think I’m feeling excited…my soul is full of peaceful anticipation. The pilgrimage continues. Thanks be to the Holy One.

P.S. I wanted to include my phrase for 2022 – “Come further up, come further in” from the unicorn’s speech in The Last Battle, C.S. Lewis, p.195. My song for 2022 continues to be Gravity of Love, The Brilliance. Blessings of health, joy and much love for us all in 2022.

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Lectio Divina – 24nov21

Tursday 25nov21 .5* – Psalm 90; Isaiah 21:1-12 ; Matthew 10:34-11:1

Lectio – words that spoke to my heart: Psalm 90:1 Lord, you have been our refuge …; Isaiah 21:12 The sentinel says: ‘Morning comes, and also the night.; Matthew 10:34 ‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Meditatio – Personal application: Not sure – Jesus / sword?? Truth. Reality. Jesus doesn’t always bring peace…but a sword…killing, attacking, destroying, war, – can be used for defence, protection, proof texting… I need some more information about this these words…turning to internet – same prayer “speak LORD your friend is listening” – listening with ear of my heart. I found www.quora.com and found the comments more helpful than quora’s input. It’s more opinions, of course. Tim isn’t very kind, but has some good points. Joe Lawson’s comments: Now, about the “sword.” In English, swords are always giant knives used as weapons. In the ancient Aramaic language of the Jews, there were two kinds of big knives that could be translated as “swords” because of their appearance. One kind was the actual weapon-swords that were one to several feet long, and the Aramaic word for that kind is not the word used in this passage. The other Aramaic word translated “sword” is the one used in Matthew. It’s a big knife about a foot long that was used as a kitchen utensil for cutting up food. They used great big knives for the same reason most modern kitchens have “butcher knives;” to cut-up or “divide” larger portions for cooking and eating. So when Jesus said he did not come to bring peace (unity, one body) but like a kitchen knife to divide a family like portions of a bigger amount — everybody back then would have immediately understood him and not questioned whether it was a kitchen knife and not a weapon.

Tim O’Neill’s comments – What is clear is that both (Luke -parallel passage & Matthew) were working from very early Q source material in which Jesus is depicted as citing Micah 7:6 about division within families in the context of his own time. Given his apocalyptic Jewish beliefs, Jesus seems to be saying that in the approach to the coming apocalyptic cataclysm, people are going to have to choose sides and that this will cause divisions and discord. The “fire” (Luke 12: 49) and “sword” symbolism (Matthew 10:34), if original to Jesus, are both in this context and are clearly symbolic. To pluck “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” out of this cultural, scriptural and textual context, assume Jesus simply said this and then think this means he was talking literally and talking about war is simplistic to the point of being totally stupid. No “saying” of Jesus can be simply assumed to have been actually said by him. And no “saying” can be analysed in isolation – its context in the text, the text’s context within the layers of transmission in the gospels and the meaning in the context of the Judaism of Jesus’ time and the developing theology of the various gospel writers all need to understood and inter-related. Virgin mary in mule and saint joseph silhouettes Vector Image

Meditatio + – after including the above to my meditation I heard this personal application – whether symbolic language or kitchen knife used it seems to be about divisions … I hear Jesus was saying that to follow his teaching / way will cause problems / divisions even in families AND Lord you have been our refuge / there is morning and night … there is hope and healing in the midst of division. Maybe something new can come from / be “birthed” out of times of conflict … an early Advent meditation.

Oratio / Personal prayer – LORD thanks for being our refuge and bring light after / out of darkness. Thank you for being faithful, full of grace and truth…love and mercy. Help me to be faithful to the responsibilities I’ve been given, loving, listening, creating stained glass and leave the rest to you…and my brothers and sisters, other pilgrims on the road. May we all draw from the springs of living water, love and grace. May we love as we have been loved. Thanks for speaking and hearing my prayer. AMEN.

Contemplatio – took all this and my life into 20 minutes of Centering Prayer

* – I’ve started to include a number which reflects how I come to LD – It’s an acknowledgment that how I come affects how I listen. The Holy One is pretty consistent, I think, believe, hope…who am I to claim any truth about the Mystery whose Love sustains all reality. “Who are you God? Who am I?” was one of St. Francis’s all night prayers  which I often repeat as well. I don’t dare box the Holy One in AND I believe that the Creator of the Universe wants to speak to me each day. Blessed be the Name, the Name be praised. The good news is the Holy One speaks however I come. To generally reflect my present mental state I use a simple numbering method I learned from a friend years ago when I was worried if I was depressed: -1, 0, +1.  -1 for feeling down; 0 if feeling normal; +1 when feeling good. I’ve added .5 +/- cause I over think things. For someone like myself, who seems to be more melancholy than normal, it’s a good check in. I’m often surprised how much I’m more than 0…so maybe I’m not as melancholic as I think…I might even be enjoying life…if I have to I can, I guess. (Thanks Red Green) NOTE: If it’s -1 for a week or two…get thee to a M.D. for help – I’d even talk to a professional if it’s -1 every other day for a week or two. A mental health check-up can be as important as a physical one. Spiritual directors can do a spiritual health checkup. Got ya covered – whole person care.

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Musica Divina – 26oct21

The Heart of God - song by Alana Levandoski | Spotify

Source: Musician: Alana Levandoski – The Heart of God, from album – Beyond I Make All Things New. https://youtu.be/NEh3fGj7zqI

Lectio: initial words / lyrics that spoke to me from this song:

The heart of God has been revealed, to bring love not hate, pour out not dominate; to forgive, not blame; make whole, not shame; Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah; the heart of God has been revealed.

Meditatio: after silence this is what I feel these words mean for me, personally and possibly others:

– bring love, pour out, forgive, make whole / saved – hallelujah. This is the good news Jesus revealed about God’s heart and the way to live, once I’ve experienced that forgiving, holy making love poured into my heart. I’ve discovered I need to take time to rest in the good news of being loved, forgiven, made whole, washed in the love…then… I can go and do what is I’ve been given to do, what’s in front of me in the moment or scheduled. Being then becomes Doing…maybe I’m Doing the resting and Being the actions – rooted and grounded in love. Either way works for me.

Oratio: my prayer

– LORD thanks for your unconditional love that forgives, saves, continually flows from your gracious, merciful, faithful heart…help me to rest in the love and also love as I have been loved. Forgive me when I hate, dominate, blame, shame. May I have your wisdom so I can lovingly direct – and when necessary, speak (thanks Francis). LIYM thanks for hearing my prayer and answering according to your loving will.

Contemplatio: 20 minutes of Centering Prayer

As I wrote in my 19oct21 blog – one can contemplatively read and listen to other writings, art, music, nature. I found this blog which has good advice how to “listen” to other ways Spirit speaks. https://tinyurl.com/u8dykjy8

This morning as I listened to what my heart was wanting to listen to – I was led to Alana’s music and this song in particular. May the words I’ve written and meditated on be pleasing to the One in whom I rest and restores my soul with new mercies each morning. AND if you’ve heard something from the song, or my meditation let me know. I’ve come to understand that sharing adds a dimension of reality to our thots and feelings and journalling … hence this blog. Blessings of Peace, Joy and Health

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Lectio Divina – Tuesday 19oct21

Psalm 132; 2 Chronicles 34: 1-18; John 15: 12-17 (from Aimer App, Lectionary by Church House Publishing)

Lectio: initial words that spoke to me from above passages:

Psalms 132:8 Arise, O Lord, into your resting place, you and the ark of your strength.

2 Chronicles 34:2 He did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his ancestor David; he did not turn aside to the right or to the left. (Josiah)

John 15:15 I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. 16You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

Meditatio: after silence this is what I feel these words mean for me, personally and possibly others:

– speak LORD for your friend is listening (Jesus calls us friends, not servants…time to update Eli/ Samuel’s good response) … can I hope to be the Lord’s resting place – if I do what is right in the sight of the Lord … the Holy One can rest in our hearts, souls and minds … a safe place where the One is trusted and welcome. What a sacred privilege! Maybe Paul is pointing to that possibility in 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, AND again in 2 Corinthians 6:16 For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean.”; Individuals and the community of faithful are temples of the living God … a resting place? I heard this morning an invitation to be the Lord’s resting place along with some advice for what I need to do to maintain that safe, resting place … an  invitation into a deeper intimacy … and life of separation from the things that distract us from being a resting place for the Lord and others. It’s another mystical paradox … be separate so I can be closer…to God, to myself, to others … maybe I can be a safe, resting place for all three.

Oratio: my prayer

– LORD help me to be a resting place for you… a place where you feel welcome just to be yourself with out any expectations or requests… a place to hang out and rest … a safe place, a welcoming place… help Linda and myself to create such a place at 834, using wisdom and love. LIYM grant my prayer… show me what needs to go from my life so I can be a place of rest for you & others and myself. Thanks for speaking to me and beingtogether today and always.

Contemplatio: 20 minutes of Centering Prayer

Traditionally these are the 4 “movements” / steps to Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading): read, meditate, pray and contemplate. I like the Latin, seems to connect me with centuries of praying with scripture this way. One can use these steps to listen to / pray with other readings, art, music, nature…the Holy One speaks to our souls in many ways … listenwiththeearofyourheart … Blessings of Peace, Joy and Health.

sent from Stephen’s ipad

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Lectio Divina – Wednesday 1sep21

Wednesday 1sep21 – Psalm 119:153-end; Proverbs 26:12-end; Mark 8:27-9:1 from Lectionary app by Aimer Media / Church House Publication / Revised Common Lectionary.

Psalm 119:175  Let my soul live and it shall praise you, and let your judgements be my help. 176  I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost; O seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments.

Proverbs 26:12 Do you see persons wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for fools than for them. 13 The lazy person says, ‘There is a lion in the road! There is a lion in the streets!’ 20 For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarrelling ceases. 

Mark 8:34 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.

– following Jesus way can be costly…there is help and … takes sacrifice … need more than words. (My initial take from Proverbs v.20, seemed to be unrelated to other 2 “words” so after some silence I went back to original text, re-read it all re-listened and heard v.12&13 and meditated on how “lazy” connected to previous words. “Thanks for the grace to hear without really forcing it…to wait for that still small voice.”) 

– Holy One – help my soul to live and give me strength, courage and anti- laziness / enuii / addictive behaviour to make the sacrifices necessary to follow the Jesus way so I can help my community the way he did his…love & healing for mind, body, soul & spirit…(which means I need strength, courage and anti-laziness / enuii / addictive behaviour to show up in my community…GoWC-C, neighborhood, family, friends, work) … LIYM, hear my prayer.

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Lectio – 19aug21

Thursday 19aug21
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Proverbs 10:10 Whoever winks the eye causes trouble, but the one who rebukes boldly makes peace. WISDOM LOVINGLY DIRECTS
Mark 6:12So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.
– there needs to be some engagement…numbering, applying, rebuking, proclaiming, casting and anointing, curing… my role is numbering mine and other’s days and applying wisdom…lovingly directing others to have courage to rebuke and cure… Holy One give me courage and grace to engage / live in this world using my vocation and gifts. Thanks for helping me be sensitive to the opportunities as they arise…including this blog.

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