Reflections on The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila

“God always loves me right where I am right now. I seek to slow down so that I may gain self-knowledge of the subtle love acts from God.”

“To sit still (in solitude) is to bear witness to the world that there is no other place to be right now. A death to everything less than the infinite love of God which is sustain me and drawing me to Himself.”

“God loving me through my sadness and pain, so that little, by little, by little I can experience the unsustain-ability of all but love.”

 “Reflect upon this: What are the deepest longings of my heart?”

(James Finley reflections on The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila.)

A Lenten Litany

Response: Remind us that your love is with us.

When loved ones experience pain and suffering…

When illness, aging, or chronic pain diminish our joy…

When doubts arise and confusion fills our minds…

When others fail us or refuse to forgive us for our failings…

When we stumble and stray from the path of goodness…

When death separates us from those we love dearly…

When financial problems threaten our security…

When things do not go the way we planned…

When depression or loneliness return again and again…

When broken relationships seem unmendable…

When our faith strengthens and gives us courage…

When the precious gift of life is recognized and appreciated…

When unexpected kindness and caring comes our way…

When optimism stirs our heart and springtime returns…

When the peace of Christ calms our anxiety and softens our sadness…

When we realize that our loving presence can make a difference…

When the joy of Easter quietly permeates our heart…

(from Out of the Ordinary by Joyce Rupp.)

Affirming the Good

Affirming the Good

“Fun becomes fun, love becomes love, life becomes worth living. And we become grateful.”

Wait, and expect good things—for yourself and your loved ones.

When you wonder what is coming, tell yourself the best is coming, the very best life and love have to offer, the best God and His universe have to send. Then open your hands and receive it. Claim it, and it is yours.

See the best in your mind; envision what it will look like, what it will feel like. Focus, until you can see it clearly. Let your whole being, body and soul, enter into and hold onto the image for a moment.

Then, let it go. Come back into today, the present moment. Do not obsess. Do not become fearful. Become excited. Live today fully, expressing gratitude for all you have been, all you are, and all you will become.

Wait, and expect good things.

Today, when I think about the year ahead, I will focus on the good that is coming.

(The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie. Day Dec 31.)

God’s Story of Adam: An Advent Reflection

 

God’s Story of Adam

“This is your eternal life. You belong to God from eternity to eternity. You were loved by God before you were born; you will be loved by God long after you die…this small segment of the line is your human lifetime. It is only a part of your total life in God. You are here for just a short time—for twenty, forty, sixty, eighty years—to discover and believe that you are a beloved child of God. The length of time does not matter. Life is just a short opportunity for you during a few years to say to God, ‘I love you, too.’

As a parable of this truth, receive the true story of Henri Nouwen’s friend from L’Arche named Adam. Hear the story from a divine perspective, as if God were the storyteller. God has a story of Adam from above that only God can fully tell, a story for us to try to hear.

God’s Story of Adam

  

Long, very long, before I gave Adam to his parents, long before he was born among his fellow human beings, I knew him and loved him. He belonged to me as my beloved child. I carried him from all eternity in my heart and mind and cared for him as for the apple of my eye. Then one day I sent him to the planet earth to live among people.

 Because he would be a man invited to suffer, I entrusted him to a loving woman and a caring man who were to be his parents. I sent him to be a silent witness who would bring my message of love through his great vulnerability. I know that few people are capable of fully accepting a gift hidden in brokenness. Therefore, I chose with great care these two people so that they could help me in revealing that gift to the world.

 For 34 years Adam lived among his brothers and sisters at L’Aarche community. He was not able to speak, walk without assistance, go regularly to school, find a job, earn a living, or have a wife or children. He did not give talks, write books, or win a prize. He simply was present among people as a silent witness to my love.

 Then on February 13, 1996, I saw that Adam had fulfilled his mission and I called him back home to me. I gave him a voice, so he could tell me all he had experienced on the earth and in a body that would allow him to walk, run, and dance in my presence to everyone’s delight. I am so glad to have him back, and I know for sure that having been where he was, he will give special attention to all who loved him and cared for him but also to all the people whose brokenness he shared.

Are you ready to hear this story from above? Doesn’t this story echo the story of Jesus, God’s won beloved child? Isn’t this your story and mine? Can you imagine God smiling when we discover the secret that Adam’s story, your story, my story, and the story of Jesus, are in truth one and the same story? We all have been loved by God before and beyond time. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to see, hear, and believe God’s story of us.”

(from Spiritual Direction by Henri J. M. Nouwen, pp38-40.

 

 

Meditation to meet with your Inner Elder

Connect with your inner source of wisdom and receive guidance, so that you may live a life that follows truth.  The Inner Elder is already enlightened and has intimate knowledge of your True Self.

The process:

Slowly count from one to ten. Imagine yourself walking up a set of stairs that lead to a door.

Knock on the door which opens for you. You are greeted with a warm embrace by your spiritual self, your Inner Elder, the embodiment of boundless compassion and wisdom.  What does the doorway look like? The room? Your Inner Elder? Feel love and reassurance.

Ask your Inner Elder for guidance about an issue that is of concern to you.  Allow a response to come.

Rest in the silence for a while. Feel encouragement and know that you can come again at any time. Ask for and receive a blessing from your Inner Elder.

Leave through the door, and with joy and confidence walk down the stairs and slowly return, counting backward from ten to one.

Sit quietly. Record your experience in your journal.

Amen.

(Source: From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller. Learn more through Sage-ing International.)

 

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