Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Lent, lenten journey, pilgrimage, st benedict, vezelay
“Listen, O my child, to the precepts of thy master, and incline the ear of thy heart”
Rule of St Benedict
Paying attention within and without. Listen. Watch. A clear gaze.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: carmelite prayer, carmelite spirituality, Lent, lenten journey, prayer, ruth burrows
Again, trying to view this in a way that’s speaks to us both as individuals and as parts of wider groups and bodies:
“The way to holiness is not through dramatic renunciation, and holiness itself is not just for the ‘specialists’, clergy and religious. Holiness cannot be struggled for and won – it can only be given, and all that is necessary is that we should ask. As soon as we cease to strive for virtue, concentrating attention uselessly on ourselves, and instead recognise our weakness, our need, the way is open to encounter God and the holiness of Jesus which is His gift.”
– Ruth Burrows
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: carmelite prayer, carmelite spirituality, John of the Cross, Lent, lenten journey, ruth burrows
This is one of those passages that speaks to me deeply, that I want to spend a lot of time with. The continuation of a journey into Lent.
And the glimpses that this applies corporately as well as individually.
“The essential act of prayer is to stand unprotected before God. What will God do? He will take possession of us. That he should do this is the whole purpose of life. We know we belong to God; we know too, if we are honest, that almost despite ourselves, we keep a deathly hold on our own autonomy. We are willing, in fact very ready, to pay God lip-service (just as we are ready to talk about prayer rather than to pray), because waving God as a banner keeps our conscience quiet. But really to belong to God is another matter. It means having nothing left for ourselves, always bound to the will of another, no sense of interior success to comfort us, living in the painful acknowledgement of being ‘unprofitable servants’. It is a terrible thing to be a fallen creature, and for most of the time we busily push this truth out of our awareness. But prayer places us helpless before the living God and we taste the full bitterness of what we are.
“Ask yourself: What do I really want when I pray? Do you want to be possessed by God? Or to put the same question more honestly, do you want to want it? Then you have it. The one point Jesus stressed and repeated and brought up again is that: ‘Whatever you ask the Father he will grant it to you.’ his insistence on faith and perseverance are surely other ways of saying the same thing: you must really want, it must engross you. When you set yourself down to pray, what do you want? If you want God to take possession of you, then you are praying. That is all prayer is. There are no secrets, no shortcuts, no methods. Prayer is the utter ruthless test of your sincerity. It is the one place in the world in which there is nowhere to hide. That is its utter bliss – and its torment.
“If you desire to stand surrendered before God, then you are standing there. It needs absolutely nothing else. Prayer is the last thing we should feel discouraged about. It concerns nobody except God – always longing to give himself in love – and my own decision. And that too is God’s ‘who works in us to will and effect’. In a very true sense there is nothing more to say about prayer – ‘the simplest thing out’. However two practical comments. The first is that prayer must have time … Nobody goes through a day without the odd patch, a five minute break, a ten minute pause. If you do truly want to pray, well then pray … The other practical point is: what shall I do during prayer? (How eagerly people long to be told the answer! For that would make me safe against God, well protected. I would know what to do!) But the answer is of the usual appalling simplicity: stand before God unprotected and you will know yourself what to do.”
– Ruth Burrows Ascent to Love: the spiritual teaching of St John of the Cross
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: art, beverley barr, Holy Week, Lent, stations of the cross
Stations of the Cross
by Beverley Barr
Welcome Place Café
All Saints Church, Kings Heath
Monday 7th March – Sunday 27th March
10.00am – 5.00pm
posters, cards & booklets
We will also be using Bev’s Stations at St Bede’s in Holy Week
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Bonnie Thurston, late vocation, Lent, meditation, poetry, practicing silence, prayer, vocation
This very good poem by Bonnie Thurston from Practicing Silence makes a good basis for Lenten reflection
In the gloaming
when death comes
clearly into view
as the horizon
of life’s landscape,
the call to illumination,
to focus the shining darts
of life’s lessons
as a magnifying glass
focusses rays of light.
The task of middle age
is to dispose
of the extraneous,
to focus desire’s flickering
until it flames
at the incendiary point
of an undivided heart
and makes of love
a pure, bright blaze
before a falling night.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Lent, meister eckhart, nature, photography, prayer, spirituality, spring
And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: iona, kate mcilhagga, Lent, lenten journey, nature, pilgrimage, poetry, prayer, snowdrops
I have found this poem and prayer reproduced in a number of places in the past few days. I hope it is OK to reproduce it here – it speaks so much of the journey of this time of year.
Into the dark world a snowdrop comes:
a blessing of hope and peace
carrying within it a green heart:
symbol of God’s renewing love.
Come to inhabit our darkness,
for dark and light are alike to you.
May nature’s white candles of hope
remind us of your birth
and lighten our journey
through Lent and beyond. Amen.
Kate McIlhagga, Iona