Thursday, May 17, 2018

Real Contact - Simone Weil

Simone Weil from Awaiting God

In my contemplations on the insoluble problem of God, I did not anticipate the possibility of real contact, person-to-person, here below, between a human and God. I had vaguely heard tell of things of this kind, but I never believed them. … Moreover, in Christ’s sudden possession of me, neither my senses nor my imagination had any part. Through my suffering I only felt the presence of a love analogous to that which one reads in the smile of a beloved face.
I had never read any of the mystics, because I had never felt called to read them. In reading, as in other things, I always attempt practical obedience. There is nothing more favourable to intellectual progress, for as far as possible I do not read anything except that for which I am hungry in the moment, when I am hungry for it, and then I do not read, … I eat. God mercifully prevented me from reading the mystics, so that it would be evident to me that I had not fabricated this absolutely unexpected contact.
Yet I still half refused, not my love, but my intelligence. For it seemed certain, and I believe it still today, that we can never wrestle God too much if we do so out of pure concern for the truth. Christ loves that we prefer the truth to him, because before being the Christ, he is the Truth. If someone takes a detour from him to go towards the truth, they will not go a long way without falling into his arms.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Catholic Spirit Radio Interview on Spiritual Direction

Catholic Conversations hosted by Jason Bramley of Catholic Spirit Radio interviews Tina Boettcher, Pam Smith & David Nybakke about Spiritual Direction.

Link here

Friday, March 9, 2018

Finding the cushion of calm - Jesus Calling

Jesus Calling~ March 9th

Rest in My Radiant Presence.  The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, till everything is a blur.  Yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life, where you live in union with Me.  Return to this soothing Center as often as you can, for this is where you are energized: filled with My Love, Joy, and Peace.

The world is a needy place; do not go there for sustenance.  Instead, come to Me.  Learn to depend on Me alone, and your weakness will become saturated with My Power.  When you find your completeness in Me, you can help other people without using them to meet your own needs.  Live in the Light of My Presence, and your light will shine brightly into the lives of others.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ~Galatians 5:22
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us. ~1 John 4:12
My Thoughts:
We all need a 'power source' as we are not autonomous beings. This world tells us the lie, the myth, that we are individual and independent! Try your best, when things are going crazy, and you will drain others by using them to meet your own needs. But to seek Him, in that cushion of calm at your center, provides all your needs and allows you to be a strength for others - not on your power only, but in union with His!!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Eucharist as Your Heartbeat - Reflection by Susan Kaye

I remember the time I first experienced the Eucharist as Your Heartbeat. Communion becomes a still space. Even with all its movement, Communion always becomes a still space.

Eyes are closed – Heads are bowed – the guy beside me kneels - From the right, comes a song - a song that “I am here;” that “I am near.” And also from the right the hint of a breeze stirred by movement carried forward by footsteps. And on the left – Like a steady drumbeat
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
like a heartbeat
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
that draws us so close we touch it
         Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
and taste it
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
Not just me – but we -
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ

There is a pause in the beat -- I look up. The Priest is blessing a baby and young child.
And, yes, Jesus becomes Lord and Savior again for me this night and again and again in every Eucharist.
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ
                     Body of Christ

Someone once told me: Catholic Churches – they are all the same. I said: How can they all be the same?  When you moved here – the new parish – isn’t it different?

She said: Oh sure.  Different building.  Different people.  Different Priest.  But once you find Christ in the Eucharist, it is all the same.  It is good – but all the same.

Friday, February 9, 2018

“Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened”

“Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened”
The Suscipe (Latin for "take"), a radical prayer from St Ignatius, is not found in any of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises, but rather was included by Ignatius as additional material in regards to the “contemplation for attaining love” at the end of the Exercises. In this section, Ignatius speaks of the immeasurable love of God that is bestowed upon all of creation, and then asks what he might offer to such a loving God:
'Take Lord and receive all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.' (Spiritual Exercises, #234)

And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened” Jesus looks up to the Father. It is as if he always wants to work a mira­cle in the Trinity, never alone. The Father and the Spirit are in heaven. And he, even as a man in the world, al­ways has access to heaven.
Even more: he draws heaven nearer in order not to act alone, to be confirmed, to allow for participation in what he will do. This divine, mutual sharing with an­other is what, throughout his whole life, the Lord gives to us. For a whole context is there: the deaf-mute who lets himself passively be led there, those who are active and bring him, and lastly those watching, who will write it down. The Lord is there, who is God and man; and heaven is there. A whole, immense sharing, then, in which each performs what is his to perform, without our being able to know exactly what belongs to whom.
That is Christian, already a kind of Eucharistic mira­cle. The Lord gives his body because he is on earth; he gives his bodily touch. He does not give only his divine power to work miracles. And he does not refuse peo­ple’s help. But with his gaze toward heaven, he seeks the nearness of the Father and the Spirit and the whole of heaven. Only then, after this wordless prayer—for every glance up to heaven is a prayer for the Son—he sighs. He sighs because he is tired, because power is going out of him again. He sighs in obedience. And then he speaks the word Ephphatha. The man’s ears and mouth are to open. They are to open primarily in a supernatural sense, which secondarily draws the earthly sense after it. They are to open so that they can receive faith, but also so that they can perceive and speak the audible words of faith.
 –  (†1967) was a Swiss physician, a mystical writer, and a stigmatist.

For von Speyr, the Son’s perfect embodiment of the Suscipe reveals to the world the love of the Father and the Trinitarian relationships of complete openness and reciprocal love. Using the Suscipe rather than philosophical categories, she describes the unity and distinctions of the Persons of the Trinity with analogies of love and sacramental marriage that maintain a unity that cannot be severed by time and distance.


Self-identity is a big deal in our society. Knowing who we are enables us to journey forward through life with confidence, a sense of direction and purpose, an accurate assessment of our capabilities as well as weaknesses. Inevitably though, confidence wains. Our struggle with confidence is due by the fact that we hold onto a myth - a myth that says we are autonomous and individual. In the gos­pel, the question Jesus addresses to his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” was not about his seeking his own self-awareness. It was a question put to the disciples that would reveal to them more deeply who he was to them in relation to one another and themselves. Jesus opens up for them that 1) their ‘self’ is structured in and through relationships with others, 2) this relationship is always unstable and wavering when the Transcendent Other is not present and 3) 'confidence' is obtained only through Him as member of the Trinity. One obtains a constituted ‘self’ substantiated with authority and confidence when one is open to receiving as a gift their liberty, memory, understanding and will from the Lord. You can see how truly radical the Suscipe prayer is from St Ignatius.

'Take Lord and receive all my liberty. Take my memory, my understanding, and my entire will. Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.' (Spiritual Exercises, #234)

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Touching the spot within us that transcends the human

We went to see a very interesting presentation on the campus of IWU by Tim Ternes, director of the St John's Bible program at St. John’s. You can read about this project and how it came to the campus HERE.

Part of the presentation was this video on the artist and originator of the project, Donald Jackson. His work and his comments are worthy of much reflection. One of the quotes that struck me when I first heard it was this:
... so when they open a page of a Bible like this they take in their breath, not because they have been impressed by the cleverness of it or by the detail of it or even the shiny gold. But because there is something there that they already knew, it's all like meeting somebody that they have met before at some point. And that is in a sense, the kind of feeling that the artist reaches to.

This quote from Jackson brought back memories of a quote from Helen Keller’s autobiography about her breakthrough to language: 
We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water and my teacher placed my hand under the spout. As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly and then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten—a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew then, that “w-a-t-e-r” meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. The living word awakened my soul, giving it light, hope, joy, set it free! There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that could in time be swept away.
Author Jeremiah Alberg writes about Keller's breakthrough and how she describes it:
This is Helen Keller’s breakthrough to language,... Yet, if we listen to her, it was not a breakthrough to something completely new. Instead, it was the “consciousness as of something forgotten,” the “thrill of returning thought.”
As Jackson describes the awesomeness one experiences creating and witnessing real beauty, it is as if one is sensing something that they've experienced before or met before: just as Keller describes the breakthrough to the most powerful of human experiences, language as something forgotten with a thrill of returning thought.

There is, within each of us, that connection to a larger experience, ... there is something greater here ... there is something greater here than our words can describe.