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Sojourners Verse and Voice – 18 March 2021

Verse of the day   Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. – Galatians 6:2she
Voice of the day 
True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. – Arthur Ashe
Prayer of the day  
O God, we pray that you would cultivate within us a soul that finds joy in our service to others. May we always have eyes that see the needs of our communities and the will to strive to meet them.

Beginning Again – A Reflection

Remembering our Rocky Mountain neighbors ❤️

Life can often times be challenging. I know that many times in my own life, there is a temptation when I mess up to move to another course of action. When I was facing a dark night of the soul late in my Air Force Chaplain career I thought that changing jobs would be the answer. God thought otherwise and called me back to ministry. This time it was a calling to ministry after the Air Force and back in the parish. These words of Thomas Merton speak to me of the wisdom of God and my/our calling to actually listen when the Spirit speaks.

The thing to do, when you have made a mistake, is not to give up doing what you were doing and start something altogether new, but to start over again with the thing you began badly and try, for the love of God, to do it well. — Entering the Silence: The Journals of Thomas Merton, vol 2 – October 7, 1949,

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 27 October 2021

Verse of the day
Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.

– Leviticus 25:24

Voice of the day
To love a place is not enough. We must find ways to heal it.

– Franz Dolp, quoted in Robin Wall Kimmerer’s, Braiding Sweetgrass (2013)

Prayer of the day Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures. Help us to become instruments of a new creation.
– The Cry of the Earth

I Once Was Lost: A Reflection

HRH Pixie is a rescue puppy. She was rescued by a former parishioner and friend who is a veterinarian. We are all thankful to Dr. Jay for giving her a new life and home. ❤️🐾 In a way, she had once been lost and was found/rescued by Dr. Jay.

This past Sunday the story of John Newton, among others, was one of my illustrations. I once was blind, but now I see. The gospel lesson centered on the story of Blind Bartimaeus. Even though he was physically blind, his faith literally opened his eyes! In John Newton’s case, it was his own spiritual awakening which God used to open his own eyes which began his transformation from a slave-ship captain to a servant of God. I was thankful for the opportunity to reflect on my own times of darkness and “blindness” and the opening of my eyes thanks to Spirit. Thomas Merton wrote about how the Good Shepherd opens our eyes and welcomes us home.

God is the Father who fights to defend and rescue His child. The life of the Child of God is not in the “development of spirituality” but in obedience to the Good Shepherd who seeks him, knowing he is lost. It is in solitude that we recognize, with a shock, how lost we have been, and that now we are found, rescued, recovering conscience, returning to ourselves, to Truth, carried by Him who has sought and found us. – Dancing in the Waters of Life: The Journals of Thomas Merton, Vol Five (end of 1965)

I am thankful for such spiritual awakenings in my own life. Dear reader, it is in simply being still where we can hear the call of the shepherd … but we must be willing to be silent and vulnerable.

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 26 October 2021

Verse of the day
Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.

– Psalm 25:5

Voice of the day
Truth is divine action entering our lives and creating the human action of liberation.

– James H. Cone, God of the Oppressed(1975)

Prayer of the day Help me to act with your abundant truth as I pursue liberation.

Grateful for Life – A Reflection

Tonight’s Moon

Brilliant, windy day—cold. It is fall. It is the kind of day in October that Pop used to talk about. I thought about my grandfather as I came up through the hollow, with the sun on the bare persimmon trees, and a song in my mouth. All songs are, as it were, one’s last. I have been grateful for life. Turning Toward the World: The Pivotal Years, volume IV of the Journals of Thomas Merton, October 23, 1962

As the seasons turn and the winter of rest and laying fallow begins for Mother Earth, these words of Thomas Merton spoke to my heart. Especially the gift of a song in my mouth and gratitude for life. This season of life continues to have challenges yet at the same time I am grateful for the life that I have with my sweetheart Denise. ❤️❤️

HRH on the back deck at lunchtime

And yes, Pixie we are both grateful for the life we have with you ❣️❤️🐾

Breath Prayer – Christine Valters Paintner

“Breath prayers are a way to help me slow down and savor my experience, to pause and reflect on what I have encountered, to anticipate what I will commit myself to doing next.”

— Christine Valters Paintner, PhD,Breath Prayer: An Ancient Practice for the Everyday SacredCan you yield your need to be productive and offer up your practice to the Holy One?

Check out my friend Christine’s newest book, Breath Prayer at Breath Prayer – Christine Valters Paintner

My 34th Ordversary – A Reflection

Yes Pixie, I can relate to that as can your Mommy. Life and ministry can often leave one feeling exhausted at the end of the day. As you snooze on my lap your Mommy is working hard in Florence to settle Opa and Oma’s final affairs.

Somehow I neglected to reflect on this particular anniversary. I was ordained on September 27th, 1987. Little did I know back then where the Lord would take me. A friend of mine was commemorating their Ordversary and it caused me to look back. This past year in terms of ordained ministry has been a challenge to say the least. Yet in the midst of it all, Spirit offered grace, sustenance, strength, and peace for the journey.

Our vocation and calling can indeed be tricky. As I reflect on this calling and life itself, I find comfort in the words of my mentor and friend Fr. Louis, Thomas Merton.

We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong. They give us peace in any suffering. They teach us to laugh at despair. And we may have to. — No Man is an Island, p. 147.

So with faith and hope I continue this journey with your counsel and guidance Fr. Louis. And with you I offer this prayer:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. — Thoughts in Solitude

Pace e Bene – 24 October 2021

image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“Justice. To be ever ready to admit that another person is something quite different from what we read when [she or] he is there (or when we think about [her or] him). Or rather, to read in [her or] him that [she or] he is certainly something different, perhaps something completely different from what we read in [her or] him. Every being cries out silently to be read differently.”—Simone Weil

Peace and Presence of God

Sister Moon at 89.1% Waning Gibbous over our house

I got up to the hermitage about nightfall. Wonderful silence, saying Compline gently and slowly with a candle burning before the icon of our Lady. A deep sense of peace and truth, that this was the way things are supposed to be… (Thomas Merton’s Journals, Dancing in the Waters of Life, vol V, October 13, 1964)

Tonight was one of those nights where I sought the peace and presence of God… God did not disappoint ❤️🌹 My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you too will find that peace and presence of God…

Evening Prayer – 22 October 2021

Sister Moon (94.0% Waning Gibbous) makes her journey across the sky over Georgia

The sun has long ago set and the Vesper Lights flicker and glow

Today has been a day of sorting through papers

As both of us organize and make sense of so much paperwork

It is a humble honor to walk with my sweetheart through this time

Life is so precious

Life is so fragile

To walk this road with my sweetheart is such a blessing

Now as my eyelids grow heavy

I lift this humble prayer to you

Dona Nobis Pacem

Grant Us Peace

A wee prayer from the heart of your Padre…