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The Contemplative Path – Christine Valters Paintner

“When we commit to the contemplative path, we are called to spaciousness and presence rather than rushing and productivity, choosing a simple life in the midst of an abundance of riches rejecting the pervasive consumer message.”

— Christine Valters Paintner, PhDIlluminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics

What messages in the pervasive consumer culture in which we live do you reject?

Humility – Christine Valters Paintner

“The root of the word humility is humus, which means ‘of the earth.’ To be humble as a monk means to be profoundly earthy and grounded, to remember from where we arise and to where we return.”

— Christine Valters Paintner, PhDEarth, Our Original Monastery: Cultivating Wonder and Gratitude through Intimacy with Nature

How does this framework of humility feel in your body? How might it inform your spiritual practice?

Pace e Bene – 18 January 2023

image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.”—Jeannette Rankin

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 18 January 2023

Verse of the day
Cast all your anxiety on God because God cares for you.

– 1 Peter 5:7

Voice of the day
Whatever you think your life is going to be like, just know, it’s not gonna be anything like that.

– Abbie Porter, 20th Century Women (2016)

Prayer of the day
God who is both above and yet stepped into time, so much in this life is uncertain. May you gift us with your peace in the midst of shifting ground.

Understanding the Force Behind Martin Luther King Jr. – A Pastor’s Heart

A wonderful reflection from my friend and seminary classmate Shirley Hobson Duncanson

Martin Luther King Jr, responding  to a question about,  “What love is,”  wrote: “Love is the greatest force in the universe. It is the heartbeat of the moral cosmos. (The one) who loves is a participant in the being of God.” (From a handwritten note, which was put on auction in 2020.)
— Read on shirleyhobsonduncanson.com/2023/01/16/understanding-the-force-behind-martin-luther-king-jr/

Pace e Bene – 16 January 2023

image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.”—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Embracing the True Self – Henri Nouwen

The secular or false self is the self that is fabricated, as Thomas Merton says, by social compulsions. “Compulsive” is indeed the best adjective for the false self. It points to the need for ongoing and increasing affirmation. Who am I? I am the one who is liked, praised, admired, disliked, hated, or despised. . . . If being busy is a good thing, then I must be busy. If having money is a sign of real freedom, then I must claim my money. If knowing many people proves my importance, I will have to make the necessary contacts. The compulsion manifests itself in the lurking fear of failing and the steady urge to prevent this by gathering more of the same—more work, more money, more friends.

These very compulsions are at the basis of the two main enemies of the spiritual life: anger and greed. They are the inner side of the secular life, the sour fruits of our worldly dependences.

Sister Death, First and Last Breath

This made me think of our dear friend Simon de Voil’s musical translation of St Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of Creation… Sister Death is not to be feared… she is our first and last breath

“The spareness of the trees reminds us of our own essence when it is stripped bare. Awareness of death has a way of reminding us of what is most important.” 
— Christine Valters Paintner, PhDSacred Seasons: A Yearlong Journey through the Celtic Wheel of the Year – A Self-Study Online Retreat


What is winter’s invitation to you this season?

Pace e Bene – 9 January 2023

image and quote courtesy of Pace e Bene

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have bought it or baked it or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”—– Daniel Berrigan

Sojourners Verse and Voice – 9 January 2023

Verse of the day
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it.

– 1 Corinthians 3:10

Voice of the day
The point of our resistance isn’t to achieve a perfect abstention and become morally pure; the point is to collaborate with God in material change toward justice.

– Mitchell Atencio, “The NFL Exists Because We Keep Watching. So I Stopped.

Prayer of the day
Lord, may we see our resistance work as building upon and collaborating with the foundation you have set for justice.