Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on the earth? Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind? Who has the wisdom to number the clouds?      Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens…

-Job 38:33-37

Seeker,

How do we find our way back in touch with each other, back down to holy ground?   

 

When I found myself grounded

by turbulent weather

in a tumultuous airport,

 

it was not the raging troposphere

that terrified me.

I was jolted by another electrical storm swirling round about.

 

Navigating anonymous multitudes

I struggled to find someone, anyone,

who was not entangled in an electronic web.

 

Everywhere I witnessed wandering souls,

finger-scrolling, transfixed,

and illuminated by soft screen-lights.

 

Wide-awake in this bustling terminal,

beneath a roiling grey-black ceiling,

I withered under the weight of alienation.

 

Out of phase, seeking some connection

I pressed against the window

and lifted my gaze skyward.

 

Crackling with blue electric fury,

I watched those bruised clouds break

into misted torrents,

 

and I was visited by shocking flashes

of a darker vision—

a downpour of discarded devices.

 

Consuming precious earth elements,

mined and manufactured by throwaway people,

this deluge of disposability now threatens to drown us all.

 

I must confess that, on human judgment, the world tasks we face are appalling – well-nigh hopeless. Only the inner vision of God, only the God-blindedness of unreservedly dedicated souls, only the utterly humble ones can bow and break the raging pride of a power-mad world. -Thomas R. Kelly

 

So, I am powering down,

to the soles of my feet

turning off, so I might live lower and listen harder.

 

I pay no mind to twittering trends,

but this does not mean

I am not listening

 

I neither scroll nor text,

but this does not mean

I am disconnected.

 

I am not enchanted by the allure of technology,

but this does not mean

I lack understanding.

 

It has become countercultural to choose a lifestyle whose goals are even partly independent of technology, of its costs and its power to globalize and make us all the same.  -Pope Francis

 

I am beneath the flow of cultural tides,

but this does not mean

I am out of touch with currents deeper.

 

I am learning to humbly handle electronics with care,

to use only when necessary,

and I discover that the scope of necessity shrinks daily.

 

I am breathing deeply

to prepare for the profound plunge

into a darker quieter age that is surely coming in the storm’s wake.

 

Because there are no virtual relationships,

this blog will now shrink to a monthly posting,

with the invitation to power down, reach into reality and find our virtue there!

 

Will you try this?

Try walking around with a child who’s going, “Wow, wow! Look at that dirty dog! Look at that burned-down house! Look at that red sky” And the child points and you look, and you see, and you start going, “Wow! Look at that huge crazy hedge! Look at that teeny little baby! Look at the scary dark cloud!” I think this is how we are supposed to be in the world – present and in awe.” -Anne Lamott

joe

Click here to order:  Still In The Storm

 

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Praise be to God from the earth, you sea monsters and all the deeps of the sea; Lightning and hail, snow and thick clouds, storm wind that fulfills God’s command; Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars; Animals wild and tame, creatures that crawl and birds that fly.  -Psalm 148:7-10

Seeker,

How do your daily choices give praise to the Source and thanks for the gift of life?

 

Steward-ship not owner-ship

is the craft capable of preserving

an inheritance entrusted to all generations.

 

Maker of All does not

favor only some,

but out-pours abundance on each and everyone.

 

It is not to people alone

that garden Earth is given on loan,

for this life-making miracle belongs to none but the Holy One.

 

Then God said to Noah and to his family, ‘As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. -Genesis 9:8-10

 

Lately it seems

we are awakening

to the tragic cost of over-consumption.

 

Threatened at every level by exploitation,

sacrificed for human industry,

sacred life is turned tribute to the gods of gratification.

 

And poverty—

by-product of human engineering—

has reduced holy creatures to objects of “economic calculus.”

 

…earth herself, burdened and laid waste, is among the most abandoned and maltreated of our poor… -Pope Francis

 

Such loss of reverence

in our relationship to the tapestry of creation

leaves our children a legacy of despoilment and desecration.

 

Though we wave flags and stake claims,

none can own the sun, the earth, the winds or rains.

This still is God’s country, every mile and millimeter.

 

…we are one single human family. There are no frontiers or barriers, physical or social, behind which we can hide, still less is there room for the globalization of indifference… These situations have caused sister earth, along with all the abandoned of our world, to cry out, pleading that we take another course. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home…  -Pope Francis

 

Many are the fields

in God’s great garden,

sown with mysteries that ask for humble care.

 

Created for contemplation and communion,

we are made to till and tend and ponder

the wilds of this world.

 

How then can we tolerate

the squalor to which

God’s dear ones are consigned?

 

This news is not so new.

It is a cascade of consequences

now come to shock us out of comfortable isolation.

 

What the earth will make of our tinkering and abuse can be modeled by computers but is, in the end, beyond our reckoning, our science. Nature is not simply done to. Nature responds. Nature talks back. Nature is willful. We have no dominion over the wild darkness that surrounds us. -Eva Saulitis

 

There still may be another path open to us.

Despite the detritus of decades,

we just might find our way back to grounded living.

 

Perhaps it starts with daily devotion

to an unnoticed plot or person,

or little choices, mindfully made, to simplify, slow and show our care.

 

An integral ecology is also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation and selfishness. -Pope Francis     

 

In days to come may you come home to yourself,

your work an act of worship, your rest a grateful praise,

your loved ones every creatures that meets your gracious gaze.

 

Happy those who endure in peace, by you Most High they will be crowned.  -St. Francis of Assisi

joe

Click here to order: Still In The Storm

 

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

The Realm of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, no-one knows how.  

-Luke 4:26-27

Seeker,

Have you learned to trust in the re-creative power of Nature, when left alone, to astound you with possibilities unimagined?

 

Most of us, much of the time,

are so busy getting THERE

that we fail to realize we are already HERE.

 

Essential prayer is no more or less than this;

the desire and determination,

to be HERE and no place else.

 

For HERE is the stage

upon which the unfolding field of relationships—

God’s Realm— is set.

 

HERE is always beneath THERE… So often we imagine that THERE is more full of gold than HERE. It is the same with love and dreams and the work of our lives. We see the light everywhere but where we are, and chase after what we think we lack, only to find humbly, it was with us all along.

-Mark Nepo

 

For sure, we each have our part to play

(for good or ill)

in the drama of our days.

 

Yet we are not

the authors

of this eternally unraveling story.

 

HERE is neither the beginning,

nor the end

of the journey.

 

There is another Sovereign at work HERE,

a boundless mind, a wilder heart,

an infinite timeframe.

 

Like seed grain, packed with possibility,

the Domain of Mercy germinates by its own power,

in its own good time.

 

We do not make the garden grow,

we can but wake up to it, tend to the possibilities it offers,

enjoy the fruits of reality sprouting of its own accord.

 

Though we do not make it happen,

we can choose

to dwell HERE, or not.

 

With what can we compare the Realm of God..? It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.  -Luke 4: 30-32

 

This weedy ground-of-being Realm of God

will not be constrained or contained.

It is mystery, too broad for small minds, too deep for shallow hearts.

 

Neither a territory, nor a State,

God’s domain is a state of being—

a new set of relationships to everything.

 

This encompassing horizon that recedes before us,

beckons and begs

the awakening of consciousness and connection.

 

With ways and means beyond us

our Mysterious Maker

works around us, sometimes through us, and often despite us.

 

And those people and places

we overlook and undervalue

are most laden with God-Realm potentiality.

 

For this is no trickle-down Reign from on high.

It is an eruption,

sprouting beneath the soles of our feet.

 

The lower we go,

the closer we are

to these humble seeds of possibility.

 

…Thoreau wrote, “I have great faith in a seed. Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders.” By the power vested in everything living, let us keep to that faith. I’m a scientist who thinks it wise to enter the doors of creation not with a lion tamer’s whip and chair, but with the reverence humankind has traditionally summoned for entering places of worship: a temple, a mosque, or a cathedral. A sacred grove, as ancient as time.  – Barbara Kingsolver

 

We do not farm weeds.

They thrive in the wilds,

in lands neglected.

 

Left alone,

they crack the hardened soil

and transform dereliction into diversity, a shelter for abundant life.

 

No life forms—from the rain-forests to the phytoplankton

who give us this day our daily breath—

lie outside the cosmic Realm of Mercy, the Great Field of God.

 

Perhaps we have no handle

on God’s Reign

because it has no door.

 

May you take the path

that lies wide open HERE,

and scatter wildly the weed-seeds of forgiveness far and near.

 

joe

Click here to order: Still In The Storm

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Then the just will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?”

-Matthew 25: 37-39

 

Seeker,

Who can remain alien to you, outside the arc of your heart’s attention?

 

You are made to make connections—

you and me becoming WE—

one life reaching into another, yearning to relate to all.

 

We crave companionship and long for kinship.

Every one of us needs to feel part of

and fears being torn apart from life’s common-union.

 

Our senses, external and internal,

are fine-tuned for hyper sensitivity,

to savor and suffer with the living.

 

O taste and see that the Holy One is good;
happy are those who take refuge in God. 

-Psalm 34: 8

 

Our very humanity,

the quality of our care,

is set by the scope of such connectivity.

 

Severed from the coils of relationship

none can last long,

as the sacred thread connecting us to the real slips away.

 

But whenever we stand together

under that canopy of connection we call holiness,

(not trying to rise above the clamor of creatures) we rejoice in life’s symphony.

 

Mitakuye Oyasin! – All My Relations!  

-Lakota prayer

 

Social isolation in any form is devastation,

torture unspeakable for such a relational people.

Yet alienation perverse and pervasive remains—Sin of a sundered world.

 

When the layers of connective tissue that link us

lie tattered,

Christ suffers torments unbearable—minds and bodies shattered.

 

Unnoticed, the pain of isolation

haunts homes, hallways and highways, as many settle

for hollow commodity—cheaper substitute for costly community.

 

Meanwhile, hanging round every corner

Corpus Christi languishes,

in lives denuded of dignity, devoid of friendship, fettered and famished.

 

The Holy One is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves the crushed in spirit. 

-Psalm 34: 18

 

Our Maker’s mercy tolerates no exception.

Such exemptions lead to lacerations

that set me and mine above and before us and others.

 

In the Realm of Mercy

there are no dank corners,

for no life lies beyond the infinite range of love’s radiance.

 

Consciousness and connection,

keys to care and compassion,

open the tabernacle to expose a most blessed sacrament.

 

Christ so close, Christ so dear.

How dare we not see you,

when you are so near?

 

We are already woven into every other life.

It is one breath we all share,

free-gifted forest and ocean air.

 

We only truly belong when we are blessed and broken together.

In this communion we can taste, touch, see and meet Christ

in the blessed sacrament of one another.

 

But Christ has not come

just for the few or for the some,

for God wears the skin of everyone.

 

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” 

-Matthew 25: 40

 

May you be a daily communicant,

ready to reach out and receive that other

most blessed sacrament—Christ-present in every sister and brother.

 

joe

Click here to order: Still In The Storm

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

Photo by Joe Grant © 2015

For you, Holy One, are good and merciful,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. 

-Psalm 86:5

Seeker,

In a world of constant jockeying for placement and position, where, with whom do you locate your life and choose to listen?

 

The Haitians say:

we see from where we stand.

So, how we stand, and with whom becomes critical.

 

By-standing is not the same as with-standing,

and understanding is the fruit

of more than standing still.

 

Standing humbly with others,

standing together under the rain of mercy,

is the surest pathway to understanding.

 

We might, for a while, stay safe in our heads,

protected by sureties, reaffirming opinions,

polishing personal perspectives on everything and everyone.

 

Sooner or later, bubbling up through the cracks,

mercy usurps personal preeminence,

exposing limitations, failings and weaknesses.

 

And, when our time comes, we all want mercy.

But first we must  pay the admission,

humbly stooping through the low doorway to forgiveness.

 

What was cruel has become merciful. What is now merciful was never cruel.

I have always overshadowed Jonas with My mercy and cruelty I know not at all.

Have you had sight of Me, Jonas my child? Mercy within mercy within mercy.

-Thomas Merton

 

This might be why mercy feels cruel.

Fractured by failure, deluded by disappointment,

we face pain, darkness, and chasms too deep.

 

Our calloused hearts chafe

at mercy’s unction,

as they soak and soften in such humbling grace.

 

Debilitated or dispirited

by burdens beyond us

we bend, and like the children we always are, we cry out.

 

No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness. The greater the sin, so much the greater must be the love….

-Pope Francis

 

When life breaks down,

love breaks out,

mercy over-sweeps us and we are worn permeable.

 

If this has not yet

happened to you,

mercy might be long overdue.

 

There are circumstances that must shatter you; and if you are not shattered, then you have not understood your circumstances. In such circumstances, it is a failure for your heart not to break… So there is only one thing to be done. Transformation must be met with transformation.

Where there was the old life, let there be new life. Do not persevere. Dignify the shock. Sink, so as to rise.

-Leon Weisseltier

 

Lord have mercy,

on the land, and on the air.

Christ have mercy, on creatures everywhere.

 

Lord have mercy on my sister, on my brother.

Christ have mercy on that strange

and most blessed sacrament of the other.

 

If today you hear God’s voice

from your core (with courage) live,

and welcome at last mercy that frees you to forgive.

 

joe

Click here to order: Still In The Storm

Photo by Joe Grant,  2015

Photo by Joe Grant, © 2015

‘I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.’

-John 10:11-12

 

Seeker,

Who restores your trust in humankind, giving you grounds for hope?   

 

Listen, learn, be led!

This is how we come to know

what it means to live as a faithful flock.

 

On the crosswalk

I saw him

step right in front of me.

 

Head bent, as in prayer,

dark-hooded,  ebony-faced,

bravely he flashed a look.

 

In one eternal instant

brown eyes met grey,

and what might be menacing appeared monastic.

 

I’m not a symbol

I’m not a statistic

I’m not the inches in somebody’s column…

 

I am at odds with all that requires me to be a symbol.

I insist on being real.

-Kathy Galloway

 

Fear breeds mistrust,

presenting parasitic opportunities

to make some predator and others prey.

 

So many of our young

are daily endangered in predatory cities.

So much life threatened by mindless predation.

 

Who tends these troubled souls,

and attends to lives without refuge?

Who cares for God’s scattered, trafficked, discarded flock?

 

’I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me… And I lay down my life for the sheep.’

-John 10:14, 15

 

Embracing deeper expectations, prophetic people meet rejection.

Persecuted by the powers they threaten,

they are caricatured as wolves.

 

These are not people ahead of their time.

They are the single-hearted

who have penetrated time.

 

Called in crisis,

they sound alarms with urgency,

only because there is much to be alarmed about.

 

How can modern Christianity have so solemnly folded its hands while so much of the work of God was and is being destroyed?

-Wendell Berry

 

Sharpened by the lens of faith,

their surgical critique illuminates what is not,

to lift up all we have overlooked.

 

Prophetic people are truth-dwellers.

They refuse to inhabit the gloom

in order to walk toward what can and will be.

 

And they bear a message about hope,

the restoration of mercy,

and the rebuilding of what has been ruined.

 

The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

This is God’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

-Psalm 118:22-23

 

We become predators when we neglect to pray,

and allow diabolical dread and rapacious greed

to divide us and lead us astray.

 

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. 

-1 John 3:2

 

May you embrace each opportunity

afforded you this day

to be folded into a fuller flock.

 

One light; many candles
One sky; many stars
One sea; many rivers
One Love; many hearts

-Noel Paul Stookey

 

joe

Photo by Joe Grant , © 2015

Photo by Joe Grant, © 2015

Jesus himself stood among them and said to them,

‘Peace be with you.’

They were startled and terrified,

 and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

He said to them, ‘Why are you frightened,

and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 

Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself.

Touch me and see…

-Luke 24: 36-39

Indeed, spring has arrived,

whether we care to notice it

or not.

 

And, whether we dare to believe it or not,

new life has everywhere erupted,

blooming with pungent possibilities.

 

But what does resurrection bring to life,

amid deep desolation

both near and far from here?

 

How can we breathe healing,

hopeful possibilities

into devastation local and global?

 

What does new life mean

for people struggling daily with death,

loaded with losses, fractured by fear?

 

Here is resurrection’s scandalous secret—

a mystery so deep that no amount of surface-scratching

will remove or reveal it—

 

Christ always appears

as the wounded person,

the broken, damaged life among and within us.

 

Sometimes that Christ is you,

and sometimes me,

but more often is fleshed in the ones we do not care to see.

 

Resurrection offers no escape from trials, tears or fall,

but promises only a wide-wounded embrace,

a solidarity with sufferings all.

 

In the embrace of Christhood over personhood,

connection over division, and mercy over punishment,

resurrection releases us from prisons of the past.

 

When we dare to practice Christhood,

the fragments of our whole world shake and shift,

as the heart-like-kaleidoscope turns in the light.

 

Give yourself six minutes of solitude,

and plunge into the practice of Christhood

with this visual meditation:

 

warm christ eyes

Practicing Christhood

 

 

And may resurrection continue

to interfere with your plans,

and peace doggedly interrupt the patterns of your day,

 

joe

Click here to order: Still In The Storm

wee add

Photo Joe Grant , © 2105

Photo Joe Grant , © 2o15

…when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said, “I am thirsty.”

–John 19:28

Seeker,

When have you entered the sanctity of another’s suffering, or embraced a pain too big to hold?

 

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it. 

–Talmud

 

In its every expression,

the universe appears as roiling chaos,

but at its core, it is hunger and thirst for connection.

 

Unfolding into the void

with expansive energy,

existence radiates longing for intimate communion.

 

Such explosive outpouring

echoes an elemental ache,

the cosmic overflow of a bursting Heart.

 

This universal mirror,

visible to us only in darkness,

illustrates a paradox: in being broken we are made whole.

 

Mercy is the best thing we can feel: it changes the world. A little mercy makes the world less cold and more just. We need to understand properly this mercy of God, this merciful (God) who is so patient.

-Pope Francis

 

In complete contrast to control,

compassion is the release of love,

liberation that comes with loss, letting-go and being led.

 

Thus, it is our compass and pathway

into tenderheartedness—

misericordia to ripen consciousness from human to divine.

 

Behold then our Mysterious Maker,

who comes so close,

but does not condescend;

 

at-one with us,

by choosing to suffer, not because of us,

but beside us, inside us, among us.

 

This love-so-wide

perforates every boundary,

leaving us open-mouthed—agape!

 

Screens of separation dissolve

before the solidarity of suffering-shared,

unleashing mercy that will not be stemmed.

 

God weeps at love withheld, at strength misused, at children’s innocence abused, and, till we change the way we love, God weeps.

God cries at hungry mouths, at running sores, at creatures dying without a cause, and, till we change the way we care, God cries.

God waits for stones to melt, for peace to seed, for hearts to hold each other’s need, and, till we understand the Christ, God waits.

-Shirley Erena Murray

 

Nothing is below this God-most-low.

so deeply in love with all creation

that every bit is destined not for desolation.

 

Embodiment of aching love,

Christ showed the way to deeper care,

through the cruciform door of suffering we share.

 

We lose ourselves in the well of another’s pain

and become PART OF rather than APART FROM

all God’s children and everything under the sun.

 

And only those who have required

and received mercy

can savor and freely share it.

 

It takes a long time to move from violence to tenderness.

-Jean Vanier

 

For a God who is bent

on the restoration of the rest of life,

everything matters.

 

Black lives matter,

so do blue,

young and old and not-yet-born too…

 

Boy and girl lives, Muslim and Jew,

rich and poor lives,

me and you…

 

African lives and European…

animal and vegetable,

and even humble matter matters.

 

Such sacred solidarity,

sharing the one pain,

offers the promise of full-heartedness.

 

May we choose love over condemnation,

forgiveness over blame,

healing over hatred.

 

And with forbearance,

may you bear the burden of bearing witness,

standing with love at the foot of the cross.

 

joe

wee add

 

Click here to order: Still In The Storm

Joe Grant, 2015

Joe Grant , © 2015

Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 

-John 12:24

 

Seeker,

What does it take it take to rouse you to wakefulness, and what keeps you wondering?

 

Scolded by a blue jay,

brashly inserting himself into the grey morning,

I am chided out of numb amnesia.

 

Arrested at the crossroads by a brave soul,

I breathlessly pause to watch

him navigate puddles in an electric wheelchair.

 

Accosted by a honking skein of geese,

low on the wing over the urban desert,

I look up at life insistently breaking into my brooding.

 

Then a surgical slice of sunlight

dissects the day and, without my consent,

totally and silently transfigures reality.

 

How difficult can it be (how many interventions)

to unfetter us from automatic living,

and liberate us to breathe, see, connect and care with deliberation?

 

As long as I am relatively healthy and comfortable, I don’t think about those less well off. Today, this selfish attitude of indifference has taken on global proportions, to the extent that we can speak of a globalization of indifference… Flooded with news reports and troubling images of human suffering, we often feel our complete inability to help. What can we do to avoid being caught up in this spiral of distress and powerlessness?

-Pope Francis

 

In this world of divisions and subdivisions,

carved up by taxonomies of race and class and culture,

we are all tempted to build stockades of self-protection.

 

As terror’s hot hatreds scald societies

outside the window, over the wall, across the tracks,

anxiously we watch, worry, hope… and pray they won’t come here.

 

Seeking security, however tenuous,

can calcify our hearts and turn people into problems

and pains into issues too big to handle.

 

Playing on our fears,

cold indifference sets up shop in our living rooms, work places

and most especially in our churches.

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and steadfast spirit within me. 

-Psalm 51:10

 

What might it mean

for folks like you and me

to wake, walk, wonder and live each golden day differently?

 

Much is said about “making a difference”,

but when motivations and manners remain the same

nothing seems to really change.

 

Perhaps the invitation

of spring’s explosion

is to become different, inside and out.

 

This is as much about dying

as it is about rediscovering and responding to resilient life

in places and people once considered lost or broken.

 

We need to be discomforted,

we need to be inspired,

to wakefully welcome each blessed-broken day.

 

Take away the quietness

of a clear conscience. 

Press us uncomfortably.

For only thus

that other peace is made.

-Helder Camara

 

Will you dare to dispel indifference

by living lightly as you shoulder the yoke

of this day’s wonders and woes with rinsed eyes?

 

In Louisville, at the corner of Fourth and Walnut, in the center of the shopping district, I was suddenly overwhelmed with the realization that I loved all those people, that they were mine and I theirs, that we could not be alien to one another even though we were total strangers. It was like waking from a dream of separateness, of spurious self-isolation in a special world… As if the sorrows and stupidities of the human condition could overwhelm me, now that I realize what we all are. And if only everybody could realize this! But it cannot be explained. There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun. 

-Thomas Merton, March 18th, 1958

Click here to order: Still In The Storm

wee add

Photo by Joe Grant    2014

Photo by Joe Grant  © 2014

…and hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

-Romans 5:5

Seeker,

How would you define your “daily office”—the work life calls you to, the way you pattern your day, the habits that clothe the passing moments of life?

 

Fleeing the trivialities of the marketplace,

the first monks

sought out the soul of Christianity in wild and rocky places.

 

Here they re-patterned life,

marking hours in prayerful rhythm,

and forged a daily office to transfigure routine into ritual.

 

Ironically, these hours of office,

first formed in ancient cloister,

now shape the routine of office-workers around the globe.

 

With due attention and wakeful wonder—

practicing soul-stretching habits—

the mundane may still become mystical, and work an act of worship.

 

The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real.

-Mary Oliver

 

How do we re-inhabit our days,

to wear us wider,

and stretch the span of our sojourn?

 

Can we invest our brief time together

in the holy activity of being

and becoming more human?

 

What might wake us from slumbering self-obsession

and bring us to our knees, as we negotiate

the stumbling blocks of ideology?

 

If suffering-love is more lasting

than faith and hope,

what are we prepared to give up today, for love’s sake?

 

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

-1 Corinthians 13:13

 

The trust-filled gaze of an infant

implores us to do our utmost

to make a safer world.

 

Tender shoots, boldly up-reaching,

beckon us to stoop and tend to beauty,

green with hope-fullness.

 

Timeworn elderly hands,

shakily extended,

beg us to slow our pace to inhabit every fleeting moment.

 

Silent, hungry cries

of kin clad in different skin

fire the desire to simply live as better beings.

 

This visible, earthly world is still God’s creation: one should not condemn it as a valley of tears; it is really the miracle work of God. And this earthly life is the life that God gives us, which it is our task to develop. Here is our place of work, the vineyard in which the Lord calls and places us…

-Emil Brunner

 

Some soul-stretching habits

for this season

of lengthening:

 

Enter the quiet,

listen for the signal

beneath the static;

 

Seek out sole time,

turn off  in order to tune in

to rhythms deeper;

 

Extend loving attention

and human concern toward livelihood,

beyond the immediacy of you and yours;

 

Reclaim Christhood! Without a sound,

let all who cross your path this day

know they are Christ-companions, not competitors on life’s journey.

 

Whenever I groan within myself and think how hard it is to keep writing about love in these times of tension and strife which may, at any moment, become for us all a time of terror, I think to myself: What else is the world interested in? What else do we all want, each one of us, except to love and be loved, in our families, in our work, in all our relationships?

-Dorothy Day

 

Today, may you help

make a world

where it is easier for people to love.

joe

On Tenderness and Mercy

An Engaging Meditation excerpted from Still In the Storm, a new publication by JustFaith Ministries.

Still in the Storm book cover (1)

We dare not confuse

tenderness with timidity,

mercy with weakness,

or suffering-love with sentimentality.

It takes strength to be gentle,

resilience to be tender,

courage to forgive…

Receive this 8-minute recording by Joe Grant, as a Lenten gift.

Put yourself into a quiet, receptive space before taking the plunge into this visual meditation.

Click here to take the plunge:

http://youtu.be/m70hgxIFz3I

Still In the Storm

Carefully crafted reflections that accompany you in your practice of 'engaged presence,' as you draw the world of crying need and awesome complexity into your heart and center.

A resource for engaging spirituality in times like these.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 554 other followers

Engaging Spirituality

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 554 other followers