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Some advice never gets old

Whenever I give my retreat talk titled “Broken, Beautiful, and Beloved: Learning to See Ourselves through God’s Eyes” (last weekend, for example), I quote St. Francis de Sales twice. Actually, I quote St. Francis de Sales a lot in my life — in posts, in books, in columns, in workshops, but in this particular talk I quote him twice. This 17th century bishop had so much to say that remains incredibly relevant to our 21st century lives. Read more

Butterflies in winter: the soul clings to life

It’s amazing how the soul finds what the soul needs.

When I was on silent retreat last month, I sat in the dining room on our final morning, staring out the window at the peaceful, frozen landscape. In the front yard of the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna (yes, this place is becoming a perennial favorite in my posts) amid the many barren trees and evergreens was one lone tree still covered entirely in leaves — dead, brown leaves hanging ever-so-delicately yet ever-so-resiliently from its sprawling limbs.  Read more

Collage as prayer: cutting and pasting my way to God

Sometimes losing our serious adult demeanor for a bit and doing childlike things can take us deeper into our spiritual center than any book on prayer ever could. Case in point: I spent Saturday armed with scissors and a glue stick, cutting and pasting — and praying. Although I’d done collages before on my own, back when I was working my way through The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, I had never used the art form as a way to deepen my spiritual life. Until this past weekend when I headed back to the Dominican Retreat and Conference Center in Niskayuna, my new favorite spiritual place, for a six-hour workshop called “Collage as Prayer.” I convinced one friend to join me and then met up by chance with another once I got there. We had a great group of women, probably about a dozen of us or so, led by Sister Ethel. The result? Two collages and a whole lot of insights into myself and my spiritual journey.  Read more

Mary, Mother of God: Keeping her close

My Scripture reflection from today’s pages of Give Us This Day:

When I was growing up, I’d sometimes get annoyed that I was named after the Blessed Mother. Every time a religion teacher would tell us to write about our patron saint, I’d wonder which of Mary’s many titles I should choose. Read more

Peace and blessings on Christmas

“In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.”           John 1:1-5

Peace, joy, blessings, and love to you and yours on Christmas!

 

We are all broken, beautiful, and beloved

For all those who heard me talking about our brokenness on the Morning Air Show on Relevant Radio this morning, here’s the original column that sparked this as a retreat and workshop topic for me. We are all “broken, beautiful, and beloved.”

If you look around my office prayer space or on my bedroom dresser, you’ll notice one constant: broken conch and whelk shells everywhere. Small and blue-gray, large and sun-bleached, twisting, turning, spiraling in that gorgeous and mysterious way that seashells do. Although I have one perfect channeled whelk shell that I purchased in Cape May, N.J., years ago, my prized possessions are broken shells of every shape and size because, as far as I’m concerned, they are far more beautiful than the ones that are perfectly intact and so lovely on the outside. Read more

Remembering Thomas Merton

Ever since I first came in contact with the writings of Thomas Merton almost 30 years ago, he has spoken to me. I know I’m not alone there. Countless people of every faith and persuasion have found meaning in his writings and his life. Of course, others will counter that with claims that he was too flawed to be held up as a role model, or, dare I say, saint, but that’s precisely why he’s a great example. Read more

The Catholic Worker and the Quiet Beatle

Today we honor two of my favorites: Dorothy Day and George Harrison, a seemingly unlikely pairing on the surface but not such an odd couple when you dig a little deeper. Day died on this day in 1980, and Harrison died on this day in 2001, forever linking the gritty would-be saint and the decidedly sage-like musician. At least in my book. Read more

Why would you refuse to dance with grace?

Okay, I’ll admit that when I first saw this clip, I was drawn in by the Hafiz poem, one of my favorites. Because when I grow up, I want to be the sage who has to duck her head when the moon is low. But then I kept watching, and I have to tell you that this video is so good from top to bottom it gives me goosebumps.

“I feel so badly for those people who would come to this party that is Christianity and refuse to dance with grace,” says Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Carry On Warrior (a great book, by the way).

Five minutes is all it takes. Watch it, and then decide to dance. (And you can read the full Hafiz poem under the YouTube link below.)

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