Thomas Keating…

Thomas Keating died on Friday, October 26th. He was such an amazing man, filled with humility and wisdom. His enfolding of others and, of course, both his teachings on centering prayer and recently welcoming prayer, have been so meaningful to me. I never met him in person but feel the loss keenly, nonetheless. He was a man like that. He knew a lot about the human condition and could weave psychology and biblical truths together in a wonderful way. His experience of God had such depth. He leaves behind a great legacy in my life as well as countless others around the world. An example to hold up for us all.

God’s Loving Initiative

Penned by Gwen

One of the most profound acts of worship is expressing gratitude. And I have found nothing that provokes gratitude more profoundly in me than contemplating God’s loving initiative in my life.

Have you ever taken some hours to list all the times in your life when, before you could ask, God was already on the way to meet you? The drama of the home-coming of the prodigal son comes to mind in that, while he was still a long way off, the Father ran to meet him.

Most of our blessings come to us that way. We are often not aware of what we need most. By the time our perception meets awarenessthe answer has already been initiated by the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

All of nature is there, attending us in beauty, feeding us, providing oxygen.We take it as our due. Our injured body begins healing before we are aware of the extent of the damage. Those commodities are so constant and available that they seldom make it onto our gratitude lists, which most often reflect a contemplation of how our felt needs are being met: I am lonely. I need comfort. “Suddenly” a friend calls with a “how are you doing?” We are overwhelmed with work and an idea “pops into our head” for how to streamline it. Who, do we think, orchestrates these coincidences?

My most recent number one gratitude evolved when the winter seemed too long and too dark in my rental situation. The day after I had said aloud, I will be content. It is enough, a friend I had seen only a few times since I knew her 40 years ago called “out of the blue” with a proposition for a place which provides clean air, and an abundance of light AND A VIEW OF THE OCEAN. Does such an event just “happen”?

There is no end when one begins to contemplate the things for which gratitude is due. For the God we encounter in our best moments is much closer than we ever dreamed, much more involved in the nitty- gritty of our lives than we had dared hope. As a doting Father He opens the windows of heaven and pours out blessings on us beyond our wildest dreams.

Just as I was finishing this posting I became aware of the following entry on Richard Rohr’s blog:

The Jewish people have a beautiful prayer form, a kind of litany to which the response is always “Dayenu!” (“It would have been enough!) They list one by one the “mirabilia Dei”, the wonderful works of God for their people and themselves, and after each one, shout out DAYENU! As if to say, “How much is it going to take for us to know that God is with us?!” It builds satisfaction instead of feeding dissatisfaction.
Maybe we all should begin our days with a similar litany of satisfaction, abundance, and enoughness. God you have given me another day of totally gratuitous life: my health, my eyes, my ears, my mind, my taste, my family, my freedom, my education, clean water, more than enough food, a roof over my head, a warm bed and blanket, friends, sunshine, a beating heart, and your eternal love and guidance. To any one of these we must say, “And this is more than enough!”

If we begin our day with any notion of scarcity, not-enoughness, victimhood, or “I deserve”, I promise you the day will not be good–for you or for those around you. Nor will God be glorified. (Richard Rohr: Unpacking Paradoxes: Prayer to Avoid Entitlement, January 30, 2012.)

May THANK YOU, Dayenu! be ever on our lips.


Valentine’s Day

On Valentines Day my thoughts, of course, turned to love. I decided I would use this day to endeavour to notice the reflection of God’s love in my day. It was a wonderful day! This writing would be too long if I told you all that I noticed but I will share of few wonders. I awoke to cloudy weather but there was a lovely strip of blue sky that reminded me of God’s love in the midst of grey. I saw the persistent purple winter pansies that had made it through the cold frosts and snow. I recognized the image of God in a mom whose face literally shone with love as she talked about her children. I stopped in at the florists and smelled the wonderful scents of the valentine flowers and experienced the excitement and smiles of the patrons as they made their purchases of gifts they would soon be giving in love. I recognized the enlivenment and love in creativity, as I saw the face and heard the excitement of someone who had found meaningful work. I recognized the love connection of the pokes and giggles of the children in my waiting room. I heard the extreme pain of the loss of love in a crises call and was reminded how we are created for love. I saw a squirrel wildly and freely jump from a branch to a feeder in search of food. He looked as if he were having fun. I wished I took the time to see love in my world in this way, everyday. I was reminded of a poem by Meister Eckhart (1260-1328) found in Love Poems from God, by Daniel Ladinsky.


Love Does That

All day long a little burro labors, sometimes
With heavy loads on her back and sometimes just with worries
about things that bother only

And worries, as we know, can be more exhausting
than physical labor.

Once in a while a kind monk comes
To her stable and brings
A pear, but more
than that,

he looks into the burro’s eyes and touches her ears

and for a few seconds the burro is free
and even seems to laugh,

because love does

Love frees.

May you find freedom in the touch of God’s love in your life today.

Copyright Lynda Chalmers