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Living Benedictine values in everyday life

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Psalms

O Holy Spirit, You are the Mighty Way

O Holy Spirit, you are the mighty way in which everything that is in the heavens, on the Earth, and under the Earth, is penetrated with connectedness, penetrated with relatedness. -St. Hildegard of Bingen

holy spirit

“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place….All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages.”—Acts 2:1

They came from many different places and, yet, they understood each other. They were connected as one in Spirit, united in understanding by the One and Holy Life-Giving Breath of God. Despite their diversity, each person had a uniquely mystical experience. Their different languages were not erased, yet unity was accomplished.

It’s as if for this one day, in this one place, God blessed our diversity and showed that our differences need not divide.  It’s as if for this one day, in this one place, it was “on earth as it is in heaven.” All people understood what the other said. They saw themselves as a part of the whole, that their God—the Giver of Life, the Great Communicator and Unifier—resides in them and the other.

on earth as it is in heaven

The Holy Spirit was sent to bring us into communion with the Divine and with each other. Day to day, we may disagree, and especially these days we seem to be so divided, yet we must remember—we are in this together. We breathe the same breath. We long to belong, and, yet, we cannot achieve this belonging alone. Through the events of Pentecost, we are shown the potential for unity, an exemplar of what can happen if we allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through us, to transform us.

God’s breath is our very breath, the purest evidence that we are made in the image of God. “The Jews did not speak God’s name, but breathed it with an open mouth and throat: inhale–Yah; exhale–weh. By our very breathing, we are speaking the name of God. This makes it our first and our last word as we enter and leave the world.” –Richard Rohr

gods breath.JPG

If only we would let the Breathe of Spirit work. If only we could remember to call upon Yahweh—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—with our every breath. If only we could remember to breathe in our circumstances and breathe out peace, breathe in the troubles of the world and breath out love. We can say the name of God with our every breath.

The Psalmist prays, “Send forth your spirit Lord and renew the face of the earth.”  God knows, we cannot bring unity to a divided world alone. It is only in God that we even have our breath, this life. We are in constant need of renewal, of forgiveness, of transformation. Let this be our prayer—

Holy Spirit, come into my heart, and in your power, draw it to you. -St. Catherine of Siena

wage peace

O, Holy Spirit, you are the mighty way. May I “wage peace” with my every breath. Help me remember that I share more connection with others, despite the differences. Help me remember to breathe, to remember that it is through your Spirit that understanding comes. 

Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
Breathe out whole buildings
And flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fall and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothespins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
Imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of a fish.
Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don’t wait another minute.

-Mary Oliver, Wage Peace

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The Lord is Our Shepherd: New Meaning, Ancient Words

May 2017 Oblate Reflections and Lectio Divina

Topic:  Psalm 23, God is Our Shepherd and Guide

Psalm 23 is the most commonly known Psalm—simple, familiar and full of richness. In lectio divina we ask, “What does this Psalm mean for me?”  We dwell in the words to make personal the promises of God to the people of Israel–promises of renewal, healing, peace, protection, encouragement, and guidance.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

After reading through the text together and then quietly, we share the words and phrases that come to mind. These words should ultimately lead to personal prayer.

Psalm 23 lectio

Oblates share the words that have settled on their hearts, continuing to listen deeply to what God is saying.

“I remind myself every morning that no matter what the day may bring, I gather strength from God. If I forget this, then other thoughts come into my mind and the day doesn’t go very well.”

“I realize that I lack nothing.  When I pray the “Our Father”, I am praying for my daily bread, not for yesterday or for tomorrow or when I retire, but for my daily bread.  When I realize I lack for nothing in this present moment, my cup overflows. Even when it’s cold, rainy, dreary, or my coworkers are a pain, my cup still overflows. I need to remember the gifts rather than the stuff going on around me.”

psalm 23b

“It can be comforting to substitute the name of a loved one who has died when reading Psalm 23. The Lord is John’s shepherd, He shall not want. He makes John lie down in green pastures; he leads him beside still waters; he restores his soul.

“In grief and hard times, we can believe that our happiness will return soon and our spirit will be renewed. If you substitute happiness for spirit, the Psalm can read as prayer and affirmation. Lord, renew my spirit.” Continue reading “The Lord is Our Shepherd: New Meaning, Ancient Words”

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