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The Lenten season is upon us.


We have begun the Lenten season. As mentioned last week, this is a season paralleling Jesus' 40 days spent in the desert after his baptism before he transitioned into holding his post in a new way in the world. We might see it as a time for him to focus on re-membering who he was, stabilize his awareness of his identity that was not rooted in this world/realm, prepare for the post he was about to step into as wisdom teacher calling others to follow him on a wisdom path, and draw his authority, assurance, and confidence from the kingdom of heaven and God as ultimate Source. We might also see it as a time of confronting temptation. As he was deepening his embodied recognition of these realities, he was approached by a tempter (Matthew 4:1-11) who wanted Jesus' surrender, promising him authority, assurance, and confidence—perhaps a version of what Thomas Keating called the emotional programs for happiness: power and control, safety and security, affection and esteem—for his allegiance. In Jesus' case, rather than the confrontation with these temptations becoming an obstacle in his way, they became a fuel of sorts and he left the desert with a deep resolve of knowing who he was, what we was called to do, and where he would draw his life force from. So too it can be for us in our own lives. Again, each one of us can re-member that we are a necessary and always connected cell in the body of Christ, that we have a post to hold in terms of being a bearer of wisdom, and that we draw from life from a wellspring of authority, assurance, and confidence beyond this world. We too, can allow whatever temptations may arise in our own lives especially in relation to the promises of this world that offer power and control, safety and security, affection and esteem to become fuel for a deeper knowing rather than a problem to be solved. With Great Love, Heather

 

From this week's Pauses: Monday with Angela: “Word” I, who live by words, am wordless when I try my words in prayer. All language turns To silence. Prayer will take my words and then Reveal their emptiness. The stilled voice learns To hold its peace, to listen with the heart To silence that is joy, is adoration. The self is shattered, all words torn apart In this strange patterned time of contemplation That, in time, breaks time, breaks words, breaks me, And then, in silence, leaves me healed and mended. I leave, returned to language, for I see Through words, even when all words are ended. I, who live by words, am wordless when I turn me to the Word to pray. Amen. — Madeleine L’Engle, The Ordering of Love Thursday with Lacey: “...in true spiritual surrender, we must give ourselves in fullness; we must give all of ourselves, including our capacities to judge, discriminate, plan, decide, and act. Any surrender that offers only a passive shell or a limp body will always be partial. The paradox of spiritual surrender is that in giving oneself fully, one finds not passivity but intimate involvement, not restrictiveness but endless freedom, not blameless quietude but the deepest possible sense of responsibility. This understanding is reflected in the contemplative observation that as people progress in the spiritual life they become increasingly aware of their own weakness, fallibilities, and sinfulness. Their ability to "determine" God's will, which initially may have seemed rather blithe and straightforward, becomes more mysterious and more painfully delicate. To maintain an awareness of responsibility in the atmosphere of "not-knowing" is no easy thing. Yet this is what is called for in true surrender.” — Gerald May, Will and Spirit Saturday: “THERE IS NO TABLE LONG ENOUGH” One man’s unspoken inner edge of darkness un-confronted and un-transformed sitting far away in his own fear, like someone looking through the wrong end of a child’s telescope, like someone sitting at the end of an absurdly lengthened table, holds his intimate circle in fear of death and torture, threatens their families, poisons their lives along with his enemies, sews everyone into the straight jacket of immobile fear, then carefully tailors a uniform of death for every single one of his bullied, fool young men to wear. May we see then, in this allegory, as we too, in this time, sit so far away, from everything that seems to matter, the simple way an individual life no matter how imprisoned, transformed by generosity, can draw every single chair up-close and simply by drawing everyone close save so many unborn future lives. May we take the time, while we confront this fear now, on the outside with necessary and courageous physical action, to preempt any future evil by bringing everyone hidden at the edges into the light, and into the shared and hospitable warmth, may we bring every distant trouble into the conversation where heads are allowed to lean close to one another at a table shortened and rounded and shared to the point of mutual understanding. There is no table long enough to keep us from our own unspoken darkness but thanks to the overwhelming vulnerabilities of life, and every power beyond us, there is no table long enough to hold the riches of a darkness transformed by welcome, to hold the wine raised and the bread offered, to hold every item of our shared bounty brought from every field of our endeavour into the light of every single promise we have made to make our future, a future that despite ourselves, and despite our present, desperate struggle, is always destined to forgiveness. — David Whyte Sunday: “Throughout the Western Inner tradition, the heart is widely regarded as the primary instrument of divine insight, a principle first articulated by Jesus himself: 'Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.' When the heart is purified (i.e. freed of its captivity to the rational mind and personal emotional drama), it can assume its true function as an organ of spiritual perception, directly aligning itself with a greater clairvoyance that is in fact objective because it corresponds to an order of reality far higher and more coherent than the dichotomized mental projections we mistake for 'objective' in our own upside-down world. I have come to think of this, only half-joking-ly, as the 'icloud of unknowing', from which mystical truth, seamless and whole, can be holographically downloaded by every attuned human heart, no matter how widely separated in physical time and space.” — Cynthia Bourgeault, The Corner Fourth and Nondual, p. 20-21

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