spirituality and silence

Silence and Spirituality

 We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.
– Saint Teresa of Calcutta

The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith. The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service. The fruit of Service is peace.
-Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Psalm 46: 10 “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

Before you enter into silence,

I think you should know how shook up you probably are

from living in this world.

The moment you get still, you’ll notice debris of doubt and fear floating inside you.

You may panic and want to run back into your busy life,

but I pray you have the courage to be still and know

that all really is well.

And if you stick with the silence long enough,

you’ll get to watch every dark thought sink to the bottom

and transform into solid ground for Pure Light

to shine into your life

and illuminate every fiber of your being.

It’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.

But beware: the more you experience the Truth for yourself,

the more responsible you’ll be for shining it into this dark world.

Reflection
When’s the last time you quieted your mind in prayer and meditation to sense the presence of God in your life? Do you struggle to take time for silence in your life? Do you value it or are you too caught up in busyness to even know what you’re missing?

Prayer
God, please send an outpouring of Your Holy Spirit to bless everyone reading this to get a sense of Your spacious, loving, peaceful presence in their lives. Help them carve out time to connect with Your Still Small Voice in prayer and meditation, so they can truly learn to discern Your guidance for their lives.

Action Step
Before the rush of the day, try to wake up a little early to intentionally spend time with the Lord in silence. With a quick prayer, offer God your day and invite His loving presence into Your life. Whether using scripture or a favorite prayer, continue returning Your thoughts to Your desire to connect with Him. Don’t quit if you struggle with negative thoughts, stick with it and your spiritual connection will grow stronger all the time.

beauty beyond brokenness

The Empathy Journey

John 16:20: “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.”

I prayed for wisdom and got sorrow instead.
Funny after all these years to finally realize
she was the best gift God could have given me at the time.
She followed me around like a puppy dog for years and years,
only she walked too slow and didn’t know how to play.
And believe me, she wasn’t cute or small …
She was nice enough, but I always felt like she was weighing me down with her lumbering gait …
I’m not sure why I didn’t have the heart to shake her off –
something in me felt the need to wait …
and wait and wait and wait, as patiently as I could
for her to catch up.
The thought of leaving her behind felt like an amputation –
I couldn’t abandon her,
but I loathed her at the same time …
I lamented missing all the fun because
by the time we got anywhere, the party was over,
or when we’d finally arrive, she weighed down the room,
and the crowd quickly dispersed …
Again and again, I was left alone with only her burdensome presence by my side.
So I finally surrendered and let her choose our path …
This is when the miracles started to happen –
She led me beside silent waters, sparkling and clean –
to quiet places of beauty I could have never found if I had stayed with the crowd.
She showed me natural wonders that whispered wake-up calls into the depths of my soul …
I started to trust her, and she never stopped amazing me.
I inched behind her up the skinniest, steepest trails I’d ever seen,
risking everything along stone-edged cliffs because it was worth it.
The views were pristine –
Majestic ravines of unspeakable purity energized something at the core of my being …
something essential that had been waiting patiently inside me for a very long time.
She led me into pitch black caverns, where there was nothing to do but pray
and learn to love the silence with her by my side.
In her own somber, winding way, she taught me to slow down and forgive, to let go –
to love more deeply from afar than I ever could up close-
She gave me space to make sense of things that had always troubled my soul,
which were the reasons I’d prayed for wisdom in the first place, all those years ago …

Even now, she calls me further along the treacherous winding road, and
and I will gladly follow her into the abyss of majesty, mercy and wonder,
wherever she leads.

The funny thing is now I’m the slow dog lumbering in sweetsad kindess,
looking up with peace-filled puppy dog eyes,
welcoming others to join me on the journey to the depths of reverence.
My heart smiles playfully,
imagining they probably think I’m just sadness.

Reflection
Do you create space in your life to embrace the fullness of your emotional experiences? Or, do you find yourself doing anything to avoid feeling painful emotions in yourself and others? Can you make more room to open your heart to the fullness of empathy and compassion, in order to create a more authentic spiritual connection to God? It’s worth it, I promise!

Prayer
God bless anyone reading this to have the courage to embrace the fullness of their emotions on their journey toward authentic spirituality. Help us to avoid the temptation to skim through life on the surface level, missing the joys found in a deeper relationship with self, God and others.

Action Step
Take some time to read the psalms, and journal about the ways you can relate the feelings expressed in your own journey of faith. Did you know even Jesus read the Psalms in His youth? A life of faith isn’t easy, but it is worth it for the depth of peace Christ brings to the fullness of our human experience.

 

Do you believe in the power of a mother's prayers?

The Power of Mothers who Pray

Did you know that poetry can be considered contemplative prayer on paper? Or in this case, contemplative prayer on a computer screen;) Dive a little bit deeper into your life of faith by pondering the meaning of the words below and reflecting on the questions afterwards. God bless you on your spiritual journey!

This poem explores the power of prayer, especially the prayers of mothers, who pray together for needs of each other’s children. Enjoy! 

The Power of Mothers who Pray

Is there anything more powerful than a mother who prays?
She doesn’t look like much, I know …
on bended knee, alone
But isn’t there something about a woman who opens her heart to the Lord?
Who is brave enough to realize her own vulnerability in loving these children so much?
Who is strong enough to admit she can’t raise them alone?

Is there anything more powerful than a mother who puts her trust in the Lord?
She seems a little crazy, I know.
Pouring her heart out to a man, who is invisible.
But isn’t there something about a woman, who is wise enough to let go of her illusions of control?
Who is brave enough to admit that even Her love for them isn’t enough?
Who is strong enough to believe a sacred truth she can feel deep in her soul?

What about a group of mothers who pray together?
Busy women, who take time out of their schedules to meet each week,
entrusting each other and God with their concerns?

What about the mothers, who are brave enough
to unite in faith and friendship,
lifting each other up and praying
as passionately for the needs of each other’s children as their own?

What about a group of women,
who open their hearts to lift up the needs of a larger family,
a school?
an entire community?
children they may never know?
How powerful can they be?

I’m not kidding myself.
I know that even together, we don’t have the power to move mountains or part seas.
But I also know the deeper truth that
United in prayer as mothers,
we can expect to see God do even greater things.
I pray He gives us the eyes to see His miraculous love all around us.

Reflection: Are you a praying mama? If not, how can you incorporate more prayer into your busy life? 

Prayer: God bless women to be inspired to turn to you and entrust their children to You. Help increase faith and trust in You! 

Action Step: Get up 15 minutes early to spend time in contemplative prayer! Have you tried lectio Divina? Grab some girlfriends and meet weekly to pray together! 

Do you know what God is calling you to do? www.uniteinprayer.org

Answering the Calling

Did you know that poetry can be considered contemplative prayer on paper? Or in this case, contemplative prayer on a computer screen;) Dive a little bit deeper into your life of faith by pondering the meaning of the words below and reflecting on the questions afterwards. God bless you on your spiritual journey! 

This poem explores the beauty of following a calling from God, even though it takes us through times of trial. Enjoy! 

Answering the Calling

It’s like a little ball of light in your heart that glows
and gets bigger the longer you follow it.
Brighter
and bolder too.

It will help to know some things in advance.

While mesmerized by the brilliance of it,
You can fully expect to be led into dark places that terrify you
and make your soul scream with the heaviness of every emotion you’ve ever avoided.
You will ache deeply.

The light will be your only consolation until it’s gone.

One day after putting all your hope and trust in it for years and
letting go of everything else in the process,
it will disappear entirely from your view.
You will be left alone,
lost in the deepest woods to fend for yourself with no comfort.

Being prepared for this won’t make it any easier.
But please know in advance that this journey is worth the toll it takes.

You are going somewhere.
Your trust was not misplaced, and
when the light comes back it will be more radiant than the brightest dawn.

You will be illuminated with every love, joy and truth known to man.
The glistening purity will pierce your soul, and
You will know the difference between who you are and what it is

Suddenly, you will be free to do more than blindly follow:
You will become one with the light.
Others will sense something luminous in you and have an opportunity to decide for themselves.

Is there any other path to freedom?

Reflection: Have you ever thought about what your calling from God is before? Have you ever had a sense that God was nudging you to follow him in a particular way? Did you listen? Have you ever prayed to God for guidance? Do you have the courage to follow Him even if He asks you to do hard things? 

Prayer: God bless everyone reading this to hear Your calling for their life! Fill their heart with a sense of Your presence, adn give them the courage to follow Your voice, along with the strength to persevere through their highest calling from You. 

Spiritual Toolbox: If you’re still learning to tune into Divine Guidance, I encourage you to try Lectio Divina. It’s an ancient practice of diving into the Word of God in order to receive guidance from the Holy Spirit. Learn more here.