Ash Wednesday Surprise!


Our God is full of delightful surprises!

Most recently, I have experienced this through my ‘Christmas’ cactus.

For years, it was a reluctant bloomer. I was lucky to see a single bloom or maybe 2 during the whole season.

However, 4 or 5 years ago after my move to Dallas, it started blooming like crazy around the second Sunday of Advent and continuing through the first of the year.

Such a treat!

Last year during Lent, it started blooming like crazy through Easter – just as its own joke.

A rogue cactus bloomer – both during Advent/Christmas (expected) and Lent/Easter (unexpected).

I was wondering if this was a one off last year, but find that there are several blooms with one that burst open Ash Wednesday.

So fun!

St. Teresa of Avila: image of life of prayer

  • When we get serious about our spiritual journeys, we expend a great deal of effort. We are obsessed with trying harder. Teresa imagined a field that needed watering (our spiritual state in need of nurture). In the first stage of spiritual growth, it is as if we are dragging a heavy oaken bucket, dipping it into a well, hauling the water up, bucket by bucket, and watering the field. This represents the condition where we try desperately to please God, to obey the rules, to get it right for God.
  • In the second stage, our prayer and progress lead us to notice a stream running beside the field. All we have to do is drag the oaken bucket through the water and haul it to the field and water it. A little easier, but we still control the pace through our own efforts. That is, we decide what tasks and projects we will undertake, what the content of our prayer will be, how we will nurture our spiritual lives and be pleasing to God.
  • In the third stage, we become aware of a gate at the end of the field that opens to an irrigation system. All we have to do is fling the gate open, and the water comes pouring into water the field. It seems that God meets us with grace so nurturing and powerful that we have only to open ourselves to it. Our faith journey becomes not so much what we can do for God, but what God can do through us, for us, in us.
  • In the final stage, we merely stand in the rain. When I first internalized the image of standing in a cleansing rain, immersed in the saving love of God through no effort of my own, I was overcome with the realization that Divine Love didn’t require my effort. It was not dependent on my deserving. It was truly, profoundly, eternally unconditional.

(as summarized by Linda Douty)

I want to walk as a Child of the Light

2011 Epiphany Worship St. Michael's & All Angels, Dallas

Brighten our darkness LORD. Fill us, send us out as rays of light to those we meet today!

I want to walk as a child of the Light
I want to follow Jesus
God set the stars To give light to the world
The Star of my life is Jesus.

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.

I want to see the Brightness of God
I want to look at Jesus
Clear Son of righteousness shine on my path
And show me the way to the Father.

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.

I’m looking for the coming of Christ
I want to be with Jesus
When we have run, with patience, the race
We shall know the joy of Jesus.

In Him there is no darkness at all
The night and the day are both alike
The lamb is the Light of the city of God
Shine in my heart Lord Jesus.

~Kathleen Thomerson

A Blessing

Equilibrium Rocks

May you listen to your longing to be free.
May the frames of your belonging be large enough for the dreams of your soul.
May you arise each day with a voice of blessing whispering in your heart that something good is going to happen to you.
May you find a harmony between your soul and your life.
May the mansion of your soul never become a haunted place.
May you know the eternal longing which lives at the heart of time.
May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within.
May you never place walls between the light and yourself.
May your angel free you from the prisons of guilt, fear, disappointment, and despair.
May you allow the wild beauty of the invisible world to gather you, mind you, and embrace you in belonging.

~ John O’Donohue, Eternal Echoes

Prayer: Perspective

The power of prayer is the constant renewal of perspective. Prayer opens our eyes. It extends our horizons. It sheds light into the darkness of our fears and our sorrows, our hopes and joys, our shame and our pride. It gives us new ways of seeing life and relationships, of understanding work and the cost of growing.

~ Rev. Margaret Gunness

Phyllis Tickle on Prayer

    I think prayer is a place. Prayer and the physical world are in many ways two parallel existences, two parallel spaces, one geographic and one not.

Desire Paradox

Celtic Circle

I met with a couple of friends Sunday evening. We were discussing the barriers that are sometimes encountered when one seeks to improve one’s contact with God. We were encouraging each other in our respective journeys and brainstorming ways to overcome the barriers that we each were encountering.

Somewhere in the midst of this I encountered a wonderful paradox.

The desire to find God is one that God honors and promises to fulfill for us. In fact, this desire to draw near to God is one that was planted in our hearts by God in the first place – thus setting up the Divine fulfillment!

    When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, (Jer 29:13, NRSV

    Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24, NRSV)

Thomas Merton Prayer

O Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me,
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think
I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe
that the desire to please you does in fact please you,
and I hope I have that desire
in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything
apart from that desire to please you.
And I know that if I do this
you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear,
for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me
to make my journey alone.
(from Pax Christi)