Joy To EnJOY

Advent joy

Sharing some great thoughts on JOY today. EnJOY.

“The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into union with the Life Who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls.
~ Thomas Merton (New Seeds of Contemplation)

“You cannot be too gentle, too kind. Shun even to appear harsh in your treatment of each other. Joy, radiant joy, streams from the face of one who gives and kindles joy in the heart of one who receives…”
~ St. Seraphim of Sarov

The beating heart is the universe of holy JOY!
~ Martin Buber

Those who wish to sing, always find a song.
~ Swedish Proverb

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.” ~ Plato

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The Magnificat Of Mary

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One of the most beautiful songs of joy we have is Mary’s magnificat
sung when the angel visited her to tell her she would become the mother
of our Lord Jesus. We honor her today.

I invite you to pay close attention to her words. For although she is usually
depicted as gentle and mild, her words speak with ferocity to the oppressors of any time in history. May her joy be in you.

The Magnificat of Mary

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my savior,
for you, Lord, have looked with favor on your lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:
You, the Almighty, have done great things for me
and holy is your name,
You have mercy on those who fear you,
from generation to generation.

You have shown strength with your arm
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
casting down the mighty from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.

You have filled the hungry with good things
and the rich you have sent away empty.
You have come to the help of your servant Israel,
to remember the promise of mercy,
the promise made to our forebears,
to Abraham and his children forever.

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Advent JOY

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Today is the third Sunday of Advent and our focus is on JOY.
We light the candle of JOY.

What brings JOY to your life? Here is a prayer card for contemplation today.

Advent joy pr. card

Be thinking about all that brings JOY to your life, and you may want to create a little book of JOY.

During this week, take note of all that speaks to you of JOY ~
words, poems, prayers, stories, images, visions, sacred scriptures that excite and inspire you with a sense of joyfulness.

You can jot these down on your computer or in a little note pad that you carry with you.

Please share with us all that brings JOY to your world.

Peace Prayers

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For many many years it has been my practice to stop and pray for peace at high noon every day. I join thousands throughout the world who follow this gesture. You could be one of them. Here’s a story of how this happened for me.
Stopping at high noon for a moment of reflection is a spontaneous gesture of human consciousness. I remember when Tetsugen Glassman Roshi was being ordained the Abbot of Riverside Zendo in New York. It was a grand affair. Zen teachers from all over the country were gathered together to celebrate the event, with candles and incense and white chrysanthemums and black and gold brocade garments. In the middle of this solemn celebration, the beeper on somebody’s wristwatch suddenly went off. Everybody was surreptitiously looking around to find the poor guy to whom this had happened, because generally you are not even supposed to wear a wristwatch in the Zendo. To everybody’s surprise, the new Abbot himself interrupted the ceremony and said, “This was my wristwatch, and it was not a mistake. I have made a vow that regardless of what I am doing, I will interrupt it at noon and will think thoughts of peace.” And then he invited everyone there to think thoughts of peace for a world that needs it. Continue reading

Home ~ That Is Another Name For Peace

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Home ~ that is another name for peace. ~ Kathleen Norris

Who are the Homing People in your life . . . Those with whom
you feel perfectly safe and at ease?

Write their names and offer gratitude for their blessing to your life.
You may want to light a candle and reflect upon all the memories of Christmas that have blessed your life.

May their remembrance give you peace this day.

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“Oh, the comfort — the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person ~ having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.
~ Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

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Some people say home is where you come from. But I think it’s a place you need to find, it’s scattered and you pick pieces of it up along the way.
~ Katie Kacvinsky (“Awaken”)

Disturbing The Peace

WARNING! This message may be disturbing for some.

So far this week I’ve written about comforting forms of peace for our own lives. We crave this peace in order not to be overwhelmed with the discomforts that we face. Yet, to focus only on our own sense of peace can become a narcissistic form of avoidance of the needs of others.

What about the children who will go hungry while we prepare our Christmas feasts?

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What about those who will spend their nights out in the cold while we sleep soundly with visions of sugar-plums dancing around in our heads?

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What about those who will huddle in fear as bombs sound off overhead,
while we sit listening to gentle Christmas carols on our iPad? Continue reading

Seek Peace and Pursue It

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In 2006 the peace of an Amish community in Pennsylvania was shattered when a gunman intruded a schoolhouse and shot ten young girls, killing 5 of them before turning the gun upon himself. I was overcome with compassion for their community of faithful people. And then, I was amazed as I watched how they dealt with such tragedy. In the midst of their overwhelming grief, they offered immediate forgiveness and reached out to comfort and care for the shooter’s family.

I listened closely when an interviewer asked one: “How are you able to have such a forgiving attitude?”
The answer was something like:
“It is because our lives are continually focused on the love of Jesus, and through that we develop 100% inner peace within us.”

100% inner peace. I wrote that down, because I knew at that moment I wanted that in my life. 100% inner peace no matter what difficulties come to me. That has become an overriding intention for my life.
I have found that it comes gradually, as I learn to trust the Divine Source no matter what the circumstances. We learn to grow in grace and peace.

This, my friends, is the gift of Christmas. The Prince of Peace is given to us so that we may know 100% inner peace. Not just for ourselves, but so that it naturally flows out bringing peace to all the world.

On this day, may you seek peace and pursue it with all your heart and soul.
And may the gift of 100% inner peace be born in you through Christ. Amen.

Seek peace and pursue it. Psalm 34:14

Comfort Ye My People

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Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God.

One of my rituals for Advent for nearly 50 years has been to listen and reflect on Handel’s Messiah. It begins with a tumultuous overture that seems to mirror all the wrangling in my soul and reflects all the turmoil of history and our distress in living apart from God’s Presence.
Then comes the clear, gentle voice of promise saying:

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people . . . saith your God;
Speak ye comfort to Jerusalem and cry to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned.

Then my fears melt away, distress is soothed, the storms of life are stilled . . . my heart is at rest in the arms of a loving God. Continue reading