The Joy Of Remembering

Advent 1

The joy of remembering:

By the light of a candle, sit in the quiet and think back over times you have heard the Christmas story.

Remember those people with whom you have shared this story in seasons past.

Give thanks for all of those memories.

May your memories always burn with the bright glow of a candle light.

A Celebration Blessing

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Now is the time
to free the heart,
Let all intentions and worries stop,
Free the joy inside the self,
Awaken to the wonder
of your life.

Open your eyes and see the friends
Whose hearts recognize your face as kin,
Those whose kindness watchful and near,
Encourage you to live everything here.

See the gifts the years have given,
Things your effort could never earn,
The health to enjoy who you want to be
And the mind to mirror mystery.

~ John O’Donahue

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This moment — to do no – thing
Stillness
pattering of the rain
moment to be.
Listening within for the soothing melody of my soul.
This is to know God.

Teach me God to wonder . . .
the star light
the moon light
the rain falling on window panes
kitty near by
solace of grace for today.
~ Anna Lin

May We Always Send Forth Ribbons and Doves

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I was very angry at our neighbors. Their choice to burn slash piles had significantly damaged my health. I was angry that my health had relapsed once again and I could no longer leave our property.

Someone reminded me I needed to do something to get rid of my anger, or it would bring more harm to my health. So one day I set out walking towards the boundary of our properties. As I walked the winding prayer path, I fantasized how I would shout my anger towards their land and throw sticks with a vengeance.

Then suddenly I became aware of a pink ribbon in my pocket on which our granddaughter had written the word JOY. There was also a metal piece with a dove shape cut through the middle and the inscription: Where there is hatred let me sow love.

By the time I got to the boundary of our land, I could shout no anger after all. God had removed it from my heart. I could only thread the pink ribbon through the dove and place it at the point where our properties meet.
O Lord, give us the strength to withstand injustice, and the courage to choose not to send more hatred into the world. Instead, make us channels of your peace.

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