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Category: God (Page 1 of 3)

A retreat day for Advent

Saturday 11th December 2021 OR Wednesday 15th December 2021

10am to 4pm

O Wisdom, proceeding from the Most High,
filling all the world and ordering all things
with strength and gentleness:
Come and teach us the way of truth.

In the Old Testament, we read that Wisdom was ‘…uttered by the mouth of the Most High..’ (Ecclesiasticus 24:3). Ideas around ‘Wisdom’ and the ‘Word’ are closely associated and have influenced the way that the coming of Christ has been understood.

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Retreat day: Coming home

When we take up occupation of the site of our bodies in stillness before God, we are granted a place to be, simply in virtue of being there as material beings made by God.

Rowan Williams: Lear and Eurydice

The truth is that we are always home. On this retreat day, we will explore coming home to our bodies, to ourselves, to the present, our own presence and The Presence, and to our place and purpose in the world. I will offer what I consider to be some important landscapes for exploration, but the journey and the destination are yours.

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Retreat Day: Lent in lockdown

Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels

If the lost word is lost, if the spent word is spent
If the unheard, unspoken
Word is unspoken, unheard;
Still is the unspoken word, the Word unheard,
The Word without a word, the Word within
The world and for the world;
And the light shone in darkness and
Against the Word the unstilled world still whirled
About the centre of the silent Word.

TS Eliot, Ash Wednesday V

In lockdown, we are not allowed to go ‘out’: how may we allow ourselves to go ‘in’?

How can lockdown be an opportunity to enter more deeply into Lent?

How may we hear the silent Word at the centre of our unstilled world?

I am offering a day of prayer and reflection as we enter the journey of Lent.

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Thoughts in a time of plague

Desert, Newberry Springs, CA (photo by Julian Maddock)
Desert, Newberry Springs, CA (photo by Julian Maddock)

I wrote a short piece for the London Centre for Spiritual Direction‘s May newsletter. Then a few days later I was invited to give a reflection at a Holy Communion Service on Zoom. I used the original piece as a springboard to engage with the scripture. Here is the delivered product.

This time of plague is a desolation for many: loss of work, loss of income, loss of health, loss of life; traumatic, dangerous front-line work; and decimated support services. Those of us not so endangered still suffer desolation. There is overwhelming uncertainty: where will we be next year, or next week!? How are we to live now? What is God’s call now?

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Audio Prayer: Revisiting a God moment

Sunset over Assisi
Sunset over Assisi (Photo by Julian Maddock)

There ain’t no good thing ever dies
I’m gonna take it with me when I go

Tom Waits: Take It With Me

I have often talked about ‘repetition’, as Ignatius of Loyola calls it, in these writings, e.g. “Where to start?“, “The Kingdom of Heaven“, and “Repetition“. He invites us to revisit significant moments, “noting and dwelling upon the points where I have felt greater consolation or desolation or greater spiritual relish.” [62] When we do this, we become infused with the graces and insights given to us. This changes us. This is conversion, incrementally, daily.

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Annunciation

We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I also do not give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us.

Meister Eckhart
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God’s fragile ego

The other day the friend of a friend posted on Facebook. His wife is in remission from illness and he expressed gratitude for “prayer, pills, and positivity” – a nicely balanced message I thought. Amidst predominantly supportive responses, two comments got my goat: “Don’t forget to give the doctors and drugs some credit!!” and “Why not give credit to the God we pray to?” Both of these suggestions were redundant: “pills” covered the first quibble, “prayer” the second.

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When prayer stops working

There comes a time when God appears to change. This may happen many times in a life. It is not so much that God feels distant or absent, though this may also be the case. It is more that you look for God in the usual place, or you think of God in the usual way, and this no longer seems to work. The usual is no longer satisfying, or now seems childish or naïve, or has become intellectually lacking. It is not that you no longer want God. It is not that you no longer want to pray. It is that you thought you knew and now you are not so sure.

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