God Inclined His Ear to Me

I love the Lord, because he has heard
    my voice and my supplications.
Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
–Psalm 116:1,2

I imagine God inclining his/her ear to me, bringing it so close to my mouth that I can whisper what I can’t say out loud.

God has heard my supplications, my pleas for assistance, direction, and relief. He has heard my rambling thoughts, my half-baked intentions. He holds my sighs and groans, my laughter, my despair. He listens to it all and leans closer still.

“To listen another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being performs for another,” Douglas Steere wrote in On Listening to Another.

I’ve been listened to that way. When I was praying the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in 2012-13, I met with Father Elton Fernandes weekly. Early on in the exercises, I told him I dreamt that Fred and I had taken our four-year-old grandson, Hadrian, to the beach. “We let him play while we took a nap for a couple of hours–something we’d never do. When we woke up, we realized, to our horror, he was gone. We looked everywhere for him, grasping onto the hope that he was alive and well somewhere. We looked and looked for him until… I woke up. I was so relieved that it was only a dream.”

Father Elton waited for me to go on. I told him what it was like growing up as one of five children in the fifties and sixties. “When I prayed about the dream, I felt that God was going to retrieve and redeem my childhood.”

Father Elton was silent for a moment, then said, “What stood out for you were two things: looking and waking up. You talked about looking, that you sensed God was looking for you. But what about the waking up? What are you waking up to?”

“That I’ve lost someone precious to me.” Tears came as I continued, “And that someone is me. I’m waking up to the belief that I’m as precious as Hadrian is. The dream is asking me: Will I cherish and love myself the way God cherishes and loves me?”

I could hardly get the words out. I looked through blurry eyes for a tissue. “Thank you, so much. I never saw that coming.”

“Neither did I,” said Father Elton and I loved him for it.

God listens like that. In the silence, he waits for that still small voice in me to say out loud what I fear is true and what I hope is true.

Then God inclines his lips to my ear and tells me what he knows is true.

“Come,” God says, “let me wipe your tears,
and let my mouth come close to your ear
and say to you, ‘I love you. 
I love you. I love you.”

–Henri Nouwen,
Show Me the Way: Daily Lenten Readings

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

I found Michael Cook’s “Burning Bush” (in post above) three and a half years ago when I was looking for an image that illustrated the holy listening that happens in spiritual direction. In our conversations and in Michael’s art, I hear and see God’s embodied compassion again and again–leaning in, loving, protecting, listening, always listening. His painting, Night Prayer, so impacted our SoulStream community when we were together for our annual gathering in 2014, that we brought it again the next year. When I told Michael how it had touched people’s lives, he said, “Sometimes it is hard to believe that a painting might truly help anyone on their path; it seems such a weak thing.” Yet in this “weak thing” we encountered God. Michael, thank you for the love mischief you do as your life with God is poured out in colour for the world.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Burning Bush” and “Helichrysum: Memory of the Sun” by Michael Cook and photo of Michael Cook used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Childhood, Helpful Images, Reflections, Spiritual Direction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stones, Slivers and Silence

I love being with people and look forward to social gatherings, but I often come home with a stone in my shoe. When I shake it out and it falls to the floor, I recognize that moment when something went wrong. I had little to contribute to a conversation and felt inadequate, or I said something I regretted. I detected a look of disapproval or a differing opinion made me rethink mine.

I pick up the stone, remind myself that God is with me and I’ll be all right, and toss it away. But a sliver of doubt remains. Am I good enough? Will they stop loving me?

I don’t even know this sliver’s buried itself in my soul until it begins to fester, making me sensitive to anything anyone says or does. Then I pull back, watch my words and try to be more acceptable. It’s so stinking hard, I want to run away and become a hermit.

But in community–the very place where I pick up stones and slivers–a moment comes when something goes right. Someone says or does something that finds that sliver and plucks it out.

Just last week, it happened again. I rub the tender spot where I was afflicted and look back on what transpired. I’m grateful for the Healer who came to me “in the mouth of friend and stranger.” But I’m disappointed to discover I still have insecurities. I wonder: if I sat longer in the silence, would God rid me of these stones and slivers?

Or perhaps it’s the silence that reveals how God does.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
–St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Friends of mine are hiking and biking to raise money and awareness for mental health.

Done in a Day is a charity hike that raises funds for mental health. On June 24, Patty and Dale Wagner will hike a section of the 24 km stretch of the Baden Powell Trail, from Cleveland Dam to Deep Cove on Vancouver’s north shore to support subsidized counselling for the clients of Burnaby Counselling Group.

Anne Duifhuis writes, “On June 25, 2017, thousands of cyclists will come together to celebrate and strengthen mental health for all Canadians while raising $1,500,000 for mental health programs and services–and I will be one of them! I rode the 60km route with the Vancouver Police Department team last year and will again. I invite you to join the movement and show your support with a donation or by joining me as a rider. Thank you!”

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References
“Mustard Seed” by Wendy Linnington. Used with permission.
“Community…” by Kamaljith K V. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Poverty of Spirit, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Flies and Cold Fish

I’ve been doing too much, thinking too much. I’m so full of thoughts about what I have to do, my prayer times are inundated with them. I try to push them away, but each one promises to be the thought that will end all thoughts.

One of my doings landed me in a contemplative gathering on a Saturday night. Someone read Jan Richardson’s poem, “Stay: A Blessing for Ascension Day.” Together we listened for a word or phrase that drew our attention. Without fanfare or feeling, these words stood out for me.

Wait with your hands open
to receive what could never come
except to what is empty
and hollow.

The sentence sat on my lap like a cold fish while more thoughts buzzed and bumped against confines of the silence.

A few days later, I attended a one-day prayer retreat. Though I’d carefully guarded that time, I had to leave early to attend a memorial service.  For a couple of hours, I sat with more words, more dead fish on my lap.

Abide in us.
Holy God. . .
Mighty One. . .
Guiding One. . .

Then a thought emerged with a hint of a sob–not from the buzzing in my head but from the stillness of my heart: God is holy enough, mighty enough, present enough for me to let go of my thoughts and trust the hollow emptiness.

Just Sit There Right Now
–Hafiz

Just sit there right now.
Don’t do a thing.
Just rest.

For your separation from God,
From love,

Is the hardest work
In this
World.

Let me bring you trays of food
And something
That you like to
Drink.

You can use my soft words
As a cushion
For your
Head.

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Once when I was on a silent retreat, I feasted on the delicious poems of Hafiz, translated by Daniel Ladinsky (left). I felt so loved and God was so pleased. I often find myself quoting a Hafiz poem when speaking, directing or writing and smile inwardly in gratitude for Ladinsky and the permission he has given me to use these poems in blog posts. He commented, “You say, ‘I did a little dance,’ in reading something I sent, posted. That is really my sole care in the world now. . .  to help every creature boogie ever higher—become more free and safe.” Thank you, Daniel, for the love mischief you and God do for the world.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References
“Another Foggy Morning” by Carlo Scherer. Used with permission.
Jan L. Richardson, from “Stay: A Blessing for Ascension Day”
“Alone in the Woods” by Carlo Scherer. Used with permission.
“Just Sit Right There Now” from 
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz  Translation by Daniel Ladinsky.
Photo of Daniel Ladinsky by Kevin D. Mann
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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The Gift I Received

During teaching sessions of Living From The Heart, the participants and facilitators sat in a circle. In the centre was a low table adorned with a cross and a candle, and around it were a number of icons, two pictured here. This familiar, sacred space held many memories for us.

In our final closing, I invited each person to share a blessing, gratitude or gift they received during our time together. Many shed tears as they talked or listened; the affection we had for each other was palpable.

When I was certain everyone had had a turn, I began to speak. As I did, I felt a gentle hand on my arm. Deb, the co-facilitator sitting beside me, realized one of the participants had also begun to talk. That touch was all I needed to stop, look and listen.

Of course I felt bad for messing up. I’m quite sensitive about not leaving anyone out. But as I look back on that incident, it isn’t my remorse that stands out like it has in the past; it’s Deb’s gentle, loving gesture.

Whenever I’m in community for an extended period of time, I’m hyper-aware of my faults. I notice how often I draw attention to myself or cut someone off in conversation. All my shortcomings stack up until I’m convinced that’s all anyone sees. But each day, in one interaction after another, I heard that what I feared wasn’t true. People weren’t blind to my faults, but they weren’t blinded by them either. They could see me, and they liked what they saw.

This was how God loved me: with embodied kindness and compassion, without disapproval. This was the gift I received from Living From The Heart.

God would seem to be too occupied in being unable to take Her eyes off of us to spend any time raising an eyebrow in disapproval. Gregory J. Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Finland is engaging in some love mischief at school. Here is a clip from Where to Invade Next, a documentary by Michael Moore that made me wish I were growing up in Finland today.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Our Lady of Vladimir (12th century), the holy protectress of Russia, now in the Tretyakov Gallery public domain by Wikipedia Commons.
Icon of the Holy Trinity by Andrei Rublev (1360-1430) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Questioned by a Strawflower

JpegThis week I’ve been away at Living From The Heart. Here is a post I wrote two years ago when I was co-facilitating this course for the first time.

Five tight buds, glossy purple lollipops, greeted me as I passed them on my way to morning prayers. Many flowers that I recognized were blooming at Twin Creeks Lodge–iris, geraniums, petunias, pansies, and daisies–but I had never seen buds like these before. By mid-morning, one had opened up to the sun. “It’s a straw flower,” someone told me.

Next morning there were five buds again. Had I been seeing things? Where was the flower? Before noon the blossom reappeared: it closed at night and opened in the day!

Every time I passed the straw flowers during Living from the Heart, I looked to see what they were doing. They, in turn, looked at me and asked, “Are you open or closed?”

In the week-long intensive I co-facilitate with Deb Arndt and Jeff Imbach, we introduced ancient prayer practices and explored contemplative living. We had the privilege of watching the participants open to God and to one another. Our job was to help them recognize the Real Teacher in their lives.

It sounds easier than it is. At times, I was as tight as a bud, anxious that I might say or do something that would inhibit God’s work. The strawflower invited me to relax and open myself to the light. So did morning and evening prayers, the silent times of reflection, and the gathering of this little community as we ate, shared and laughed together. Even the rhythm of my breath–full, then empty, then full again–encouraged me to trust that God was recreating us.

By the end of our time together, spring had ended and summer arrived. The strawflower no longer needed to retreat at night. I long for the day when I will remain open to God and bask in Love’s warmth. But for now, I sense, it’s enough to listen to the flowers.

bracteantha_magenta_500px

“Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me
and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

— Matthew 11:29-30 (MSG)

Love Mischief for the World

I want to honour the participants of SoulStream’s Living From The Heart course. It’s not easy to live from the core of who we are. Do we even know who we are? And can we trust that God is there, actively loving and leading us? As poet Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes, “It is a difficult lesson to learn today, to leave one’s friends and family and deliberately practise the art of solitude for an hour or a day or a week. . .” But what they’ve gained from their time away has led them into much love mischief for the world.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits:
“Strawflower buds at Twin Creeks” by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
“Bracteantha Magenta” by Fleming’s Nurseries. Used with permission.
SoulStream logo used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-17.  http://www.estherhizsa.wordpress.com
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Here Be Tigers

People in authority can make me nervous. I’m always afraid they’ll turn into a tiger, pin me in a corner, and pounce on me for doing something wrong. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. For the most part, the leaders I work with are kind, humble, and vulnerable and would never pounce on me. I’ve also had uncomfortable conversations with superiors that have ended well: I not only survived these dialogues, but I was the better for it. And yet–

I’m still nervous. I want to blame it on the other person and how they don’t handle conflict very well–and that may be true. But I have to own my own stuff: what goes on in me when I hear a certain tone of voice and feel talked down to. This has nothing to do with them.

“So what does go on in you?” my director asked.

“I feel like I’m five years old,” I said and began to weep. “I shut down and don’t hear a word they’re saying. And then they have to tell me again.”

I wept through the whole hour of spiritual direction. By the time it was over, I had a wet mound of tissue on my lap. I grieved that I couldn’t avoid people who trigger this reaction. I bemoaned whatever was done to me in the past that traumatized me. I wept with joy that Jesus would never turn on me; he always makes me feel safe.

“I know I don’t need to be afraid of anyone, but I wish Jesus would convince the little girl in me,” I said.

I listened in the silence for Jesus’ response and realized that he never stops working for my good. He helped me notice what was going on and bring it into the light.

I felt spent by the end of the session, but I also felt comforted. I knew I was not responsible for the trauma I carry in my body or how long it takes to be healed. It will be triggered again, and I will feel anxious and want to shut down. But I could see now that I have more freedom to stay present and more strength to speak up for myself when I need to.

I also knew that God was not going to get rid of the tigers that trigger my shame.

“So how do you want to be with them?” my director asked at the end of our time together.

“How do I want to be with them?” I asked, feeling cheeky. “Wearing a full suit of armour! But, how does Jesus want me to? With an openness and a willingness to feel whatever I feel and trust that God is with me.”

I Can Dance with the Tiger
–Esther Hizsa, 1989

I can dance with the tiger on my journey;
I can read his eyes; I know his steps.
I know every trick he uses to hunt,
How he looms and stalks and threatens and growls.

I can let his roar enter my bones,
Pass me through and leave me whole.
I can smell his breath and taste its steam
And stand within my fear.

Chorus:
I can dance, I can dance, I can dance with a tiger
I can move, I can breathe, I can twirl all around
All the fear in the world cannot silence Your melody
Oh my Lord, in your love, I can dance.

So we meet face to face so close I can reach out
And feel his fur and touch his wound
And with fear lying dead and trampled down
I behold his majesty and might. (Chorus)

Then he leaps high over me on his way
And I turn round to watch him go
But he doesn’t look back to see me wave
or hear me say goodbye. (Chorus)

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

 

Thank you to everyone in British Columbia that got out to vote on Tuesday. Now let’s pray that our leaders engage in some love mischief for our province that includes affordable housing for all–especially my friends in the Wednesday Lunch Club.

 

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References
Tiger at top of post and in banner by Mathias Appel. Public domain.
“I Can Dance with the Tiger” by Esther Hizsa © 1989
Tiger (resting)  by Angelo Antonelli. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Childhood, Reflections, Songs, Spiritual Direction, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Aching for More

It’s Tuesday and I haven’t written Friday’s blog post yet. I’ve finished praying and have nothing scheduled for the rest of the morning; it’s an ideal setting to write.

Often the story has already come together, and I just need a chunk of time to get it down, but today I have nothing. I know from experience that I can’t make a story happen; it has to come to me like a spiritual awakening.

Last night I listened to James Finley talk about awakening to God. Finley, who wrote Merton’s Palace to Nowhere, said, “Thomas Merton, as a young man, was spiritually awakened to the presence of God in life itself.” Merton was awakened to the reality that he was in God and God had all he needed.

“For in him we live and move and have our being,” Finley quoted, and I ached to live more fully aware of God.

Once we’ve had a moment of spiritual awakening, Finley says,

We begin to ask ourselves: “Why do I spend so much of my life trapped like this, on the outer circumference of the inner richness of my own life? Why do I spend so much time unaware of that which alone can fulfill my heart?” This aching or longing is our teacher.

My throat throbs. I long for the inner richness of God, but I’m trapped by the inability to waken myself to it. How do I get free?

Here’s Finley’s response. We can “assume an inner stance that offers the least resistance to being overtaken by the oneness we cannot make happen.”

So I wait in this spacious morning with the One who holds all my stories.

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly.
–Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a writer and Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky. His writings include The Seven Storey Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation. Merton is the author of more than seventy books that include poetry, personal journals, collections of letters, social criticism, and writings on peace, justice, and ecumenism. I love this quote from Essential Writings, “Life is this simple: we are living in a world that is absolutely transparent and the divine is shining through it all the time. This is not just a nice story or a fable, it is true.”

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Blank page, new day” by Rick Stilwell. Used with permission
James Finley quotes taken from “Interview with James Finley” and Stories of Thomas Merton.
Acts 17:28
“Eurasian blue tit” by Benjamin Balázs. Public domain.
Photo of Thomas Merton by cistercaminante. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Christ Behind Me and Before Me

Recently I received a new awareness that was liberating. Like a pilgrim summiting a mountain pass, I beheld a fresh landscape. Rolling green hills with clusters of trees and fields of wildflowers sprawled out before me.

I savoured this new way of being for ten full seconds before regret caught up to me. I looked back at the road I’d travelled and thought how much better it would have been if I’d only woken up sooner. Blame was on the heels of regret.

Now, instead of strolling leisurely into green pastures, I was weighed down with the disappointment that I had let locusts ravage my life.

Picture us, this motley band of pilgrims: Regret, Blame, Disappointment and me all pressing forward preoccupied–hardly feeling the soft grass, barely noticing the still waters–while Wonder trails behind.

We didn’t travel long before we came upon a stranger sitting on a rock. We invited him to join us. The nearest refugio would be hours away, and he seemed interested, so I told him about my new discovery and the mixed feelings that accompanied it.

The stranger listened intently. Then beginning with the prophets, he explained what the scripture said concerning this. “Isaiah says,

‘From now on I will tell you of new things,
    of hidden things unknown to you.
They are created now, and not long ago;
    you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
    “Yes, I knew of them.”‘”

Then he added, “Didn’t you say this new awareness was something given to you? How can you blame yourself for not having what had not yet been given?”

He went on to quote the prophet Joel. “And didn’t God say, ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten’? Nothing behind you has been wasted. God will redeem every bit of it.”

Wonder slipped in close and put her arm around me. My eyes were opened: I knew this man.

“Then you’re not disappointed in me, that I didn’t get here sooner?” I asked the Christ.

He laughed and shook his head.

I stood there for ten full seconds before Wonder found words for the lightness I felt: I can enjoy the person I’m becoming and still be kind to the person I was.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
–St.Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Citizen Advocacy Ottawa’s Fetal Alcohol Resource Program held their First Annual Invisible Disabilities Symposium in March 2017. My friend Tanya Eichler (left), along with other Symposium Committee members from in and around Ottawa, joined together to help educate, connect and encourage individuals with invisible disabilities and those who support them and the unique challenges they experience.  Their keynote speaker was, Kim Barthel, a leading expert in sensory processing, trauma, attachment and neuroscience. See that smile? That’s how Tanya looked when she told me all about it. The event was a huge success.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References
“Green Valley” by Pisut Konepun. Used with permission.
Isaiah 48:6,7; Joel 2:25; Psalm 23; Luke 24:13-35.
“Resting by Visitor’s Center” by Bill Ward. Used with permission.
Banner photo: 
Vulcan Stream” by Reza. Used with permission.
Photo of Tanya Eichler used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Connected

I tried to lie back and relax in the underground saltwater pool but whenever I did, I began to drift toward people I didn’t know. I was afraid I’d bump against them and disturb their solace.

The Nordik spa in Gatineau, Quebec has pools, saunas, steam rooms, teepees with fire pits and hammocks with thick, cozy sleeping bags. The luxurious spa is separated into two areas. In one you’re asked to whisper; in the other–where the saltwater pool is–silence is requested.

I didn’t say a word, but when my niece heard me thrashing about, she came and stood beside me. She held onto me until I lie still, then floated me over to my sister. She put my hand in my sister’s, and there I rested peacefully in the warm water.

Anchored and released from conversation, my body let go of every care. My breath began to pray, reaching out to another “sister” thousands of miles away who was in anguish. I inhaled her sorrow and exhaled peace. Christ, at the core of my being received her pain; Christ connecting us all gave her comfort.

When I returned home, I met with the sister I’d prayed for. She told me that during one of her prayers, Jesus showed her what it meant to abide in him.

“He took me to an underground tank,” she said. “In the water, all the parts of myself that had been spinning out and away came to repose. The turmoil and pain settled, and I felt calmed around a still, central point that quieted me into optimism and light. Then and only then could I sense Christ’s presence gently pulling me along.”

I listened, fascinated by the similarities between her prayer and mine. We were indeed connected.

Abide in me as I abide in you.–John 15:4 (NRSV)

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

My sister, Sylvia, and niece, Pascale (with me above) surprised me with a trip to the Nordik Spa in Gatineau, Quebec. What a great gift after spending the day travelling. Sylvia and her husband Claude’s love mischief didn’t stop there. I had a cappuccino every morning, great meals (including linguine carbonara), and long walks. We even fit in two games of Scrabble. How good is that?

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References
“Candles” by Pixabay. Used with permission.
“Two Hands” by SETShots. Used with permission.
Photo of my niece and me at the Nordik by Sylvia Frehner. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Awake

 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” -Matthew 28:9

Suddenly you meet us–on our way from the empty tomb, in the garden, on the road to Emmaus, in a locked room, by the sea, and in the dawn of our darkest night. Your gentle voice, your delicate touch tears through the veil of our grief with sweet encounter.

How we hoped beyond reason for your lifeless body to awaken and tell us, you were only sleeping. And now you have awakened and each good and glorious breath swells our hearts with love.

Living Flame of Love

O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest centre! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

O lamps of fire!
in whose splendours
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

— St. John of the Cross

 
Credits and references:
“Transcendence” by Michael D. O’Brien. Used with permission.
“Living Flame of Love” is in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodgriguez, O.C.D. with introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. (ICS Publications, 1979)
Banner “The Glory of Dawn” by Chris Ballard. Used with permission.
Text originally published April 4, 2015
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2017.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2017.  http://www.estherhizsa.wordpress.com
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