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FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below. I’m extremely encouraged by this week’s favorites, which include the writings of a medieval mystic, reflections on the psalms, a reading list, and encouraging words for some of the difficult paths we find ourselves on in life.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Find me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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“And then we shall all come into our Lord, knowing ourselves clearly and wholly possessing God” via Fr Aidan Kimel (a beautiful passage from Julian of Norwich)

Ordinary Saints via Father SJMC (a liturgical poem that might convince you that *you* are a saint)

The Secret to Praying During Horrible Times via Kate Bowler (how do we pray when our souls have been pummeled by tragedy?)

5 Reasons to be Inspired by Psalm 111 via April Yamasaki (be inspired by this Psalm of thanksgiving)

How to walk in another person’s shoes by Sharon R. Hoover (check out this awesome book list!)

Cancer Does Not Have the Final Say via Redbud Writers Guild (read these hopeful articles in the October issue of The Redbud Post)

What It Means to Be a Writer – and To Emerge as a Writer via Albert Flynn DeSilver (an extremely helpful and encouraging guest post at Jane Friedman’s site)

 

WEEKLY PRAYER

This week, we are praying Thomas Merton’s most well-known prayer:

My 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.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I 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 face my perils alone.

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

This week’s favorites begin with two reflections on the tragedy in Las Vegas. If you’re like me, you can always use help processing and praying through these terrible events.

As always, please let me know if you have suggestions for Friday Favorites. You can find me on Twitter @LisaKDeam.

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A Prayer for the Victims of the Las Vegas Shooting via Chelsen Vicari (prayer is more than a hashtag . . .)

Weary In Well-Doing? via Michelle Van Loon (in the face of national tragedy, how do we avoid becoming weary in doing good?)

What If Christians Need Empowerment More Than Oversight via Ed Cyzewski (can leaders and Christians help one another examine theology and spirituality?)

How Meister Eckhard Inspires Letting Go for Love via Mark S. Burrows (the startling appeal of the wisdom of a medieval mystic)

The outsider via Glynn Young (a poem after Isaiah 56:6-8)

Why we need Silence via Ian Paul (a book review and thoughts on silence in ministry and spirituality)

Deliberate Acts of Kindness via Lisa DeLay and Meredith Gould (a Spark My Muse podcast on service as a spiritual practice)

 

WEEKLY PRAYER

Today the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. This week’s prayer is Francis’s Peace Prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen.

BOOK OF THE MONTH: HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: A SPIRITUAL READER

Week 4: Get Your Sparkle On

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In reading Hildegard of Bingen’s work, it becomes clear that she highly valued creation and creativity. In our final week exploring Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader, we’ll see what she says about this theme.

Two songs that Hildegard wrote tell of God as designer and animator (the titles to these songs were added by Carmen Butcher, who compiled the selections in the spiritual reader):

The First Daylight

 

You’re the Word of our Father,
the light of the first sunrise,
God’s omnipotent thought.
Before anything was made,
You saw it,
You designed it, and
You tucked Your all-seeing nature in the middle of Your sinew,
like a spinning wheel
with no beginning and no end,
still encircling everything.

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The First Verb

 

The Holy Spirit animates
all, moves
all, roots
all, forgives
all, cleanses
all, erases
all
our past mistakes, and then
puts medicine on our wounds.
We praise this Spirit of incandescence
for awakening
and reawakening
all
creation.

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In her letters, Hildegard frequently reminded others of God’s creativity. To the Abbess of Bamberg, she wrote:

In the same way that the stars illuminate the sky at night, God made humanity to sparkle. We’re created for maturity. We’re made to give out light like the sun, the moon, and the stars. If a black cloud covered these, the earth and every creature in it would worry that the end had come.

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In a letter to Pope Anastasius IV, Hildegard makes a striking moral statement about creativity. She tells the pope that we must reject corruption, injustice, and evil because they are not creative. They are a form of anti-creativity:

Don’t forget that whatever God made, radiates. So listen. Before God made the world, He said to Himself, “There’s My dear Son!” and from this original Word, the world was formed. Then God said, “Be!” and all kinds of animals appeared. Our God creates, but evil is never creative. It’s nothing, merely the by-product of rebellion. Through His Son, God saved humanity, clearly rejecting immorality—stealing, stubbornness, murder, hypocrisy, and bullies.

 

That’s why you as pope must never collude with corruption. If you do, you confuse those who look to you as their leader, because, in effect, you’re saying to them, “Embrace what’s really nothing.”

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Read more.

For reflection:

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FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Since yesterday was National Poetry Day (in the UK, anyway), this week’s faves begin with some lovely poems and prayers. These pave the way for explorations of the way we label ourselves and the way we find and nourish our creativity. Enjoy!

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Having It Out With Melancholy: Amanda Palmer Reads Jane Kenyon’s Stunning Poem About Life With and After Depression via Brain Pickings (take a listen . . .)

Enter Autumn Cautiously via Emily Polis Gibson (“May we find the color amidst the gray”)

Turn, and Be Saved via Kelly Chripczuk (“Sometimes, all it takes/is the slight movement of your eye . . .”)

A Psalm of Mercy Relentless via Jenneth Graser (a beautiful prayer for mercy)

Questions for the One Who Waits via Richard Chess (a meditation on Psalm 27 and the experience of waiting)

Are You an Extravert or Introvert? Or Maybe That’s the Wrong Question via Gina Butz (a call for contemplation rather than labeling)

Cultivating Creativity in Chaos via Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros (understanding your creativity and helping it to flourish)

 

 

BOOK OF THE MONTH: HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: A SPIRITUAL READER

Week 3: Bloom Abundantly
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This month, we’re dipping into Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader (compiled and translated by Carmen Acevedo Butcher). The past two weeks, we looked at selections from Hildegard’s major theological work, the Scivias.

Hildegard was also a prolific correspondent. She wrote letters to rulers, other religious, and friends. These letters are full of admonition, advice, and encouragement.

In the excerpts below, Hildegard writes to Empress Irene, the wife of Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Commenus. She speaks prophetic words of encouragement to the empress. Let yourself be encouraged, too:

Listen to what God’s Spirit has to say to you. In winter, God lets the tree He loves hibernate, but in Summer, He makes it bloom abundantly and protects it from every disease. This is you. Remember also that every polluted body of water is purified by the stream gushing from the rock in the East, a clean, fast-running river. Who is like this river? Those whom God grants success and honor. They’re not ruled by the poisonous North wind and its advancing evil.

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Turn to God. Be confident that He has touched you. Continue to give Him the burnt offerings of your heart’s openness. Sigh, and know He hears you. . . . Yes, the Living Eye watches over you. He wants you to live eternally.

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Read more.

For reflection:

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FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Wow, I really love this week’s favorites. Sometimes, the web is on fire. I hope you enjoy these articles and podcasts on Christian spirituality, writing, and creativity. If you have a minute, find me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) or Facebook and let me know which favorite spoke to you the most.

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Stony Cliffs & Rock Badgers: Meditations on The Rule of Saint Benedict via Father SJMC (a wonderful lectio divina reflection on St. Benedict’s rule)

Who Are You? Learn to Locate the Authentic Source of Your Identity via Christopher L. Heuertz (read an excerpt from Chris’s new book, The Sacred Enneagram)

The Least of Us via Sarah Arthur (what do you do with the realization that you can’t fix the world?)

Writing As Pilgrimage via Jennifer Ochstein (I totally get the writing-pilgrimage connection; do you?)

Martha Graham on the Hidden Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others via James Clear (creatives, do you play the comparison game or have trouble judging your own work? You need to read this)

How a Book Really Gets Made via Anne Bogel (listen to Anne talk about the process of creating a book and get a behind-the-scenes look at her new book, Reading People)

Why Being A Perfectionist Wrecks Our Creativity (& How To Avoid It) via James Prescott (on grappling with the hard truth that no piece of writing will ever be perfect)

Tweet of the Week: