FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! We hope this week’s roundup will give you an opportunity to reflect on God’s goodness and our life of faith.

Blessings,

Lisa and Prasanta

***

Makoto Fujimura Sings with God, Carries His Cross, and Awaits the New Creation via Joel Clarkson (the renowned Christian artist’s insights on faith and creativity)

Catherine of Siena to Her Confessor via Jane Greer (a poem based on the life and letters of Catherine of Siena)

As the world reopens post-pandemic, how will we find our way in it? via Stephanie Paulsell (finding a guide in St. Theresa of Avila)

Plum Harvest via Laura Cerbus (what does it mean to receive a gift we haven’t chosen?)

The Year of Madeleine via Haley Stewart (motherhood and writing as acts of co-creation)

The Unmaking of Our Biblical Womanhood via Michelle Van Loon (“what if we finally stood together, united by our belief in Jesus instead of divided by arguments over power and authority?”)


WEEKLY PRAYER: JULIAN OF NORWICH

The English mystic Julian of Norwich (1342 – c. 1416) is remembered on May 8 in the Anglican, Episcopalian, and Lutheran churches and on May 13 in the Catholic Church.

This week, let’s pray a beautiful prayer attributed to her.

***

In you, Father all-mighty, we have our preservation and our bliss.
In you, Christ, we have our restoring and our saving.
You are our mother, brother, and Savior.
In you, our Lord the Holy Spirit, is marvelous and plenteous grace.
You are our clothing; for love you wrap us and embrace us.
You are our maker, our lover, our keeper.
Teach us to believe that by your grace all shall be well, and all shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well. Amen.

Source


FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week we have a beautiful roundup of posts we hope will help you on your quest for peace, silence, resilience, and faith.

Blessings,

Lisa and Prasanta

***

Hollowed via Emily Polis Gibson (a poem about keeping vigil)

Outward Noise; Inward Silence via J. Brent Bill (the silence that feeds our spirits says, “Don’t just do something, sit there”)

We have to be willing to begin again via Kathleen Norris (when you experience failure in writing, in faith, and in life itself)

The Final (or Possibly Second-to-Last) Frontier via Amanda Cleary Eastep (on facing change and crossing the next threshold)

A Law of Deceleration: How I dumped the internet and learned to love technology agai via Paul McDonnold (on living a life of greater peace and stillness)

The Hobbit! via Malcom Guite (indulge in some comfort reading–listen to poet Malcom Guite reminisce and read aloud from The Hobbit)


WEEKLY PRAYER: ST. ANSELM OF CANTERBURY

This week’s prayer is from St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033 – 1109), a Benedictine monk, abbot, philosopher, and theologian. St. Anselm’s Feast Day is this Wednesday, April 21.

***

O my God, teach my heart where and how to seek You,
where and how to find You.
You are my God and You are my all and I have never seen You.
You have made me and remade me,
You have bestowed on me all the good things I possess,
Still I do not know You.
I have not yet done that for which I was made.
Teach me to seek You.
I cannot seek You unless You teach me
or find You unless You show Yourself to me.
Let me seek You in my desire,
let me desire You in my seeking.
Let me find You by loving You,
let me love You when I find You.

Amen

Source

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome back to Friday Favorites! We hope this Friday finds you enjoying the birth of spring and clinging to the promise of resurrection in all things. Enjoy these posts and podcasts as part of your reading and reflection time.

With love,

Lisa and Prasanta

***

Pietà via Matt Schultz (a poem)

Thank God for the Poets via Margaret Renkl (poetry reminds us that life is our birthright…read this opinion piece for the many links to wonderful poems)

Bray & Keane: A Primer on The Book of Common Prayer via The Laymen’s Lounge (a podcast episode providing an introduction, overview, and step-by-step guide)

Making Space for Each Other’s Grief via Michelle Reyes (grief can bind us together if we resist the urge to judge how others grieve)

A Specific Love via Courtney Ellis (finding love–and God’s love–in the small and specific)

How Does an Introvert Emerge from a Pandemic? via Afton Rorvik (an introvert’s guide to venturing out once again)


Restless in Spring by Prasanta Verma

In a Midwest spring, the sky hangs low and gray, with muted sunshine. The grass transitions slowly to a bright green when the snow finally recedes.

April is a season of change, a transition from one extreme to another, in this part of the country. Winter winds blast us from the north, and drenching seasonal rains fall during this in-between time. While spring in the south is already dotted with lacy flowering trees, spring is still sprouting its legs in the colder Midwest.

I find the same is true for my life: it is constantly in the midst of one change or another. I discover something new emerging, changing, transitioning, growing, and dying—sometimes, all at once. There is always something to remember, and something to forget, something to cry about, something to laugh about, something buried, and something resurrected.

New tomato and lettuce seeds are sprouting in paper cups, sitting in front of a window. They can’t be transplanted outdoors until after Memorial Day, when a cold freeze won’t endanger the seedlings.

One of my kids will be headed to college, and I watch a different kind of growth and flourishing. I see an image of a branch with leaves and blossoms, and somehow I feel this represents my children. They are growing and branching away, soon to be off on their own, with hopes and future dreams tucked away and taking root.

I want to remember what is good and true and what is useful to remember, and forget what needs to be forgotten. I can’t seem to throw off memories as far as the east is from the west, though, but thankfully, God can take care of the parts that I can’t. Each day holds enough dirt of its own—the good and bad kind—soil which is nourishing and warm, and the dirt of something broken and shattered.

April tussles between winter and spring, a restless season, like a tug-of-war (do kids nowadays even know what tug-of-war is?) Perhaps it is just as well. It is another change.

I feel more changes coming on. I dig my heels deeper in the ground, cognizant of the soil around me. During this past year, with all the vagueness and uncertainty, I’ve experienced long stretches of restlessness.

“God, our hearts are restless ‘til they find their rest in you.” – Augustine

Where has my heart been? I know it is prone to wander. Perhaps this is part of the secret for restlessness?

Something new is growing. A new side of my voice, just as spring breaks forth unexpectedly out this frozen tundra. It was always there, this voice, but maybe it was the wrong season before, and maybe now the time has come.

Perhaps something new is growing in your life, too. Spring is like that—reminding of newness and sprouting hope where tears have fallen. It may sound trite and cliché, but I always look forward to learning this lesson anew each year. I need these reminders that Someone bigger than me is in charge of all that changes and all that stays the same. Hope blankets the world in a sea of green in this season, and it is exactly what my soul needs.

Let my teaching fall like rain
    and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
    like abundant rain on tender plants. – Deuteronomy 32:2

Photo credits: unsplash

***

Prasanta Verma, a poet, writer, and artist, is a member of The Contemplative Writer team. Born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills, Prasanta currently lives in the Midwest, is a mom of three, and also coaches high school debate. You can find her on Twitter @VermaPrasanta, Instagram prasanta_v_writer, and at her website: https://pathoftreasure.wordpress.com/.

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

On this Good Friday, we hope that these posts, which include music, art, and fiction, help you to reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice and the coming hope of resurrection.

Blessings,

Lisa and Prasanta

***

“Today You Shall Be With Me in Paradise” via The Lent Project, Biola University (a reflection for Good Friday involving Scripture, art, poetry, and music)

The Stations of the Cross via Pádraig Ó Tuama (a guided meditation for Good Friday)

Holy Week via Duane W. H. Arnold, Ph.D. (a brief history of Holy Week and looking ahead to hope)

Ubi Caritas via Joel Clarkson and Joy Clarkson (an arrangement of Ubi Caritas, which commemorates Jesus washing his disciples’ feet)

Gethsemane via Simon Parke (an extract from Parke’s novel, Gospel, Rumours of Love)

Easter Flight: Crucified in the Middle Seat via Leslie Leyland Fields (“This week, Friday, many of us will watch a man take that middle space for us, the place no one wants…”)


Lenten Prayer: Rachel Marie Stone

This week, we’re praying a prayer written by contemporary author Rachel Marie Stone. It looks ahead to the washing of the disciples’ feet at the Last Supper.

***

Lord God,
You sent your Son into the world,
And before his hour had come,
He washed his disciples’ feet.
You had given all things into his hands.
He had come from you, and was going to you,
And what did he do?
He knelt down on the floor,
And washed his friends’ feet.
He was their teacher and their Lord,
Yet he washed their feet.
Lord God, help us learn from his example;
Help us to do as he has done for us.
The world will know we are his disciples
If we love one another.
Strengthen our hands and our wills for love
And for service.
Keep before our eyes the image of your Son,
Who, being God, became a Servant for our sake.
All glory be to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever.
Amen.

Source


Lenten Prayer: St. Ephrem the Syrian

This week’s prayer comes from St. Ephrem the Syrian (c. 306 – 373), an Eastern Christian theologian and Doctor of the Church.

***

O Lord and Master of my life!

Take from me the spirit of sloth,
faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk.

But give rather the spirit of chastity,
humility, patience, and love to Thy servant.

Yea, Lord and King! Grant me to see my own errors
and not to judge my brother,
for Thou art blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

Source


Weekly Prayer: St. Augustine

On more than one occasion, Augustine spoke of the soul as a house — a place where God dwells, a place that is under construction for most of our life. I’ve always loved the beautiful prayer below, from the Confessions, and find it a good one for the season of Lent.

***

The house of my soul is too small for you to enter: make it more spacious by your coming. It lies in ruins: rebuild it. Some things are to be found there which will offend your gaze; I confess this to be so and know it well. But who will clean my house? To whom but yourself can I cry, “Cleanse me of my hidden sins, O Lord, and for those encurred through others, pardon your servant“? I believe, and so I will speak. You know everything, Lord. Have I not laid my own transgressions bare before you to my own condemnation, my God, and have not you forgiven the wickedness of my heart? I do not argue my case against you, for you are truth itself; nor do I wish to deceive myself, lest my iniquity be caught in its own lies. No, I do not argue the case with you, because if you, Lord, keep score of our iniquities, then who, Lord, can bear it?

Confessions Book I:6