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, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

Seasons of the Soul via Adam McHugh

How Gratitude Made Ann Voskamp a Contemplative Activist

Tips for Handling a Toxic Co-Worker (The contemplative response? compassion)

Thoughts on Contemplative SilenceThoughts on Contemplative Silence

Sleepy Wasps and Ecclesiastes via Tanya Marlow

10 Predictions for the Days After November 8 (Deep breaths folks…)

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

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Scripture Meditation: Known and Loved

“But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:7, NRSV

God is intimately acquainted with us, knowing our desires, faults, and needs as well as mental, physical, and spiritual identities. We are known deeply and intimately by our creator, and whether that sounds like good news or bad news for you, Jesus assures us that we are deeply valued by God.

Our creator has been deeply invested in our every detail. How could he stop caring for us?

We can talk ourselves out of his love. We can argue that we have sinned too much, become too complacent, and not done enough for God.

When God sees you, he sees a beloved creation that is known from head to toe. You are worthy of love and restoration simply because he is intimately invested in who you are as your creator.

 

For Reflection

meditation-for-october-25

 

Saturday Prayer

Today’s prayer is from the Divine Hours:

“Almighty and everlasting God, in Christ you have revealed your glory among the nations: Preserve the works of your mercy, that your Church throughout the world may persevere with steadfast faith in the confession of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

Read more in The Divine Hours.

Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

everything-belongs-rohrWeek Three: Real Freedom… from Ourselves…

 

What gets in the way of our freedom? Most of the time, we do!

In Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes about the way the ego, our desire to uphold our self images, and the ways that we judge others all can lead us away from our true selves, union with God, and union with others.

This week’s quotes include the following:

 

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“When we live out of the ego, we impose our demands on reality. But when we live in God’s presence, we await reality’s demands on us. “

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“As long as we are comparing and differentiating from the other, we can’t love the other. We judge it.”

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“Most don’t know how to surrender to God. How can we surrender unless we believe there is someone trustworthy out there to surrender to?”

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“We don’t live in our bodies where we can feel our own feelings and trust our own experience. Instead, through commercials and advertisements and jingles we live in images and appearances.”

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“I’ve seen far too many activists who are not the answer. Their head answer is largely correct but the energy, the style, and the soul are not.”

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Read more…

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-19

Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

everything-belongs-rohrWeek Two: Replacing Illusion with Reality

In his book Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr writes about the great surrender that must take place before we can find God and our true selves in prayer.

He is quick to note that God is already present. In fact, we cannot escape God’s presence but we can obscure it or overlook it. Our illusions about ourselves or about God can get in the way.

Therefore the great goal of every spiritual practice is to help us move past our illusions, distractions, and oversimplified answers so that we can be truly present for God.

 

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“We have no real access to who we really are except in God. Only when we rest in God can we find the safety, the spaciousness, and the scary freedom to be who we are, all that we are, more than we are, and less than we are. Only when we live and see through God can ‘everything belong.’ All other systems exclude, expel, punish, and protect to find identity for their members in ideological perfection or some kind of ‘purity.’”

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“We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness. Little do we realize that God is maintaining us in every breath we take.”

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“All spiritual disciplines have one purpose: to get rid of illusions so we can be present.”

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“When we look at the questions, we look for the opening to transformation. Fixing something doesn’t usually transform us. We try to change events in order to avoid changing ourselves. We must learn to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning. That is the path, the perilous dark path of true prayer.”

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“When we avoid darkness, we avoid tension, spiritual creativity, and finally transformation. We avoid God, who works in the darkness—where we are not in control! Maybe that is the secret: relinquishing control.”

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Read more in Everything Belongs

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-10

Book of the Month: Everything Belongs

Week One: Surrender to God’s Mercy

everything-belongs-rohrIf everything belongs in our contemplative practice, then we must give up the charade of denial or wearing a mask to hide our flaws and pain. Our only hope will be completely surrendering to God’s mercy.

Once we face our pain, struggles, and failures, we remove ourselves from religious systems that gain their power from setting moral standards that cannot be violated by their members or call for simplistic answers. This is why those who have faced their own dark sides and found God’s mercy are so able to share mercy with others.

This month we’ll look at Richard Rohr’s book Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, with quotes this week about the process of exposing and moving beyond the obstacles that keep us from intimacy with God:

 

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“In God’s reign ‘everything belongs,’ even the broken and poor parts. Until we have admitted this in our own soul, we will usually perpetuate expelling systems in the outer world of politics and class. Dualistic thinking begins in the soul and moves to the mind and eventually moves to the streets. True prayer, however, nips the lie in the bud. It is usually experienced as tears, surrender, or forgiveness.”

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“In terms of soul work, we dare not get rid of the pain before we have learned what it has to teach us.”

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“We do not find our own center; it finds us… We do not think ourselves into new ways of living. We live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”

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“It seems that we Christians have been worshipping Jesus’ journey instead of doing his journey.”

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“It is much easier to belong to a group than it is to know that you belong to God. Those who firm up their own edges and identity too quickly without finding their center in God and in themselves will normally be the enemies of ecumenism, forgiveness, vulnerability, and basic human dialogue.”

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Read more in Everything Belongs

 

For Reflection

featured-book-october-3

Featured Article: What Is the True Cost of Technology?

Former blogger Andrew Sullivan writes in New York Magazine about the consequences of our society’s addiction to social media, the internet, and technology. He doesn’t mince words, and for the most part, I think he’s right on target.

This article is a long read, but I’ve picked out a few quotes to consider before you go on to read the rest:

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Yes, online and automated life is more efficient, it makes more economic sense, it ends monotony and “wasted” time in the achievement of practical goals. But it denies us the deep satisfaction and pride of workmanship that comes with accomplishing daily tasks well, a denial perhaps felt most acutely by those for whom such tasks are also a livelihood — and an identity.

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Has our enslavement to dopamine — to the instant hits of validation that come with a well-crafted tweet or Snapchat streak — made us happier? I suspect it has simply made us less unhappy, or rather less aware of our unhappiness, and that our phones are merely new and powerful antidepressants of a non-pharmaceutical variety.

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If the churches came to understand that the greatest threat to faith today is not hedonism but distraction, perhaps they might begin to appeal anew to a frazzled digital generation. Christian leaders seem to think that they need more distraction to counter the distraction. Their services have degenerated into emotional spasms, their spaces drowned with light and noise and locked shut throughout the day, when their darkness and silence might actually draw those whose minds and souls have grown web-weary. But the mysticism of Catholic meditation — of the Rosary, of Benediction, or simple contemplative prayer — is a tradition in search of rediscovery. The monasteries — opened up to more lay visitors — could try to answer to the same needs that the booming yoga movement has increasingly met.

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Read the rest here.

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Scripture Meditation: The Fear of the Lord and Contemplative Prayer

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; those who act accordingly have a good understanding; his praise endures forever.” 
Psalm 111:10

While Jesus tells us to not be afraid, and Paul says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, the Psalms have a way of putting us in our place. Those who are wise rightly fear the Lord, even if God does not come to us with thunder and fire.

The gentleness and meekness of Jesus is much like the same approach of Moses, who veiled his face after seeing God’s glory. God does not seek our worship or reverence through intimidation, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fear the holiness and power of God.

A healthy “fear” of the Lord keeps us humble and helps us see God’s love and mercy with greater clarity and gratitude.

 

For Reflection

meditation-for-september-27

 

Saturday Prayer

Grant that I, Lord, may not be anxious about earthly things, but love things heavenly; and even now, while I am placed among things that are passing away, hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Source: The Divine Hours

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, then I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@edcyzewski) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

I Used to Be a Human Being (A reflection on our addiction to information)

Save Your Soul: Stop Writing (A blogger questions the wisdom of a popular author and, regardless of whether you agrees, offers a helpful reflection for us to consider)

Can the Church Rescue Us from our Smartphones? (I could fill a book with all of my disagreements with Russell Moore, but this is a timely reflection)

The Word Changing Magic of Tidying Up Your Writing

 

Keep the Contemplative Writer Sustainable

The Contemplative writer is ad-free and never shares sponsored content, but it is a lot of work to maintain. We rely on affiliate links from the books we share and the generous donations of our readers. An automated monthly gift as low as $1 per month or a one-time gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support, through a one-time gift or small monthly gifts can keep this website running: Support Us Today