WEEKLY PRAYER

A prayer from e. e. cummings:

i thank you God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Source

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 highlights: learning to sniff, laugh, walk, stare into space, and network…among other things.

Be blessed!

*****

How silence stopped terrifying me, and started healing me via Anna O’Neil (letting silence heal us of our deepest wounds)

His Fresh Mercy via Ray Hollenbach (sniffing out God’s new mercies each day)

The Medicine Of Laughter via Lee Blum (when freedom feels like belly laughter!)

The Poetry of Liturgy via W. David O. Taylor (poetry as a way of accessing the heart of a people)

Writers Who Walk via Jane Davis (read excerpts from writers for whom walking is part of the creative process)

On Networking: Live-Blogging Jane Friedman’s _The Business of Being a Writer_ via Yi Shun Lai (good thoughts on what networking for writers really means)

*****

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FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome back to Friday Favorites after a hiatus of a couple weeks. I was at the Festival of Faith and Writing one week, and last week had some computer problems (I’m sure you know what that’s like . . .). I’m glad to be back and bringing you some of my favorite finds related to prayer, writing, and being and living well.

Many of today’s Friday Favorites feature writers I met for the first time at the Festival of Faith and Writing a couple weeks ago. It was wonderful to meet these writers in person, and it’s a joy to show you their work; I know that you’ll be blessed by these pieces.

*****

Saying Yes and Staying Humble: Lesson 1 from the Festival of Faith and Writing via Amanda Cleary Eastep (a report from the Festival about humility, God, gifts, and saying yes to books and writing)

Call for Creative Communion via Sister Julia Walsh (on worshiping, creating, and receiving in vulnerability and community)

In April (poem) via Prasanta Verma (a poem of awakening)

Dread Leads You Deeper via Tara Owens (Tara shares an excerpt from a wonderful new book, Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God Through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints, by Christiana Peterson)

Still Life via Michael Wright (I recommend this enriching newsletter about art, poetry, and life)

Speak Easy via Patricia Raybon (biblical counsel on keeping our words loving and short)

Being is the Greatest Act of Resistance via Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros (in the work of justice and peacemaking, we remain faithful to the call on our lives)

Write Your Own Obituary via Ann Kroeker (Ann suggests a unique exercise for creative writing and for life)

*****

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. Even a gift of $5 goes a long way to sustaining our mission to provide contemplative prayer resources for our readers.

Learn how your support can keep this website running: Support Us Today

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: ST. AUGUSTINE AND DENISE LEVERTOV

Last week, I posted on a passage from St. Augustine’s Confessions in which Augustine longs for God to come into the house of his soul. A little home expansion is necessary, and this marks the beginning of a mystical journey–a journey inward to meet, love, and be filled by God.

Recently I found a poem by Denise Levertov (1923-1997), an American poet, which riffs on this passage from the Confessions. It’s a wonderful tribute to Augustine that sheds light on the spiritual restoration for which the saint yearns.

Take a moment to relish Levertov’s poem:

***

FOR THE ASKING

‘You would not seek Me if you did not already possess Me.’

-Pascal

 

Augustine said his soul
was a house so cramped
God could barely squeeze in.
Knock down the mean partitions,
he prayed, so You may enter!
Raise the oppressive ceilings!

Augustine’s soul
didn’t become a mansion large enough
to welcome, along with God, the women he’d loved,
except for his mother (though one, perhaps,
his son’s mother, did remain to inhabit
a small dark room). God, therefore
would never have felt
fully at home as his guest.

Nevertheless,
it’s clear desire
fulfilled itself in the asking, revealing prayer’s
dynamic action, that scoops out channels
like water on stone, or builds like layers
of grainy sediment steadily
forming sandstone. The walls, with each thought,
each feeling, each word he set down,
expanded, unnoticed; the roof
rose, and a skylight opened.

***

In the last stanza of the poem, we see another theme shared by many mystics, such as Julian of Norwich–the idea of finding God in the seeking; being answered in the asking. Like Levertov, Julian of Norwich often said that seeking God is the same as finding God. But back to the matter at hand.

As I think about my own formation, about what I need to get my journey started (and in many ways it begins anew each day), I like to read Augustine and Levertov together. Levertov’s poem helps me receive Augustine’s words and provides a model for how I might converse with him.

Augustine and Levertov, a Church Father and an American poet, help me to believe that soul-expansion is possible. It starts with nothing more than a cry to God. May this spiritual expansion be mine and yours today–may a skylight open in the house of our soul.

Source

HOLY SATURDAY’S WORK: A POEM BY KELLY CHRIPCZUK

Today is Good Friday. Instead of posting our usual Friday Favorites, I thought it would be more appropriate to give us a beautiful piece on which to reflect as we head into Easter weekend.

So, today, I’d like to share a poem by Kelly Chripczuk, an amazing writer and a friend of The Contemplative Writer. Her poem, entitled “Holy Saturday’s Work,” is from her new book, Between Heaven and Earth. I hope that you’ll savor Kelly’s words today and especially tomorrow as you wait in the already-but-not-yet of Holy Saturday.

*****

Holy Saturday’s Work

(for that which is already, but not yet)

Go outside and kneel
beside still-sleeping beds.
Strip away all that’s dead;
the leaves, brown and curled,
and the dry, empty stems
of last year’s flowers.
Straighten, one-by-one,
the scallop-edged bricks
that have stood, leaning,
all year-long like forgotten
gravestones. Roll the giant
flowerpot aside and wonder
at the sound of stone
scraping against stone.

*****

Kelly Chripczuk is a writer, speaker, and spiritual director who lives on a small farm in Central PA. Read more and sign up for her monthly email reflections at www.thiscontemplativelife.org.

Kelly's book
Kelly’s new book of poems, Between Heaven and Earth, is available here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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, we’re exploring posts and podcasts on Lent, writing, and #WOCwithpens. Do you have an article/post to recommend? Please let me know! Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

*****

There is a Burning Bush Inside of Me via Tasha Burgoyne (a powerful post on embracing our weakness with God’s power) #WOCwithpens

Walking in the Jesus Way: A Lenten Journey via Diana Trautwein (Scripture and poetry each day for Lent)

3 Companions for the Wilderness via Lisa Colon DeLay and Lisa Deam (are you in the wilderness this Lent? Listen to Lisa DeLay and I talk about the desert fathers and two medieval mystics who can guide our journey)

Love Matters More Than Logic or Experience (Lectio Divina Diligens for the Third Sunday of Lent) via Carl McColman (Carl takes us through a lectio divina exercise based on a Scripture reading)

What keeps the darkness via Glynn Young (a poem after 2 Corinthians 12)

The Case for Writing in Coffee Shops: Why Malcolm Gladwell Does It, and You Should Too via Open Culture (does a coffee shop offer just the right kind of distraction for writing? Where do you write best?)

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, my weekly round-up of great finds on the web. We are in the second week of Lent, so today we have some posts and a podcast to help us in this season. How are you keeping Lent this year?

I also wanted to share some wonderful posts by #WOCwithpens, and an exploration of how we can learn to ask questions and receive God with our hands open.

Enjoy, and be blessed.

*****

Breathe . . . via Colletta Rhoads (wow, I love this beautiful poem!) #WOCwithpens

Interview with Piper Huguley via Gena Thomas (author Piper Huguley talks about POC in publishing and gives advice for writers) #WOCwithpens

I am 200 Percent. I am Chinese-American. via Kaitlin Ho Givens (trusting the Creator that he made us exactly the way he wants us to be) #WOCwithpens

Simple Advice for Christians: Trust Your Instincts via Ed Cyzewski (if you have questions about the “Christian machine,” you’re not crazy . . . or alone)

Meditation Monday — Spiritual Practices for Lent via Christine Sine (some disciplines for the season)

The Examen with Father James Martin, S. J.: The Second Week of Lent (this podcast leads us through a traditional Jesuit prayer)

When My Heart is Heavy, and the Days are Hard via April Yamasaki (a really unique way to meditate on Psalm 23, with a writing prompt that’s great for Lent)

 

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, I found such a wonderful variety of posts: some for Lent, some celebrating #WOCwithpens (“women of color with pens”), and a poem about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Also, writing — we can’t forget to look at our writing.
I hope you’ll be blessed by these posts, as I was.

*****

Still {For the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting} via Christian Hubbard (a poetic response to the tragedy in Florida)

Citizens of Heaven {Guest post by Alice William} via Alice William and Kate Motaung (“Heavenly citizenship breaks barriers and unites us all in Christ.”) #WOCwithpens

Watching Black Panther With God via Patricia Raybon (a powerful reflection: “When the movie stopped…my question still remained: Who does GOD say that I am?”) #WOCwithpens

With a Puff via Mihee Kim-Kort (a beautiful audio Lenten reflection) #WOCwithpens

I’m Not Fine via Abby Norman (on giving up self-sufficiency for Lent)

Field Notes on Praying the Hours via Traci Rhoades (starting a new practice for Lent)

Seven Tips for Getting Started With the Divine Office via Carl McColman (another post on getting started with this worthwhile practice)

4 Lies That Are Keeping You From Writing a Book via David Safford (read this post and gain commitment and confidence; there’s even a practice at the end)

 

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites, where each week I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. Today, I especially want to share some posts to help us begin our journey through Lent. And I’m continuing to highlight the talented writing of #WOCwithpens (“women of color with pens”).

Dig deep, and may God bless you as you journey through the Lenten season.

*****

Was Blind, But Now I See: My Sankofa Story via Nilwona Nowlin (a journey to Ghana and the hard work of reconciliation)

Caught Between Two Languages: Unlocking discoveries to God and family via (writing as discovery, language as distance)

The Making (A Lenten Poem) via Prasanta Verma (read this beautiful poem for Lent)

On Lent and What To Do About It via Tina Osterhouse (check out this list of resources for Lent, including a devotional to which Tina contributed)

The Wilderness Is Where Christians Go to (Eventually) Move Forward via Ed Cyzewski (a step that uncertain evangelicals can take, which happens to coincide well with the season of Lent; while you’re there, take a look at Ed’s new book)

Midlife Is Like Lent via Michelle Van Loon (on a season of life that carries with it a reminder that we are dust)

Dani Shapiro On the Hard Art of Balancing Writing and Social Media via Dani Shapiro (on sorting out the quiet from the noise…good for writers…good for Lent…warning: spicy language in this post)

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Welcome to Friday Favorites! This week, FF is participating in #WOCwithpens, an effort dedicated to recognizing and highlighting the talented faith-based writing of women of color from around the web. Read more about #WOCwithpens here and join in!

This week’s posts will bless you. They include poetry, essays, and a list of voices to watch for in 2018. Enjoy!

*****

18 People of Color to Follow in 2018 via Ruthie Johnson (check out this list of great voices that tell us what faith looks like in various communities of color)

Healing From Race-Based Trauma via Sheila Wise Rowe (read this powerful essay in the Redbud Post on soul-care for the journey of healing from race-based traumatic stress; while you’re there, check out the other articles in this month’s Redbud Post on “the holiness of diversity”)

Signs via Natasha Oladokun (an amazing poem published in Image Journal and based on1 Samuel 3:1)

I Am Loved: Nikki Giovanni’s Poems for Kids, Selected and Illustrated by Beloved 94-Year-Old Artist Ashley Bryan via Brain Pickings (a set of Giovanni’s poems brought to life by the vibrant artwork of Ashley Bryan)

How Amazing is Grace via Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros (a beautiful poem on . . . amazing grace!)

Walking When Stuck, Staying When Free via Dorcas Cheng-Tozun (how God points us toward pathways out of even the toughest of stalemates)