January 26 2019, Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr

Today we read Psalm 42:

As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you , O God. My soul thirst for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God? My tears have been my food day and night , while people say to me continually, “Where is your God?” These things I remember, as I pour out my soul :how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down , O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him , my help and my God. My soul is cast down within me ; therefore I remember you from the land of Jordan and of Hermon, from Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep at the thunder of your cataracts; all your waves and your billows have gone over me. By day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I say to God, my rock, Why have you forgotten me? Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses me? As with a deadly wound in my body. my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me continually , “Where is your God?” Why are you cast down , O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I Shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Why are you cast down, O my soul and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God: for I shall again praise him , my help and my God. This is repeated twice within this psalm so it is clear that it is a message that the writer of the psalm wanted to get across, that even though he was going a hard time, and his enemies were taunting him saying “where is your God now?” he was not going to give up faith He was reminding his soul, his inner spirit , his True self to hang in there and keep on believing and to maintain hope in God; knowing that this too shall pass and that one day he would be praising God once again.

When times are hard , and it looks as if God has left you on your own remind yourself , by telling someone what God has done for you, and about the mercy you have been shown.

January 25, 2019 Feast of the conversion of Saint Paul

I have not written here in twenty days, simple fact is two days after my last post I started going to Graduate school online, my anxiety kicked in and I did not make the time to write in here. I guess that is what you get when you follow a blog written by a bi-polar, graduate student monastic in a dispersed order. I will do my best to be here everyday, except when I am not, and to let you know beforehand if possible when I will not be here. I am going to try something new starting today and me a bit more scripture centered.

The Psalm for today, Psalm 67, says:

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your way may be known upon earth , your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you , O God; let all the peoples praise you. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy. for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth . Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you . The earth has yielded its increase; God; our God has blessed us. May God continue to bless us; let all the ends of the earth revere him.

Today being the feast of the conversion of Saint Paul, we read in the book of acts ( Acts. 26:9-21) about his experience on the road to Damascus, a powerful conversion story to say the least. In verse 16 we read “But get up on your own feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you to serve and testify to the things in which you have seen me and to those in in which I will appear to you.

Here we have Jesus, another manifestation, of the light of God making himself known to Paul, in the verse fifteen , saying “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting”. Making it clear to Paul , that he was not just persecuting the followers of Jesus , but Jesus himself, who lived within them.

Paul right then and there had to make the choice to start to empty himself of his old ideas of what the Jesus movement was all about, so he could grow into being the means by which the kingdom of God has yielded its increase as mentioned in todays psalm.

We, as hard as it is to admit , have our moments when we are more like Saul the zealot, than like the apostle Paul; what do we need to empty ourselves of in order to increase the kingdom of God?

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January 5, 2019 the twelfth day of Christmas

The Christmas season is now over, The wise ones are soon to arrive at the stable to worship the new born king. And Mary is pondering all this in her heart. Mary has had a lot to ponder since the beginning of Advent and so have we.

Mary pondered Gabriel’s announcement; Joseph’s generosity; the song of the angels and the visit of the shepherds.

We have pondered what Mary’s humble reply means to us today; The risk Joseph took by listening to the angel; the response of the shepherds that Holy Night.

How will you keep Mary’s pondering alive throughout the year?

January 4, the Eleventh day of Christmas

I have been sitting here, not feeling well, and trying to figure out what it is that I am supposed to say today , do I write about the fact that I cannot think about anything to write about? no that is not very inspirational, do I go back to bed and do this later today, I know better than to think that will happen, so I end up turning to my favorite meditation book , which I read from hours ago , and this is what it says at the top of the page.

“There is no method or discipline or system of any kind that can ever command the spirit to be present.” ~ Tom Sampon

and the meditation ends with this prayer; Today , I pray that I will be open to receive the spirit on its own terms. So I stopped, I prayed, I opened my eyes and right there in front of me was another meditation book opened to a page titled ” WHERE IS GOD?” I read it and now I have something to say

When I think I need to be in control, when I need to write something here . I am acting as if God is ONLY IN ME. that I have control over god , like I have control over when I eat , sleep, write, etc. whereas if I feel like I am being judged like that something I write here has to be inspiring to everyone. Then my perception of God is that he is only above me.

But when I can relax into God’s love I can see that She is everywhere, within, above, below, beside,; it is then that She becomes my guide, my companion, my counsellor, my friend offering me support when I need it.

Where is god for you?

January 3, The Tenth day of Christmas

On this the tenth day of Christmas, let us contemplate two words that we are given through the Prophet Isaiah , and again in the song “Go Tell it on the Mountain” another personal favorite of mine.

The First word I want to bring to your attention is “Tell!” speak out! Let the good news of the birth of the Christ child be known! Share the story of how you came to realize that the Christ came to live within you, Share what difference did it make in the way you lived your life? if any? In the way you treated others? if any? How does knowing that the Christ dwells within you affect your decision making process? Speak out for justice and peace!

The second word is “Go” leave your comfort zone, invest your bodies, to act truth to power wherever power serves injustice. Do justice, do love, do mercy, walk the path of the Christ.

Are you using your tongue and your feet to spread the good news?

January 2, The Ninth day of Christmas

This Christmas season is coming to a close, the three wise men are getting close to the manger, and today I found my nativity set. I thought I had lost it, actually I thought I had accidently tossed it out when I was getting rid of a bunch of clothes that I had gotten to small for this past year; I have a tendency towards doing stuff like that, anyway, there I was looking for I cant remember what, and my nativity set literally hit me on the head ( it is very small, made of olive wood from the land that my tradition calls Holy, and kept in a Tupperware container in my closet.) For a moment I thought to myself “its to late to put it up now.” I put it up because the season is not over; I just had to modify my usual tradition with it. What is my point here?

My point here is that it is never to late. The joy and peace of the season is there to be experienced throughout the year, so if you , for one reason or another do not feel it during the twelve days do not worry. You can feel it at any time. The Birth of the Christ is actually something that should be celebrated in our hearts and lives all year round, heck if it helps you, you could even keep your nativity set up all year, if people ask about it just tell them it reminds you to celebrate Christ birth every day.

In what ways do you celebrate the birth of Christ day by day ?

January 1, The eighth day of Christmas

As we celebrate the beginning of a calendar year, many are thinking that the holiday season is behind them, but according to the church calendar we have a ways to go still. In my favorite Christmas carol we sing “In the Bleak Mid-winter.” Setting aside, for musical purposes the fact that winter has only just begun. We are not really singing about the season anyway, we are singing about the winter in our hearts. The chill of anxiety, the freeze of fear, the iciness of hate, the frigidness of violence and exclusivity. Each of these cause discontent and this discontent then causes us to retreat into our comfort zones of the safe and familiar.

Here where I live it is bitter cold today, a reminder of what our hearts can be like in the bleakness of the winter of our discontent. But thankfully the Christ Child came powerfully into that bleakness and brought us warmth were there was the chill of anxiety, melted away our need to hate, thawing us from our fears, and breaking the frozen violence among us so that our winter of discontent may end.

At the end of the carol we offer the Christ child our heart, what do you need to offer up to Christ in order to end your winter of discontent?