No Cause for Celebration: Question Five of Ten

   Taking The Dave Test during the Holidays                                    Question Five: “Can I give up trading in magic and superstition?”                                             Introduction to the seriesMuch of the last year was thread through with considerable loss.  My brother, Dave, battled a fatal brain cancer for nearly eight years and he died this last January as the result of a fall that was due in large part to his disease.  He would have been 58 years old in O … [Read more...]

The Unspoken Prayer

unspokenprayer

Formulas and language are so much at the forefront of our conversation about prayer, that the mystery of a conversation with the living God is all but lost.  Add our preoccupation with intercession and petition and the mystery disappears completely.  God has become like a stranger --- accosted on the sidewalk --- forced into our homes without prelude or introduction, without relationship or experience, gang-pressed into service, meeting our needs.Don’t get me wrong.I am not opposed to pra … [Read more...]

True Silence

SilenceImage

 Silence,true silenceIs not just about the absence of sound. That, in fact, is hard,If not impossibleTo attain. It is about the silence of the heart,A laying to rest,Of self absorptionAnd justification --- Of maliceAnd hubris ---Of the constant chatterWe suppose is grand, Framing our claimsTo virtue,Independence,Superiority,And control. It is a silenceThat … [Read more...]

Life Prayers

Life Prayer

In our search for spiritual direction we often look for the exceptional and the extraordinary.  That is understandable, particularly in an increasingly materialistic world where what is most real is what we can sense --- see, feel, hear, touch, and smell.  It is also understandable, given our tendency to think of that world as a world devoid of God’s presence.Far too often we assume that if God does exist, God likely lurks just beyond the last material reality that we have discovered and und … [Read more...]

The Embodiment of Prayer: Joe Cajero

JoeCojera.Embodiment

Sculptor Joe Cajero was raised on the Jemez pueblo in New Mexico and his work is informed by his Pueblo religion.  Here is how he describes his work, which he calls “The Embodiment of Prayer”: My creative energy is often spiritual in nature.  Each of my sculptures invariably represents some aspect of praise and appreciation for life’s beauty, ebb and flow.  “The Embodiment of Prayer” is a created image that specifically captures what is a reflection of my spirituality.  Since my Pueblo religion … [Read more...]

Be a Prayer

PrayerImage

Should we say our prayers or read them?Some fairly strong opinions on the subject have driven people one direction or the other in their search for a place to worship.  Baptists will extol the virtues of extemporaneous prayers.  Catholics will celebrate the written prayers of the church and rely on them with regularity.  Other denominations are scattered across the spectrum in between.People can also be fairly passionate about their commitments.  For some Episcopalians the Bible is just T … [Read more...]

Be careful what you pray for

prayer

A student of mine drew my attention to this story from Anthony Bloom’s Beginning to Pray:The lives of the saints are enlightening in this respect, and in the life of St. Philip Neri just such an occasion is described. He was an irascible man who quarreled easily and had violent outbursts of anger and of course endured violent outbursts from his brothers. One day he felt that it could not go on. Whether it was virtue or whether he could no longer endure his brothers his Vita does not tell us. T … [Read more...]


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