Gathered Wisdom, Nov. 17

A weekly collection of inspiration and resources for the journey, gathered from websites, books, and pass-alongs that have been shared with us. From The Wisdom Years – Spirituality for the Last Third of Our Lives.

We must remind ourselves that, though our lives are small and our acts seem insignificant, we are generative elements of this universe, and we create meaning with each act that we perform or fail to perform.

— Kent Nerburn in Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace by Kent Nerburn

FROM Spirituality and Practice

Lamps of a heavenly wisdom

By Br. Sean Glenn, Society of St. John the Evangelist

As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. (Matt 25:5).

“Friends, I don’t think it is a stretch to say that we know this feeling of delay. In the midst of social division, pandemic, and so much more, it really does look like the bridegroom is delayed. It is easy to feel like the Kingdom is impossibly far off. We may fear that we have, like the foolish bridesmaids, forgotten to bring enough oil. The sun set hours ago, but the bridegroom still isn’t here. Do we have enough oil to keep our lamps burning much longer? With the psalmist we pray, ‘How long, O Lord?’ ” 

Read the entire essay

FROM Society of St. John the Evangelist

A Lesson Learned From an Old Lady’s Tears

By Crista Cloutier

“I drove to the Mediterranean Sea to look at the water. 
I drove to the Mediterranean Sea to dream.
Instead, I saw her.
Bent over from age, she moved ever so slowly placing one foot in front of the other. She seemed confused, frightened.”

Read this poignant poem

FROM The Working Artist

A Prayer for the Threshold

“The long interim threshold phase within initiation is the place where the reckoning and turmoil, the revelations and transformation happen. This can feel like a thrashing.  Who among us would dispute that?”

Read the essay.

FROM A Network for Grateful Living

Words into Flesh: Monastery Scribes IV

An online Advent Retreat from Monasteries of the Heart
November 30 – December 25.

The news IS extraordinary: “Emmanuel, God with us, is coming.” But how can we prepare for Christmas, for this miraculous moment that marks the birthing of God into each member of the human race? “I think poetry, music and art are the truest companions for our Advent journey of wonder and hope,” said Mary Lou Kownacki, who will facilitate this eRetreat.

During the four weeks of Advent, participants will receive a poem, a work of art, and a musical selection to reflect on, along with a writing prompt. The only requirement for the course is love of imagination, beauty, and a longing for the day when “in the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness…and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” 

FROM Monasteries of the Heart

What would Thomas Merton do in 2020?

An online retreat from Spirituality and Practice
November 22 through New Year’s Eve, December 31

“My Lord God,
I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.”

These are the opening words of Thomas Merton’s famous prayer that speaks of not knowing the future, the desire to please God, trust, and not being afraid.  Spirituality and Practice invites us to spend the last days of 2020 exploring other ways that the wisdom of Thomas Merton is relevant to our times. This Trappist monk, writer, civil rights activist, and peacemaker was a master of everyday spirituality, finding meaning and things to celebrate in everything he experienced. 

Participants will receive an email each day with a short passage from one of Merton’s books or journals along with a practice suggestion for bringing what he observes or recommends into life. The community will also post their responses to the readings and their experiences with the practices in an online Practice Circle.

For more information and to register.

FROM Spirituality and Practice

The Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address – Greetings to the Natural World 

The Thanksgiving Address (the Ohen:ton Karihwatehkwen) is the central prayer and invocation for the Haudenosaunee (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy or Six Nations — Mohawk, Oneida, Cayuga, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora). It reflects their relationship of giving thanks for life and the world around them. The Haudenosaunee open and close every social and religious meeting with the Thanksgiving Address.  

It is also said as a daily sunrise prayer, and is an ancient message of peace and appreciation of Mother Earth and her inhabitants. The children learn that, according to Native American tradition, people everywhere are embraced as family. Our diversity, like all wonders of Nature, is truly a gift for which we are thankful.

Read The Thanksgiving Address

FROM Dance for All People

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at

Gathered Wisdom is from The Wisdom Years, a ministry that invites older adults to deepening spirituality in the last third of their lives. If someone forwarded this to you, learn more about The Wisdom Years and subscribe to the site at

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