Moving on Through Forgiveness – A Lenten Study

Starts February 4, two weeks before Ash Wednesday.

An 8- week online Pre-Lent and Lenten study 

from The Wisdom Years

Feb 4 to March 25, 2021

Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 p.m.

Forgive and forget. We’ve been told that all our lives. And really, most of us would if we could. Yes, we know that resentment hurts us more than our enemies. But if forgetting must be part of our forgiveness, the task may be impossible, no matter how much we pray over it. 

Perhaps, remember and move on is better advice. Sometimes, we really were wronged; the offense was committed. Reconciliation may not be possible or even advisable. And sometimes we are the one who has committed the offense; how do we then move toward reconciliation? 

In this 8-week study we will consider forgiveness from the perspective of several writers who are known for their wisdom.  Each week we will read a different author, then practice little steps toward forgiveness throughout the week.

Each week will include

a reading on an aspect of forgiveness by a well-known spiritual writer

questions for reflection and discussion

a calendar of daily activities

small-group discussion by Zoom

Facilitators will be

Marjorie George – marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

Carla Pineda – carlaleedpineda@gmail.com

The Rev. Patricia Riggins – prriggins@satx.rr.com

To reserve your spot in the study or for questions, send an email to one of the facilitators. 

 

Gathered Wisdom, Jan. 12, 2021

Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good, not because it stands for a chance to succeed.

— Vaclav Havel in Lyrics for Re-Creation by James Conlon

Presiding Bishop Curry’s Word to the Church: Who Shall we Be?

From Episcopal News Service
Jan 8, 2021

“I am a follower of Jesus of Nazareth,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, two days after the siege of the U. S. Capitol, “because I believe that his way of love and his way of life is the way of life for us all. I believe that unselfish, sacrificial love, love that seeks the good and the welfare and the well-being of others, as well as the self, that this is the way that can lead us and guide us to do what is just, to do what is right, to do what is merciful. It is the way that can lead us beyond the chaos to community.” 

Watch a video of Bishop Curry’s words to the Church, or read the transcript.

What is Loving Asking of Us Now?

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser
Oblate Seminary, San Antonio TX

“We live in a time of bitter division. From our government offices down to our kitchen tables there are tensions and divisions about politics, religion, and versions of truth that seem irreparable.  Sadly, these divisions have brought out the worst in us, in all of us.” 

Read the essay.

All Are Responsible 

By the Rev. Mike Marsh, rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Uvalde TX
From a sermon preached on Sunday, Jan. 10.

 “Last week, some of you may remember, I ended my sermon by asking this question: Will we, in 2021, be different from and better than how we were in 2020? There’s not much about the first ten days of 2021 that suggests we will. I think it’s still an open question and, I hope, still a possibility. But after the events of last Wednesday and the assault on our nation’s capitol I’m just not so sure we will be.  As I reflect on the events of last Wednesday I keep going back to words from Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, ‘Few are guilty, but all are responsible’.”

Read the rest of the sermon.

A preview of Lenten resources

Moving on Through Forgiveness

An 8-week online study from The Wisdom Years

Forgive and forget. We’ve been told that all our lives. And really, most of us would if we could. Yes, we know that resentment hurts us more than our enemies. But if forgetting must be part of our forgiveness, the task may be impossible, no matter how much we pray over it.  Perhaps, remember and move on is better advice.

To learn more and reserve your spot.

Come, Pray

From Society of St. John the Evangelist

Across the weeks of Lent, listen in as Brothers discuss the rich and varied ways we pray, together in church and in our personal prayer. The series is centered on a weekly 20-minute video and invites participants to explore and experience diverse prayer practices alongside the Brothers through joining their regular, live-streamed worship, special services, and online teachings.

To sign up for the weekly email: SSJE.org/subscribe and select “Monastic Wisdom for everyday living.” 

Praying with the Gospel of John

From The Society of St. John the Evangelist
Tuesdays: February 9, 16, 23, March 2 (not March 9), 16, 23, 30, and April 6, 2021
7:30-8:15pm EST. 

The Fourth Gospel is at the heart of the “Johannine spirituality” lived by the Brothers of the Society of St John the Evangelist. It is a spirituality of love and intimacy, of abiding in Jesus and in the Father, of laying down of one’s life in service of others, of being sent into the world to reveal God’s love to those who don’t yet know it, and of witnessing to what we have seen and heard so that others may find the joy and love that God so wants to give them.

Led by Br. David Vryhof, SSJE. Beginning February 9, 2021.

For more info.

Living Well Through Lent – Listening with All Your Heart, Soul, Strength, and Mind

From Living Compass

Designed for use as an individual reflection or for group study, this guide provides a foundation for seeking a deeper experience of Lent, an experience that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Easter. The study will include reflections from: Martha Bourlakis, Robbin Brent, Randall Curtis, Donald Fishburne, Jan Kwiatkowski, Heidi Kim, Malcolm McLaurin, Craig Phillips, Lisa Saunders, Scott Stoner, and Dawna Wall. The study is available both in print and digital format

For more info.

To Live Anew

By Joan Chittister

Lent is a summons to live anew. But how do you do that? In six brief but powerful reflections on one of the Sunday readings, Sister Joan offers insight into how “living anew” might look in these extraordinary times of pandemic and political upheaval. She also introduces six companions—one for each week of Lent—to walk with you during these 40 days of spiritual renewal. Each “companion” embodies a special quality for spiritual growth: Thomas Merton brings the gift of contemplation; Teresa of Avila, the gift of prayer; Rachel Carson, the gift of awe of creation; Oscar Romero, the gift of prophecy; Sojourner Truth, the gift of joy; Mother Jones, the gift of speaking your truth. 

For information.

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, January 5 – resend copy

The first send of this post had a glitch. We are resending it with apologies.

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.

I Become the Elder

Leaving behind my journey of struggling and racing
Through the white water of many rivers,
I become the river, creating my own unique way.

Leaving behind my self-imposed role as a tree upon
Which others have leaned, I now become the wind,
With freedom to blow whenever and wherever I choose.

Download the full poem.

Good reads this week

Fr. Ron Rolheiser on Making and Breaking New Year’s Resolutions

In making new resolutions we are saying: “I believe in a God who continues to love me, even when I can’t live up to it.” Every time I pick myself off the floor after a fall and begin again with some hope in my heart looking for a new start, I am saying the creed in a way that is considerably more radical, in terms of expressing actual belief in God, than is my too-easy Sunday recital of it. To make a new resolution is to believe in God.

Read it.

Bishop Jennifer Brooke-Davidson on the Unpredictable-ness of Epiphany

The word EPIPHANY comes from the Greek and means, loosely translated, “Dang – didn’t see THAT coming in a million years!”   Other preachers will tell you that Epiphany means a “showing” or “revealing,” and that’s not wrong. The thing is, a “showing” of God is NEVER EVER EVER what we expect. Epiphany means “I make plans; God laughs out loud.”   Epiphany means a breakthrough, a rip in the veil, a brief interlude in another dimension of reality.

Read it.

Marthe Curry – Emmaus Now

This past year, 2020, has been a great international leveler.  Not one country has escaped the Corona virus; all have suffered.  In our country, we were experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity and growth; joblessness was at a record low; opportunities seemed to be limitless.  We were barely into the new year when the virus struck a blow that upended the whole world.  And it changed our lives.

Read the post.

Listen

Do we have a Savior?

An audio sermon from SSJE
 Did his coming make a difference?  Has the Savior actually saved us?  If the Messiah has come, and if he now reigns, why is there still such suffering and chaos in the world? We say we have a Savior, but it often appears that we still need one. Br. David Vryhof of the Society of St John the Evangelist steps into the complicated “already, but not yet” of God’s promises.

Click to hear the sermon.

e-courses

Awakening the Sage Within 

Jan 16, 17 and 23, 1-4 pm (PT)
$95 to $150
From Sage-ing International

The three-day online event introduces elders to Sage-ing concepts including life review, forgiveness work, and issues surrounding mortality. Includes development of a personalized plan for eldering, including service to others and leaving a legacy.  

More info

Quiet Prophecy: Another Kind of Protest for Social and Religious Transformation

Wednesdays, March 10-24, 7-9 p.m. (CT)
$30 
From Oblate Seminary

What if you are not the type of person who can openly protest things and openly challenge others? What are your prophetic gifts? How can your quiet gifts challenge the world and the church to be more just, more loving, and more faith-filled? Is there another kind of “protest” that is powerfully prophetic? Principles for Quiet Prophecy.

More info

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, January 5 – resend

The first send of this post had a glitch. We are resending it with apologies and blaming it on the computer.

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.

I Become the Elder

Leaving behind my journey of struggling and racing
Through the white water of many rivers,
I become the river, creating my own unique way.

Leaving behind my self-imposed role as a tree upon
Which others have leaned, I now become the wind,
With freedom to blow whenever and wherever I choose.

Download the full poem.

Good reads this week

Fr. Ron Rolheiser on Making and Breaking New Year’s Resolutions

In making new resolutions we are saying: “I believe in a God who continues to love me, even when I can’t live up to it.” Every time I pick myself off the floor after a fall and begin again with some hope in my heart looking for a new start, I am saying the creed in a way that is considerably more radical, in terms of expressing actual belief in God, than is my too-easy Sunday recital of it. To make a new resolution is to believe in God.

Read it.

Bishop Jennifer Brooke-Davidson on the Unpredictable-ness of Epiphany

The word EPIPHANY comes from the Greek and means, loosely translated, “Dang – didn’t see THAT coming in a million years!”   Other preachers will tell you that Epiphany means a “showing” or “revealing,” and that’s not wrong. The thing is, a “showing” of God is NEVER EVER EVER what we expect. Epiphany means “I make plans; God laughs out loud.”   Epiphany means a breakthrough, a rip in the veil, a brief interlude in another dimension of reality.

Read it.

Marthe Curry – Emmaus Now

This past year, 2020, has been a great international leveler.  Not one country has escaped the Corona virus; all have suffered.  In our country, we were experiencing unprecedented economic prosperity and growth; joblessness was at a record low; opportunities seemed to be limitless.  We were barely into the new year when the virus struck a blow that upended the whole world.  And it changed our lives.

Read the post.

Listen

Do we have a Savior?

An audio sermon from SSJE
 Did his coming make a difference?  Has the Savior actually saved us?  If the Messiah has come, and if he now reigns, why is there still such suffering and chaos in the world? We say we have a Savior, but it often appears that we still need one. Br. David Vryhof of the Society of St John the Evangelist steps into the complicated “already, but not yet” of God’s promises.

Click to hear the sermon.

e-courses

Awakening the Sage Within 

Jan 16, 17 and 23, 1-4 pm (PT)
$95 to $150
From Sage-ing International

The three-day online event introduces elders to Sage-ing concepts including life review, forgiveness work, and issues surrounding mortality. Includes development of a personalized plan for eldering, including service to others and leaving a legacy.  

More info

Quiet Prophecy: Another Kind of Protest for Social and Religious Transformation

Wednesdays, March 10-24, 7-9 p.m. (CT)
$30 
From Oblate Seminary

What if you are not the type of person who can openly protest things and openly challenge others? What are your prophetic gifts? How can your quiet gifts challenge the world and the church to be more just, more loving, and more faith-filled? Is there another kind of “protest” that is powerfully prophetic? Principles for Quiet Prophecy.

More info

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Dec. 22

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.

Advent Week 4: Prepare the Way

Winter

by Carla Pineda

I am sitting amidst the sounds of the washing machine and the coffee pot
It is a new day, the Winter Solstice, my sister’s birthday, the week of Christmas
A candle flame glows gentle
I take time for a pause in this time of a long dark
I sit slow, move gentle
Immerse myself in this place of unknowing
Embrace the darkness
It is good for the soul

Find Carla at carlaleedpineda@gmail.com

Taking Another Way Home

If you have not already, please let us know if you want to be part of this three-week study.

The Magi chose to return home by another road, scripture tells us. But their journey was certainly not ended – only changed after having met the Christ. Our own journey, we have discovered in these later years, never ends – but it too has been transformed by walking it with Christ. 
What does that journey look like now? Which roads will we take in this last third of our lives? What from our lived experience will sustain us on this further journey, and what new revelations await us?

Join us for a short, three-session workshop as we claim the wisdom of the Magi for our own lives.
Jan 7, 14, and 21, 4 to 5:15 pm (Central time) by Zoom.

There is no cost, and no outside material is needed.

Indicate interest by sending an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

Hell

An Advent week 4 reflection
by Diana Butler Bass

When the medieval church assigned “Hell” to the Fourth Sunday of Advent, I’m certain they wanted to scare people about their eternal state — to straighten up and get right with God to prepare for Jesus’ coming. I’m equally certain that those preachers weren’t thinking about the hell that we humans make right here on earth.

Read the entire essay.

FROM the blog of Diana Butler Bass

Keeping Watch with the Shepherds in Bethlehem

by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI

John’s Gospel doesn’t give us a description of Mary and Joseph in a stable at Bethlehem.
Instead, it describes the coming of Jesus at Christmas in an image, a light shone in the darkness. Notice that John doesn’t say that a light shone into the darkness, but that it shone in the darkness. That’s an important distinction.
Christmas, Christ being born in our world, is very much about finding God inside of what’s commonplace and inside even the darkness of sin, violence, war, greed, and the indifference that sometimes seem everywhere.

Read the entire essay

FROM the blog of Ron Rolheiser

Of Hearts and Pretzels

A sermon by the Rev. Jay George

On the fourth Sunday of Advent, Fr. Jay compares the hearts of three leaders we find in Scripture – Moses, Pharaoh, and Mary – and finds that one has a hard heart, one has a hollow heart, and one has a holy heart.

Watch the video

From Grace Church, San Antonio TX

Light

There are so many people now shrouded in darkness. Be a light-bearer. Pray that the light of Christ be mirrored in your countenance: through your prayer, voice, writing, and giving. Don’t hide the light. Let it shine!
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of St.John the Evangelist

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom is taking the week off next week. See you on January 5.
Be Blessed this Christmas.


Taking Another Way Home

The Magi chose to return home by another road, scripture tells us. But their journey was certainly not ended – only changed after having met the Christ. Our own journey, we have discovered in these later years, never ends – but it too has been transformed by walking it with Christ. 

What does that journey look like now? Which roads will we take in this last third of our lives? What from our lived experience will sustain us on this further journey, and what new revelations await us?

Join us for a short, three-session workshop as we claim the wisdom of the Magi for our own lives.

Thursdays, Jan 7, 14, and 21, 2021

4 to 5:15 pm (Central time) by Zoom.

There is no cost.

Indicate interest by sending an email to Marjorie George at

marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

Gathered Wisdom, Dec. 15

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.

Advent Week 3 – Question of the week: What does it mean to allow God to become incarnate in your life? And how will you do that?

Advent stands before us, within us, pointing to the star for which the wise ones from the East are only icons of ourselves. We all want something more. Advent asks the question, what is it for which you are spending your life? What is the star you are following now? And where is that star in its present radiance in your life leading you? Is it a place that is really comprehensive enough to equal the breadth of the human soul?

—from The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister, Thomas Nelson

From Benedictine Sisters of Erie website, prayer and liturgy page

Beginning on December 17, you can listen to the O Antiphons as sung by the Sisters’ choir at Mount Saint Benedict Monastery, Erie, PA. Click here(O Antiphons will be on the front page.)

The Two Women of the Annunciation

by Marjorie George
“Mary and Elizabeth: A teenager and an older woman with no children who, as scripture has it, was ‘getting on in years’ (Luke 1:39-56). Angels appear, the holy Spirit intervenes, and each becomes pregnant. It could not be more unlikely.”

Read the meditation:

Heaven

Advent 3 reflection from Diana Butler Bass
“I think we made heaven distant — depicting it as far away, unattainable in this life, a blessed reward for faith — because we’ve been disappointed that God’s utopian vision has not come to pass. Jesus said it was here. Yet it remains elusive. Where is it? Especially this year. Where, where, where is anything that even resembles heaven?” 

Read the entire essay

From the blog of Diana Butler Bass

Chastity and Christmas

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser
Chastity, says Ron Rolheiser, “is the virtue that invites us to live in patience, to wait, to respect what’s other, and to carry tension long enough so that the other can truly be other and gift can unfold precisely as gift.”

Read Fr. Ron’s essay on the real meaning of chastity. 

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser 

Giving Birth to Christ

by Richard Rohr
“Looking at how Mary gave birth to Christ, we see that it’s not something that’s done in an instant. Faith, like biology, also relies on a process that has a number of distinct, organic moments. What are these moments? What is the process by which we give birth to faith in the world?”

Read the essay.

From Richard Rohr’s daily meditations

The Center for Action and Contemplation

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Dec 8

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.

I know you are not a God of chaos, so please give me clarity of thought. Help me to take my focus off myself and my situation and keep my eyes firmly planted on you so I don’t sink. In those moments when I feel so disappointed, carry me. Lord, show me what to do in my present situation. Amen

FROM The Rev. Patricia Riggins, adapted from the writings of Chandra Sparks Splond 

The angel has announced to Mary that she will bear a son, and that the child will be Emmanuel – God with us. How is God with you during this Advent season? How are you with God? Some readings for Advent week 2.

Receiving the Gift

Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for Dec. 8
Why, from the earliest centuries, have Christian people been so excited about Mary? What’s happening in the depths of our soul when we hear her story? Surely it must be about more than the miracle of the virgin birth. As Benedictine oblate, author, and poet Kathleen Norris shares, Mary’s “virginity” has less to do with biology than with her stance towards God and life itself.

Read the meditation
FROM The Center for Action and Contemplation

Advent 2: Judgment

By Diana Butler Bass
I woke up yesterday morning to the news that Middle Church in New York City, a congregation where a good friend is the pastor, was on fire. The pictures on Twitter were horrendous — the neo-gothic shell of the historic building engulfed in flames. It seemed a photograph from hell. “Why?” I asked my husband, “Why them? Of all churches? They surely don’t deserve this!”

Continue reading
FROM The blog of Diana Butler Bass

Every Tear Brings the Messiah Closer

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser
Looking at religious history through the centuries, we cannot help but be struck by the fact that God seemingly takes his time in the face of our impatience. Our scriptures are often a record of frustrated desire, of non-fulfillment, and of human impatience. It’s more the exception when God intervenes directly and decisively to resolve a particular human tension. We are always longing for a messiah to take away our pain and to avenge oppression, but mostly those prayers seem to fall on deaf ears.

Continue reading
FROM The blog of Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Mary’s Choice

By Miriam Dixon and Margaret Campbell
A visio divina from Renovare
Ask the Lord to help you enter the scene. Pic­ture the place where Mary was and what she was doing when the angel Gabriel appeared.What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? Notice the change of expres­sion on Mary’s face as she catch­es sight of the angel­ic mes­sen­ger. How does he appear? Observe his expres­sion as he engages Mary in con­ver­sa­tion. Notice the move­ment of their bod­ies as the con­ver­sa­tion unfolds. 

Engage the Visio divina
FROM Renovare – Med­i­ta­tions on the Birth of Jesus

God’s Presence and His Promises

By Carmen Joy Imes
The writer of Exodus begins by focusing on the women in the story: midwives, a mother, her daughter, a servant, and the daughter of Pharaoh. Each one acts within her sphere of influence to resist Pharaoh’s cruel policies. Working together, they save the infant Moses. They act with hope, refusing to let the regime force them into submission. The writer describes their bold actions with the same words he will later use to describe God’s saving of the Israelite nation.

Read the entire essay
FROM Christianity Today online

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Dec. 1

For with you is the fountain of life;
    in your light we see light
(Psalm 36:9).

What shall we do with Advent this year? Traditionally, Advent is a season of waiting joyfully, expectantly, with hope. Have we run out of hope in this trying time of COVID? Are we just too tired to keep on going? So were the Israelites in the Exodus, say a lot of writers. Here are four perspectives on Advent and the pandemic.

A Very COVID Christmas

What does Advent have to do with Exodus have to do with COVID? Might our experience of COVID be like the Exodus journey of the Israelites asks the Rev. Jay George of Grace Episcopal Church, San Antonio, in his sermon on the first Sunday of Advent. And what might God be saying to our hearts in this season of Advent about all of it? 

Watch the sermon here.

FROM Grace Episcopal Church, San Antonio

New Life Emerges From The Dark 

Advent is a time of threshold, says the Rev. Mike Marsh, rector of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Uvalde, Texas. It is a time “that leaves us betwixt and between, neither here nor there. It’s that space between what has been and what will be, the old that is no longer and the new that is not yet, life as it was and life as it might be. It’s the space between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It’s the wilderness between Egypt and the promised land.” 

It’s us in this time of COVID, waiting for some relief from possible vaccines but not knowing when or how or if that will happen and unsure of the result when it does happen. 

Read the sermon from the first Sunday of Advent.

FROM: The Rev. Mike Marsh blog

Redeeming All Brokenness

Diana Butler Bass recalls an old Advent tradition that, she says, seems oddly resonant this year. In earlier times, the four weeks of Advent lifted up theological themes related to endings — death, judgment, heaven, and hell. “As such,” says Bass, “Advent was a season of penitence and warning, of confession and fasting, like a ‘little Lent.’ This reading of Advent emerged in the early Middle Ages, reaching its zenith of spiritual popularity — perhaps not unsurprisingly — in the decades of the Black Death.

“I’m glad that Christians turned away from the grim penitential aspects of Advent’s medieval practice. But something else is true this year. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve never thought quite so much about death. About the genuine possibility that COVID might kill me or someone I love — as it has done to more than a million others around the world. 2020 has been a year of both avoiding and facing death. We don’t need penance or repentance — or any other guilt-ridden religious activity. But we surely need to consider what it has meant to be surrounded by a dread of death.”

Read the blog.

What In Your Life Could Use a Fresh Start?

Brother David Vryhof of the Society of St. John the Evangelist sees the connection between this Advent and the pandemic through which we are still living. “While we had hoped that this season of sickness would be short-lived, in reality it has continued to plague us for months beyond the medical community’s initial projections, and though the prospect of a vaccine has shed some light of hope on the road ahead, we have been warned that there is more sickness and death in our immediate future.  So we continue to hold on, doing what we can to curb the spread of the disease, taking care not only of the sufferers but of their caregivers, and of one another, enduring the darkness until the light shines once more.” 

Read the essay, below.

FROM the Society of St John the Evangelist

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Nov 24

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.

Lo, he comes.  To aching hearts. To exhausted people. To warring societies. To fractured families. To anger in the streets, and madness in the capitol, and grief in our homes.  He comes to remind us – again – that the Kingdom of God is available and near, and we can choose to participate in it. 

Advent calls us to a time apart, a time of serious reflection on how we will live the lives that have been formed in us and around us. Where we are is where we are – some of it by our own choosing, some of it foisted upon us, some of it deeply lamentable, some of it worth celebrating joyfully. 

The invitation of Advent is to get serious about how we will each respond to the gifts the Christ child brings. Let us begin.

Here are some of the Advent offerings from around the Internet that we are aware of. (We welcome your input of others you know about.) We suggest you select one or more that speak to your soul and sign up to participate throughout Advent.  For the four weeks of Advent, Gathered Wisdom will reflect upon some of these offerings.

Advent begins this Sunday, Nov. 29.

Words into Flesh: Monastery Scribes IV

“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,” says 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

To join the eRetreat.

Lux Divina: A 2020 Advent 

Friday, November 27 – Friday, December 25

The Advent season and Christmas are known for their awe-inspiring sacred stories, stunning visual images, and soothing or soaring music. This year we invite you to practice Lectio Divina, Visio Divina, and Musica Divina with these rich resources. These practices will help us create a spacious and reflective time in community.

Lux Divina: A 2020 Advent Journey is an offering from Spirituality and Practice with their  partners at Contemplative Outreach. Starting on Friday, November 27, you will receive email lessons three times a week through Christmas. You’ll have access to an online Practice Circle, a forum open 24/7, to share your reflections with a worldwide community. Then on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, you can join a Zoom prayer group to both pray in silence and do the three “Divina” practices with others participating in the e-course.

FROM Spirituality and Practice

Read more and register.

Advent Word

For the seventh year in a row, #AdventWord will gather prayers via a global, online Advent calendar. Beginning Sunday, Nov. 29, images and meditations can be experienced via the #AdventWord website, direct daily emails, as well as on FacebookInstagram and Twitter, and ASL videos via YouTube. This year, meditations will also be available in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole.

Around the world, prayers ascend in response to the meditations. People post their reflections on their respective social media pages, tagging AdventWord on the platform. From there, AdventWord shares and reposts on each site – amplifying the prayers during this holy season.

FROM Virginia Theological Seminary and Forward Movement

Learn more and sign up.

Blue Christmas

The Advent and Christmas season is often associated with joy, love, generosity, and unity. But for many people, this time of year magnifies loneliness, anxiety, grief, and despair. While others are enjoying celebrations with their friends and families, those who are hurting often feel even more lost, abandoned, and alone than ever.

“Not all Christmases are white; some are blue,” Todd Outcalt writes. Blue Christmas is a devotional book for the 28 days of Advent and Christmas Day. Each devotion includes a scripture selection, meditation, prayer, and suggested Advent action. The book also features additional prayers, a “Blue Christmas” worship service, and reflection questions.

FROM The Upper Room

For more about it.

Way of Love Advent Calendar

The Way of Love is a way of life that was introduced by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry at the General Convention in 2018. More than a program or curriculum, it is an intentional commitment to a set of practices: Turn, Learn, Pray, Worship, Bless, Go, Rest. An Advent calendar produced by the Episcopal Church invites you to engage each of these practices with particular actions every day of Advent. 

For full information about Way of Love, go here.

To download the Advent calendar.

Arts & Faith: Advent

Ignatian Spritualty. Com offers video commentary about works of art inspired by the Sunday Scriptures of Advent. Use these videos to take a new look at this season of preparation through the lens of sacred art. Accompanying dotMagis blog posts offer reflections on using the art as a means of Ignatian prayer. Also on this site – podcasts, prayer, reflections for Advent.

FROM Ignatian Spirituality.com

For more information.

Living Well Through Advent 2020

Designed for use as an individual reflection or for group study (including online as part of an Advent class or great), this resource from Living Compass provides a foundation for seeking a deeper experience of Advent, an experience that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Christmas. Available in both print and electronic editions.

From Living Compass.

For more information.

If you have something to add to Gathered Wisdom, send it to Marjorie George at
marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com

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
ww.wisdomyears.org.