Gathered Wisdom, Nov 29

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Advent 2022:
“Prepare the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3).


Advent is a season of hope and expectation. A time set aside to proclaim once again that our God is still with us, still ready to lead us to peace and reconciliation, if we are willing.

Our Advent gift to you is a daily text message of inspiration and encouragement. If you would like to receive this daily text on your cell phone, send your name and cell phone number to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.


Venting the Light

“All your life you’ve been getting ready for now. The light is probably dawning on you – what God is calling you to be and do – and you could easily feel overwhelmed. But God is the source of the light, and God is behind the dawning. You will have the inner light you need on the path ahead. There will be provision. Go ahead.”

Read the powerful reflection from Br. Curtis Almquist.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

School of Gratitude

The Beatitudes ask us to believe that even in – perhaps especially in – suffering we will be blessed (Matthew 5:3–12). We tend to read them as warm and fuzzy words but don’t much take them seriously.  But Brian McLaren says they are “the deepest lesson of gratitude.”

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Reading the Signs of the Times

What did Jesus mean when he accused his listeners of not being able to read the “signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3)? Fr. Ron Rolheiser says that reading the  signs of the times means being able to name things properly.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

Varied Paths for Varied Hearts

Everyone’s path to God is not the same.  Some will search for years; others will stumble over it and immediately recognize it.  No matter, says Br. Sean Glenn of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. People of faith all end up in the same place.

Read the reflection.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

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Gathered Wisdom, Nov 22

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Praise, my dear one.
Let us disappear into praising.
Nothing belongs to us

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Uncollected Poems.

Found at Well for the Journey

Adverbs for Advent

An Advent online study

Nov 27 to Dec 15.

From the Wisdom Years

In the season of Advent, which starts Sunday, Nov. 27, we open ourselves to the birth of something new in our lives. Just as God was incarnated in Jesus, we are assured that God’s Spirit is incarnate in us; we are pregnant with possibility for ourselves and for our world. Join us as we read daily meditations from Adverbs for Advent by Marilyn McEntyre then gather weekly on Zoom for insightful conversation.

To learn more and register.

Giver of All Good Gifts

– A Thanksgiving Prayer

In this profound Thanksgiving prayer, Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB calls us all to be grateful as we remember that so many have so much less than do we.

Join the prayer by listening to it or watching the video.

From Grateful Living.

Also from Grateful Living,
a collection of Thanksgiving prayers and blessings.

An Attitude of Gratitude

“All the truly great persons I have ever met are characterized by what I would call radical humility and gratitude,” writes Richard Rohr.  “They are deeply convinced that they are drawing from another source; they are instruments. Their genius is not their own; it is borrowed.” The only appropriate response is humility, gratitude, and loving service to others.

Read the reflection.

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Agent of Illumination

The New York City bus driver knew what his passengers needed on that cold day during rush hour traffic. He invited them to drop their troubles into the palm of his hand as they exited the bus. He was an agent of illuminations, as we all are invited to be.

Read the story.

Found in Daily Good.

Good Bones, Pushing Water

A water leak that initially went unnoticed turned into a huge and messy repair job.  Fortunately the flooded house had good bones. Writer Carrie Newcomer likens it to ignoring small spiritual issues that have the potential to require major healing. It is then that we must rely on our spiritual “good bones” and get to the hard and messy work of looking to inner and outer resources to repair what is broken.

Read the reflection.

From Awakin.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Nov 15

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

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.

“You can’t listen to the Thanksgiving Address without feeling wealthy,” says Robin Wall Kimmerer. “And, while expressing gratitude seems innocent enough, it is a revolutionary idea. In a consumer society, contentment is a radical proposition . . . . The Thanksgiving Address reminds you that you already have everything you need.”

Read this beautifully illustrated Thanksgiving Address.

Found at Grateful Living.

The WY Thanksgiving Celebration

Thursday, Nov. 17, 4 p.m. on Zoom

Join us for a litany of thanks and a time of prayer and community.

For the Zoom link, email Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.  before 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Adverbs for Advent

How will we live Advent this year? Generously? Expectantly? Patiently? As we read daily meditations from Marilyn McEntye’s Adverbs for Advent, we’ll gather on Zoom weekly to share inspiration and encouragement. Advent begins November 27. 

Find all the information and indicate your interest on our Wisdom Years website page.

Why You Should Write That Thank You Note

Your mother was right: you should write thank you notes. Researchers have found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes over the course of three weeks improves life satisfaction, increases happy feelings and reduces symptoms of depression. And read Robinson Crusoe again for a model of gratitude in the face of what could have been despair.

Read the essay.

Found in Daily Good.

Small Kindnesses

What if it’s the small everyday kindness we express and receive that is the true dwelling of the holy. Danusha Laméris calls such kindness “fleeting temples” that we make together.

Read the reflection.

From Awakin.

Living with Limitations

The CDC reports that 61 million adults have a disability that has a major impact on their lives.  Joanna Seibert believes there is possibility of a “new pathway” in limitations that can open a new direction in becoming the person God created us to be.

Read the reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Nov 8

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Our words and actions will contribute either to reconciliation and peace, or to conflict and strife. We need to be reminded again and again that what we choose to think, what we choose to say, and what we choose to do will shape our lives and the lives of others. We have an important role to play in creating our reality.

Br. David Vryhof,
Society of St. John the Evangelist.

A Prayer for election day

Gracious and loving God, you have bound us together in a common life. We commend ourselves, our communities, states, and country to your merciful care, that, being guided by your providence, we may dwell secure in your peace.

Read the rest of the prayer by the Rev. Mike Marsh.

From Interrupting the Silence.

The Holy Water We Share

“I was not imagining two separate yards with neighbors leaning over a shared boundary. I was imagining a single reservoir of living water, with two people looking into it. One might have been a Muslim and the other a Christian, but there was nothing in their faces to tell me that.”

Read the reflection from Barbara Brown Taylor.

Found in Daily Meditations from the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Everything Happens for A Reason & Other Lies I’ve Loved

Kate Bowler believed, as do many Americans, that God gives good things to good people and reserves bad things for bad people. But then how could she justify her cancer diagnosis at the age of 35?

Watch the video or read the transcript.

Found in Daily Good.

Waiting on God

There are so many variables in life over which we have little, if any, control. Rather than seeing life as a series of obstacles, frustrations, and impenetrable questions, we could instead see life as an endless stream of invitations to cooperate with whatever God is up to, and to abandon ourselves into God’s hands and God’s time.

Read the reflection.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Adverbs for Advent
A Wisdom Years Collaborative Study

How will we live Advent this year? Generously? Expectantly? Patiently? As we read daily meditations from Marilyn McEntye’s Adverbs for Advent, we’ll gather on Zoom weekly to share inspiration and encouragement. Advent begins November 27.

Find all the information and indicate interest on our Wisdom Years website page.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Nov 1, All Saints Day

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

I have been out walking with ghosts again, the shimmering images of my ancestors,
always present, but barely visible, walking before me in the cool shadows of evening.
I know better than to talk too much, for silence is the language of the sacred.
Instead I listen, as any youngster should,
the wisdom of those who have seen more seasons than can be counted.
I receive their thoughts like a benediction.
I hold their vision in my mind like a familiar dream.
Do not be afraid, they whisper, as we walk on to find the moon already waiting.
– Bishop Steven Charleston, Facebook, October 26, 2022

Bold, Brash, and Incredibly Audacious

On this All Saints Day, Br. James Koester of the Society of St. John the Evangelist reminds us that for the Christian, death is not the ultimate disaster, for in Jesus, life is changed, not ended (from The Book of Common Prayer p 382) and death becomes not the end, but a door, not a wall, but a gate, not the end, but a new beginning.

Read the reflection.

From Society of St. John the evangelist.

A Communion with the Saints

Fr. Ron Rolheiser reflects on the death of his parents and on a book in which the husband feels his deceased wife’s presence. This is a must-read for anyone who has recently lost a loved one.

Read the reflection.

From Ron Rolheiser.

The Continuum of Life

Writing in Center for Action and Contemplation’s daily meditations, Dr. Barbara Holmes says the normal pattern in history is for each generation to pass over, and to build the bridges of love and trust for the next generation coming afterwards. We are all part of a continuum of life that does not end with death, but transitions to a life after life.

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Restorative power in sanctuary

When we become untethered, says Terry Hershey, we lose our way. We feel disconnected and wearied. “In our world so full of diversions and distractions, I see the toll untethering takes. And this disconnect matters more because we forget that we are here to walk one another home.”

Read the reflection.

From Sabbath Moment.

Loneliness and the Second Half of Life

Both the young and the old experience spells of loneliness. In the second half of life we come to the realization that there is a part of us that will always be alone. We would do well to listen to the Persian poet Hafiz, who cautions us not to surrender to loneliness too quickly.

Read the reflection.

From Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Oct 25

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Though your destination is not yet clear,
You can trust the promise of this opening.
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

John O’Donohue, “For a New Beginning”

Found in Well for the Journey

Catching up to who we are

When we push people away to keep ourselves protected and safe, we end up being alone and isolated. When we guard ourselves against people who are different from us, we lose some of ourselves too.

Read the reflection.

From Terry Hershey.

Unlearning And Climbing Down Ladders

“The way down is the way up,” says Richard Rohr. In thinking about that, Joanna Seibert comes to realize that we are always learning and unlearning, climbing up and climbing down. In our spiritual life, the descent becomes an ascent as our outer life becomes less important and our inner life becomes heard.

Read the short reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Justice is Love in Action

Talking about justice is not the same as doing justice, says contemplative activist and Episcopal priest Adam Bucko.  Writing in a daily meditation from the Center for Action and Contemplation, Bucko outlines concrete steps to begin a practice of contemplative action.

Read the reflection.

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Struggling with our Complexity

What is normal? What does it look like to be a normal human being? Fr. Ron Rolheiser believes it includes being complex and accepting that. “We aren’t necessarily over-greedy, over-sexed, or over-restless,” he says. “We are just normal human beings, walking around inside of human skin.  That’s what real life feels like!”

Read the essay.

More about Ron Rolheiser.

Pilgrims Journeying Within

As we close our study of Pilgrims Journeying Within this week, we are reminded that the spiritual journey never ends. We never arrive at a destination, but we learn so much on the path. Find readings and reflection prompts for “Coming Home,” the last chapter of The Soul of a Pilgrim here https://wisdomyears.org/journeying-within-our-next-online-offering/the-practice-of-coming-home/

Readings, reflections prompts, and practices for all chapters of he book are on the WisdomYears website at
https://wisdomyears.org/journeying-within-our-next-online-offering/

The study is good for individuals on their own or for small groups.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Oct 18

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

I will not allow my life’s light to be determined by the darkness around me.

Sojourner Truth, The Book of Life
From Well for the Journey 

  A Lesson in Aging

“I always thought of myself as young,” says Fr. Ron Rolheiser, “even as the years piled up and my body began to betray my conception of myself as young.” Our souls, however, don’t age says Rolheiser – they mature. And in these later years, the soul wants to delve ever deeper into “the mystery of life, of community, of God, and of itself.”

Read the reflection.

From Kolbe Times.

A Second Gaze

Growing older gives us the opportunity for a second look at a situation. It is then that God offers us the grace to weep over our sins more than to perfectly overcome them, to humbly recognize our littleness rather than to become big.

Read the reflection.

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

A Flower’s Job Is To Bloom

Who makes us feel important? Do we seek acclaim from a particular group? If we do, says writer Srikumar Rao, we are putting ourselves into a prison and handing that person or group the key.

Read the essay.

From Awakin.

 

To Care

To care for the aging,” says Henri Nouwen in this meditation,  “means first of all to enter into close contact with your own aging self, to sense your own time, and to experience the movements of your own life cycle.”

Read the brief meditation.

From the Henri Nouwen Society.

Pilgrims Journeying Within

What if we embraced the unknown as sacred wisdom for the unfolding of our lives? What if we welcomed all that distresses and disorients us as having something to teach us? Chapter 7 of The Soul of a Pilgrim is The Practice of Embracing the Unknown.

Find reflection prompts and a weekly practice for The Soul of a Pilgrim study here.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Oct. 11

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Be confused, it’s where you begin to learn new things.

Be broken, it’s where you begin to heal.

Be frustrated, it’s where you start to make more authentic decisions.

Be whatever you are right now.

You are worthy, always.

S.C. Lourie@butterfliesandpebbles
From Well for the Journey

Autumn Prayer of Acceptance

Gracious God of every turning season, your earth teaches me by her natural turning from one season to another. As she enters into the dying and rising cycle, she welcomes the changes.

Read the complete prayer.

Submitted by a friend and found on the webpage of Hanover Missionary Church.

Loving Things in Themselves

Richard Rohr believes that the only way to know how to love God is to love what God loves; “only then do we love with divine love and allow it to flow through us,” says Rohr.

Read the reflection.

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Summer’s Exodus

This summer, author Melanie Gillgrist learned that if she unclenches her hands, she will see that God has everything under control. Whatever manna God sends will be sufficient.

Read the essay.

From Renovare.

God’s Holy Vulnerables

Brother Sean Glenn of the Society of St. John the Evangelist writes about two different kinds of wisdom. The wisdom of the world is born of competition and comparison; it originates in our desire to define good and evil on our own limited terms. But biblical wisdom is born from the generous gift of God’s own experiential self-disclosure in Jesus.

Read or listen to the sermon.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Pilgrims Journeying Within

Sometimes we have to begin again. Something isn’t working, and the best we can do is start over. Do we meet that with joyful expectation, or with dread and distress? This week’s chapter in The Soul of a Pilgrim encourages us to always be beginning again.

Find the study material here.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Oct 4

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Olive trees in Assisi village in Umbria region, Italy.

Every object or force of nature, every creature, was a gift in St. Francis’ eyes, and he recognized his deep connection with them all. We need his witness today to remind us of the sacredness of every plant, every animal, and every person that calls it home. We are stewards of this earth; not owners with license to use its resources in whatever way we wish.

Br. David Vryhof, SSJE
Read More.

A Mystical Way of Life

On this feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, the Center for Action and Contemplation tells us that St. Francis found his calling when he met a leper on the road and was compelled to hug him. “He knew then what he was to do with his life: to embrace Jesus in the poor and rejected, in those who previously had repulsed him,” writes Franciscan priest and author Murray Bodo. 

Read the story.

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

Golden: The Power of Silence in a World of Noise

Authors Justin Zorn and Leigh Marz have studied the power of silence in our world and conclude that “There is a deep yearning for silence in a world of more and more noise.” Certainly, mindfulness meditation has come into favor in recent years, but, say the authors, a “one size fits all” approach does not work. 

Read an excerpt from the new book Golden: The Power of Silence in a World of Noise.

Found in Daily Good. 

Dealing with Loss, Grief, and Obsessions

“When we are driven to our knees by loss and frustration, the best, and only useful, thing we can do is to genuflect in helplessness before a God who can help us and express our affection to anyone who can support us,” writes Fr. Ron Rolheiser in this essay about dealing with grief. Time will heal the wound, says Rolheiser, but its rhythm cannot be rushed.

Read the essay.

More about Ron Rolheiser.

Three word theology

Much of our faith can be expressed in three words: God is love, Love your neighbor, Here am I. Three words in the Gospel of Luke – “Increase our faith” – spoken by the disciples to Jesus brought this realization to author Diana Butler Bass one recent Sunday morning.

Read the brief reflection.

From The Cottage.

Pilgrims Journeying Within

In week 5 of our study, we consider the practice of being uncomfortable. Author Christine Valters Paintner says that when we are able to stay present – to not run away – in uncomfortable circumstances, we open a space to grow spiritually. We must learn to “dance at the edge” of our discomfort.

Join the study.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 27

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality some intimate kindness holds sway.

-John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us

Leave All and Follow Me

To grow spiritually means to leave behind that which has become too comfortable, says Br. Geoffrey Tristram. To let go of our habits, our compulsions.  “It is each morning awakening to a new day and saying to God, ‘Where do you want to lead me today on the journey of life? What are you asking me to leave behind? How are you asking me to change?’”  We resist change, but it’s how we grow. 

Read the sermon.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Reimaging

Jesus came to show us what God looks like with skin on. Incarnation is a re-imaging of God and re-imagining what a relationship with God can look like. We are called to form a new concept we have not seen before.

Read the short reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Grounding Power of Kindness

When Native Americans went on a hunt or a vision quest or long journey, they took with them a small medicine pouch that contained special objects reminding them of spiritual power: perhaps a feather, a bit of fur, a claw, a carved root, a pinch of tobacco, a pebble or a shell. They were to be reminders of the sources of healing and bounty and beauty. 

Read the reflection. 

From Sabbath Moment by Terry Hershey.

Being Blessed by Pagan Friends

Fr. Ron Rolheiser finds that his pagan friends, who have no use for organized religion, often bring positive energy, goodness, love, intelligence, humor, and sunshine into a room. It is a wonderful thing and should be blessed.

Read the reflection.

More about Ron Rolheiser.

Pilgrims Journeying Within

The inner journey asks us to set aside our own plans and agendas and follow where the path takes us. We yield to a greater presence at work in our lives.

Join us for chapter 4, Making the Way by Walking from The Soul of a Pilgrim. Reflection prompts and a weekly practice are on the Wisdom Years web page.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.