Recent posts

Gathered Wisdom, Oct 27

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.

Encounter

Our encounters with God will generally come to us through secondary causes—that is, in the concrete, flesh-and-blood lives of Image-bearing humanity. Let us remember with thanksgiving all those human feet who have brought us good news, and let us pray also for the grace to be those feet that bring God’s good news to the world. -Br. Sean Glenn

Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Nine Days of Prayer for the Election

Forward Movement and The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations are calling Episcopalians and all others to join in “A Season of Prayer: For an Election.” Starting October 27 and continuing through the day after the election, we are invited to pray for the election of leaders in the United States. Prayers are drawn from The Book of Common Prayer. Sign up to receive daily prayers in your email or download a PDF brochure. 

Read more about it

FROM: Forward Movement

Prayer Service for Hope

On the eve of a historic election and in the midst of pandemic and racial reckoning, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will call Americans together for a live-streamed prayer service from Washington National Cathedral Nov. 1. The Holding on to Hope service will be held at 3:00-4:30 pm CST, and viewers can join in a variety of ways.

To read more and learn how to join the service

FROM: The Episcopal Church

Healing the Heart of Democracy

In 2011, Parker Palmer published his book Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit. In the prelude, Palmer writes, “For those of us who want to see democracy survive and thrive—and we are legion—the heart is where everything begins: that grounded place in each of us where we can overcome fear, rediscover that we are members of one another, and embrace the conflicts that threaten democracy as openings to new life for us and for our nation.” Never more than today has democracy been in need of healing. 

Read or watch a podcast on Five Habits of the Heart that Help Make Democracy Possible adapted from the book

FROM The Center for Courage and Renewal

A Prayer for Stillness

In the midst of the strident voices and endless clamor that assault us, being still is more than a refuge. It is our way to God.Scripture assures us that if we are still we will come to know God,” says Ron Rolheiser, “but arriving at stillness is easier said than done. As Blaise Pascal once stated, ‘All the miseries of the human person come from the fact that no one can sit still for one hour.’ Achieving stillness seems beyond us, and this leaves us with a certain dilemma – we need stillness to find God, but we need God’s help to find stillness. With this in mind, I offer a prayer for stillness.”

Read the entire prayer

FROM the blog of Ron Rolheiser

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, Oct 20

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.

In a world that constantly asks us to make up our minds about other people, a nonjudgmental presence seems nearly impossible. But it is one of the most beautiful fruits of a deep spiritual life and will be easily recognized by those who long for reconciliation.

— Henri J. M. Nouwen in Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith by Henri J. M. Nouwen

To Practice This Thought:
Restrain your tendency to evaluate and criticize everyone you meet.

From Spirituality and Practice 

What is God’s Call?

In the Fall 2020 issue of Cowley Magazine, published by the Society of St. John the Evangelist, Brother Lucas Hall writes about feeling stuck. “I feel some paralysis and malaise over the experience of not really moving forward, not really doing anything productive, constantly planning to do things, waiting for my working life to begin anew,” he writes. For many who are retired, this is a familiar feeling. We used to have productive work to do; now we feel lost. “But we are not created for the purpose of work. We are not, fundamentally, doers of things, means to some end. God has made us out of love for us, not because some cosmic chores needed to be done,” says Br. Lucas. 

Read the article.

See more great articles in the Fall 2020 issue of Cowley Magazine.

The Wisdom of the Christian Mystics 

An e-course from Spirituality and Practice
By Tessa Bielecki and Carl McColman

November 2 – 27, 2020

Celebrate some of the women and men, both classical and contemporary, who have explored the Mystery of life. Over the course of our journey together we will consider the code of chivalry, the sorrowful mother, soul friends, personal touchstones, healing the sacred wound, the relationship between contemplation and action, the earth and the body as sacraments of Divine Presence, the breath as our guide to deep meditation, the mysticism of resistance, and more.

Read more about this e-course and sign up here: 

FROM Spirituality and Practice

Reframing – 2020

An e-course from Spirituality and Practice
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

November 2 – 22, 2020

Would you like to explore spiritually literate, counter-cultural ways to see things differently? This 21-day program provides readings and practices to help you reframe your experiences, turning adversity into advantage, disillusionment into blessings, and stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Daily emails for three weeks will help you not be overwhelmed by the immense negativities afoot in our world today. Discover the gift of seeing things differently!

Read more about this e-course and sign up here

FROM Spirituality and Practice

Presence and Absence in Love

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI

We experience many painful goodbyes in life. There are so many times when someone we love has to go away, or we have to go away. There are many times when, for whatever reason, someone has to move on and irrevocably change a relationship. Almost always this is painful, sometimes so painful that it leaves us feeling restless and empty, as if all the color, energy, and joy have gone out of our lives.

But, as we know, usually this isn’t the end of the story. Most of the time, after the restless, dark heartache of a painful goodbye has worn off, we experience the opposite, a deep joy in sensing now our loved one’s presence in different way.

Read the entire essay.

FROM the blog of Fr. Ron Rolheiser

It’s Still a Wonderful World

From our friend Verna Rizvi: Found this on Facebook this morning from Steve Johnson. Steve is a longtime member of The Church of the Nativity in Huntsville, AL, (my old parish) and also a newscaster on the local CBS affiliate. 

“Talking to a friend yesterday, and he was in a dark place. Hard to be very comforting, since I’ve been in the same place for weeks.”

Read the FaceBook post, converted to a PDF. 

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, Oct 13

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.

Since Einstein, we have learned that there is no center; or alternatively, that any point is as good as any other for observing the world…. There are no privileged locations. If you stay put, your place may become a holy center, not because it gives you special access to the divine, but because in your stillness you hear what might be heard anywhere. All there is to see can be seen from anywhere in the universe, if you know how to look; and the influence of the entire universe converges on every spot.

— Scott Russell Sanders in Staying Put: Making a Home in a Restless World by Scott Russell Sanders

To Practice This Thought:
Sit quietly in your living room or back yard. Contemplate how you are connected to the universe.

FROM Spirituality and Practice

Genesis 1

Our Creator God is always at work.  This video from a storm chaser captures clouds being formed. Spectacular.

Watch the video

FROM Happily Daily

The Curious Promise of Limited Time

A somewhat new podcast from The Growing Edge (August 2020) features a conversation with Parker Palmer about living with an awareness of our own horizon line, when we become more aware of “the curious promise of limited time.” Also in this episode is a new (and free) single, “The Music Will Play On,” words & music by Parker J. Palmer, music by Carrie Newcomer. Carrie and Parker talk about the collaborative process that led to this song, and how it addresses “the curious promise of limited time.”

Listen to the podcast

FROM The Growing Edge podcasts

Giving Our Deaths Away

In this very long piece (12 pages), Fr. Ron Rolheiser of Oblate Seminary in San Antonio TX discusses what it means to die well. “To summarize a lot of anthropology and spirituality in a few simple categories,” says Rolhesier,  “it is not over-simplistic to say that there are three major stages of Christian discipleship: the struggle to get our lives together, the struggle to give our lives away, and, ultimately, the struggle to give our deaths away. But this last concept is largely foreign to us. How does one give his or her death away?” Worth the read. 

FROM The Forest Dwelling Program of Oblate Seminary (see below)

Living in the Forest of Wisdom

Forest Dwelling: Spirituality for our Wisdom Years is a two-year program from Oblate Seminary in San Antonio that is designed for mature seekers who desire to mindfully embrace the challenges and opportunities of aging and diminishment by accessing the deep wisdom embedded in the world’s great mystical and contemplative traditions. The goal of the Forest Dwelling program is to prepare participants to live wisely and well during their remaining years so that in the words of Henri Nouwen, “they might be able to give both their life and death away” for the sake of the world. This program of education and formation will include two five-day gatherings on the campus of Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas, (these my be held virtually due to the continuing pandemic) each year, directed online study, monthly participation in a small process group, regular spiritual direction and regular contemplative practice consistent with the participant’s primary spiritual tradition. A certificate will be awarded upon completion of the program.

To learn more about the program.

Thanks and Yes

Dag Hammarskjöld, a Swedish diplomat and the second Secretary General of the United Nations, died at the age of 56 in an airplane crash as he travelled to a warring region of Africa. These stirring words were discovered after his death in his journals (later published under the English title Markings): “For all that has been, THANKS, for all that is to be, YES!”

Read a reflection by Br. Jonathan Maury of the Society of St John the Evangelist on saying ‘thanks,” and “yes” even in this time of uncertainty.

FROM 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, Oct 6

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.

Autumn

by Rainer Maria Rilke

The leaves fall, fall as from far,
Like distant gardens withered in the heavens;
They fall with slow and lingering descent.

And in the nights the heavy Earth, too, falls
From out the stars into the Solitude.

Thus all doth fall. This hand of mine must fall
And lo! the other one:—it is the law.
But there is One who holds this falling
Infinitely softly in His hands.

This poem is in the public domain. From Poems (Tobias A. Wright, 1918), translated by Jessie Lamont.

Reflection on the poem

from Parker Palmer

I love autumn on my patch of the planet—it evokes a wide range of feelings in me. The beauty of the leaves lifts me into wonder. Then, as the leaves fade and fall, I drop into melancholy. So many metaphors, so little time!

In this poem, Rilke takes a deep dive into melancholy, then surfaces in a place of hope. Given all the “falling” of 2020—all the brothers and sisters who’ve had to say “it’s over,” all the loneliness we’ve known—I’ll follow anyone who lives into hope without blinking hard truths about how we got here and what’s required to set things right.

That’s what Rilke does for me in this poem, as long as I understand this: the hands that appear in the last line “holding up all this falling” are OUR hands. There’s no magic trick here, no cosmic sleight-of-hand here. This is about US.

If we allow 2020’s death and loneliness to animate us to care for ALL our brothers and sisters—and for the natural world on which we depend—then what has fallen to the ground among us will seed the flowering of new life. Fail at that task and 2020 will never end.

As we enter the last quarter of a year of crushing and avoidable tragedies, our job is to do what we can to help assure that 2021 will mark the start of a new era in our common life. 

—Parker J. Palmer 

FROM The Center for Courage and Renewal 

Parker Palmer is author of several books, including On the Brink of Everything, which the Wisdom Years will be studying beginning October 15.

On The Brink of Everything

by Parker Palmer

A new book study from 
The Wisdom Years – Spirituality for the Last Third of Our Lives

Thursdays, 4 p.m. (Central time) on Zoom
8 weeks starting October 15

In essays, poetry, and reflections on life gathered over his 80 years, master writer Parker Palmer invites us to travel this last season of our lives with courage, clarity, and an expectation of joy and peace. Our format will be reading and reflecting on a chapter each week on our own, then gathering in small groups to process what our souls have revealed to us.  We will not offer advice or pronouncements, but will glean insights by listening to each other. Groups will be gently structured to allow each person time and space to offer reflections. 

And stick around after the study each week for Happy Half-Hour, 5 to 5:30 pm.  Bring the beverage of your choice.

For more details and to sign up, email Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.

A Teen and a Senior Citizen Forge a Beautiful Connection Using the Internet

Through the DOROT project, which works to alleviate social isolation among senior citizens by helping them forge positive connections, 14-year-old Oliver Hollman spent his summer creating a documentary about a 96-year-old named Ted Comet. Comet, a humanitarian who helped traumatized Jewish war orphans after the Holocaust, says that the project with Hollman was an “energizing” experience that has allowed him to leave a legacy for descendants he will never meet. Through their conversations, the pair have formed a wonderful friendship that has enriched both their lives.

Watch the video.

FROM Happily Daily

To learn more about the DOROT project, click here

Hearing from Julian of Norwich for Today

In the 14th century, the Black Plague ravaged Europe, wiping out a third of the population. Into this, Julian of Norwich spoke words she had heard from Jesus as she lay in a coma. How can a woman whose family and community was ravaged by the Black Death say, ​“All shall be well?” And how does that compare with our current world situation? Pastor and Renovaré board member Mimi Dixon opens up the world of Julian of Norwich, a Medieval Christian with a surprisingly contemporary voice.

Listen to the podcast.

FROM Renovare

Coping with Complexity

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Holiness and wholeness are, ultimately, the same thing. To be holy is to be whole. That shouldn’t surprise us, grace builds on nature. What’s problematic is achieving wholeness. Why? 

Because we’re all so pathologically complex that we spend most our lives trying to figure out who we really are and trying on various personalities the way we try on different clothes. Allow me an example:

Read the entire essay.

FROM The blog of Ron Rolheiser

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.

A New Book Study

On The Brink of Everything

Grace, Gravity, and Getting Old

by Parker Palmer

A new book study from 
The Wisdom Years – Spirituality for the Last Third of Our Lives

Thursdays, 4 p.m. (Central time) on Zoom

8 weeks starting October 15

(Ending Dec. 10.  Not meeting on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26)

In essays, poetry, and reflections on life gathered over his 80 years, master writer Parker Palmer invites us to travel this last season of our lives with courage, clarity, and an expectation of joy and peace. Palmer is concerned with finding meaning in what our lives offer us now and gleaning from our histories all that has made us who God created us to be.

Our format will be reading and reflecting on a chapter each week on our own, then gathering in small groups to process what our souls have revealed to us.  We will not offer advice or pronouncements, but will glean insights by listening to each other. Groups will be gently structured to allow each person time and space to offer reflections. 

And stick around after the study each week for Happy Half-Hour, 5 to 5:30 pm.  Bring the beverage of your choice.

In the eight weeks of our inquiry we will look at:

Prelude – reframing aging as a passage of discovery and engagement, not decline and inaction.

The View from the Brink – keeping our eyes open and asking the right questions

Young and Old – young and old connecting are like poles of a battery – energy is released

Getting Real – the spiritual life as an endless effort to penetrate illusion and touch reality

Work and Vocation – not the jobs by which we made a living, but the callings by which meaning becomes possible

Keep Reaching Out – staying engaged with the world

Keep Reaching In – staying engaged with our souls

Over the Edge – what happens when we die? 

To purchase a book from St. Mark’s Bookstore and have it mailed to your home, contact Carla Pineda at carlaleedpineda@gmail.comOr purchase a book on your own.

To join this study or if you have questions: send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com.  Forward this notice to others you know of who might like to join us. 

To learn more about The Wisdom Years – wisdomyears.org.  

Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them and the point is to live everything.  Live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answers. – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 29

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 Go Among Trees

I go among trees and sit still. 
All my stirring becomes quiet around me like circles on water. 
My tasks lie in their places where I left them, asleep like cattle.

Then what is afraid of me comes and lives a while in my sight. 
What it fears in me leaves me, and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings, and I hear its song. 

Then what I am afraid of comes. 
I live for a while in its sight. 
What I fear in it leaves it, and the fear of it leaves me. 
It sings, and I hear its song. 

After days of labor, mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last, and I sing it. 
As we sing, the day turns, the trees move. 

~ Wendell Berry from Sabbaths

THIS WEEK

Stillness

By Marthe Curry

Through the years, studies have been done on the effect noise has on stress and fatigue.  As expected, people exposed to higher levels of noise experience more stress and greater fatigue whether in an office or airplane or any other venue with noticeable decibels of noise.  And, if you’re one of those people who has full concerts or speeches or sports events going on in your head 24/7, imagine the stress level and fatigue exposure.

Read the entire essay and see more of Marthe’s posts.

Some Light-Hearted Thoughts on a Very Heavy Subject

By Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Some years ago, a friend of mine was facing the birth of her first child. While happy that she was soon to be a mother, she openly confessed her fears about the actual birth-process, the pain, the dangers, the unknown. But she consoled herself with this thought: Hundreds of millions of women have done this and have somehow managed it. Surely, if so many women have done, and are doing, this – I too can manage it somehow. 

I sometimes take those words and apply them to the prospect of dying. Death is the most daunting, unsettling, and heavy topic there is, for all of us, our occasional false bravado notwithstanding. 

Read the entire essay

FROM the blog of Fr. Ron Rolheiser

Compassion + Resilience: Spiritual Resources for Polarized Time

Online Day Apart Academy 
October 24, 10 am – 6 pm
(Central time)

We live in polarized times. Political and religious divides threaten the bonds of civil discourse that sustain our communities; and tensions around race continue to rise to frighteningly violent proportions. The turbulent storms within us, as well—fear, anxiety, despair, and enraged indignation—wreak havoc within our minds, bodies, and spirits. For spiritual resources that ground us in our sacred source, still the storms within us through self-compassion, and cultivate a world where people of difference can live with one another in a spirit of dignity and mutual understanding, join Frank Rogers, Jr. and Christopher Carter for an Online Academy Day Apart (with plenty of free time, body movement, and  experiential learning).

For more information and to register

FROM The Upper Room Spiritual Formation Academy

Two e-courses from Spirituality and Practice

The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence
with Jan Phillips

October 5 – 30, 2020

This e-course brims over with hope: the energy that sustains a new vision while it moves from the realm of the imagination into the realm of manifest reality. Hope is desire in love with wisdom. It is not a powerless waiting for, but a powerful welcoming of the future we are creating. It is re-orienting to a new star.

Read more and sign up

Embracing Living: The Welcoming Prayer – 2020
from Contemplative Outreach

October 5 – 30, 2020

This gentle method of prayer has a surprisingly vast impact on life, so much so that practitioners say they don’t know how they lived without it. This course is for beginners and anyone who wants a refresher.

Read more and sign up

Monarch Butterfly & Pollinator Festival

October 1-29

The fifth annual Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Festival moves online this year. Presented by Texas Butterfly Ranch, the month-long festival will honor the memories of family, friends and loved ones lost to COVID-19, social injustice, and other causes in 2020.

The Festival unfolds during peak monarch migration season with virtual workshops, teacher training, the delivery of “caterpillar condos” to Title 1 schools, the construction of a Dia de la Memoria/Day of Remembrance altar at Confluence Park in San Antonio, and the release of monarch butterflies tagged in the names of those lost during this unique and challenging year.

Find all Festival events here.

FROM Texas Butterfly Ranch

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 Sept 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 Spirituality in the Wisdom Years.

Gathered Wisdom is taking a week off next week. No GW on September 23. We will be in the back yard enjoying fall. You should be, too.

God of our evening years, 
hold us close to your heart. 

Holy Spirit, breathe your breath of hope and renewal into us 
so that strengthened and renewed 
we might continue the race set before us 
in confidence and hope. 

In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

From God Pause, Luther Seminary. 

This Week

Thou Shalt Not Kill

by Fr. Ron Rolheiser

“Killing is not just a brute external act; it is, in its more common form, a subtle internal thing. All of us break the fifth commandment in countless ways. We do it in the negative and suspicious judgments we make about each other. Almost every minute of our lives, we are making judgments of others and in doing that, we are killing those around us, shooting them through the heart just as surely as if we were doing it with a gun.”

Read the entire essay

FROM the blog of Ron Rolheier

Don’t Just Do Something, Pray! 

Recap from the webinar

What kinds of healthy risks should we take? How do we dis­cern God’s voice? What if I’m in too much pain to pray? Car­olyn Arends of Renovare asks these and oth­er lis­ten­ers’ ques­tions to Pete Greig (founder of the 24 – 7 Prayer move­ment) and Lisa Koons (24−7 Prayer USA Direc­tor) in this webi­nar recap bonus episode.

Listen to the recap

fROM Renovare

Old Things in New Ways

First Open Gathering on September 23

Are you seeking time and space for meaningful connection with God and others? The brothers of Society of St. John the Evangelist warmly welcome all to join them online for a time of worship, reflection, song, prayer, and spiritual practice in their virtual Chapel.

To learn more and to register

FROM Society of St. John the Evangelist

The Empowered Elder Workshop

Tuesdays: October 6 – November 17, 2020

The Empowered Elder Workshop provides a safe space for Elders to explore and share deeply what is on their hearts about the world, the future and their roles as elders. We investigate what it means to be an elder, why the world today especially calls us to step up as elders to address the social and environmental challenges humanity faces. “

Learn more & Register

FROM The Elders Action Network

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

Gathered Wisdom is from Spirituality in 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 Spirituality in the Wisdom Years and subscribe to the site at
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 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 Spirituality in the Wisdom Years.

Register Now for our online workshop/retreat:
Pilgrims Traveling Together in the Last Third of Life

September 18, 10 am to 4 pm

10 am to 2 pm – teaching, discussion, small groups
noon to 2 p.m. – individual reflection and response offline.
2 pm to 4 pm – teaching, discussion, small groups

Our day will be constructed around prayer, teaching and sharing sessions, Q and A time, and small-group discussion. This is a day of coming together in community to share the blessings and challenges of being an older adult.

For details and to register

Giving

Each of us, as we journey through life, has the opportunity to find and to give his or her unique gift. Whether this gift is quiet or small in the eyes of the world does not matter at all–not at all; it is through the finding and the giving that we may come to know the joy that lies at the center of both the dark times and the light.

— Helen M. Luke in Kaleidoscope: ‘The Way of Woman’ and Other Essays by Helen M. Luke

To Practice This Thought:
Identify one talent you possess that has enriched the lives of others.

From Spirituality and Practice

This week

Our email this week brings several online opportunities. Some focus on ways elders can lend their wisdom and expertise to social action and justice issues; others invite us to deep spiritual work. We pass them along and encourage you to explore them as you wish.

From SAGE
The mission of SAGE is to inspire people over fifty to give forward with their time, money, and voice to enable younger and future generations to thrive. SAGE motivates action and volunteerism through grassroots conversations and leadership development, so that older adults engage in and support causes and nonprofit programs that are vital to the needs of children, youth, and future generations. 

A Meaningful Life for Your Money

September 13, 3 to 5:30 pm CDT
Cost is on a sliding scale, $25 to $100 

At a time when many small businesses are struggling and racial justice and equity are front of mind, many people – with a variety of financial resources – want to know how they can help support the things they care about. Money is one way – and it is impactful.
For more information
To register

Starting a Community Project in Uncertain Times

September 15 and 29
Cost: Sliding scale of  $20 to $40

Many of us have great ideas for the change we want to see in the world, but we also have questions about how to get started and maintain progress. In this two-part webinar, we’ll address the steps to initiate your own community-based project and help you get started. Perhaps you could lead a monthly beach cleanup, volunteer to run a school library, raise funds for playground equipment, train teens to prepare for summer jobs — or pursue other projects that benefit coming generations.
For more information
To register

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From Elders Action Network
The Mission of the Elders Action Network is to build a movement of elders to address the social and environmental crises of our time. From their website: Within our American society, elders’ talents and experiences are generally untapped; their collective wisdom gained over decades of living largely lies fallow. This is an unfortunate waste of invaluable human resources that could be applied to addressing the serious societal and environmental problems of our nation. As Elders, we call upon men and women of all ages to embody the universal values of respect, compassion, caring, equality, integrity, justice, non-violence, and reverence for life. 

Elders Listening Circles

Tuesdays: September 8, 15, 22
12 to 1:30 pm CST 

Deep listening is a gift we give to each other. These gatherings will hold a safe space for us to share what is on our hearts and in our minds about what is happening in our country, in our lives, and to Mother Earth. All voices and feelings welcome. 

The Circles will not have an “agenda” but will be facilitated so all are heard and emergent topics are addressed. Join us for all three or only one.
Learn more and sign up here 

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From Sage-ing International
Sage-ing International is dedicated to helping elders reclaim their role as leaders, sharing wisdom and spirit essential to creating a better world for current and future generations. Sage-ing International is committed to transforming the current paradigm of aging to sage-ing through learning, service and community.

Legacy Writing Workshop

Sept 15 information here

Nov. 10, Dec. 8, Jan 12information here
Cost: $95 per session

Legacy Writing is a pathway for elders to find their spiritual selves, to have a deep connection with loved ones and future generations by sharing their stories, beliefs and values in legacy letters.

For more about Sage-ing International

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From Renovare

Ren­o­varé USA is a Chris­t­ian non­prof­it that mod­els, resources, and advo­cates full­ness of life with God expe­ri­enced, by grace, through the spir­i­tu­al prac­tices of Jesus and of the his­tor­i­cal Church. 

Chris­t­ian in com­mit­ment, ecu­meni­cal in breadth, and inter­na­tion­al in scope, Ren­o­varé helps peo­ple in becom­ing more like Jesus. 

Don’t Just Do Something, Pray! (How to Integrate Prayer with Other Forms of Action)

Sep 10, 2020, 12 pm CDT (free webinar)

 “Prayer without action,” says Pete Greig, “is just religion in hiding.” Greig is a best-selling author, pastor, and bewildered instigator of 24-7 Prayer — an international, interdenominational movement of prayer, mission, and justice that has reached more than half the nations on earth. Joined by 24-7 Prayer USA Director Lisa Koons, and hosted by Carolyn Arends, this webinar will explore topics like:
•How to pray for and respond to crises, both personal and large scale
•How to process unanswered prayer while still praying with expectation
•Why God invites us to take risks in prayer and action
To register
Learn more about Renovare

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

Gathered Wisdom is from Spirituality in 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 Spirituality in the Wisdom Years and subscribe to the site at
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 1

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

Register Now for our online workshop/retreat:
Pilgrims Traveling Together in the Last Third of Life

September 18, 10 am to 4 pm

Two live teaching and sharing sessions
– 10 am to noon and 2 to 4 pm –
will be separated by a long break for individual reflection and response offline.

Our day will be constructed around prayer, teaching and sharing sessions, Q and A time, and small-group discussion. This is a day of coming together in community to share the blessings and challenges of being an older adult.

For details and to register

Diving into the Deep

The religious searcher should be a diver through the deeps of ancient wisdom, seeking to bring up to the surface those concepts that can illuminate life today. Not all truth will be discovered in what is to come; some must be recalled from what has been forgotten. 

— David J. Wolpe in In Speech and In Silence: The Jewish Quest for God by David J. Wolpe

FROM Spirituality and Practice 

This Week

Sharing Wisdom

by the Rev. Ripp Hardaway

The Rev. Ripp Hardaway, rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in New Braunfels, Texas, has some advice for us: Never test the depth of the water with both feet. He learned this, he says, from a wise elder. In fact, Hardaway believes we all have a lot of wisdom to pass on to the next generation and a lot to learn from the previous one.

One of the great gifts of those who possess wisdom is their willingness to share what they have gained by years of practice.  In many cultures there is a great awareness of the need to seek that personal connection seamlessly or organically.  Today we hire coaches, teachers, tutors and the like, and too often our wisdom is limited to those who can afford it.  I am not certain that this is working;  I am quite sure that it is costing us as a society when wisdom is not passed from one generation to another.

Read the entire essay.

FROM: This article was originally published in the magazine Moxie, winter/spring 2015 edition. Moxie is no longer in print. Thanks to Julie Chalk for sharing it. 

Hope in God

by Br David Vryhof, SSJE

Remember Corrie ten Boom and her book The Hiding Place? We all read it in the 1970’s. Brother David recalls her words just now as we struggle to navigate the challenges we find ourselves and our country in.

We can find courage to fight on in the examples of those who have gone before us. I’ve been reflecting recently on the words and wisdom of Corrie ten Boom (1892-1983), a Dutch Christian woman who, with her father and sister, helped Jews escape the Nazis during World War II by hiding them in their home. 

Read the essay

FROM Society of St. John the Evangelist 

Mourning

by Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI

Our culture does not give us permission – or time – to mourn. We are encouraged to move on, pull ourselves together, and cry quietly. Ron Rolheiser, president of Oblate Seminary in San Antonio TX, says that is damaging to our souls.

We have many things to mourn in life: We are forever losing people and things. Loved ones die, relationships die, friends move away, a marriage falls apart, a love we want but can’t have obsesses us, a dream ends in disappointment, our children grow away from us, jobs are lost, and so too one day our youth and our health. Beyond these many losses that ask for our grief there’s the need to grieve the simple inadequacy of our lives, the perfect symphony and consummation that we could never have. Like Jephthah’s daughter, all of us have to mourn our unconsummation.

Read the entire essay

FROM The blog of Ron Rolheiser

An Audio Meditation for These Days of Uncertainty

By Nathan Foster

An audio med­i­ta­tion led by Nathan Fos­ter to help us set our minds on what is good, beau­ti­ful, and true in the midst of uncertainty. This meditation was recorded in March, 2020, when the pandemic was just beginning and we knew not what was ahead. Six months later, we still don’t know.  Listen to the end to discover a beautiful compline prayer from the Northumbria Community. Nathan Foster is Director of Community Life at Renovare.

Listen to the meditation.

FROM Renovare

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

Gathered Wisdom is from Spirituality in 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 Spirituality in the Wisdom Years and subscribe to the site at
ww.wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Aug 25

Register Now for our online workshop/retreat:
Pilgrims Traveling Together in the Last Third of Life

September 18, 10 am to 4 pm

Our day will be constructed around prayer, teaching sessions, Q and A time, and small-group discussion. Two live teaching sessions – 10 am to noon and 2 to 4 pm – will be separated by a long break for individual reflection and response offline. This is a day of coming together in community to share the blessings and challenges of being an older adult.

For details and to register

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.

We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.

And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
will make of you tomorrow (that is to say, 
grace and circumstances acting on your own good will.)
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
excerpted from Hearts on Fire

From the website of Ignatian Spirituality.com

When is Our Life Fulfilled?

by Fr. Ron Rolheiser

One of the questions of aging is “Am I finished? Have I done all I am going to do? Was it enough?” Fr. Ron Rolheiser insists that aging includes giving off our “seed” for the benefit of those who come after us.

But when [aging] is seen in the light of Jesus’ life, we see that in our fading out, like a flower long past its bloom, we begin to give off something of more value than the attractiveness of the bloom. 

Read the full essay

FROM Fr. Ron Rolheiser blog

Volunteer Opportunities in Your Area of Interest

The August 2020 edition of Sage-ing International’s newsletter is not only devoted to activism, it also offers information about dozens of social-action organizations. The list is categorized by areas of interests, such as peace, literacy, and inclusiveness.

This issue is meant to offer two gifts: It demonstrates to all of us that strong, determined people are working on every front to resolve the problems that break our hearts. It lights the path by which we can join allies in working to better our world.

We need all hands on deck to address our humanitarian and environmental crises; happily, we humans have a profound need to feel useful. We hope this list is useful in lighting a path to the activism you want to take.

Read the newsletter

FROM Sage-ing International

How Gratitude Breaks the Chains of Resentment

An excerpt from Henri Nouwen’s book Spiritual Formation suggests that ministry is about offering our own human brokenness to a world that needs a word of hope. When we minister out of our weakness, says Nouwen, we get more than we give. 

True lib­er­a­tion is free­ing peo­ple from the bonds that have pre­vent­ed them from giv­ing their gifts to oth­ers. This is true not only for indi­vid­ual peo­ple but also — par­tic­u­lar­ly — for cer­tain eth­nic, cul­tur­al, or mar­gin­al­ized groups. What does mis­sion to the Indi­ans or Boli­vians or dis­abled per­sons real­ly mean? Isn’t it fore­most to dis­cov­er with them their own deep reli­gios­i­ty, their pro­found faith in God’s active pres­ence in his­to­ry, and their under­stand­ing of the mys­tery of nature that sur­rounds them?

Read the excerpt

FROM Renovare

Unlikely Pen Pals Form a Special Bond

An idea for churches: match elders with youngsters and encourage a friendship online or with written letters. That’s what one retirement center did.

Addie Fenster, 7, and Gary Melquist, 73, both felt lonely due to the isolation caused by coronavirus. Gary’s retirement home connected him with Addie and they became pen pals. The pair swap letters and artwork, and have formed a very unlikely, but very sweet, special friendship.

Watch the video of these two new friends.

FROM Happify Daily

Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist online retreat

A 12-week companion retreat to The Artist’s Rule (in community)              
September 7 – November 28, 2020
with Christine & John Valters Paintner

Many have enjoyed the book The Artist’s Rule. Enjoy it again or for the first time in an online course.

Lots of new content including a weekly live webinar with Christine and a weekly scripture reflection from John.
For details and to register.

DROM Abbey of the Arts

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

Gathered Wisdom is from Spirituality in 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 Spirituality in the Wisdom Years and subscribe to the site at
ww.wisdomyears.org.