Gathered Wisdom, Jan. 24, 2023

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

If you sat down and made a timeline of the growth spurts in your life, you would likely see a distinct pattern emerge—of setbacks, consistently setting you up for breakthroughs, “failures” leading you towards opportunities, challenges leading you toward growth, feeling lost eventually toward “finding yourself.”

-Gregg Levoy, Psychology Today, November 3, 2022

Found at Well for the Journey.

Waiting for the Thaw

“It is in that place between despair and hope that we find the beauty of the thaw,” writes Virgina May Drotar. It is in the spring thaw that new life and God are most potent. The old is dying off but the new has not yet arrived. It is the season that teaches us to be patient.

Read the reflection.  

From Daily Good.

Being Part of the Symphony

We spend most of our lives as part of the entire orchestra, contributing to the music with our particular talent and instrument. But sometimes we are called on to do a solo, and then we must always keep our eyes on the conductor.

Read the reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Commitment to What Makes Life Worthwhile

Endurance is staying with a task that matters, regardless of how difficult it may be. But, says Joan Chittister, “The notion of endurance takes on negative overtones, when I fail to realize that it is meant to bring out the best in me, not the worst. Endurance is not misery, not martyrdom, not spiritual masochism. Endurance means that I intend to survive the worst, singing as I go.”

Read the essay.

From Benetvision and Joan Chittister.

Mosquito Bites

W.H. Auden once said that when grace enters, we must dance. But what are the little irritations that often prevent us from seeing the presence of grace – like mosquitos at a picnic?  The challenge for us is not to let the minor difficulties impair our ability to see the grace that always surrounds us.

Read the reflection.

From Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

Still Following the Epiphany Light

How do we respond when we sense God is calling us into a new relationship with Him, either by our own choice or the circumstances life has brought us? What thresholds will we need to cross, and what opportunities and challenges will we encounter along the way? How do we begin again, incorporating all that life has taught us this far?

Our online study “Following the Epiphany Light” ends this week, but the material will remain on our website. It is ideal for personal use or for small groups in your congregation.

Find the 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.

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Gathered Wisdom, Jan 17, 2023

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

Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long.

-May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude
From Well for the Journey

Crossing Thresholds

“A threshold is not a simple boundary,” says the Irish poet John O’Donohue. “It is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms and atmospheres.” Thresholds bring fear, confusion, excitement, hope, or sadness. We need to see them as not only something ending but also as opportunity for something to begin.

Read more from  our current Wisdom Years online study “Following the Epiphany Light” on our website.

Learn about the entire study.

Jesus the Good Shepherd and His Discovery

Jesus called himself “the good shepherd,” but did he always know that? In his life he was more like a lost sheep, thirsty, hungry, so terribly vulnerable and alone.

Read or listen to the sermon by Br. Curtis Almquist.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Two Types Of Heartbreaks

Violence is what happens when we don’t know what else to do with our suffering, says Parker Palmer. But our hearts can react to sorrow in two ways: they can break apart like shards of glass or open wider, growing into greater capacity for love.

Read the reflection.

From Awakin.

It’s All About the Glass

Whether we are a glass-half-full person or a glass-half-empty person, we are living as grateful people when we are grateful for having a glass at all. “Knowing that our lives are incomprehensibly precious, fragile, and fleeting reminds us to stop in our tracks and take stock, every moment, of what matters, how much is enough, and where wisdom would direct our attention,” says Kristi Nelson.

Read the reflection.

From Grateful Living.

A Call to Awakening

“Saints are those who wake up while in this world, instead of waiting for the next one,” says Richard Rohr. “History is continually graced with people who somehow learned to act beyond and outside their self-interest and for the good of the world, people who clearly operated by a power larger than their own. Consider Gandhi, Oskar Schindler, Martin Luther King Jr. Add to them Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Óscar Romero, César Chávez, and many unsung leaders.”

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

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, Jan. 10, 2023

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

Unclench your fists.
Hold out your hands.
Take mine.
Let us hold each other…
Glory Manifest.

– “Epiphany,” Madeleine L’Engle

www.wellforthejourney.org.

Following the Epiphany Light

The magi of the Epiphany were compelled to follow the strange star that appeared in the night sky, leaving familiar territory for places that were unknown and uncomfortable. Is God calling you to follow a new road? The journey will require humility, letting go, and moving bravely in a new direction. But it may take you to an encounter with Christ. Join us for “Following the Epiphany Light, online from Jan. 9 to 23. Get the details – https://wisdomyears.org/following-the-epiphany-light/.

Sunday Musings

Genuine friendship was one of the greatest losses we’ve suffered from COVID, says Diana Butler Bass. People got out of the habit of going to parties, having lunch with friends, and going to church. With church attendance already in decline, COVID exacerbated the problem.

Read the essay.

From The Cottage.

A Revelation of Heaven on Earth

In the end we will not all go to heaven, heaven will come to us. Not in the great by-and-by, but in our ordinary lives.

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

A Blessing for Learning to Let Go and Hold On

“living in the present is nice in theory. except when you are in pain.

so let’s bless that tension, the push pull of wanting to let go, sometimes needing to let go, and also needing to hold on.”

Read the rest of the blessing.

From Kate Bowler.

The Work Of Christmas In Epiphany

Theologian Howard Thurman says that the work of Christmas continues. After all the celebration on December 25, we are reminded that the real opportunity is before us.

Read the short 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, Jan 3, 2023

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

There will be time enough for running. 

For rushing. For worrying. For pushing. 

For now, stay. Wait. Something is on the horizon.

Jan L. Richardson, Night Visions: Searching the Shadows of Advent and Christmas

Following The Epiphany Light

The magi left all that was familiar to follow a strange star, not knowing where it would take them. Their journey’s end revealed the Christ. Or was it a beginning? How is God leading you to leave what is comfortable in order to live into some new calling?

Following the Epiphany Light, the Epiphany offering from The Wisdom Years, begins January 9. Three ways to engage the study: join our Thursday-afternoon Zoom group, use the materials on your own, or gather a small group at your choice of time and location.

Materials will be posted on our website beginning January 9.

For the details.

New Year Transformation: Resources for the Journey

From Gratefulness.org, resources to support you in welcoming the new year with wholehearted curiosity, humility, courage, and a deepening appreciation of the transformative potential of these times.

See the resources.

From Grateful Living.

Staring into the Light

Fr. Ron Rolheiser repeats a story told by medical doctor and writer Rachel Naomi Remen about watching an elderly woman sit and stare into the light. She later saw the same look on the face of a newborn baby. We all, says Rolheiser, will one day be left staring into a very different light. 

Read the reflection.

More about Ron Rolheiser.

The Gerasenes Demoniac

The healing of our own personal demons takes work, grace, and time. There will be tears, there will be frustration, and there will be setbacks; but there will also be glory. That is the lesson in the story of Jesus and the demoniac in Gerasenes.

Read the reflection by Br. Br. Jack Crowley.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Remember

A poem by Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star’s stories.

Read the entire poem.

From Emergence Magazine.

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.

Following the Epiphany Light starts Jan 9

The magi left all that was familiar to follow a strange star, not knowing where it would take them. Their journey’s end revealed the Christ. Or was it a beginning? How is God leading you to leave what is comfortable in order to live into some new calling?

Our Epiphany offering begins January 9 for three weeks.

Join the online conversation Jan 12, 19, and 26

4 to 5:15 pm (Central time)

Online with Zoom.

Or do the study on your own.

Each week for three weeks (on January 9, 16, and 23), we will post reading assignments, reflection prompts, and resources for “Following the Epiphany Light.” Using these materials, the Wisdom Years community will gather on Zoom as we discern together what God is calling each of us to do and be in this new year. As did the magi, we will follow the Epiphany star as we leave familiar territory for places that are unknown and require humility, letting go, and moving bravely in a new direction.

Additionally, Monday through Friday each week, we will send a daily text message, – a little Epiphany light – starting January 9.

If you want to do this study on your own, we invite you to use the materials as you wish. Or gather your own small group to meet in-person at a location of your choice.

If you want to join the Thursday afternoon online conversations please send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or wisdomyears2020.org. Indicate you want to join the Zoom conversation. Zoom gatherings will be January 12, 19, and 26 from 4 to 5:15 p.m. (Central time)

If you want to use the materials on your own or with your own small group, please send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or wisdomyears2020.org. Indicate you will be using the materials on your own. Material will be posted Jan 9, 16, and 23.

If you want to receive the daily text messages (Monday through Friday beginning January 9), please send your name and cell phone number to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or wisdomyears2020.org.

You are receiving this message because you are subscribed to The Wisdom Years website. If you have already indicated your interest, you need do nothing more.

Visit our website at wisdomyears.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Dec. 20

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

Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe.

And light one candle for those who are suffering
Pain we learned so long ago.

Light one candle for all we believe in
That anger not tear us apart.

And light one candle to find us together
With peace as the song in our hearts.

-Peter, Paul, and Mary, lyrics from “Light One Candle”

Found on the album “A Holiday Celebration with the New York Choral Society.”

Gathered Wisdom wishes God’s great blessings on you this Christmas. With this edition we invite you into the story of Christ’s birth as told in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2, verses 1-20.

Read the narrative once, straight through. Then read it a second time, putting yourself into the narrative. Who are you? A shepherd? An angel? Mary? Joseph? One of the animals?

What do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What amazes you? Frightens you? Brings joy to your heart?

For what do you praise God this Christmas? May your Christmas celebration be blessed, and may you take the time to bless others.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of

David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.


Gathered Wisdom is taking a Christmas break. We will be back on January 3.

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, Dec 13

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

Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see.

-Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Found at well for the Journey

Dec. 13 – St. Lucy Day

In Sweden and Norway, December 13 is the day to remember St. Lucy.  The eldest girl in the family dresses in a white dress with a red sash and brings saffron buns and coffee to her family. On her head is a crown of candles that shines light on one of the daarkest days of the year.

Read the reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

More about St. Lucy.

Imprisoned By Our Blinders

“Are you the one?” John the Baptist wants to know. “Or are we to wait for another?” Has John’s initial enthusiasm been blunted? Is he looking through blinders? Are we?

Read the sermon from the Rev. Mike Marsh.

From Interrupting the Silence.

Finding Home in God’s Flock

Maybe sheep aren’t stupid after all. Maybe they are just easily distracted and prone to wandering off on their own. How like them we can be. But, going rogue often leads to death and destruction says Br. Todd Blackham. Instead we need to listen for the voice of the shepherd.

Read or listen to the sermon.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

The Mysticism of the Crib

For Fr. Ron Rolheiser, the Christmas crib with the sleeping baby Jesus recalls feelings of safety and snugness. We find the same when we lean on Jesus.

Read the reflection.

From Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

Faith in Divine Presence

The Rev. Adam Bucko brought all of his skills to his ministry with homeless youth. Then he got himself out of it and God’s energy took over.

Read the reflection.

From the Center for Action and Contemplation.

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, Dec. 6

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

Listen to the long stillness:
New life is stirring
New dreams are on the wing
New hopes are being readied …
God is at work.
This is the Season of Promise.

-Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas

From Well for the Journey

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.

Stand Up, Lean In

Advent, says Bishop David Reed of the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas, calls us to a “brief pilgrimage of active inactivity. . .  a sanctuary of sanity.” He offers the practice of “Advent Judo” to live the season.

Read the reflection.

From the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas.

Advent: Curing Fire by Fire

We are born congenitally dis-eased, says Fr. Ron Rolheiser. There is a fire that burns within us, and we have two choices of how to meet it. To quench it we can choose between the world’s definition of success, or we can recognize our longing for God.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser.

Let Us Pause and Be Grateful

The lowly stone cutter longed to be more powerful and important. Until he found out he already was.

Read the reflection.

The Terry Hershey blog.

An Evolving Faith

It may surprise us to learn that our God does not hate all the people we do. Or that we may have something to learn from others, or that revolutionary thinking may move us forward as opposed to our remaining stagnant.

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Longing for Christ

It’s easy to lapse into nostalgia at this time of year. We may remember – or think we remember –  Christmases past of a happy family going to church long after dark and singing Silent Night with lighted candles. But our faith is not about nostalgia; it is about believing the promises of God.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

More about SSJE.

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 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.

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 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.