Gathered Wisdom, Jan 11, 2022

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

Hope has holes in its pockets. It leaves little crumb trails so that we, when anxious, can follow it.
Hope’s secret: it doesn’t know the destination—
It only knows that all roads begin with one foot in front of the other.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, “Hope,” How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope (James Crews, editor)

Found in Well for the Journey. 

Crones Don’t Whine 

We think of a crone as a wizened old woman – the wicked witches of Disney. But at one time, a crone was a revered member of the community, acknowledged for her wisdom. Author Jean Shinoda Bolen re-introduces that concept in her book Crones Don’t Whine. Crones, says Bolen,  choose their path with heart and speak the truth with compassion. The Wisdom Years Thursday-afternoon group will read and discuss Crones Don’t Whine starting January 20. 

Visit this page for more information.

Visit the Wisdom Years.

Rise Up Again

If we are going to survive the divisions that confront us right now, we will need to create room for all of us to collaborate. We may set up boundaries, but we all live on the same planet. That is the message of this short film from Green Renaissance.

Watch the wideo.

From Network for Grateful Living. 

What We Do in Private

Why is it true that our every action has an effect on others, whether or not we intend that? Because we are part of the Body of Christ. What we do in one part of the body – for good or ill – affects the entire body, says Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

The Pain of Disconnection

We’ve been told we are all on our own, hence as a society we feel disconnected from each other. But if we say we believe in God, we must realize that our soul is like a homing device that will always guide us back to one who loves and cares for us.

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Blessing for a New Beginning

by John O’Donohue

At the beginning of this new year, we turn to John O’Donohue for a blessing for the way forward.

In out-of-the-way places of the heart, 
Where your thoughts never think to wander, 
This beginning has been quietly forming, 
Waiting until you were ready to emerge. 

Read the rest of the poem.

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, Dec 14

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

Deborah: Order, Disorder, Reorder

This week in Toward Incarnation we fight the good fight with Deborah from the book of Judges.
Mayhem, murder, backsliding – how can God be found in this? Find the study here. 

Gathered Wisdom is taking a two-week Christmas break.  We will be back on January 4. 

Wisdom of my Foremothers

In the form of letters to her ancestors, the Rev. Jennifer Bailey writes of the deeply-rooted hope she learned from her foremothers in her book To My Beloveds: Letters on Faith, Race, Loss, and Radical Hope. In an interview with Courtney Martin, Bailey says she needed to talk to the people she loves – living and not – for their wisdom, insight, and advice.

Read the interview.

From The Examined Family.

While I Yet Live

The women of Gee’s Bend in rural Alabama pass on their values, their faith, and the beauty of grandmothers along with the importance of family through the quilts they have been making for generations.

Watch the video.

From Daily Good.

Mary and Elizabeth as Spiritual Friends

In her reflection, Joanna Seibert explores the gift of spiritual friendship between these two brave women. When we seek to be connected to each other in Christ, it can be as joyful as singing the Magnificat, says Seibert.

Read the reflection.

To read also: Merton on Mary and Elizabeth.

More about Joanna Seibert.

Benevolent Detachment

Humans weren’t designed to carry the weight of the world in the palm of our hands. Yet we try, says Brian Morykon from Renovare. In his interview with author John Eldridge, we learn about benevolent detachment – loving the world but not trying to solve everyone’s problems. 

Listen to the podcast.

From Renovare.

Night Life

In order to fully live out our callings, says Brother Keith Nelson of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, we – like Christ – must find some time to withdraw. “Without some empty space, there will be no room for God to abide.” Jesus points the way in this. 

Read or listen to 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 30

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

Toward Incarnation Begins this Week

As we journey toward the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, we are reminded that God is at work in every life, in every time, in every place. Our Advent offering will look at five biblical women who represent the journey from the calling of Abraham to the birth at Bethlehem and consider how their stories reveal God at work in our own lives.

Readings and questions for reflection will be posted on our website each Monday through December 20. Join us on Zoom every Thursday for conversation and discussion, or use the material on your own.  Find it here. 

The Hard, Essential Work of Observing Advent

During Advent we look forward to a time of peaceful reflection. But Advent is more than that. Advent is also about “standing up and raising our heads when we see things that are wrong rather than backing down or ignoring the reality before us,” says Allison Sandlin Liles in Grow Christians.

Read the reflection.

From Grow Christians.

End of the World

Is the world going to end soon? Jesus said some in his own generation wouldn’t die before he returned. But they did.  What now?

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser.

resources for Advent

Meditations on the Birth of Jesus

Using lectio divina and visio divina, Miriam Dixon and Margaret Campbell of Renovare present a verbal and visual journey through the Advent season. We are invited to spend time with scripture and art that tell the familiar story with new vision. The booklet is downloadable, or bookmark the URL and re-visit it each day of Advent. 

Find the resource.

From Renovare.

resources for Advent

Meditations from Seminary of the Southwest

Professors, students, and alumni of the seminary in Austin offer prayers and thoughts for Advent 2021.

Find the resource.

From Seminary of the Southwest.

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 23

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

Even though tried by misunderstanding, hardship, persecution, and martyrdom, our ancestors in faith sought to live in continual thanksgiving to God. Their firm conviction did not seek to deny the troubles of the present. Yet, by the continual offering of thanks, they passed through trials blessing the “goodness and loving-kindness” of God, who created and preserves us with the gift of life.

-Br. Jonathan Maury

Society of Saint John the Evangelist

A Grateful Thanksgiving: Inspiration, Blessings, and Opportunities

A Network for Grateful Living asks, “How might we embrace Thanksgiving as an opportunity to ritualize and reflect on what it means to live gratefully, every day? What feels sufficient, even abundant? What’s the invitation for this particular moment in time?”

Go to the page for a video and other resources.

Found in A Network for Grateful Living.

Being a Guest: Lessons in Receiving Hospitality

During the coming season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, we may find ourselves being called to receive as well as give. Brother Luke Ditewig from the Society of St. John the Evangelist reminds us that, “hospitality is about offering our hearts.”

Read or listen to the reflection.

Learn more about Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Prophecy – Challenge and Comfort

What can the Church offer the world just now? More social justice? More scripture reading? More Sunday school classes? No, says Ron Rolheiser; “Like the prodigal son, the world needs first of all to be surprised by unconditional love. Sometime later, and there will be time for that, it will want hard challenge.”

Read the reflection.

More about Fr. Ron Rolheiser.

Thanksgiving for Two

The adults we call our children will not be arriving
with their children in tow for Thanksgiving.
We must make our feast ourselves,

Read the rest of the poem by Marjorie Saiser.

Found at Poetry Foundation.

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. 16

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

The one you are seeking is also seeking you. In his eyes, you are the pearl of great price, for whom he is prepared to give all.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Our Path 

For every path, there is someone who has walked it before us and left signs pointing the way. Now, in our time, what can we leave the coming generation on the paths they will walk?

Read the essay from Joanne Seibert.

Found in Daily Something from Joanna Seibert.

Spirituality and the Second Half of Life 

When we are young, we struggle with the temptations of the devil and the energies of youth. But when we are old, we struggle with God. Our task in the second half of life is to let go of all that we have legitimately acquired and move toward nakedness, says Ron Rolheiser.

Read the essay.

Found on Ron Rolheiser blog.

Why Having a Good Listener Can Boost Brain Health

Research shows what we instinctively know – there is nothing like a good friend to talk to. It’s good for our souls and good for our brains.  Those who have good friends to talk to have higher cognitive abilities.

Read the short article.

Found in Happify Daily.

There Are Songs

Singer/songwriter Barbara McAfee starts each day with a five mile walk and a jump in a cold, clear river. Then she gathers from nature the sounds and sights that inspire her songs. 

Read the lovely essay and be sure to watch the video.

Found in Daily Good.

To Have Without Holding 

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

Read the rest of the poem.

Found in Daily Good.

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.

Toward Incarnation

Our Advent study begins November 29; first Zoom session is Dec. 2

Weekly Zoom gatherings Dec 2, 9, 16, and Dec. 23 (optional)

Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 pm (Central time).

From The Wisdom Years, dedicated to the spiritual journey in the last third of life.

In Advent we prepare for God’s Incarnation in human form. And we recognize that our God has been acting in history throughout time to bring God’s people to himself. In our Advent exploration, we will look at how God was alive and working in the lives of five vibrant biblical women. The invitation is for each of us to explore through these women and ask: How is God working in us so that we might be all that God calls us to be?

The study includes weekly readings and daily text reflections.

We’ll gather every Thursday by Zoom for discussion and small-group conversation.

  • Dec 2 – Sarah: The Long Struggle
  • Dec 9 – Miriam: Singing Her Own Song
  • Dec 16 – Deborah: Order, Disorder, Reorder
  • Dec 23 – Mary and Elizabeth: The Blessing (and celebration!)

To join this study, send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or  marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

There is no cost and no book will be required. 

Questions? email to marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or  marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Nov 2

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

Hearing each other’s stories, which are often stories of heartbreak, can create an unexpected bond …. The more you know about another person’s story, the less possible it is to see that person as your enemy.

Parker J. Palmer, “Holding the Tension of Our Differences in a Creative Way”

Found in Well for the Journey

Privileged Communication within the Communion of Saints

Sadly, sometimes there is unfinished business at a person’s death: apologies left unsaid, bitterness that did not get resolved, a task yet to be done. Fortunately, Fr. Ron Rolheiser reminds us, our belief in the Communion of Saints always leaves open a doorway in our relationships.

Read the essay.

About Ron Rolheiser.

This Place That You Belong To

– A poem from Wendell Berry

Found your hope, then, on the ground under your feet.
Your hope of Heaven, let it rest on the ground
underfoot. Be it lighted by the light that falls
freely upon it after the darkness of the nights
and the darkness of our ignorance and madness.
Let it be lighted also by the light that is within you,
which is the light of imagination. 

Read the entire poem.

Found in Daily Good.

Tenderness

A short film from Green Renaissance reminds us to carve out time for quiet and gentleness, toward all of creation and toward ourselves.

Watch the film.

From A Network for Grateful Living.

Learn more about Green Renaissance.

I will not Die an Unlived Life

“When you have the courage to shape your life from the essence of who you are, you ignite, becoming truly alive. This requires letting go of everything that is inauthentic. But how can you even know your truth unless you slow down, in your own quiet company?”

Read a poem and reflection by Dawna Markova. 

Found in Awakin.org. See more readings from the site.  

Where Justice and Charity Meet

Charity and justice are not the same thing, according to this reflection from Richard Rohr. Charity makes us feel good when we give to the poor; but justice is about correcting the system that puts too many people into poverty.

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, Oct 26

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

Silence

In order for music to be made, you must have elements of both sound and silence. This is a perfect metaphor for our relationship with God. God lures us into God’s holy silence by what is resonating most in our lives. It is there that God is waiting to meet us.

-Br. Jim Woodrum
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Beautiful People

She didn’t know anything about him except that he was a sensitive and gentle man looking for God’s presence. So at the elevator she bestowed ashes on his forehead on Ash Wednesday.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Joanna Seibert.

God’s Invitations to be Transformed as We Age

It is hard to let go of the years when we were busy and in charge. But this is a time to focus on fruitfulness, not productivity. God invites us to live in ways that notice the Spirit, experience scripture in new ways, find grace, and put down burdens.

Read the essay.

From Renovare. 

The World Feeling and the Soul Feeling

Certain feelings are generated in response to our being applauded, approved, and accepted. But they are empty feelings, says Anthony de Mello. They are worldly feelings. Soul feelings, by contrast, come from spending time in nature or with good friends or in contemplation.

Read the essay.

Found in Awakin.

Beware of Your Inner Circles

Tightening our circle of friends to only those who think and act like us is missing a chance of seeing God. “God breaks into our lives in important ways, mainly through ‘the stranger,’ through what’s foreign, through what’s other, and through what sabotages our thinking and blows apart our calculated expectations,” says Ron Rolheiser.

Read the essay.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser.

We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting For

The Hopi Elders have a message for us: The river is flowing, and now is the time to gather friends and celebrate. Many will be fearful at giving up the old ways, but the river has a destination, and we must let go of the shore.

Read the reflection.

Found in 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, Oct 19

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

I’ve learned how to not be broken from life’s unwanted things by watching a willow in the wild wind tossing and bending rather than pushing back against the storm. It’s taught me that I can’t always have everything go my way.
Sometimes I need to bend a bit.

— Joyce Rupp in The Cosmic Dance 
Found in Spirituality and Practice.

What Defines You

In this exquisite film from Green Renaissance, Danielsun Okeyo reflects on no longer being able to count on his own abilities. “I am not Superman,” he says, “and it’s fine. It actually makes it more beautiful that I’m not. The way I am right now is the way it was meant to be, and I’m at peace with that.”

Watch the film.

From Network for Grateful Living with Green Renaissance films.

Touch as Nutrition

Touch is more than skin deep; it’s nourishment for our souls. As adults we often experience touch deficit, especially as COVID drags on.  Our society needs to recover policies that nurture rather than erode us.

Read the article.

From Daily Good.

Faith When Consolation Fails

Warm and fuzzy feelings in prayer comfort us. But for both Samuel and Teresa of Avila, prayer led to a call for prophetic reform.  Not easy lives.

Read the reflection.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Living with Limitations

About one-fourth of adults in the country have a disability that has a major impact on their lives. But each of us can choose how we respond to that. Like Paul’s thorn in the flesh, a disability can bring light into our lives.

Read the reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Searching for the Right Fuel

The Prodigal Son’s older brother stayed home and did everything right. But he is resentful, angry, and critical.  His actions are right, says Ron Rolheiser, but his energy is wrong.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of 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.

Toward Incarnation

An Advent exploration

Dec 2, 9, 16, and Dec. 23 (optional)

Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 pm (Central time).

By Zoom. 

From The Wisdom Years, dedicated to the spiritual journey in the last third of life.

In Advent we prepare for God’s Incarnation in human form. And we recognize that our God has been acting in history throughout time to bring God’s people to himself. In our Advent exploration, we will look at how God was alive and working in the lives of five vibrant biblical women. The invitation is for each of us to explore through these women and ask: How is God working in us so that we might be all that God calls us to be?

We will gather weekly for discussion and small-group conversation.

  • Dec 2 – Sarah: The Long Struggle
  • Dec 9 – Miriam: Singing Her Own Song
  • Dec 16 – Deborah: Order, Disorder, Reorder
  • Dec 23 – Mary and Elizabeth: The Blessing (and celebration!)

To join this study, send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or  marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

There is no cost and no book will be required. 

Questions? email to marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or  marjorie.george@dwtx.org.