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.

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.

Gathered Wisdom, Oct 12

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

When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but in the living of it, I can discover a form of prayer in which there is effectively no distraction. My whole life becomes a prayer. 

-Thomas Merton, as quoted by John Dear in Living Peace

Found at Well for the Journey

Threshold Choir

“The all-women choirs honor the ancient tradition of singing at the bedsides of people who are struggling: some with living, some with dying. The choirs provide opportunities for women to share the sacred gifts of their voices at life’s thresholds.” Learn about their incredible work in this interview with the founding member. 

Read the story.

Found in Daily Good.

Learn more about Threshold Choir.

A Life on the Ground

When we live at altitude, it’s a long way down when we trip and fall – which we all do. But when you are “grounded,” you fall, get up, dust yourself off, and continue. We need solid ground under our feet, says Parker Palmer.

Read the reflection.

From Awakin.

The Law of Karma

You go through the self-checkout at Target and when you get in your car discover the machine overpaid your change by $20.  Do you go back into the store to return it? Would you cheat, lie, and steal if you never got caught? Fr. Ron Rolheiser proposes that what we sow is what we reap – even if only we ever know.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser. 

Being Instruments of God

Transformation takes us from living as though God is “out there” to living with God “in here.” Richard Rohr calls it “the mystery of participation.” We are characters inside of a story that is being written in cooperation with God. 

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Reviewing our News of the Day

Recovery groups call it the 10th step; St. Ignatius called it the Examen – taking time late in the day to review the day. Like watching the evening new on channel 5, we take time to recall what was, give thanks, make gratitude lists, and pray for all that has come and will come to 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, Oct. 5

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

Longing

The posture of God’s people from time immemorial is a posture of longing, not so much for what was, but for what will be.

In this posture of longing we find blessing. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they will be filled.”

-Br. James Koester

Society of Saint John the Evangelist

This week:

  • Mother Trees in a Wood Wide Web
  • Salt and Salt Substitutes
  • How Do You Be?
  • Embrace the Spiritual Practice of Aging
  • Spiritual Friends

Mother Trees in a Wood Wide Web

It is not only humans who acknowledge and depend on their elders. Scientist Suzanne Simard has found that “mother trees” connect a forest just like human elders connect families across generations.

Read the article. Or listen.

From Awakin.

Salt and Salt Substitutes

We are the salt of the earth. Jesus said so (Matthew 5:13). But what, exactly, does that mean? How do we make sense of that metaphor? SSJE Brother Curtis Almquist looks at the uses of salt and concludes not only that we are each precious and needed, we can also be of value in the lives of others.

Read  or listen to the sermon.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

How Do You Be?

Remember the 1990 movie Awakenings? It is the story of Dr. Oliver Sacks, who not only discovered a drug that brought patients out of their comas, he also cared deeply for his patients, often asking them, “How do you be?” How can we ask that question as we emerge from the COVID pandemic?

Read the article.

Found in Daily Good.

Embrace the Spiritual Practice of Aging

We really didn’t know what to expect as we aged. But here we are, and many are finding that aging is a spiritual practice, an opportunity to dig deeper into ourselves and move into our interior lives.

Read the article.

Found in the San Antonio Express News.

Spiritual Friends

Each of us, on our spiritual journeys, needs friends. Spiritual friends help us stay on the path not by walking it for us but by walking it with us. A spiritual friend is a person who “knows something of the terrain from having traveled some of it,” says Joanna Seibert in her reflection.

Read the reflection.

From Daily Something by 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.

We support St. Mark’s Bookstore through Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. We encourage shopping at https://bookshop.org/shop/stmarksbookstoresa. Or find your own local, independent bookstore at Bookshop.org

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 28

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

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.

– Wendell Berry

This week:

  • The Great Wisdom of Autumn
  • The Case for the Porch
  • Compassion as Steadfast Love
  • The Unbearable Beauty of Grandparenting
  • Acceptance, Gratitude, and Peace

The Great Wisdom of Autumn

“Living brightly and then letting go at the right moment” . . . that is the wisdom Christine Valters Paintner takes from the arrival of autumn. It is a season of release and moving into stillness.

Read the reflection.

Found in Patheos.

The Case for the Porch

A porch is a jumping off point for both reverie and action, says Charlie Hailey. “Just as it tells stories of joy and urgency—a bright patch of blue sky alongside the undeniable change of climate.”

Read the article.

Found in Daily Good.

Compassion as Steadfast Love

Graciousness, courtesy, compassion – these are part of what we mean by “hesed,” God’s steadfast love. This love is from everlasting to everlasting, and we are to show the same to our neighbors.

Read the reflection by Richard Rohr.

Found at Center for Action and Contemplation Daily Meditation. 

The Unbearable Beauty of – Grandparenting

Writer Courtney Martin offers stories from one of her favorite professors – now in his 80s – on the exquisite bond between grandparents and grandchildren. “I’m blessed by what I don’t understand,” says Dennis Dalton, “yet I know that it’s a beautiful blessing.”

Read the reflection.

From The Examined Family.

Acceptance, Gratitude, and Peace

We can choose to live in the past and obsess over losses and mistakes; we can choose to live in the future and the unknowing it brings; or we can choose to live in the now, giving thanks for each moment that comes to us.

Read the reflection from Joanna Seibert.

Found in Joanna Seibert’s Daily Something.

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.

We support St. Mark’s Bookstore through Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. We encourage shopping at https://bookshop.org/shop/stmarksbookstoresa. Or find your own local, independent bookstore at Bookshop.org