Week 3 – Beginning Again

I will start from here. That is an interesting spiritual statement when you stop to think about it. It means that whatever happened before and whatever may happen in time to come, the past and the future are not the sacred space I actually inhabit.  That space is right here, right now, in whatever condition I find myself. This is what I have to work with. This is where change and hope begin for me.

Bishop Steven Charleston

To read this week

Beginning Again
The Rev. Mary Earle
From Spirituality and Practice

This week’s readings, our last session of “Following the Epiphany Light,” invite us to consider how we can begin again. We remember that the Magi, after encountering the Christ child,  went home another way. That is the invitation of the Epiphany light: whenever we seek Christ’s revelation, we are offered a way forward. Epiphany is about seeing it and following it.

We will hear from a variety of voices in these readings, indicative of the fact that we each walk different paths and approach thresholds in different circumstances. We begin with a piece from the Rev. Mary Earle, an Episcopal priest whose life was torn apart several years ago with the diagnosis of a chronic illness. Mary writes that eventually she began to see how she could incorporate the effects of her long-term illness into her rule of life. Taking medications at prescribed times, for instance, became a way of  “praying the hours.”

Reflect as you read “Beginning Again from the Rev. Mary Earle”:

  • Mary had an active and intentional Rule of Life before she became ill. What are your regular spiritual practices? By what are you nourished daily?

  • What are the parameters that shape your life right now? What are the limitations and the opportunities? How have those been changed by your current circumstances?

  • What is it time to let go of? What are you no longer able to do? Do you need to eliminate those things or just scale back? How can others help you?

  • What from your life so far do you want to carry into this new time of Life? What has held you up? Comforted you? Taught you? Given you courage? Helped you overcome fears?

  • How can you build a Rule of Life that is grounded in the realities of your life and invites God to participate in it?

This excerpt is from Mary’s book Beginning Again – Benedictine Wisdom for Living with Illness.

Even when we fail, always we begin again.

St. Benedict

More resources for week 3 – Beginning Again

The Difference Between Beginning Again and Starting Over
A mental health therapist urges us to begin again, not to start over. When we start over, she says, we attempt to erase parts of our past. But then we are not fully honoring who we are. Our past is an important part of who we are and how we got here.
by Justine Brooks Froelker, Huff Post

Always We Begin Again
A teacher thrills to the opportunity to begin again each new school year, welcoming the chance to be creative, do it differently this year, grow, learn, and improve. The author finds that the essential element is to be merciful – with ourselves and with others.
by © Jodi Blazek Gehr from Being Benedictine

A New Beginning
The desert fathers knew about the things that sap our spiritual life. Every day, they say, we must resolve to begin again.
By Joan Chittister from Benetvision

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