God's Open and Closed Hand

Ever since my days of reading the chilren’s nature magazine, Ranger Rick, I have responded to the sweeping love of creation found in Psalm 104:  the rain fleeing the thunder of God’s rebuke by pouring down to earth, the rock badgers hiding in crags, thirsty wild donkeys, the stork nesting in the highest branches of the cedars of Lebanon, the lions savagely “claiming their food from God” by night, then “going back to lie down in their lairs” as “people go out to work” by day.  The psalmist is clearly awestruck by both the grandeur of wind and mountains and sea, and in love with the particularities of innumerable creatures.  Today that psalmist would undoubtedly be an environmentalist. Continue Reading

Prayer and Listening II

Listening to God's voice in the butterfly that alights on the flower

From Chris Kraft’s presentation on Oblate Day:

“LISTEN carefully, my child, to my instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from one who loves you; welcome it and faithfully put it into practice.” This first line of The Rule of Saint Benedict’s prologue is direct and clear.

The second instruction Benedict gives us in his Prologue is to pray. He says every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.

Listening and Prayer are finely woven. Prayer is simply talking to God. He speaks to us; we listen. We speak to Him; He listens. A two-way process. speaking and listening. It’s easy to talk to someone when you know they love you unconditionally. Prayer life is to be lived as a faithful response to the presence of the Holy Spirit. Continue Reading

Finding forgiveness is bloody business

I cut my finger last Tuesday. No, I mean, I really cut my finger. Four stitches worth.

I had sharpened the little knife I like to use for cutting vegetables and I was really proud of its new razor’s edge. It just floated through all those fresh tomatoes I put into the tava, a wonderful Kosovar dish I had discovered earlier in the summer. I put the tava in the oven and I was ready to go to work on making preserves out of the big basket of peaches we’d gleaned from some friends’ tree. I hurriedly rinsed the knife, reached for the drying towel, looked down just in time to think, “Oops, knife blade is turned downward; it may cut a hole in the cloth.” Continue Reading

Creative Lectio: Words about music

As a musician, my lectio frequently takes a musical form. I believe that even humming is an unconscious form of lectio: I have learned to attempt to notice what I’m humming (if it is a recognizable tune). Frequently my hummings are hymn-tunes and occasionally I am unable to recall the words. So, I look them up. Now and then, I can’t even remember a title, so the looking up takes some doing. Continue Reading