A Beautiful Soul

Today’s blog is by Ernest Yau. “The meaning of earthly existence lies not, as we have been used to thinking, in prospering… but in the development of the soul.” (Alexander Solzhenitsyn) As I gaze at him, every inch an ordinary man, I spot something extraordinary: an alive body, a surrendering mind and a loving heart. […]

A new command I give you:
Love one another.

~Jesus

 

Categories: Love. Tags: gospel, Jesus, and love. Formats: Monday Moment and Quote.

We are all meant to be mothers of God.
God is always needing to be born.

~Meister Eckhart

 

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Life at the Pace of Walking

Today’s post is by Cordelia Burpee “Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.” ~Abraham Joshua Heschel I have been doing a lot of walking lately. I thought it might be boring—all that time alone with no one to talk to, nothing to listen to—but I have realized […]

Create in Me a Clean Heart and a New Blog Post

I said “yes” to writing a blog. At the time, writing a blog about something I loved seemed like a piece of cake. I could instantly see all of the prayers I would include, the artwork, the inspirational music videos and more. I was excited to create the blog until I actually started writing and wondering how I would fill its approximately 50 blog posts.

The topic was Lent and all of the days leading up to the magnificent Easter celebration. In the midst of creating the posts I was thinking about my own Lenten journey. I was praying for perfect words and a clean heart so that the posts would be holy and a blessing. I was trying to get it just right and was feeling very overwhelmed.

What Does it Mean to Be Beloved of God?

It happened at the last day—the last hour really—of the 2013 Shalem YALLI kick-off retreat (Young Adult Life and Leadership Initiative). As our ragtag group of contemplatives wrote down on paper the blockages we sensed to living lives connected to the Spirit, we placed them in a bowl. We were then asked to come up, take a few of the slips of paper, hold them up to God, then return them to the bowl with a prayer: “I am the Beloved of God.”

This snarky, snide former Pastors’ Kid (yes, that’s two pastors) rolled the eyes of her heart. What did that prayer even mean? But then that question tugged at me: what does it mean to be the Beloved of God? It seemed to be the question I had always been asking. Could that really be true of me?

I’ve always loved John’s gospel the most, primarily because of his audacity to define himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” What a claim, right? Yet it seemed the journey that the Spirit was inviting me to take as we left the retreat was to be able to claim for myself, for my core identity, “the Beloved of God.”

Flash forward 10 months. I am on a work retreat with the messaging team and Anne Grizzle, my mentor through Shalem’s YALLI program. I had suggested that one of my projects to incorporate contemplative practices in the workplace was to have this team take some time to learn how best to listen to the Spirit and each other. As we did some listening and discernment, I shared about my life and how I felt as though I have been on a pilgrimage in the darkness and not sure to what end.

To my surprise, two of my colleagues said that they believed I was “blessed” and that perhaps the season I was in was less about me and more for others. It was not what I’d hoped to hear. Still, it struck a chord in me—as in, it caused all the notes that had been playing in my head and my heart for months to harmonize.

Henri Nouwen, in his book, Life of the Beloved, writes that being the Beloved of God means that we are taken, blessed, broken, and then given to others. As Jesus was blessed, broken, and given to us, so are we to the world. It is at once a beautiful and terrible thing to claim about oneself.

As I contemplate certain areas of my life that feel broken, I recognize that perhaps I’m missing the “slow work of God” because change isn’t happening fast enough. Perhaps the challenge of being the Beloved is having the eyes to see that this life is about God and God’s work in this world.

Becoming Who We Are

by Rose Mary Dougherty (from the Shalem Archives, 1996) Several months ago I had what I have come to call “my recurring dream.” I’ve had the same dream periodically over the past ten years. In the dream I am young and I am going to several personal wisdom figures, asking them if they think I […]