One of our students was wearing a lovely tartan jacket yesterday so I was inspired to find a Scottish picture. This is Ailsa Craig off the Ayrshire close – it has its own facebook page and twitter feed!
I am using it to illustrate one of the passages from our Ignatian daily readings book which says something of the way that God speaks to me often – including last night’s sky which I didn’t take a picture of:
All around us, Providence has placed hosts of silent messengers who can lead us without effort by paths of love to the holy springs of peace. Water, wood, fishes, the morning dew, the cock crowing at dawn, should all be able to inspire our prayer. Clothes and flowers, perfumes and pearls, the wind whistling past, the bread on the table, the jug, the chair and roof – all these things have been sanctified, all these things have been loaded with blessings and divine inspiration by the Word.
Pierre Charles – The Prayer of All Things reading for 2nd September An Ignatian Book of Days
There are daily tragedies, humanity against humanity. Many if not most are avoidable, murder, rape, bombings… How we respond when these are against us as an individual is telling. The Lord’s prayer exhorts us to ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’.
I heard a story on the news last week of a mother whose son had been murdered. Her response was one of the most compelling l have heard for a long time. She said of the person who killed her son ‘I have to forgive them for my sake’.
One of our very early blogs was about our mixed motIves for being holy. This was a deeply grieving mother and yes she understood her pain and justification for justice, anger and potentially vengeance and unforgiveness. But she is an insightful courageous wise women for taking another approach. She had possibly seen the effects of deep seated bitterness and unforgiveness to understand that however logical, it was ultimately going to cause her more pain.
As I struggle with my silly piddly struggles with other people, I am deeply inspired with how this bereaved mum fulfils the Lord’s prayer and lives in healing and holiness.
This week was the first time since summer turned to autumn that I walked in the house after work and thought “Oh, there’s no heating…”. It was also the first week that I had driven to work with the sun rising and got up to see our solar lights still on in the garden!
Summer is fading in my experience and memory as term has now started and the rhythm of life has changed, new responsibilities, new patterns, new challenges. But summer memories still sustain me and I can draw strength from experiences and encounters and a God who speaks to me in all seasons.
I love marmite. My heart leaps if I see it on a breakfast table when I am away which sounds a little shallow I must admit. However, being able to eat toast and marmite for breakfast virtually every day has been one of the little things that has helped me to make wiser choices over what I am eating. I start the day eating something I love.
It is often the little things that make or break us. In the scheme of things coming downstairs in the morning and finding that my phone has not charged properly is a trivial issue and one which I can easily overcome. But it gives rise to feelings of frustration, it irritates me. There are other similar examples and I realise I should be less irritated and more full of peace and grace at times. I understand the concept of the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Sometimes we are unaware of the cumulative impact of things upon us until we lose it over something very small and on the outside often quite silly.
While it can be helpful to think about the little things that lead to unmerited irritation and what that may say about us and how we may need to change a bit let’s also remember to think about those little things that are treats, lift our spirits and make the day feel a bit brighter.
This was the heading of one of the daily emails I receive. It is from a site
called Daily Good.org and it celebrates all that is good and inspirational about humanity. The quote goes on to say “Persevering does not mean being rigid and fixed, but flowing like water, willing to meet the conditions at hand yet never giving up…Things happen all the time in this world that can make you feel as if the ground is giving way beneath your feet. Things that you think are solid and unchanging are not. The body that seemed so reliable, the relationship you thought would last for life, the narrative about your life you took to be reality, everything is subject to change. What can we trust in such a world?” Tracy Cochran http://wc4.net/t?r=3555&c=2346&l=2&ctl=79B5:725C9BA862691D5D5DF95A3EB328E988&>;
We understand perseverance as not giving up, and possibly being expressed by a solid stone wall or perhaps almost hard nosed, gritted teeth, not giving an inch. This quote gives us another way of staying in there, to be more flexible, fluid about why we don’t give up. We often find in times and situations like this, we often discover new ways of moving forward, solutions, not giving up, new resources in God, our community and ourselves.
We are both needing to persevere at the moment, work is very busy, key staff off for Paul, new term and new responsibilities for Sally? What can we trust? Being equipped in the flow of the Holy Spirit to help us keep on going, not giving up.
The mailing always finishes with a Be the change….
Be The Change
As you face challenges today, persevere, not in a rigid, fixed, determined-outcome sort of way, but gently, “flowing like water, willing to meet the conditions at hand yet never giving up”.
Sometimes you receive a present that is just you – this mug is my latest gift – from my brother and his family bought at the Library of Congress. I have loved books since I have a memory of loving anything. From the Rupert Annuals that my Dad read to me to the classics of my childhood and now novels I can lose myself in on holiday and the most eclectic range of academic and spiritual books I can imagine.
The mug is one of those perfect gifts! Too nice to drink out of in case I break it!
Please note the word on the left hand side is poor!
For most of my life my year has started in September rather than January and this year is no exception. This is Community Week, when all the Midlands Institute of Children, Youth and Mission undergraduates gather together at St John’s to build community, learn, have fun, set goals, dream and so many other things.
I always feel immensely blessed during this week both being a part of a wonderful staff team who are so passionate and committed about supporting students to fulfil who and what God has called them to be and by the students themselves. Looking at the picture fills me with pride, knowing some of the back stories, understanding some of the sacrifices people have made to be here and seeing such a diverse and gifted group of people together who want to make a difference in the world. I am grateful that God called me to play my part in this.
This is my 18th Community Week. I don’t tire of being here.