After A While…

After a while you learn the subtle difference

Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.

And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

And that company does not mean security.

And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

And presents aren’t promises.

And you begin to accept your defeats

With your head held up and your eyes open.

With the grace of an adult

Not the grief of a child.

And you learn to build all your roads on today

Because tomorrows ground is too uncertain

For your plans.

After a while you learn that even sunshine

Burns if you have too much.

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul

Instead of waiting for someone to buy you flowers.

And you will learn that you can endure

That you are really special

And that you really do have worth.

Live to learn and love yourself.

In doing so, you will learn to live.

 

Anon.

Beauly Priory Atumn Leaves

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Prayer And Love:Thomas Merton

Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.
Thomas Merton

Veni Sanctus Spiritus: Come Holy Spirit

I offer this to gently lift our hearts and minds, on the feather light wings of the Holy Spirit. May we mindfully join with our Soul in its eternal song of Joy and Praise. May we find peace in these troubled times, may our gentleness act as a grace within our world and our compassion heal wounds of the human experience. Let us rest in the grace of God and know each other as family no matter how different we may appear on the surface. And may we have the courage to Love.

One commentator on this said the following: ‘Come Holy Spirit and inflame the hearts of nations. Forgive our differences, enlighten our hearts and minds that we may see our common brotherhood as children of the one true God.’  

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Veni Sancte Spiritus 

Latin Text.
Veni, Sancte Spiritus, et emitte caelitus lucis tuae radium. Veni, pater pauperum, veni, dator munerum, veni, lumen cordium. Consolator optime, dulcis hospes animae, dulce refrigerium. In labore requies, in aestu temperies, in fletu solatium. O lux beatissima, reple cordis intima tuorum fidelium. Sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine, nihil est innoxium. Lava quod est sordidum, riga quod est aridum, sana quod est saucium. Flecte quod est rigidum, fove quod est frigidum, rege quod est devium. Da tuis fidelibus, in te confidentibus, sacrum septenarium. Da virtutis meritum, da salutis exitum, da perenne gaudium. 
Come, Holy Spirit, send forth the heavenly radiance of your light. Come, father of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of the heart. Greatest comforter, sweet guest of the soul, sweet consolation. In labor, rest, in heat, temperance, in tears, solace. O most blessed light, fill the inmost heart of your faithful. Without your grace, there is nothing in us, nothing that is not harmful. Cleanse that which is unclean, water that which is dry, heal that which is wounded. Bend that which is inflexible, fire that which is chilled, correct what goes  stray. Give to your faithful, those who trust in you, the sevenfold gifts. Grant the reward of virtue, grant the deliverance of salvation, grant eternal joy.

 

 

Mothers Day: Love at First Sight

Mother

Today is Mother’s Day here in the United Kingdom. Mine are all grown up now with children of their own. I was busy for a while, with 3 daughters under 3 and then twin boys arrived…so I ended up with 5 children under 7, our farm to help run and a hectic schedule leaving me little time to ponder anything much other than groceries, playgroups, school schedules and nappies.

Today all those years on is very different. We had a sharp frost overnight and the sky is blue with not a cloud in the sky. At 8 am my own mother now aged 89 rang to thank me for her card and present, and tell me what a wonderful daughter I am, how blessed she is to have me and my sister and how much she loves us. My father aged 93 made her breakfast.

I opened my cards leisurely with a cup of coffee. The house is quiet. My choices as to what to do today are largely my own other than a lunch out with my husband, a lovely treat. So I went for a walk in the woods on the hill nearby, smelling the fresh earth and scent of the Spruce, the Scots Pine. To my delight I heard first one woodpecker, then his mates reply…one either side of the track, hidden in trees but still well aware of each other. And I thought of how that remains the truth for us “grand”mothers; no longer frantically paddling just to keep our heads above water, with the noise of youngsters fretting, arguing and playing; we now walk at a slower pace, yet remain attached to our children, no matter how old they are or how far away they live from us.

When we gave birth to them, we did not have our children to hang onto them or keep them forever by our sides. We offered them the opportunity of life, to live as they choose, as they must, making the most of the potential within themselves each and every day. We fretted and worried over them, we sat by their beds soothing their brows, we commiserated over errant boyfriends and girlfriends, we chewed our nails to the quick as they went out on motorbikes and then cars, never really sleeping until we heard that door click safely, telling us they were back. We defended them and tried to guide them, ignored the hurts and accusations they hurl at us of “not understanding” them. We ignored the “you love them more than me” accusations, gently reiterating that we love them all the same. And I thought how Godlike that all is. God gave us all the opportunity to live, and to do what we will how we will, hoping we come home safely and negotiate all the dangers and pitfalls that freedom involves. We rant and rail at God, sulk in corners trying to ignore or hide, we think we know best, take a tumble in life and then wail loudly at how unfair it all is. And God just stays calm and constant, soothes our brow, mends the hurts and then pushes us gently in the direction of the door again. Like the woodpeckers, we are always connected, the call, the answer and the safety of knowing we are never lost.

We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but today is overflowing with potential.
Allan Lokos
Through the Flames

Go To Your Cell, And Your Cell Will Teach You Everything

Go To Your Cell,

And your cell will teach you everything.

This saying is taken from a similar one pronounced by Abba Moses in the C4th; he said… “Go, sit in a cell and your cell will teach you everything.” This call of the Lord comes to the most unlikely of us it seems. For that we should offer great thanks for therein lies the hope that no matter how troubled our lives may be with their twists and turns, mistakes and sins…none of us are beyond redemption through the infinite tenderness and merciful Love of our Creator for His creation, and His infinite understanding of the human condition.

One person who found this to be true was Abba Moses, also known as Abba Moses the Robber, the Abyssinian, the Ethiopian and the Strong, who lived between 330 and 450 and became a notable Desert Father. Before he went to his cell, he had been a servant of a government official in Egypt who dismissed him for theft and suspected murder. On leaving employment he was the leader of a gang of bandits who roamed the Nile Valley spreading terror and violence. Reports say he was a large and imposing man.

On attempting a robbery on one occasion, a barking dog prevented him from carrying it out and he swore vengeance. With weapons in his mouth he swam the river to the owners hut. The owner alerted again by his dog, hid and so Moses had to hide from the local authorities and he took shelter with some monks in a colony in the desert of Wadi El Natrun, then known as Sketes, near Alexandria.  The dedication of these monks as well as their peace and contentment influenced Moses deeply, so much so that he renounced his former life, converted to Christianity and joined the monastic community at Sketes.

The path and experience of life in the cell is rarely a smooth one, the transformation of our personalities and human behaviours is a lengthy process, beset with periods of great inner turmoil and challenge. Moses’ flair for adventure remained with him and when he was attacked by a group of robbers in his cell, he fought back, overpowered them, and then dragged them to the chapel where the monks were at prayer. He asked what he should do with them, no longer feeling it was suitable to hurt them as a Christian. At this the robbers gave up, were themselves converted and joined the community. At another time, when a brother committed a fault, Moses was invited to discuss an appropriate penance and refused to go. When he was again summoned, he took a leaking jug filled with water and the other monks asked him why he was carrying it. He replied, “My sins run out behind me and I do not see them, but today I am coming to judge the sins of another?” The errant monk was forgiven.

The lesson of the cell is the turning of our attention inwards in order to hear the Lord and his teaching of us. It is also the place where trusting we are within His presence we may offer up ourselves in service and love, and offer our praises. In the cell there is no place to hide; no place to run, thus everything is magnified. In the cell we cannot turn on the TV, text or email or perform any number of distracting activities. We face the Lord alone and we face ourselves. It can be an extremely uncomfortable and challenging place to inhabit. The unkind words we have spoken, the lies we may have told, the injustices we have committed, the judgments on others we have passed…all come back to us magnified and clear as water for us to view and offer up to God for His infinite mercy and transformation. The cell is a transformative place of forgiveness and it is we that are being transformed in the fires of Love’s penance.  And yet it also offers ultimate freedom, as gradually we realise with our changing perception that its outward appearance of confinement is actually our gateway to unlimited freedom.

Some think of an enclosed life as an escape, a lying down of responsibility to the world and yet in this more formal form, the cell is the place where the foundations of all life are laid and all is up for challenge and overcoming. It is an extremely intensive experience; some describe it as a battleground. In a sense it can be a battleground, between the renunciations of small individual will and the laying over of Gods Will in order to meld with, unite with and act as God created us to be before we got distracted. In this cell we are called home by Love, invited to cease being the prodigal son, to take our rightful place at the feast in our honour.

Monk

In The Last Battle by CS Lewis, the individual creatures are invited to step through what appears to be a random doorway. It is a request that involves ultimate trust that what lies on the other side is beneficial, without having any way of knowing. It is a metaphor for passing through death into paradise. Aslan [Christ] knows what lies beyond but the creatures do not. They must trust but they must also accept the invitation. And so it is with the cell. We enter the cell by Christ’s invitation, we submit to its fires of transformation by our own free choice and we must trust that all will indeed be well, for Christ it is who knows what is beyond it. The cell teaches us, it transforms us into living lights of the Highest Holy of Holies.

Aslans door

We are all invited….

Aslan

Bless The Lord My Soul: Oh Lord Hear My Prayer: Taize

 

I offer these to you in the quietude of the compline hours because these are beautiful prayers.

 

The Taizé Community is an ecumenical monastic order that invites people of different Christian faiths to worship together. They are well known for their contemplative hymns in many languages
http://www.taize.fr/en

“Since my youth, I think that I have never lost the intuition that community life could be a sign that God is love, and love alone. Gradually the conviction took shape in me that it was essential to create a community with men determined to give their whole life and who would always try to understand one another and be reconciled, a community where kindness of heart and simplicity would be at the centre of everything.”

Brother Roger: “God is love alone”

A Scottish Blessing For Us All

With troubles and challenges raging round our hearths and homes in our global family at the moment, here is a Scottish Blessing, sent for you today from us here in the snow-covered remote landscapes of the Scottish Highlands to all members of the human family, whatever nationality, creed or colour and wherever you may call home.  Today may you find peace within and without, and be the flame and beacon of love, kindness and compassion to all you meet and interact with today; that as humanity we all desperately need. Breathe deeply, give thanks and be the Love in everything you do today. Find the beauty in life and live it. Blessings. Stephanie.

May the blessing of light be on you – light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you like a great peat fire,
so that stranger and friend may come and warm himself at it.
And may light shine out of the two eyes of you,
like a candle set in the window of a house,
bidding the wanderer come in out of the storm.
And may the blessing of the rain be on you,
may it beat upon your Spirit and wash it fair and clean,
and leave there a shining pool where the blue of Heaven shines,
and sometimes a star.
And may the blessing of the earth be on you,
soft under your feet as you pass along the roads,
soft under you as you lie out on it, tired at the end of day;
and may it rest easy over you when, at last, you lie out under it.
May it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly; up and off and on its way to God.
And now may the Lord bless you, and bless you kindly. Amen.