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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Spiritual toolbox part 6: Silence and rest

In Jesus Christ, Spiritual Toolbox on June 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Far from home is a perfect place to start – Switchfoot (song: Golden)

Part I: Struggle to be silent

Silence, peace, rest, prayer, all states I cannot seem to be able to be in at the moment.

There’s always the urge to do stuff, be productive, be active.

There’s always fear of failing, of praying and it not being good enough or simply not enough, so I choose not to pray at all…

There’s guilt, confusion, procrastination, distraction.

The truth is: it is never enough. Jesus died for us on a pole and there isn’t anything we can do to pay Him back. That is called grace.

We may rest in His love and be with Him, broken and flawed as we are. Like the cat in the picture above, just lay back and enjoy the love of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Here’s my prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus,

I love you so much, and I want to be with you so! Please teach me anew how to pray and be silent and restful without measuring and condemning its amount or quality, please take me out of my inertia and dryness, my guilt and my fear of failing in simply being your child, of drowning in things to pray for and then not making a start at all….

Fill me anew with your Holy Spirit. I also pray for my friends and family to fill them too and touch us with your love and grace.

Let me rest in your approval and love for me everyday more. Give me patience to be still and listen to your voice.

In your mighty and victorious name

AMEN

Part II: practicing silence

Wikipedia gives this definition of silence:

Silence is the relative or total lack of audible sound. By analogy, the word silence may also refer to any absence of communication, even in media other than speech.[1] Silence is also used as total communication, in reference to non verbal communication and spiritual connection.

A silent mind, freed from the onslaught of thoughts and thought patterns, is both a goal and an important step in spiritual development. Such “inner silence” is not about the absence of sound; instead, it is understood to bring one in contact with the divine, the ultimate reality, or one’s own true self.[2] Many religious traditions imply the importance of being quiet and still in mind and spirit for transformative and integral spiritual growth to occur. In Christianity, there is the silence of contemplative prayer such as Centering prayer and Christian meditation.

Basil Pennington, one of the best known proponents of the centering prayer technique, has delineated the guidelines for centering prayer:[5]

  1. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed, relax, and quiet yourself. Be in love and faith to God.
  2. Choose a sacred word that best supports your sincere intention to be in the Lord’s presence and open to His divine action within you (i.e. “Jesus“, “Lord,” “God,” “Savior,” “Abba,” “Divine,” “Shalom,” “Spirit,” “Love,” etc.).
  3. Let that word be gently present as your symbol of your sincere intention to be in the Lord’s presence and open to His divine action within you.
  4. Whenever you become aware of anything (thoughts, feelings, perceptions, images, associations, etc.), simply return to your sacred word, your anchor.

Enjoy the age-old silence prayer techniques, but be careful not to judge yourself on whether you use a technique or not. Remember to just be. That’s enough. You’re good enough. Be a cat, cats don’t fret over being good enough…;-)

Grace

In Jesus Christ on April 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

Today is Good Friday…

Jesus died for us. We are not alone. He was.

Thank You for your grace oh Lord

I encourage you all to have a look and a listen at the Youtube video. A picture speaks more than a thousand words. Here is an English translation I made of the lyrics.

Look how Jesus is walking there in Jerusalem,
with a cross on his back and a crown of thorns.
Hear the people scream:
‘Crucify Him!’
That’s how God gave His only Son.

See the Lamb on the cross,
there on Golgotha,
as the king of the Jews He was despised.
See His love for us in His eyes
when He cries: ‘Father into your hands I commit my spirit’

Chorus:
Yes I thank You for your grace oh Lord
that You carried the cross for me
You show me your mercies time and again
Your grace is enough for me.

In the kingdom of death he descended
Yes out of love He did this
But the tombstone has been removed.
Jesus lives, He is risen!

Chorus:
Yes I thank You for your grace oh Lord
that You carried the cross for me
You show me your mercies time and again
Your grace is enough for me.

And now I boldly come to you
in awe and respect
I kneel before You
You are King and God for ever and ever
You are Jesus, the Highest Lord

Chorus:
Yes I thank You for your grace oh Lord
that You carried the cross for me
You show me your mercies time and again
Your grace is enough for me.

The Little Way

In Therese de Lisieux - the little way, Uncategorized on February 26, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Therese de Lisieux (2 January 1873 – 30 September 1897) is one of the greatest Saints from the 19th century. She received a very early call from God to be a Carmelite nun, which she was from her 15th till her 24th year, when she died a tuberculosis-death.

She was also called by the modest name of The Little Flower of Jesus, emblematic of her humility, her purity and her simplicity.

“Our Lord has deigned to make me understand that by simple obedience I shall please Him best”

I am very intrigued by her short but Jesus-seeking and –loving life of simple spirituality and servanthood.

Therese felt all along that she was destined to become a Saint and this is what she said about it:

“Instead of being discouraged, I concluded that God would not inspire desires which could not be realised, and that I may aspire to sanctity in spite of my littleness. For me to become great is impossible. I must bear with myself and my many imperfections; but I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way – very short and very straight, a little way that is wholly new.”

The depth and novelty of her spirituality, called the theology of the little way has inspired many believers around the world.

In Wikipedia we read about the Little Way:

Thérèse is known for her “way of confidence and love”[44], commonly known as “The Little Way”. In her quest for sanctity, she believed that it was not necessary to accomplish heroic acts, or “great deeds”, in order to attain holiness and to express her love of God. She wrote,

“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.”

So the little way for Therese didn’t consist of being martyred for Christ’s sake, but instead of  dying to her flesh, making sacrifices daily, leading a holy everyday life to please her beloved Lord of Lords: Jesus Christ of Nazareth and to love others as herself.

“Now I have no desire left, unless it be to love Jesus even unto folly! It is Love alone that draws me.”

She performed hidden acts of kindness for her Sisters, for which only Jesus could praise her.

She led a very simple life among her Sisters, she prayed, she worked; she struggled everyday struggles of dry spells in her spirituality, doubt, fear, irritation with her Sisters. But she always came back to Jesus to walk with Him.

At last I want to mention the Little Way approach to prayer. This is what she said about it:

“For me, prayer is a movement of the heart; it is a simple glance toward Heaven; it is a cry of gratitude and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy; finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus. . . . I have not the courage to look through books for beautiful prayers…. I do like a child who does not know how to read; I say very simply to God what I want to say, and He always understands me.”

In this blog I want to encourage you as well as myself to look for that little way to lead a holier life.

I am inspired by Therese to live a holier life, by:

  • praying from my heart directly to Jesus
  • performing simple acts of kindness to people
  • living a more sober and simple life with less posessions and desire for materialistic things
  • letting go daily of pride and striving to be humble
  • being pure and be myself
  • not gossiping

The pursuit of a holy life is such an adventure and I want to take you along.


I want to thank Father Roderick @  http://fatherroderick.sqpn.com/ and Gretchen Rubin @ http://www.happiness-project.com/ for telling me about Therese’s book: The Story of A Soul through them.

You can buy The Story of A Soul by St. Therese de Lisieux on Amazon or Bol.com (for Dutch readers)