When Words Are Not Enough

 

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM  May 13, 2018

A brilliant sunset. A newborn’s first emphatic cry of arrival. The seemingly sudden budding of an orchid we had given up on. Sitting in front of the ocean’s vastness. Hearing a dreaded diagnosis. Losing our beloved.questionsclouds copy

Wonder and awe can leave us speechless. Tragedy, grief, the enormity of life can also render us mute. As a writer, I can feed on almost anything, yet I’m quick to admit that there are times when words are inadequate, when words are not enough, when there simply are no words. We’ve probably witnessed the well-intentioned offerings made at wake services or in the face of profound tragedy or loss—the softly mumbled condolences, the awkward searching for a meaningful phrase. We want to believe our words make a difference, that they can somehow salve the fresh wounds of loss and profound heartache. I suspect that, more than the words we utter at those times is our statement of witness: that we are here, that we have chosen to show up, that we desire to offer the only gift that is ours to give at these moments: the gift of being present to another even as we own our inability to save them from the heartache that summoned us to gather.

What to do, how to be, in the aftermath of the stunned silence that comes happily in the wake of profound beauty yet also sadly in the wake of profound loss? Our faith assures us that, just as the Holy One holds us in tenderness always, so we are called to a faithful presence. This may play out in real time as sitting by the bedside of a loved one as their breath becomes more labored on their final journey. Or deep listening to a friend whose pain spills out in torrents and underscores our inadequacy to reduce their suffering and loss. Or entering the stillness and allowing ourselves to feel our smallness before a mountain ridge, a midnight sky heavy with stars, a moon hung so low and large on the horizon that we just might believe we can touch its roundness.   The challenge is not to run away from Mystery but to remain, to accompany, to open ourselves to new learnings.

When words are not enough, I bake. Others cook and drop off casseroles, or babysit, or make phone calls or arrangements, or sit with in silence, or hug, or companion in a multitude of ways. These are all expressions of the presence Henri Nouwen describes in Out of Solitude.

“Still, when we honestly ask ourselves which persons in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is the friend who cares.”

That is our call when words are not enough. We pray, we sit, we listen, we accompany. We show up in our powerlessness. We remain even as we feel our inadequacy and own our inability to save.

When words are not enough, we are present. It is sometimes all we can do, and it is everything.

Takeaway

Sit in stillness in the presence of the Holy One who remains with you always.
Invite into the stillness someone for whom you desire to be more fully present.
Surround this person with a field of compassion and affirmation.
Entrust him or her to the tenderness of the Holy One.

NOTE:
I’m writing this blog post while sitting in a lanai on Sanibel Island for a few restorative days. You have been present to me in my sitting and I send you blessings from this place of beauty and peace. 

Please hold in your prayer these upcoming events I’ll be leading: 

May 17:           Evening of Reflection for Women and Men Religious, Diocese of Scranton, PA
May 19:           Spiritual Spa Day, Our Lady of Grace Center, Manhasset, NY
May 23:           Social Justice Ministry, Christ the King Church, Springfield Gardens, NY

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Living with Unfinishedness

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM – April 29, 2018

Period. Over. Complete. The End. Nothing more to say. Nothing else to do. It seems that very little about the human condition lends itself to the emphatic conclusion of a declarative sentence, the final chapter of a novel, or the last frame of a film.

Stary clear night sky. Mixed media

I was reminded of this when reflecting with a group on the humanness of Jesus and the reality that, though he was divine, he also fully embraced and inhabited our human condition. The reflection became personal when we turned and looked at our own humanness and sat with the question, “What are some of the things we like most/like least about being human?”

Our shared responses were sometimes humorous, sometimes profound. Eating, hugging, spending time with friends, and being able to love topped many lists of the qualities or activities the group was thankful for and appreciated about our human state. On the list of what we liked least about being human were aging, suffering, loss,  heartache. And then there were the limitations—of time, energy, resources, the reality that not everything can be resolved or successfully and finally brought to conclusion.

In my experience of working with the life of the spirit, a final resolution where all details are tidily in place remains in the realm of mystery. Being unfinished is an integral part of a life where we are at every moment in process. Hopefully, we see progress and movement toward growth and are able to hold the tension of incompleteness with a peaceful heart.

We’re not the same person at dusk that we were when we climbed out of bed at dawn. We experience the evolving and the incomplete: relationships begging for our time or our mending. Questions that remain unanswerable. Heartache, grieving, brokenness that yearns for healing. Our own deep inner soul work that accompanies us at every moment. The hunger for God that is as continual as our heartbeat. On some level, all of these experiences of unfinishedness can be echoes of our longing for the Holy.

Perhaps that’s why during the Easter season we may notice with fresh eyes the rather abrupt ending of Mark’s Gospel. Scholars debate whether Mark 16:8 was the actual conclusion, for clearly not everything is resolved, tidied up, squared away. In fact, it appears as if Mark has simply left the room and his writing and handed it over to us in its incomplete, unfinished state. Perhaps the message is that we’re to take up the story of Jesus and continue it in our own lives.

James Harnish, in Easter Earthquake appears to echo that sense when he asks,

“What if Mark’s incomplete story serves as an invitation to every one of us to complete the Resurrection story with our own story? What if he purposely planned for every follower of the risen Christ to add his or her own chapter to the never-ending story of God’s work of salvation in a sin-broken world? What if Mark’s nonending is the call for us to get in on the action and become part of a story that never ends?”unfinishedpraying

What if being unfinished is an invitation to cooperate wholeheartedly with grace? To live in hope, in trust, in possibility? To move whatever is incomplete in the lives of our ancestors closer to fulfillment in ours? To see in our lives the unfolding and evolving of a universe in bud? To trust that spring and blossoming are all part of the slow work of God?

Takeaway

Sit in stillness with the Holy One.
Reflect on your own human condition and some of the things you like most/like least about being human.
What images come to mind when you reflect on what is incomplete or unfinished in your own life or in the world around you?
What possibilities do you see in what is unfinished or still unfolding?
Give thanks to the Holy One whose love completes you always. 

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Noticing a Universe Astir

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM April 15, 2018

Walk the curious dog. Watch the focused robin. See how the cat’s ears twitch at the vibration of a noiseless bug inching across the carpet.

In the presence of these neighbors of the animal world, we can be profoundly humbled by the limits of our own hearing, smelling, noticing, sensing. How is it that we of the human species navigate this world so often unaware of what these creatures see or hear in the everyday: the stirring of the earth, the sound a green shoot makes as it propels itself towards the light?

goldenbutterflyI remember accompanying my sister’s Golden Retriever, Bobbie, on walks outdoors: how he would pause at a nondescript edge of lawn, utterly engrossed in that moment and all that was before him. How, when I tugged on his leash to nudge him forward, he would turn and give me a quizzical look, as if to say, “Already? Can’t you smell the wren who paused here for a rest? Can’t you hear the grass leaning towards the sun?” Sweet boy that he was, Bobbie didn’t judge me, just shrugged over my insensitivity to a hidden world. If it’s possible to envy a dog for its ability to mine presence, then yes, I was envious. Read Lisel Mueller’s poem, “What the Dog Perhaps Hears”, and you’ll understand why.

These days when all of the natural world seems to be hearing voices and seeing visions beyond me, I’m keenly feeling the limitations of my senses, much as Laurens van der Post felt in the presence of the Kalahari bushmen. When he admitted to these tribesmen, who live in a primal connection with all of creation, that he couldn’t hear the stars sing at night, they didn’t believe him. They led him away and stood with him under the night sky and whispered, “Do you not hear them now?” Van der Post sensed their profound pity when he had to answer truthfully that, no, unfortunately, his ancestors’ loss of hearing was also his loss now.

Still, that effort was not without some encouragement. The time he spent in intuitive company opened van der Post to wait in silence and know himself surrounded by the music of the stars. That comforting outcome hints of the possibilities open to us as well: to learn to listen more closely, to see more clearly, to notice with a deepening awareness the energies of God, the Holy One who lives and moves within us, between us, around us at every moment.

I’m still left wondering, though, what I might be missing. I wonder if there’s a  correlation between one’s closeness to God and one’s ability to listen and to notice. If that’s so, what are we to learn from our relatives in the plant and animal kin-doms? Lacking fluency in their languages, we might not recognize the dog name, the tulip name, the bee name for the Holy One. What we do witness is a bit of how they perceive and point to a Presence, one that our distracted and preoccupied hearts often pass by unnoticed. What we do witness is how they fully inhabit and tend to their leafy and furry and finned and winged world. What we do witness is how they hear and see and smell and sense life pulsing through them and around them.

The 15th century Indian poet, Kabir, might have witnessed these same movements, might have sat with these same wonderings when he mused of the Holy One,

“What kind of God would He be
if He did not hear the
bangles ring on
an ant’s
wrist
as they move the earth
in their sweet
dance?”

What kind, indeed? This is a God so intimately present that the divine engages in counting the hairs of our head. A God who refuses to let even one sparrow escape notice. A God who lovingly tends to the smallest details. A God who tells us to walk out into the fields, drink in the wildflowers, and read in their carefree joy a metaphor for the Holy One’s consciousness of our needs. A God who notices.

LeapingRedFox copyAnd what about us? About me? About you? Even with our limited senses of sight and hearing and taste and smell and touch, do you, like me, feel the energies of the natural world coming alive in this moment? Do you sense new life greening in you, pulsing in you, brimming with desire? Do you, like me, ache with all your heart to enter fully into this season of rising?

Takeaway

If possible, sit in stillness outside. If this is not possible, sit near a window and gaze at an outdoor scene.
Notice both the sounds and the silence around you and within you.
Breathe in the life forces, seen and invisible, that are present.
Unite your own deep desire for renewal with the longing of the Universe.
Give thanks to the Holy One who longs in you.

NOTE: Please remember in your prayer all who will be part of these upcoming events:

April 16:          “Waiting in Graced Company,” a day I’ll be leading for spiritual directors at the Franciscan Spiritual Center, Aston, PA.

April 19:          Dedication of the IHM Welcoming Space and Land Restoration, Scranton, PA

April 25:          Social Justice Ministry, Christ the King Church, Springfield Gardens, NY

Thank you!

 

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The Space We Live Most of Our Lives

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, March 31, 2018

And so we wait. With whatever is unfinished. With whatever is incomplete. With whatever is held captive by fear, imprisoned by anxiety, entombed by despair. With whatever seems unable to move forward. With whatever longs for wholeness and fullness of life.

Empty tombThis is the waiting of Holy Saturday, which occupies an unusual place in Holy Week, sandwiched somewhere between the wrenching grief and horrific suffering of Good Friday and the exultant confirmation and hope of Easter Sunday.

Absent on Holy Saturday are the dramatic elements of the day before: the sun disappearing and the sky turning black; the curtain in the Temple rent in two pieces; the outpouring of blood and water; the women standing beneath the cross in their collective grief; the earth itself quaking and trembling.

Now that same ground is eerily silent. Now it seems that the last word has been spoken, the final chapter written. Now it appears that the dream of the kin-dom is a song whose end note has been sung. This is Holy Saturday, described by Steve Garnaas-Holmes in Unfolding Light:

“Poor Holy Saturday,
hung out to dry between
Good Friday’s drama
and Easter’s miracle.
Not much going for it,
this empty day bereft of tradition,
just an in-between time.
A day of waiting around,
a day of thinking we knew.

Welcome home.
This is the day we live most of our life in,
the wide space between tragedy and recovery,
the emptiness between the pain and the healing.

Only later, not on this day, do we know
we’re not waiting for a future;
we’re watching God unfold.

That is enough.
That is why this day,
drab and ordinary,
is holy.”

So let’s not be fooled. This day is its own kind of extraordinary. Here in this in-between time, this liminal space, this place where life is already now and not yet, is the where and when of our everyday living. We wait not only with our own stories, but with a global community that also longs for the fullness of God’s dream.Dock to lake copy

In Following Jesus on the Way to Calvary, Joe Nangle, OFM writes that Holy Saturday is a metaphor for where we often find ourselves today, in the in-between times, between life and death, sadness and joy, between what has been and what will be.

He notes that our call is to wait with the world. To wait in the tomb, what he calls “the womb of solidarity”, the place where we are in communion with our neighbors around the globe. At that tomb, in that space, we wait with all those in our world who are longing: for justice, for freedom, for relief from their suffering. In that space, we feel the desire of those who live in deprivation. We’re bruised by the wounds of those who are imprisoned by fear or oppression. We stand with those who are overcome with despair.

“The tomb is cold, dark, and lonely,” Nangle observes. “It smells of death. It is not a comfortable place to be. But it is where the Christian community is called to be.”

Called to be and to wait in the in-between times. Called to be and to wait as carriers of hope. Called to be and to wait as followers who refuse to bury God’s dream for our world. Called to be and to wait as disciples who live resurrection.

Takeaway

Sit in stillness by the tomb of Jesus.
Listen to what he has to say to you as you wait with him.
At what other times in your life have you kept vigil?
What did that waiting feel like? look like?
How did the Holy One companion you at that time?
Sit in solidarity with all those in our world who, at this very moment, are waiting and longing to rise.

Images: fotolia.com

Happy Easter, and thank you for following Mining the Now. Know that I wish you every blessing of new life this Easter and all through the days ahead!

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Searching for Home

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, March 18, 2018

Call it convergence. Call it repetition. However we might name it, we know that having the same message present itself to our consciousness over and over in myriad shapes or formats demands our attention. Sometimes the invitation calls to us in print, in sound, in image. Whatever form it takes, it is persistent and will not retreat until we’ve either treated it as an intruder and slammed the door shut, or  approached it as a visitor and accepted its invitation for a closer look. So it was for me recently with the word, home.

Homeben-tzion.comcopy Home seemed to pop up in multiple commercials and advertisements. Then I noticed how many times I pressed the “Home” key while writing on my laptop. Next, home arrived in my Inbox in an email from Catholic Relief Services about support for Syrian refugees who live in a kind of limbo, a neither here-nor-there space. They exist between a war-torn country to which they can never safely return and a temporary shelter providing for their basic needs, but with no sense of a permanent residence. The headline on the email about these refugees was, “Help them know home.” Not find home. Know home. To know home is one of the deepest desires of the human heart.

Home was also referenced for me in a video clip where Oprah Winfrey interviewed Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creative genius behind “In the Heights” and “Hamilton.” Miranda noted that being born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, he very early in life had to navigate different cultural, linguistic, and artistic worlds. He spoke of traveling to Puerto Rico years ago to stage “In the Heights” and coming to the realization that, even though he was of Puerto Rican heritage, his mainland Spanish was sometimes inadequate or made him feel a bit unsettled and out of place in the land of his parents’ birth. In speaking of that experience of being in-between, Miranda observed, “That’s a great way to make a writer—be a little out of place everywhere.”

To be a little out of place, to be not fully at home. Many immigrants, even those who are second or third generation, feel the psychological homelessness that raises its voice in questions: Who am I? Where do I belong? What is truly home for me?

Most probably, all of us at some time have had the experience of being emotionally or geographically distant from the place we love, the place where our heart resides. Perhaps none have expressed this separation, this sense of not-at-homeness, as poignantly as Psalm 137:

“By the waters of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered you, O Zion. On the willows nearby, we hung up our harps. There our captors asked us for a song and called for mirth: ‘Sing for us one of the songs of Zion.’ How could we ever sing God’s song in a foreign land?”

In an online E-course, “Exploring the Psalms,” Barbara Crafton reflects on this same psalm and invites us to imagine what it must have been like to be forced to sing a song of home by the very persons who took home away and changed the understanding of where and what home was. She notes that, even years later when the Israelites were allowed to go home, not everyone left. They’d been in Babylon for years, put down roots as much as was possible, learned the language and customs. “They experienced the peculiar pathos of the immigrant,” she writes, “Fully at home in neither the old country nor the new.”homechristianchroniclecopy

In the gospel of John, Chapter 14, the beloved disciple writes of the tenderness of Jesus who, even in his last moments among us, loved us to the end. Jesus named our deep longing for home as he spoke of the house of Abba God where he was going to prepare room for us.  A dwelling place being lovingly fashioned. A home where all would be forever welcome.

As we stand at the edge of Holy Week, we remember with gratitude how Jesus made his home among us and embraced our human condition with both its glory and its wounds. May we enter into the sacred days of Jesus’ suffering, dying, and rising and accompany him with tenderness on his own journey into homecoming.

Takeaway

Sit in stillness with the Holy One.
Reflect on your sense of home.
What contributes to a sense of well-being, wholeness, and welcome for you?
Who or what do you cherish?
Hold in your prayer the many in our world who are right now searching for safety, security, belonging.
Give thanks that you and all people are held in the tender heart of the Holy One, where every person finds a lasting home.

Images:
amppob.com
ben-tzion.com
christianchronicle.com

NOTE:
Thank you for your continued support of my mobile spirituality ministry. Please now hold in your prayer the last of the Lenten events, a retreat weekend, “Standing at the Edge of Holy Week,” that I’ll be offering at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, PA, March 23-25.

My deep gratitude for your accompanying this blog through every posting. Know that my prayer is for every blessing for you and those you love as we enter Holy Week and the risen life of Easter.

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The Things We Carry

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, March 4, 2018
Perhaps it’s an arena to which you’ve never given any time or thought. But the recently released official portraits of President Barack and Michelle Obama open the door to this line of imagining and thinking out loud. Suppose you were having an official portrait done. Or suppose your likeness was about to be added to the collection of holy cards that depicts the saints.

What symbol, or image, or object might best sum up your life? What would you be drawn or painted as holding in your hands that would illuminate the core handswithworldcontribution or direction of your life, something for which you were known or remembered, something that would make those intimate with you blink with recognition and say, “Yes, that’s it!” or “Exactly!” or “That’s so you!”

Some years ago, an issue of Outside magazine (April 2011) included an article, “The Things They Carried,” where people close to six daring but departed icons of the sports world told Ryan Krogh their remembrances of elite athletes who didn’t come home alive. Their stories featured the most cherished relics, the signs of the sport they excelled in, the tools or instruments they carried with them. “The Things They Carried” included the hat and ax of a mountain scout; the paddle of a kayaker; pontoon skis; a surfboard. Each thing these lost ones cherished was accompanied by a story to expand on its symbolism.

Slip into many Catholic churches today and you’ll likely see a statue depicting the namesake of that church. Many times, the statues will show the holy ones holding something in their hands that speaks to their life and witness: St. Therese with a bouquet of roses underscoring the blessings she continues to shower on our world; St. Francis of Assisi, surrounded by his relatives in the animal family—a wolf, a dove, a deer; martyrs holding the instruments of their deliverance to death; saints carrying a basket filled with bread as a symbol of their lifelong tending to empty hands and empty bellies.

All of these invite the question: what about us? What are the things we carry? What would best capture the essence of who we are? What might an artist discern and select to memorialize as the best of what we have shared, the most significant of what we have carried into our beautiful, yet wounded world?

Might we be pictured as a person immersed in awareness of the Holy One while at the same time listening and ministering to the needs of family and friends and the cries of our collective wounds? Do we perhaps grace those around us with wisdom mined from our own journey of brokenness to wholeness? Do we embody audacious hope for those whose steps are faltering? Is our spaciousness of heart so large that it can offer welcome even to those who represent the worst aspects of the human condition?

How to image what we hold interiorly in our hearts as being offered to others. Quite challenging, isn’t it? How to symbolize the interior movements of our soul, the stretching toward inclusion, the struggles–both public and unspoken–that have called us to become who we now are. How to illustrate how our lives bless this world.

handsyoungoldAs we take up the call, with God’s grace, to move towards fulfillment whatever is unfinished and incomplete in the lives of our ancestors, might we pause to reflect on how we are also furthering God’s dream for our world in this time and place?  Not an easy practice, but potentially a rich and revealing one.

How about it? What are those things we carry?

Takeaway

Sit in a space of stillness.
Give thanks for all that the Holy One has birthed in your heart and that you have also carried into our world.
Prayerfully gaze at and reflect on your hands.
What have they held, cherished, or shared?
Give thanks and ask that the work of your hands and heart may continue to bless our beautiful, yet wounded world.

Images:
pinterest.com
mariabenning.com
huffingtonpost.com

NOTE:
Thank you for your prayerful support of my ongoing Lenten offerings. Please hold in your prayer these next gatherings that I’ll be leading and all who will be part of them:

March 5–11: Directed Retreat at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, Wernersville, PA
March 16:      Lenten retreat day for the faculty and staff of St. Mark’s High School, Wilmington, DE
Thank you!

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Discovering Our Own Deafness

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, February 18, 2018

Ephphatha! Be opened! What a wonderful Gospel not only for the close of a retreat experience but for any time when we’ve been discerning how the Holy One has been moving in our lives and for reflecting on what we’ve taken in and truly heard.

In this passage from Mark’s Gospel (Mark 7:31-37), Jesus heals a person who has a double challenge: he’s deaf, and he also has a speech impediment. This may be why Mark writes that “the people brought him to Jesus.” This unnamed person couldn’t hear or speak, so deafnesshe couldn’t even cry out to Jesus in his need. He had to rely on others to intercede for him and to get Jesus’ attention. In this action of the others is an invitation to us also, an invitation to remember with gratitude all those who support and hold us in prayer at any time, but most especially during those times when we can’t seem to speak for ourselves, when our energy or passion is so low that we need others to advocate on our behalf.

Pause for a moment to offer thanks for all who, right at this moment, are holding you in prayer, bringing you to Jesus as the friends of the deaf person did; pause for a moment also to remember anyone in our world who right now is desperately in need of your prayerful encouragement and affirmation.

Whenever I hear this gospel, I think of a man named Benito. I first saw him when I lived in Jersey City, NJ in a high rise apartment building. The residents there were mostly Latino, so my very limited Spanish was sorely tested. But I happily discovered that sometimes we don’t really need words to communicate. From the first moment I moved in, I was so touched by the graciousness of my neighbors, who were constantly asking me “How are you?”, “How are you finding your way around?” “Is there anything you need?” Everyone was helpful. Everyone welcomed me. Everyone except Benito.

Anytime I saw him, it was as if I didn’t exist. When I was with Benito in the elevator, he would always yell “Abierto!” (“Open!) when we reached his floor, and then he’d exit and brush by me without saying a word. In this warm Latino culture, his behavior was a striking contrast to the spirit of all my other gracious neighbors.

If I greeted him with “Good morning” or “Buenos dias” or “How are you?” Benito never responded. Not only that, but he would sometimes brush against me, knock things out of my hand, and never apologize. I began to think, “What’s his problem?” And for weeks I had a single story for him, the only thing I knew about his life. And that single story was Rude. Rude. Rude.

Then one day I was on the elevator with another neighbor and as the doors started to close, Benito walked by.

“Isn’t that a shame about Benito?” my neighbor said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Well,” she said. “You know his eyesight is so limited. And he just found out yesterday that his hearing is almost gone.”

In that moment, I wanted the elevator to swallow me whole. Here I had been making all kinds of judgments and sticking negative labels on Benito, when all this time he was struggling like the deaf person in today’s Gospel. He carried the double challenge of both limited sight and loss of hearing.

So which of us, Benito or Chris, was the deaf one? Which of us needed to pray “Abierto!” Open! to the needs of our neighbor?

When my heart was opened in that Ephphatha moment, my view of Benito was turned upside down. He was no longer a single story of rude, rude, rude. He was now a person of courage, navigating a dark and silent world with amazing grace. My judgment, my single story of who I thought him to be, got in the way of the truth of who he actually was.

deaf4This same Holy One who makes the deaf hear and the mute speak is active and alive in us, offering us the grace of his presence and healing. As we move into our day, may we continue to listen. May we live Ephphatha in the days ahead. May we be opened to the invitation to truly hear and offer compassion to all that our world loves, pursues, and suffers.

Ephphatha! Abierto! Amen!

Takeaway

Sit in a place of stillness. Listen intently and openly to the Holy One.
Can you call to mind a time when you might have passed judgment on another?
When your critical judgment based on what you saw or heard turned out to be far from the truth of the other’s reality?
What assumptions might have been underneath your judgment?
How did your view of the other change when you learned the truth of their circumstances or their story?
Ask the Holy One to bathe you in compassion and in openness of heart.

Images:
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NOTE:
Thank you for your prayerful remembrance of all who were part of the guided retreat for the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Dubuque, Iowa February 4-9. Today’s blog post is adapted from a reflection I offered on the closing day of that retreat.

Please now hold in your prayer these upcoming experiences:

February 21: Retreat day for the staff of RENEW International at Mount St. Mary House of Prayer, Watchung, NJ

February 26: Retreat day for Regional Vocation Directors at Emmaus House, Ocean Grove, NJ
Thank you!

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