Try a Little Tenderness

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, June 4, 2017

Yes, tenderness.  On this feast of Pentecost, when a torrent of languages is being spoken and shouted, when a mighty wind is howling through every inch of a house, when fiery tongues appear over the heads of a community, there is also in John’s Gospel (20:19-23), the quiet appearance and tender care of the risen Jesus.

When the disciples are huddled in fear in a locked room, Jesus demonstrates another dimension of the presence of Spirit.  He simply appears among his friends, breathes out peace, and shows them the sign of his wounded hands and side. His gentle entrance and breathprayer evoke the image of Isaiah’s suffering servant (Isaiah 54). Clearly, Jesus recognizes how fragile, how despairing, and how beaten down are the hopes of the paralyzed and cowering disciples.  He is full of tenderness for all that is wounded and broken among them, and so he will not break a reed that is already bent.  He will not snuff out a lamp whose flame is already flickering. Whatever he says and does will be marked by a profound tenderness.

The American psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan defined healthy adult maturity as “aWaitingcouplewithwheelchair copy state in which tenderness prevails.”  A state in which tenderness prevails.  What a helpful yardstick in reflecting on our own lives and actions in this Pentecost season and asking, “Does tenderness prevail in me?”

In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis makes the case for a tender, welcoming heart.  In describing a parish, he writes, “The parish is the presence of God in a given territory.  The parish is a sanctuary where the thirsty come to drink in the midst of their journey.” (#28)

Try re-reading those words and substituting “community” or “family” for “parish.” Then ask yourself: How am I, how are we the presence of God in our corner of the world?  How am I, how are we a sanctuary, a safe, welcoming, and hospitable heart? For what do we thirst, and how are we ministering and reaching out to give drink to  others who also long for the Holy One?

Brian Doyle, a gifted storyteller and editor of Portland magazine, wrote in one of his articles of a conversation with his 90-year-old mother.  He was concerned about his daughter and her problems. He wanted to take charge of his daughter and fix everything.  His mother reminded him that, no matter how smart you are, you cannot fix anyone else.

And then she shared from her store of wisdom and experience.  Be tender, she told him.longinghand copy Everything else is a footnote. Be the conduit for love. Insist on love against all evidence. Tell your daughter you love her and repeat as often as necessary.

She might have been speaking to us as well. Be tender.  There’s just not enough tenderness in the world.  Be tender to all that is broken, fragile, and wounded in those you serve, and be tender towards yourself. Don’t beat yourself up with regrets in your inner monologue. Give yourself equal consideration, attentiveness, and compassion.

Think for a moment of how different our world might be if we “insisted on love against all evidence.”  If we told others they were loved and repeated those words as necessary.

In our very human lives, we are surrounded by the incomplete, the unfinished, the unresolved, the imperfect. When we experience the limits of the human condition in ourselves and others, may we also return to the witness of the risen Jesus. May we remember that evening on the first day of the week. May we breathe in the presence of Spirit. May we try a little tenderness.

Takeaway

Sit in stillness.
Imagine the risen Jesus entering any part of your life where you are held captive by fear, anxiety, despair.
Breathe in the tender welcome of his compassionate gaze.
Breathe in his loving presence.
Breathe in peace.
Rest in that moment as you go through the day and encounter others.

NOTE:  I’ll be grateful once again for your prayers, this time for all who will be part of my next guided retreat, “Bearing Witness to the Holy,” June 11-16, at The Welcoming Space at the IHM Center, Scranton. Thank you!

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Knowing Beyond Sight

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, May 21, 2017

When we love deeply, we recognize, even from a distance, what we’ve cherished and accompanied and brought to life in any way. This noticing is one of the spiritual practices we’re invited to cultivate and deepen in the everyday.

I’ve always suspected that parents, teachers, and guardians were already highly skilled in cultivating this ability to recognize and name.  When my nieces and nephews were young, I sometimes accompanied them and their mothers to a  park or play area. There I would witness an amazing feat: my sisters’ ability to pick out a single, unique, high-pitched cry from among hundreds of children at play, and say knowingly, without needing to look up, “Oh, that’s Kevin” or “Alex sounds like he’s having fun.”  So familiar and intimate was the bond between them and their little ones that sight was almost superfluous.  Without seeing, they could recognize their own flesh and blood, their profound life connections.

In the house where I live, as I’ve come to know my downstairs neighbors more deeply, I’ve simultaneously become a bit more practiced in the skill of recognizing them by voice and sound.  My neighbors on the first floor are residents of a group home sponsored by St. Joseph’s Center, which offers a variety of services including residential programs for adults diagnosed with intellectual disability. Though none of the young adult men downstairs can speak language as most of us know it, they certainly can communicate.  Through cries and other sounds, they talk and express their feelings to one another and to their aides.  Having lived on the second floor of the house for some time, I’ve grown in the intuitive skill that comes from a close journeying together: I can hear and recognize their cries of insistence or delight or attentiveness and name the persons who uttered those sounds, even without seeing them.

At this time of year, when part of the world is bursting with all things green and beautiful-trees-4 copygrowing, we may feel the stirrings of this practice of noticing taken to another level.  In the created world, we experience the embodiment of Rainer Marie Rilke’s comment that, “All things sing him; at times we just hear them more clearly.”

Isn’t all of the creative world singing the presence of the Holy?  We hear it in the plaintive call of a mourning dove and the full-throated cry of a cardinal in search of his mate.  We hear it in the rustle of a breeze caressing the birch and the maple tree. If it’s possible to smell a song, that’s exactly what we do when we bury our nose in the fragrance of honeysuckle on a warm July evening. It’s all of nature chanting, “God is here.  God is here.  God is here.”

Yes, God is here.  Our reality is that sometimes we don’t notice the presence of the Holy right here, right now.  But might we be somewhat consoled by how this intimacy or the absence of it plays out in the post-resurrection accounts?  We read in the Gospels of how at first there was a seeming blindness or deafness that got in the way of opening eyes and ears to the presence of the Risen One.  Certainly, overwhelming grief and loss can do that.  We see a weeping Magdalene mistaking Jesus for the gardener until he utters two familiar syllables: “Mary.”  We witness two broken-hearted disciples so deflated by the death of a dream that they walk an entire journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus oblivious to the presence of Jesus.  Only at the end of that trek do they notice a flicker of familiarity, leading them to insist their companion remain and break bread with them. In that most elemental of gestures, they recognize at last the presence of the risen Jesus.  Just so do we often wait and look and listen and come to know the face of the Holy among us.

Our world is filled with signposts pointing to the presence of God at work in every moment.  In our human condition, we may easily miss those appearances, so let’s try anew each day to enter into and live the words of the song,

“Without seeing you, we love you.  Without seeing you, we believe.”

May it be so!

Takeaway

Where do you most easily recognize and point to the presence of God in your everyday life?

Might there be persons or places or things that challenge you to believe that God is present?

Spend some time in quiet and share your reflection during an Emmaus Walk with Jesus, a conversation about what is unfolding in your life. Listen more than you speak.

NOTE:

My deep thanks for your support of all who were part of the Directed Prayer Weekend at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth in Wernersville, PA this week.  Special thanks to Brother Chris Derby, SJ and the staff of the Center for creating a spaciousness of silence and spirit that welcomed all of us.

 

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With What Remains

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, May 7, 2017

A life can be turned upside down with hurricane force or with the subtleness of a gentle breeze.  Social media and the evening news regularly provide visuals of the former:  cherished homes flattened in a few seconds by the raw power of a tornado. Property, mementos, sometimes lives swept away by raging floods. Numbness, shock, disbelief in the wake of tragedies and natural disasters.

The incremental and the less dramatic can also usher in a “new normal”.  A gradual thaw in a relationship, opening the way to more comfortable conversation. A change of perspective that carries fresh thinking. The dawning of a deep knowing that one is loved and being stretched to grow in relationship.

How to embrace change and transition, especially if the new normal is not of our own choosing?  How to integrate it into a life redirected?  How to do that with graciousness, hope, and creativity?

The revered violinist, Itzhak Perlman, once offered his audience an inspiring visual of embracing unexpected change.  Born in Israel, he was crippled by polio at a young age. As a result of his illness, he could walk only with great difficulty and the assistance of crutches, so in all of his concerts, he had to remain seated when he played the violin.

Once when Perlman was just at the beginning of a performance onstage in concert, a string snapped on his violin.  The audience held their collective breath, wondering what he would do.  Would he slowly and painfully limp off the stage and find a substitute violinplayer copyinstrument to play the music as written?  Instead, Perlman chose to continue playing and did the unthinkable: he played with only the three remaining strings of his violin.  When he finished, the audience rose in a standing ovation, awed by both his artistry and his presence of mind in the face of the unexpected.

When the applause finally subsided, Perlman was invited to speak.  He uttered only this single sentence:  “Our job is to make music with what remains.”

Clearly, he was not speaking of only the broken violin string. In a life impacted by illness and its subsequent limitations to his mobility, Perlman chose to reimagine and redesign his life to accommodate a new normal.  He was practiced in choosing to play with what was left, with whatever remained.

In the Easter Gospels, we read stories of the contemporary followers of Jesus who were struggling to embrace a new normal, the reality and the mystery of Jesus now risen, alive, and in their midst.  These disciples are often portrayed in their confusion as living the root meaning of the Old English word, bereft: robbed.  Robbed of the way life used to be, before the dying and rising of Jesus. Robbed of the Jesus they had become risingword copyaccustomed to experiencing.  Robbed in the sense of Mary Magdalene’s grief spoken through tears on Easter morning, “They have taken Jesus away and I don’t know where they’ve put him.”  No wonder the risen Jesus was so seldom recognized in those early resurrection days!  A new normal had taken place, and it invited a huge change of heart, a paradigm shift in how to relate to a Jesus whose face and presence were not so easily known.

In our own lives, we may or may not have already experienced dramatic life changes.  But most certainly at some time now or in the future, we’ll share in the universal experience of our own new normal, the challenge of adjusting or adapting to limitation or loss or diminishment or new patterns of living in the everyday.

In our new normal, we may be companioning a loved one whose life has been forever altered by a diagnosis.  We may be walking with a partner who is slowly moving away from us through dementia.  We may be struggling with the absence of cherished friends whose death demands that we create new rituals and routines apart from their familiar presence.  We may be growing a relationship that challenges us to move beyond our comfort zone.

It took discernment and courage for the disciples of Jesus to give themselves over to the reality of Jesus’ rising and to the changes his resurrection visited on their everyday living.  This same wisdom and largeness of heart is also asked of us in times of change as we enter into the in-betweenness of transition.  May the rising of Jesus in our time and place continue to encourage and sustain us.

Takeaway

In a time of stillness, reflect on a change or transition you’re living through at this moment.

What does this new normal look like, feel like, sound like?
What might be the learnings hidden in it?
Ask the risen Jesus for the grace to embrace this new normal with a patient and gracious heart.

NOTE:
Thank you for your prayerful support of the faculty retreat day at Immaculate Conception School, Annandale, NJ, on May 5.  My deep thanks to principal Cynthia Kitt and the wonderful staff who gathered to pray, reflect, and share wisdom. 

Please now hold in your prayer all who will be part of a Directed Prayer Weekend at the Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth, Wernersville, PA, May 19-21.

 

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In Flight

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, April 23, 2017

We’ve lived and experienced the Paschal Mystery—the suffering, dying, and rising of Jesus–for as many years as we’ve been alive. Because of that familiarity, we can sometimes dreamwalk through the Gospel stories we’ve read and prayed and heard so often. Yet grace can break through and intensify our awareness, calling us to pay attention and notice with fresh eyes what has been in front of us all along.

That was my experience this past Holy Thursday. On that night, I joined my IHM Sisters at Our Lady of Peace Residence, our retirement facility in Scranton, for the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper. In that place of peace, I was lulled by the familiarity of the first reading from Exodus (12:1-8, 11-14), listing all the details that needed to be in place for the Passover meal: the time of the ritual gathering; the specific type of lamb; the blood on the doorposts; the elements of unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

But then came a sentence whose ending leaped out at me:

“This is how you are to eat it:
with your loins girt,
sandals on your feet,flightrefugees
and your staff in hand,
you shall eat like those who are in flight.”

Flight? Flight, meaning the action of fleeing or attempting to escape? What does it mean, I wondered, to eat and to live like those who are in flight?

The 15th century poet Mira, revered by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs as a champion of human rights, offers an insight. In “I Write of That Journey” she notes,

“All actions have evolved
from the taste of flight;
the hope of freedom
moves our cells
and limbs…”

The hope of freedom moves our very cells. The taste of flight lingers with me now as I sit down to a lovely place setting in a peaceful room and invite to the table:
those who are in flight from the bombing of Aleppo;
those seeking refuge from starvation and genocide in South Sudan;
those frantically fleeing terrorist attacks;
those migrating in search of potable water;
those running from religious persecution;
those hiding from the threat of domestic violence.

All are accompanied by a journeying God, a God on the move:
in movement even before his birth as Mary “went with haste” to visit her cousin in need;
carried in his mother’s womb for a census in the town of Bethlehem;
fleeing to Egypt to escape the slaughter of innocents;
living as an itinerant preacher with no place to rest at the end of a day;
walking the last long steps on the way to Calvary.

In the crucified peoples of our world we can so easily name the suffering and dying of Jesus unfolding right here, right now. Yet the Paschal mystery is not only this suffering and dying of Jesus in us; it must also include his rising in a world that is both beautiful and wounded.

In this season of resurrection when we focus on the rising of Jesus and the call to new life, we also underscore another definition of flight: the action or process of movingflighthope through the air; the process by which an object moves through the atmosphere or beyond it; all of the ways Jesus continues to rise in each of us.

This rising, this other type of flight, calls us to remember and give thanks for the many who have lifted us up, encouraged us, affirmed our dreams, supported our visions, loved us and stood by our side when we thought we had not a single redeeming quality. This rising calls us to applaud the poets and artists and dancers and painters who illuminate a vision of a world marked by tenderness and beauty and right relationship. This rising calls us to celebrate those who are bearers of hope and to take up their witness of resistance to the oppression and exclusion of social sin.

May we remember and hold in awareness and in prayer all those who experience any kind of flight this day. May each one of us rise into new life, into unending compassion, into undaunted hope.

Takeaway:

Spend a bit of quiet time reflecting on the suffering, dying, and rising of Jesus today.
Where in our world are you moved by the flight that is taking place?
What might be taking flight in you?

NOTE:
Thank you for your prayers and support for the many retreats and presentations I was privileged to offer during Lent.

Please remember in your prayer all who will be part of a faculty retreat day at Immaculate Conception School, Annandale, NJ, on May 5.

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As If for the First time

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, April 7, 2017

Have you ever heard words coming out of your mouth, words that perhaps you’ve said multiple times, and then suddenly been caught up in a deep knowing that you’re listening to and understanding those same words in a fresh way? Almost like a first, original hearing or an experience of deep mining.

Adults often insist that they’ll never use some of the sayings their parents repeated to them as they were children growing up. Count me among those adults who are one day stunned or startled to hear themselves uttering things like, “Because I say so” or “You’ll thank me later” or some other nugget of generations past. (Here, feel free to fill in the blanks with the utterance that surprised you as it came out of your mouth in an unguarded, spontaneous moment and that echoed an earlier generation who are now appreciated as amazingly wise).

During this year’s very full Lenten schedule of retreats, days of prayer, and presentations, I was often referencing the Paschal Mystery, the suffering, dying, and rising of Jesus in history. I also spent quite a bit of time reflecting and sharing how that same Mystery of Jesus’ Passion and resurrection is happening right here, right now, inEastercandles our time and place. I kept asking and inviting reflection around the question: “When, where, and in whom does Jesus continue to suffer, die, and rise in our beautiful, yet wounded world today?”

I offer profound thanks to the hundreds of people I met this Lenten season, people in Queens, Long Island, upstate New York and New York’s boroughs, New Jersey, eastern and western Pennsylvania, in cities and towns, in parishes and neighborhoods. You put flesh on the words I was saying. In your presence and your praying and your conversations, you made visible the contemporary Paschal Mystery. I listened intently as you shared your insights, as well as your hopes and your brokenness. Everywhere I went, you presented me with the reality of both crucifixion and resurrection.

Because of you, I experienced over and over an almost mystical state of being in the heart of the Holy. You made it easy to imagine how God—however we name the Divine—must be feeling as Jesus continues to journey to Calvary today, as he continues Easterandholyweekto endure pain and anguish, oppression and exclusion in the crucified peoples of our world. Because of you, I have a palpable sense of how Jesus continues to be entombed and waiting with those who are held captive by fear, imprisoned by doubt, their dreams deferred or buried with seemingly no hope of expression or release. Because of you, I also have an overwhelming sense of how Jesus continues to rise in our world, in you who give your lives over to being agents for authentic change, who work to restore right relationship, who refuse to let sin and death have the final word, who offer yourselves as a healing presence to tend Jesus’ wounds in our fragile neighbors.

Because of you, I have already seen and walked with Jesus through Holy Week. You have lifted up for me Palm Sunday’s delight in receiving praise and affirmation; Holy Thursday’s poignant breaking of bread, tearful good-bye, letting go; Good Friday’s anguish in feeling shamed or abandoned or a failure; the anxious waiting and the hopeful wondering about what’s ahead and what’s possible on Holy Saturday; and the bursting, undaunted, irrepressible hope that is Easter Sunday.

I am so profoundly grateful for what you have revealed to me for my own life. I hold you in my heart and prayer with great care and tenderness. And I pray that we may all continue to walk with Jesus beyond this season. That we may invite the Holy to continue to act in us to bring about God’s dream for our world that continues to suffer, to die, and to rise this day and every day.

Wishing you a happy Easter and all the blessings of new life!

Takeaway

Where in your own life or in our world, do you see or experience Jesus’ suffering and dying today? 

Where do you see signs of hope that point to the rising of Jesus in your family, relationships, neighborhood, country, world? 

What might be needed for you to live the truth that the resurrection of Jesus has truly taken place?

 

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Budding Within

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, March 24, 2017

So much is in bud, the poet Denise Levertov tells us.  In the Northern hemisphere we might add: even when buried under 2 feet of snow.  Even when assaulted by fierce, unrelenting wind.  Even when held firmly in the grip of unforgiving cold.

Can we hear the whisper, barely audible yet quite emphatic, that is the call of spring?  Have we noticed the lub-dub of the beating heart of our planet?  The irrepressible longing of the Earth moving towards greening?  Have we heard the summons towards newness of life that will not be ignored or denied?

In my part of the world where there are usually marked differences in the seasons, spring is not a time of ripening but a season of possibility and the dreams that are the stuff of longing.  Already, impatient snowdrops and courageous crocus have broken ground.  Thebuddingcrocusinsnow copy forsythia bush is putting out tentative, promising buds.  Indoors, my housemates—a family of African violets and English ivy–peer out at their relatives in the front yard and feel a kinship as they lean towards the light together.

Is it any wonder that, here in the Northern hemisphere, the liturgical season of Lent runs parallel to the natural season of spring?  The word “Lent”, after all, comes from the Old English “lencten” and the German “Lenz”, meaning spring.  And in Old German, related translations of Lent uncover the word, “long,” reflecting the lengthening of days as we journey toward ever increasing daylight.  Or perhaps the root meaning should really be not “long” but “long-ing,” reflecting the desire of all creation for greening and growth.

Can we imagine our Lenten hearts erupting in the Song of Songs (2:10-11)?
“Arise, my friend, my beautiful one, and come!
For see, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth…”

May we move into this springtime of the liturgical year with what John Soos names as

“the restlessness of being a seed
the darkness of being planted
the struggle toward the light
the pain of growth into the light
the joy of bursting and bearing fruit
the love of being food for someone…”   (To Be of the Earth)

May we begin this springtime of the heart seeking wholeness and a stillness which is generative.
May we tend to our profound hunger for the Holy and the deep longing of the Holy for each one of us.
May we lean towards the light and live lives of meaning beyond ourselves.

May we, in the prayer of the Chinook Psalter,
“be touched by grace, fascinated and moved by this your creation,budsprouting copy
energized by the power of new growth at work in your world…
May our bodies, our minds, our spirits learn a new rhythm paced by the rhythmic pulse of the whole created order.
May spring come to us, be in us, and recreate life in us.”

Blessings on these remaining days of Lent!

Takeaway

What seeds do you hope to plant and nurture in your life today?

What might God be longing to green and grow in you?

NOTE:

My thanks for your prayerful support of days of retreat and reflection in the past two weeks in Sullivan County, NY; Port Washington, NY; and Springfield Gardens, NY. 

Please continue to hold in your prayer these upcoming events:
March 25-29:  “Walking the Lenten Journey with Jesus,”  Parish Lenten mission, St. Susanna Church, Penn Hills, PA 

April 8:  Lenten retreat day for parishioners of Christ the King Church, Springfield Gardens, NY at Our Lady of Grace Center, Manhasset, NY

 

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Becoming the Field

by Chris Koellhoffer, IHM, March 12, 2017

Right now, at this very moment, everything in the Universe is moving, vibrating, giving off energy in some form.  This astounding reality is one of many insights quantum physics and the new cosmology have broken open in recent years.  If you have any difficulty fully embracing this, observe how children and animals often intuitively sense a place of safety and goodness in a person they’re encountering for the very first time, and how they’re drawn to this positive energy.  Consider how the vibrational pulse of people in a room can change dramatically when one person with negative energy joins the conversation.  Or recall a time when, even if you couldn’t summon words to articulate or describe it, you knew yourself in the presence of peace and compassion through the energy field of another.

heartekg copyThis past week of offering a guided retreat for Maryknoll Sisters, I experienced a palpable sense of energy, a resonance with the mission of love and service these women have given over to the Universe: lives open to what Vatican II called “the joys, hopes, griefs and anxieties” of the people of this world; lives transformed by relationship to the other, to welcoming the other’s wisdom and insight and sense of the Holy.

Each morning and each afternoon of the retreat, we engaged in breathprayer, remembering how the Spirit of God hovered over the waters at the beginning of creation, breathing out breath that was generative, that summoned life.  In inhaling and exhaling, we sent our prayer and compassion and intention beyond the chapel.  Just like the singing bowl rung at the close of our breathprayer, we rang our love out into the Universe without knowing our reach or impact.  We simply trusted in the breathing and the sending.

At Maryknoll, a place made sacred by the lives of hundreds of missionaries, the theme of resonance kept returning to me long after the sounds of the singing bowl had diminished and disappeared.  All around the building were vibrations of images, photos and artwork from countries and cultures around the globe, each one speaking of energies invested and given over in love and sacrifice.

In our shared struggle to contribute to a world of tenderness and peace, Teilhard de Chardin might have been speaking of these vibrations when he wrote, “Our role is not only to ease suffering, bind up wounds, and feed the hungry, but through every form of effort to raise the powers of Love upward to the next stage of consciousness.”

To raise the powers of Love upward to the next consciousness.  To do this from wherever we may happen to live.  Isn’t this what Judy Cannato references in her beautiful IMG_1879 (2)work,  Field of Compassion?  She speaks of British biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s concept of morphogenic fields, in which “…the human person is a field of energy and information rooted in the body but extending out from the body, interacting with the energy and information of others.”  We humans, she asserts, have the ability to be aware of and to transform our energy fields by the choices we make.  We can, with God’s grace, alter the kinds of energy we pass on to the world around us.  Our call is to make enlightened and compassionate choices that resonate for the good of all.

Cannato asks a series of “What ifs” about these energy fields, this raising upward of the powers of Love:

“What if we experiment with the notion that what Jesus was about was the creation of…a morphogenic field, one that resonates with love and draws others like a magnet?

What if we could intentionally contribute to the fashioning of a field in which attitudes and speech and action flow out of the very best human beings can be?

What if we with great intentionality take up the challenge to love God and neighbor with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength?

What kind of morphic resonance would that create?
How would we change?
How would the world change?”

Takeaway

Imagine your life displayed as a collage of photos and artwork and words and images, an intimate glimpse into the fields of energy you have shared and are sharing with our world.

What do you see?  Hear?  Feel?

What kind of energy field are you giving out to the Universe?

How are you the presence of Love that invites others to see their beauty and worth?

Spend some time in silence giving thanks for the energies of Love within you and around you.

 

NOTE:  My deep thanks to the many who enriched and contributed to the retreat experiences offered during the past two weeks in Scranton, PA; Watchung, NJ;  Ossining, NY; and Sullivan County, NY, and to all of you who supported in prayer these sacred moments.

May I ask you to again surround the next round of retreat experiences with your prayer:

March 18:                   “Standing, Staying, Accompanying,”  St. Peter of Alcantara IHM  Center, Port Washington, NY
March 22:                   Social Justice Ministry, Christ the King parish, Springfield Gardens, NY
March 25-29:              “Walking with Jesus on the Lenten Journey,” parish mission at St. Susanna Church, Penn Hills, PA

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