Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Discernment, Divine Revelation, Faith, Jesus, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Let it Be Done to Me According to Your Word

Perhaps the most challenging thing we will ever do in our lives is to be open and obedient to Divine guidance.  When we open ourselves to God’s direction in our lives, we are led to the path of our highest good and the outcome far exceeds anything we could ever have imagined for ourselves.  In order to do so, however, we first have to give up our pride – our desire for perceived security and perceived surety, and the need to be in control and in charge.  Surrendering our pride and accepting God’s will takes great courage and often requires great risk, but in the end, it is always worth it.  Just ask Mother Mary who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through her son Jesus.

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, December 21, 2014. Fourth Sunday of Advent.

 

Please note that beginning, January 1, 2015, the meditation newsletter, Virtual Church and Superhero Reports will be available by subscription only.  To continue to receive these life-giving resources, subscribe HERE for a very reasonable monthly fee (about the price of one large cappuccino a week).

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Scripture Reading:

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.” Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Lk 1: 26-38

 

Additional Readings:

2 Sam 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14A, 16

Ps 89: 2-5, 27-29

ROM 16: 25-27

 mary-mother-jesus

Honoring the Divine Mother

It is appropriate in this Sunday before we commemorate the birth of Jesus, to give honor to Mary, the woman who agreed to birth God’s love into the world through Christ. In honoring Mary, it is important to understand the great risk she took in accepting her call. Scholars surmise that Mary was somewhere between the ages of 13 and 16 when God’s herald, Gabriel appeared to her. In saying yes to God’s call, Mary placed herself in grave danger. Agreeing to become pregnant when she was unwed made her a “sinner” in the eyes of the Hebraic law. Also by law, her betrothed, Joseph, and her father Joachim, had the right to stone her to death for committing adultery. Through God’s intervention, neither her husband nor her father chose this path. Instead, Joseph agreed to take Mary into his home and fulfill their original betrothal contract by making her his wife.

Mary’s journey invites us all to take a look at the way in which we respond to God’s call. God’s call is rarely easy, and often comes with great risk – if nothing else than to risk the change that comes in obeying God’s will. Let Mary’s response be our prayer as we ponder the way in which God is calling us to birth God’s love into the world:

May it be done to me according to your word.

 

Spiritual Practices – Mantra Meditation

Mantra is a spiritual practice in which we repeat a word or a phrase over and over and over – either silently or aloud. In repeating the phrase and reflecting on its meaning, we are drawn into a deeper state of relaxation. Also in repeating the phrase, we are allowing its meaning to sink deeply into us where it can facilitate great healing and transformation. In the simple repetition and reflection on the phrase, we are transformed.

Set aside 15-30 minutes. Sit comfortably with your eyes closed and in that silence, repeat the following phrase over and over in your mind (or say it aloud):

May it be done to me according to your word.

After the meditation period, record your thoughts and feelings in a notebook or journal.

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, pride is the compulsion we indulge when we have forgotten our Oneness with God in love. Pride keeps us from being open to God’s guidance and direction in our lives and makes us believe we are alone and that we have to do it on our own. When we set aside our pride and connect with God, we are once again able to receive God’s guidance and direction for our lives, along with the ability to surrender to this call and accept it through spiritual obedience. Humility is the virtue that arises when we are able to set aside our pride, our fears, our need to be in control and in charge. Exercising humility and spiritual obedience we find a place of contentment and ease in our lives as we allow God to lead while we obediently follow, trusting that while God’s ways may not be our own, the outcome is always far greater than what we could ever have imagined for ourselves.

Where are you aware of the compulsion of pride as active in your life – in your need to control, to have the answers, to know the answers, thinking you are alone and have to do it yourself?

How are you being invited to more fully surrender your life to God as Mother Mary so boldly did?

Posted in Discernment, Mary Magdalene, Spiritual Practices

Saying Yes To What God Gives Me, Again

Today’s blog explores the topic of discernment – the process through which we determine God’s direction for our life – the direction that is in our highest good.

Now What?  Part 3

As I continue this process of discernment – trying to determine God’s direction for my life, I am reminded of a powerful mantra given to me by my Spiritual Director about this exact time last year.  The mantra is:

Say Yes To What God Gives Me

I have found this mantra to be a powerful tool of discernment, as well as acceptance and surrender.  As I sit in the gap following professional challenges and observe that certain professional doors may be closing and not yet knowing what the doors are that will be (or already are) opening, this mantra has become especially helpful and important.  In the past several weeks, God has given me:

  • Time away from professional obligations
  • Time to heal
  • Time to take a personal retreat and professional sabbatical
  • A place to retreat to and a friend to retreat with
  • Loving and supportive family and friends
  • The financial resources to be able to take this time away
  • Generous parents

As I slowly move out of the cave of retreat and make a gentle re-entry into the professional world, I am grateful for the things that God is now giving me:

  • A 12 week teaching contract facilitated by enthusiastic and supportive students.
  • A smattering of paying clients
  • Subscribers to Agape’
  • An enthusiastic editor
  • A terrific graphic designer
  • An offer from a client to design the interior of my next book
  • A trade client who is also a magnificent portrait artist who is hard at work on the portrait that will be the cover of my next book.
  • Time to write

As I gaze over the spectrum of what the Universe is giving me, the answer to “Ok, Now What?”  seems pretty clear:  FINISH THAT NOVEL!  You have the time, the resources, etc.  Of course the part of me that craves financial security is totally freaking out about this, but the direction seems pretty obvious….and the invitation is to TRUST, forge ahead and GET ER DONE!  So, I take a deep breath, say yes to what the Universe is giving me and step into the abyss of the unknown to write, edit, write some more and hand my novel over to the designers that will make it beautiful and the publishing vehicle that will make it available to the world.  YAY!

PS

So, just a little preview:  The book is about Mary Magdalene (duh!) and her personal experience with Jesus (duh again!).

Putting it into practice

If you are facing a period of “Now what?” in your own life, or are simply restless and seeking new direction, this little discernment tool and mantra might prove to be helpful.

  • Ask the questions (now what?  Who do you want me to be?  What do you want me to do?)
  • Observe those things in your life that are no longer life-giving and be willing to let them go.
  • Watch for the things that do give you life.
  • Be attentive to the things the Universe seems to simply drop into your lap (even if you don’t initially think you want them…..like for me, three weeks with no paying clients)
  • Say yes to what the Universe gives you – again even if you don’t initially think you want them (like a closed or closing door)
  • TRUST that the Universe only has your highest good in mind
  • Surrender to what is
  • TRUST that the Universe will provide for your needs as you say yes to what you are being given.
  • ALLOW yourself to be carried into your new life…..if it is God-directed, excruciating effort will not be necessary.  (another thing to watch for as validation of your God-directed path).

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in Discernment, Divine Revelation, Empowerment

Seeking Clarity on our Path

Discernment is the spiritual process through which we determine our life path – specifically, what path will be in our highest good and is God’s intention and desire for us and what path is not.  Discernment is a tricky process and not to be entered into lightly and we are invited to be cautious of the danger signs along the way as we seek the path of light.

 

Identifying the Path of our Highest Good

“God’s will” might be a phrase some would use in describing the path that is in our “Highest good.”  The idea of pre-destination notwithstanding, this phrase may cause philosophical issues for most, if not many people.  I think of it this way…..the Source of the Universe (which some might call God), knows the path that is in our highest good and wants us to discover and follow that path because it is the best thing for us and it is the best thing for the world.  I understand the path of our highest good to be that which leads us towards the discovery of our highest and most authentic selves, heals us of our false-perceptions and ego-attachments, assists us in transcending our fears and leads us toward the discovery, cultivation and eventual sharing of our unique giftedness….in service to Love/God and in service to the world, thereby bringing the world to a greater state of peace, freedom, joy and harmony.  Cool, right?!  The good news is that the discovery/awareness of this path is available and accessibly to us RIGHT NOW if we but have the eyes to see, and the faith to trust in Divine Timing!  (ie: letting go of our need to “make” things happen, manipulate and control outcomes!)  This path is also recognized by some very significant markers/signposts/identifying characteristics.  Here are those markers:

  • The path of our highest good leads us toward freedom.
  • The path of our highest good leads us toward peace, contentment, joy, love, compassion, justice.
  • The path of our highest good is expansive, liberating, moves of its own volition
  • The path of our highest good is life-giving
  • The path of our highest good makes the best use of our gifts as well as our perceived weaknesses or imperfections

 

Beware of Grandiosity

So, let me give you an example of how one might begin to seek clarity in our path to our highest good.  I shared with you a few weeks ago the vision that I received that was given in response to my prayer for “direction and clarity.”  The image was of me in white robes, wearing a red stole, presumably presiding over mass/liturgy in front of a multitude of people also dressed in white.  My initial reaction to this vision was, “NO WAY…NO HOW….YOU MUST BE NUTS….GO AWAY GOD!”  Well, I know better than to question or challenge what might be God’s “call” for me, so for the past several weeks, I have been seeking clarity about what this vision might mean.  At first it seemed it was God calling me to the priesthood.  Then I came to understand that I am already priest in the work that I have been doing and will continue to do.  Then it seemed it was God calling me to “build a new church.”  ARGH!  Certainly the furthest thing from my mind, but an idea I could not at least examine, question, challenge and think about pursuing.  Somewhere in the mix of these ideas, potential calls, etc. came thoughts of  “Well, at least someone might finally get this ‘church’ thing right.   It is about time someone considers reforming the priesthood.  To heck with the stupid black shirt and collar, I will be a priest that dresses as the people dress.”  Is there a need for reform in the church?  You betcha.  Are there changes that could be made around our ideas of priest!  YUP!  And, as I have been discerning this call and wrapped up in thoughts such as these, it all felt big, daunting, a bit overwhelming, and dare I say “important” and “grandiose.”  How cool is it that God would call ME to reform the Church and the Priesthood.  HA!!!!!   Today, it seems, God is laughing ….. again….. at little Lauri as she tries to find her way in the world.

 

KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid!

Somewhere along this path of discernment, I had forgotten the #1 rule on Don Lumby’s “Rules of Project Management.”  (for those that don’t know, Don is my dad….and one of my greatest teachers!!!).  The rule is: “KISS – Keep it Simple Stupid!”   So after much discernment, consultation with my Spiritual Direction and local advisors and spiritual brothers and sisters, it seems the BIG VISION I received might not be so big.  In fact, it might be as simple as gently expanding on what I have already been doing and empowering certain individuals to do the same.  HMMMMM   Still not sure exactly how it will all play out…..but it feels good to know that it is not my job to CHANGE THE WORLD.  (ok, it is all of our jobs to change the world……I just don’t have to do it single-handedly as a priest in a newly formed church of my own making.  YAY!)

 

Where are you tempted to give into gradiose or big plans for yourself?

How do you recognize the path of your highest good?

How has formal discernment played a role in your own life?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com