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 Authentic Freedom, Being Human, God, Lessons, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, Surrender, Virtual Church

To Have and To Have Not

This week’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church supplement explores the changeability of the human condition.  Sometimes we experience times of abundance, and sometimes due to circumstances outside our control, we experience times of lack.  St. Paul reminds us of the invitation to find equanimity in the constant changing nature of the human condition. 

Agape’ Meditation Practices Newsletter

Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church Service for Sunday, October 12, 2014

 

Scripture Reading:

Brothers and sisters: I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress. My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father, glory forever and ever. Amen.

Phil 4: 12-14, 19-20

 

Additional Readings:

Is 25: 6-10

Ps 23: 1-6

Mt 22: 1-14

 

To Have or to Have Not

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he makes a very astute observation about the changeability of human circumstances. Due to circumstances outside of our control, sometimes we have an abundance of what we need and sometimes we do not. Reading between the lines of Paul’s letter, we also hear his acknowledgment of the typical human response to either circumstance. When we have an abundance of material wealth, we often take it for granted, spending it foolishly as our compulsive drives compel us to seek out the thrill of accumulation or seeking after other people’s approval as we try to “keep up with the Joneses.” When we do not have abundance, we slip into fear and dread – sure that this will forever be the circumstance of our life. This fear can also lead us, in our current credit-driven culture, to overspend in rebellion of the fear we are feeling inside, or to slip into depression over the paralyzing fear of lack.

What Paul discovered, however, is that through diligent attention to his spiritual practice (for him, turning to God in prayer), he found the inner peace he needed to navigate both worlds. Through his attention to prayer, he found the peace to weather the times of “humble circumstances” and the temperance to not get taken over by gluttony during times of abundance. This is Paul’s lesson for us this week.

Where are you tempted to take periods of abundance for granted?

Where are you tempted during times of abundance to be frivolous or gluttonous in your use of these resources?

Where are you tempted, during times of humble circumstances, to believe that this will ALWAYS be the circumstance of your life?

Where are you tempted to allow the fear to control you during times of lack?

 wheeloffortune

Spiritual Practices – Turn, Turn, Turn

The key to living with both humble and abundant circumstances is to cultivate humility. Humility arises as a result of transcending our fears and remembering our Oneness with God in Love. Humility reminds us that God is present in all things, at all times – the rich and the poor, the good and the bad, the abundant and the lacking. God – the source of peace, is never absent and is always present giving us exactly what we need in each moment – even when it appears, by human standards, that our needs are not being met – God is there, carrying us along the ever-changing wheel of human experiences.

LISTEN to the song, Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds.  (You Tube Link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4ga_M5Zdn4 )

REFLECT on the words of the song.

READ Paul’s letter to the Philippians.

REFLECT on the movement in your own life between periods of abundance and “humble conditions.” How have you felt during those changing periods? Did you experience peaceful equanimity in either or both experience? During times of peace, how did you achieve that? If you felt anxiety or stress or found yourself using the times of abundance frivolously, what drove those behaviors?

WRITE your thoughts and reflections on the above.

REST in silence as you allow the meditation to become integrated within you. In this rest, allow yourself to feel the presence of God’s peace.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, Humility is considered one of the seven virtues, specifically, the virtue that arises when we REMEMBER our Oneness with God in Love. Humility allows us to know peace during the challenging times of our lives and to practice temperance during the abundant periods of our lives. The path to humility is through diligent attention to our spiritual practice which helps us to remember our Oneness with God. In this, we come to know that the true source of all our needs is God – this is where we find nourishment, sustenance, and support – regardless of the external circumstances of our lives.

How are you being invited to surrender to God as the Source through which all of your needs are being met?

Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, Discernment, Oneness with God, Spiritual Practices, Surrender, Virtual Church

Humility and Spiritual Obedience

Please find below meditation supplement for the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church for this coming Sunday, September 14, 2014.  In this week’s issue, we explore the topics of humility and spiritual obedience.  God alone knows that path that is in our highest good.  Are we willing to do the hard work of surrendering our own will to that which is promised to be in our highest good?

 

Scripture Reading:

Brothers and sisters: Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Phil 2: 6-11

 

Additional Readings:

Nm 21: 4b-9

Ps 78: 1-2, 34-38

Jn 3: 13-17

 

Humility and Obedience

In the spiritual world, humility and obedience go hand-in-hand. In the Christian tradition, Jesus provides the model for pure humility and true obedience that we are called to follow. Jesus surrendered his own will to Divine guidance, which meant following the course of his truth, even when it meant likely death. (It is not that God sent Jesus to his death, or that God desired that Jesus die for his truth. Instead, Jesus lived the truth that God revealed to him, which threatened the political and religious institutions of his time.) Even when faced with suffering and sure death, Jesus did not give into the temptations of his ego, instead, he turned to God in prayer, asked for guidance, pleaded for support, and then continued along his path. This is the process we are invited to follow as Christians – to turn to God for guidance, surrendering our own will, transcending the temptations of the ego, and follow God’s guidance, trusting it will lead us along the path of our highest good.

How are you taking time to listen and receive Divine guidance?

How are you following that guidance?

 chakraart

Spiritual Practices – Surrendering our Will to God

What we think we want or need is not always in our highest good. Only God knows our highest good. Embarking on the path of humility and obedience, we first need to understand this truth. One way to facilitate this knowing is through a mantra practice. Mantra is the practice of repeating the same word or phrase over and over (aloud or silently). In mantra practice, two things happen. 1) We are drawn into a relaxed and meditative state. 2) The intention of the words becomes embedded in our consciousness and beliefs. You are invited to engage in your own mantra practice, with one of the three following quotes from scripture:

 

Let it be done to me according to your word.

 

Thy will be done.

 

Into your hands I commend my spirit.

 

During your chosen prayer period, repeat your chosen phrase over and over in your mind, allowing it to draw you into a meditative and relaxed state. Return to this mantra frequently throughout the week as you move about your daily activities.

In a notebook or journal, record any thoughts, feelings, experiences while participating in this practice.

 

Authentic Freedom

In Authentic Freedom, we acknowledge the crown chakra as our intimate connection with God. It is through the crown that we are able to surrender our own will to that of God’s. It is here that we cultivate humility and overcome the temptations of the ego. It is also through the crown chakra that we know our Oneness with God – not equal, but One as Paul describes in this week’s scripture. In remembering this Oneness with God, we feel content, peaceful, joyful, loving and fulfilled. When we have experiences of peace, joy and love, we are remembering our Oneness with God spontaneously.

 

Where are you remembering your Oneness with God?

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Virtual Church

Servant Leadership – Virtual Church Service

The Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service for Sunday, August 31, 2014 is LIVE.  The theme this week is servant leadership…and what that REALLY looks like.  Servant leadership is NOT about establishing our positions of authority, power or control, neither is it about lauding, defending, or throwing around our positions of power.  Instead, servant leadership is about using our gifts to empower others to realize their own greatness.  Servant leadership is about bottom up leadership.  It is about humility.  It is about serving others.  It is about being the wings upon which others may learn how to fly.

On a personal note, this must be a really hot topic for me as evidenced in the dream I had last night.  In the dream, I was applying for a professional position within a local religious organization.  I was told that I had been rejected for the position because I was known to hang out with the “unsavory” people of Oshkosh – the poor, homeless, mentally ill, hippies, rejects, etc. etc. etc. etc.  In the dream, I completely freaked out….and in very colorful language told them what I thought about their decision.  What did they think Jesus did?  I asked.  In the dream, I did not win the argument.  Neither do I believe I will win it here….at least not with those attached to their positions of authority.  But that’s ok….because those are not the ones I am called to serve.  Instead, I am called to serve those who find themselves without a spiritual home.  At Authentic Freedom and the Superhero Academy, you are welcome here!

You can attend this week’s service HERE. 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, sin, Spiritual Practices, temptation, The Seven Deadly Compulsions, Virtual Church

Get Behind Me Satan – Meditation Supplement

Agape Meditation Newsletter – Supplement to the Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service for Sunday, August 31, 2014

 

Scripture Reading:

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life? For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory, and then he will repay all according to his conduct.”

MT 16: 21-17

 

Additional Readings:

Jer 20: 7-9

Ps 63: 2-9

Rom 12: 1-2

 

Get Behind Me Satan!

Satan is a Hebrew word which means adversary or obstacle. In the Hebrew tradition, Satan is most commonly thought of as existing within us as the inner fears and egoic attachments that try to keep us from the path that God intends for us. In the Christian tradition, Satan is most commonly associated as a personified, external source of temptation – the devil. Whether we perceive Satan as within us or outside of us, the experience is the same – something arising which triggers our fears or flatters our ego so that we are tempted to stray from the path of our highest good, the path God intends for us. In this week’s gospel, Peter acts as the adversary, tempting Jesus to stray from his path. Jesus recognizes in Peter’s words, his own fear of death and the temptation to stray from the path of his truth. Jesus then reminds us that God’s way is not always our way and that we are to trust that what God ordains is in our highest good, even if the path or the outcome seems grim.

 How do you recognize the adversary at work in your own life?

Where are you tempted to avoid the path God has laid out for you by judging it as negative?

 RobertDeNiroAngeHeart

Spiritual Practices – Recognizing Satan

The first step in avoiding temptation is recognizing its presence. The adversary triggers our fear, our unhealed wounds and tempts us through fame, power, and material wealth. The job of the adversary is to tempt us from the path of our highest good and to imprison us in fear and constriction. The adversary flatters us with delusions of grandeur and tempts us into believing we know what is better for us than God does. A good place to begin to recognize the adversary is through knowledge of the seven core spiritual fears:

  • There is not enough (money, safety, power, control, love, sex, things, fame, etc. etc. etc.)
  • I have nothing significant to contribute
  • I cannot (be and live as my truth)
  • I am not loved
  • I am not free to express my truth
  • I do not know (my truth, my path)
  • I am alone (or I can do it alone)

In the coming week, pay attention to when one (or several) of these fears is triggered. Recognize that it is Satan at work, trying to keep you from your path. Then use Jesus’ words to name the adversary and to actively set aside its temptation:

Get behind me Satan!

 

Authentic Freedom

The most important virtue to cultivate is humility, for it is in being humble that all of the other virtues come to fruition – temperance, fortitude, mercy, love, generosity, and zeal. In cultivating humility, we acknowledge that we are nothing without God and that God knows, better than we do, what is best for us. In living humbly, we surrender our lives to God and to the path of our highest good that only God can know. In living humbly, we trust that even the challenges in our lives and the things that do not seem to be working for the good….are. In humility, we trust that God is working all of our life experiences for the good. Humility compels us to turn to God for guidance and direction and allows us to set aside our own ego attachments, wishes and desires to God’s guidance – no matter how challenging the path might appear. Humility leads to spiritual obedience which leads to the freedom God intends for us.

How are you cultivating the virtue of humility?

 

Posted in Agape Project, Authentic Freedom, creativity, Jesus, Lessons, Spiritual Practices, Virtual Church

Virtual Church Meditation Supplement – Passion Sunday

This Sunday, April 13 marks the beginning of Holy Week – the time set aside in the Church calendar to remember the events that led up to the death of Jesus.  I encourage you in the coming week, to set aside your own remembrance – to take extra time out for prayer, reading and reflection on scripture and contemplation.  It is in the silent places in our hearts that the true meaning of Jesus’ death is revealed.  As a way to facilitate this remembrance, I invite you to go to the USCCB website and explore the daily readings featured there. 

I also want to take this time to help you prepare for this Sunday’s Authentic Freedom Virtual Church service. In lieu of a traditional service, I will be providing an opportunity for you to attend your own pre-Easter retreat.  The retreat will include scripture and a unique meditation and reflection experience that I hope will help you to connect with the human Jesus – the flesh and blood man who allowed God to be his source of guidance and support and who, without compromise, adhered to the truth that God revealed to him.  This is the Jesus that struggled, who experienced fear, who sometimes doubted God’s direction, and who, through prayer, found the support he needed to accept the difficult direction of his life.  I think you will find in this Jesus a kindred spirit and powerful teacher – like us in our humanness with access to powerful tools for transcending the struggles of the human condition.

jesus   

Scripture Reading:

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.           Phil 2: 6-11

 

 

Additional Readings:

MT 21: 1-11

IS 50: 4-7

Ps 22: 8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24

MT 26: 14-27: 66

 

Humility and Spiritual Obedience

“Jesus, though in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.”

These words from scripture, perhaps more than any, give us a glimpse into the focus and motivation of Jesus’ life and ministry. While he knew he was One with God, he did not consider himself as equal to God. Instead, Jesus continued to turn to God for guidance, direction and support. Instead of allowing his own desires to guide his life, he turned to God for direction and then. Then, without compromise, Jesus adhered to God’s direction, trusting that God knew what was in the highest good, even when the consequences of adhering to God’s truth seemed dire (like death on a cross). In this Jesus provides the perfect model of humility and spiritual obedience. Humility is acknowledging that God alone is the Source of our life and that God alone knows what is in our highest good. Spiritual Obedience is taking the time to listen and hear God’s truth for our lives and then adhering to this truth no matter what the consequences of that truth might be – even if the consequences would lead to our own death, trusting that even in our death, a higher good is being made manifest (we need only look to the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi for examples of this in our own lifetime).

 

Spiritual Practices:

With this week’s scripture, you are invited to participate in an exercise in Creative Expression. You will need two blank sheets of paper and crayons to complete this activity.

  1. Slowly and meditatively read the above scripture from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
  2. With crayons and paper, draw an outline of your human form, taking up as much of the paper as you are able.
  3. Inside the outlined form, write or draw all of the things that are obstacles to you taking time to listen, hear and adhere to God’s guidance and direction in your life. Fill the empty space with all the things that keep you from enjoying peace, contentment, joy and love.
  4. After you have filled the empty space, take time to reflect on all you have included there. Reflect on the obstacles you have placed between yourself and God. In your own words, or in the silence of your heart, invite God to help you be freed of these obstacles so that God can once again be the center of your life.
  5. On a second sheet of paper, or on the backside of the one you have already used, create an image of yourself being emptied of all these obstacles.
  6. Take time to reflect on the new image you have created. What does it feel like to be freed of these obstacles between yourself and God? Make a commitment to allowing this emptiness to remain so that you can instead be filled with God.

outline 

Authentic Freedom

Authentic Freedom reveals pride as the seventh deadly compulsion and the fear I am alone/have to do it alone, as the fear that causes this compulsion. It is this false perception of separation from God that is in truth, our CORE spiritual wound and the wound that causes all the fears that keep us believing that we are separate from God – the fears that prevent us from enjoying the peace, love, contentment, joy, fulfillment and connection that God intended for the human experience. Authentic Freedom reminds us that when we turn in humility toward God for guidance, direction and support, all of our needs are met in abundance and here we enjoy that peace, love and joy that God intended.

 

Where are you tempted to believe that you are separate from God?  

Where are you tempted to allow fear to direct your life instead of turning to God for guidance and direction?

Where have you forgotten that God alone can direct you to the path of your highest good?

 

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, Surrender

Expect the Unexpected and Being Open to the New

As we move and grow along the spiritual path, one of the things we come to recognize is that there is a higher intelligence (even when we call it “Our Highest Self”) that knows what is best for us.  The challenge is being willing to let go of what we have known and to our own attachments so that we can be open to receiving something different, new and better. Today’s blog explores that process.

The “Sin” of Pride

Pride, as I discuss at length in Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, is the compulsion that arises out of our false sense of separation from ourselves, each other and that which we might call “God.”  Pride says,  “I am it.  I have to do it.  I can do it.  I know what is best for me.  I know what I want and I am the one that will make it happen.”  It is pride that causes us to become attached to certain life patterns (mostly unhealthy) and certain outcomes.  Pride causes us to seek “security” and what is “known” because it gives us the illusion of safety, security, predictability, etc.  Pride serves only one purpose….to keep us separated from what is truly in our highest good and our natural state as contented, loving, peaceful, joyful beings.  In a nutshell….Pride sucks!

The Sweet Pill of Humility

The antidote to the “sin” of pride is humility.  Humility is the quality that invites us to acknowledge that from our limited perception, we DO NOT know what is in our highest good.  Humility invites us to take the leap of believing that there is something deep within us or far beyond us or all of the above that DOES know what is in our highest good and WANTS us to know this too.  Humility invites us to acknowledge a power greater than ourselves and invites us to engage with that power with the intention of accessing our highest, deepest, most authentic truth and allowing that truest self to emerge from within us, thereby freeing us from the fears, false-perceptions and attachments that keep us imprisoned in the wheel of human suffering.  Humility allows us to set aside our ego-driven plans, attachments, unhealthy patterns and to be open to something new, better, more freeing and expansive.  Humility allows the breath of the Divine to carry us to the place of our highest good where we will know contentment, peace, joy and love.  Now, who wouldn’t want that?

We are the Obstacle

Who wouldn’t want peace, love, joy?  Right?  Guess what….most of us.  This is the sad truth.  The greatest obstacle to attaining contented joy and love in our lives is ourselves.  Instead of allowing the Divine to breath new life into us, we cling to what we know and remain attached to our own wants and desires.  And we do this for one simple reason – because we are human.  In our humanness, we cling to what we know and have known, even if it is harmful to us, because it gives us the illusion of surety and control.  We don’t leave our abusive relationships, unhealthy patterns of behavior, unhappy job situations, because we know it.  It is familiar.  We can predict the pattern and the outcome, and this predictability gives us some weird illusion of safety….however twisted that “safety” might actually be.

Letting Go and Being Open to the New

If we ever hope to enjoy the fullness of joy in this human experience, however, it is this very clinging that we need to release.  In order to receive that which is in our highest good, enjoy the life of compassion and contentment, freedom and expansiveness that we all desire, we have to LET GO….let go of what we know, what we think is best for ourselves and be open to the surprising, unexpected ways in which our Highest Self wants to be known in the world.  And in this, we can expect the unexpected.  The path of our highest good is FAR more AMAZING than we could EVER possibly imagine.  The path of contentment and joy is far more EXPANSIVE than we would ever allow ourselves in our little human minds.  So what are we waiting for?  Get out of the Way.  Let go of what is known and familiar.  Surrender to the leading and guiding principles of the universe and enjoy the ride of your life.  I promise, when you least expect it……expect it!

And here’s my favorite song for this part of the journey:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_97UoGngJBQ&feature=fvst

What are the known patterns of behavior, etc. that are no longer life-giving to you?

How are you being invited to give these patterns their release?

What is the magnificent amazing fulfilling life that is waiting to be experienced through you?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

Posted in God, Jesus, Raised Catholic

I’m Not Worthy to Receive You

Today’s blog explores the topic of worthiness – the fine line between self-loathing and humility. 

 

 

Lord, I am Not Worthy to Receive You

Every Sunday, (or anytime attending mass) just before the reception of Holy Eucharist (communion), all Catholics bow their heads, strike their breast and say, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”  As a child, I understood this part of the ritual to be a moment in which we acknowledged our sinfulness, our depravity, our complete unworthiness of God’s love and Jesus’ sacrifice, and recognize that even though we are woeful sinners, God can somehow make us worthy of receiving HIS (God, to me,  was still the old man in the sky at that time) grace through the Eucharist.  But even reciting these words did not erase the lingering doubt in the back of my mind that we were still completely unworthy.  I have a sense that this is how many (if not most) Catholics understand this phrase along with its ritual actions.

Only Say the Word and I Shall be Healed

Then something amazing happened.  As I grew up and found the tools through which I could be open to discovering, exploring, cultivating and nurturing a deeply intimate, expansive and personal relationship with that which I call God, I found that the mass and all its trappings began to be transformed.  As I came to know God through prayerful contemplation of scripture, through my life experiences, through nature, through signs and wonders, in Jesus and his ministry, in the lives of the saints (especially:  Mary Magdalene, Bernadette, Francis, Clare, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Joan of Arc), I came to understand that God is not the scary, vengeful, judgmental, punitive god that so many want us to believe in.  Instead, I found a God that is loving, infinite, compassionate, just, merciful, kind, joyful, peaceful and forgiving.  I found a God that loves us beyond what we could possibly imagine and is the very nature of Love itself and as this love, seeks to be known in and through us.  God was really cool and no longer the scary old man in the sky with clipboard in hand marking off if we are naughty or nice.  The fear-based images of God were erased from my consciousness and replaced with nothing but love.  How cool is that?!

From Self-Loathing to Awe-filled Wonder and Humility

So, back to the “Lord I am not worthy” stuff.  As my images of God became transformed, so did my experience of the mass.  The mass was no longer the sacrificial banquet in which we celebrated Jesus’ death (and I do mean, “celebrated”), and hung our heads in shame over the sins that made his horrific execution by crucifixion necessary.  Instead, the mass became a celebration of the wonders of God and the amazing teachings of Jesus and the new life that he came to reveal for all of humankind – a life rooted in the passionate love of God and the contentment and joy that are our reward when we allow ourselves to be open to this love.  In attending the mass, I was reminded over and over and over that “we are an Easter people.”  The focus moved from sacrifice and death to new life.  Amen!  While this transformation was taking place, so too was the experience of the Eucharist changed for me.  No longer was I compelled to hang my head in shame over my unworthiness of the Eucharist, instead, I raised my eyes in awe-filled wonder at the miracle of God’s love and the promise of new life.  Receiving Holy Communion became a ritual through which I could humbly say, “God you are so awesome and I am humbled at the sight of your glory and I know my heart is too small today to contain the fullness of your love, but I know that through your grace I will somehow, someday, know the depth of your love that Jesus knew and be able to reveal that love in our broken world.”  It was to this awareness and intention that I was able to say “Amen” when taking the bread and the wine that had become the body and blood of Christ into my hands.

Our Life Experience is the Mass

Now here is the really cool part!  Not only was the liturgy of the mass transformed in me through attention to God’s love, but that 1 hour of Sunday mass spilled out into my daily life.  No longer was mass contained by the ritual, but my whole life became the celebration of the mass…and everyday I have been invited to see the glory and wonder of God and exclaim, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.”  And no longer do these words come from a place of unworthiness and self-loathing, but from a place of complete wonder and awe and I frequently wonder, “What did I do to deserve this greatness?”  And the terrific answer is NOTHING…..It is simply the abundant outpouring of God’s magnificent love …  we simply need to be open to receiving it and offer it a bold and joyous “AMEN!”  (meaning, yes!)

How are you open to seeing, knowing, experiencing the magnificent wonder and love of God?

Where are you reluctant to receive the generous outpouring of joy that God intends for you?

How can you say “yes” to all the love that God wants to give you?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com