Sundays in Lent – Wednesday of Holy Week

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Today’s journal prompt comes from the Liturgical Press publication, Daily Reflections for Lent: Not by Bread Alone 2018 by Michelle Francl-Donnay:

Her meditation for Saturday, March 24:

“As the long season of Lent turns toward Holy Week and Easter, stop with G-d to take stock of where you have been. Where has your heart been opened? What Scriptures have spoken to you most clearly? What are you still clinging to that you wish to leave behind?”

Sundays in Lent – 6th Sunday, Palm Sunday

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​”The Lord God has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them…”

Isaiah 50:4

How often have we ignored our well-trained tongue and have just spoken whatever’s on our mind? How many have we offended in so short a time? How many times would it have been better to simply not say anything at all?

I am forever giving my kids advice to think first, then speak, but how often am I in need of such advice? Or admonishment?

I’m reminded of a quote from The Walking Dead television series where Rick tells his son, who’s about ten, maybe slightly younger, “Don’t talk. Think.” I know many people, myself included who needs to remember this.

Another quote comes to mind from Aaron Burr in Hamilton: An American Musical when he tells Alexander Hamilton to “talk less, smile more.”

As we follow Jesus, stepping on and side-stepping palms being tossed as his guide, find some solitude and think about his journey and our own journey throughout this week beginning today as he, and we, enter Jerusalem and meet G-d’s will.

Sundays in Lent – 5th Saturday

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​Bless my continued Lent;

I give thanks for my community.

Bless my travel;

I give thanks for my safety and well being.

Bless my family as I leave

and keep them safe.

Bless my baby off to work.

Bless my others off to play.

I give thanks for their safety and well being.

Bless my communion,

fraternity, my peace, my muse;

I give thanks for camaraderie.

Bless my meditation;

I give thanks for the time to discern.

Bless my sacred space;

I give thanks for that space.

Bless my writing and

bless my co-retreatants.

I give thanks for each and

pray for both the solitude and 

the communion.

Thank you, G-d for the opportunity.

I am eternally in your debt.

Amen.

Found/Tonight

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Lin-Manuel has teamed up with Ben Platt and arragner Alex Lacamoire for this beautiful mashup of his The Story of Tonight from Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen’s You will be Found to raise money for combatting gun violence. A portion of the proceeds from every sale of this MP3 will go to March for Our Lives.

This is a subject that is close to my heart. My personal connection is minimal – my daughter is the same age as the murdered children at Sandy Hook, and my cousins attended and had graduated from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. I believe in gun control, but more importantly and more universally, I believe in not only being safe, but feeling safe.

For the rest of Lin-Manuel’s Hamildrops, new Hamilton mixes dropping each month, go to Hamildrops.

You can buy this MP3 from all major music sellers. I use Amazon. You can also donate separately.

March: Blustery, Green, Wet: Reflection

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A Self-Retreat

​Right about now, the middle to end of March, I begin to feel the heaviness. The clouds are fat with moisture, lumbering across a grey sky. When the sky is blue, the air is wintry cold. yesterday was grey, but I didn’t wear a jacket. I did, however have on my snood and gloves. That was enough to trick my body into thinking it was warmer than it was.

It’s not just the weather that’s heavy. Things are picking up for school assignments. Drama club has finally ended, but it’s been replaced by notes to parents for help on those end of year assignments, and how can it be the end of the year already? There’s Easter upcoming, full weekends, bills to pay, taxes to do, and nowhere to escape.

I’ve kept busy with my kids, our weekly television viewing, a church breakfast, reading Chernow’s Grant, tagging along to find The Lost Book of Moses, two days of reflection that were everything I’d hoped they would be, and more, and still not enough.

One or two times a year I try to give myself a retreat. A self-guided retreat, some planned out and some spontaneous, encompassing both spiritual and writerly things and if I’m lucky a tiny bit of travel, too.

I am lucky this weekend to be heading out on a spiritual-slash-writing retreat and I hope to bookend the weekend with two days of my own guidance.

If you don’t have a retreat center nearby, I would highly recommend giving yourself a self-retreat.

Begin by blocking out a few days in a row. I would suggest a minimum of three days. If that’s not possible, try and arrange your regular work days off to be two consecutive days.

Choose a theme. What are you trying to get out of this time “away”? Are you looking to get something done? Are you looking to get nothing done? Quiet time? Or contemplation? Meditation and prayer? Silence and solitude?

Will you bring music along?

Will you bring food or eat out?

Will you return home at times or is one of the objects to get away from home except for sleeping?

Be flexible, but plan your itinerary. You don’t want to spend most of your limited time trying to figure out what to do.

Have a map and/or a GPS.

Have a fully charged cell phone and keep the charger in your car in case you run out of battery power.

Even if you don’t normally use one, bring a journal. You can record where you went, the weather, what you saw, what you ate, what stood out to you, what you were thinking.

If you draw, bring a sketchbook and a pencil.

Dress in layers and bring a sweater or shawl. Wherever you are, you will either be too hot or too cold, I guarantee it.

Unless your phone functions as one, bring a camera. Looking at pictures later can highlight a memory.

Most importantly, know what you hope to get out of it before you go.

For awhile last year, I would take myself out to lunch once a month to “write”, and after awhile, it was rote, and I was getting nothing new out of it; nothing helpful. This kind of self-retreat is a good way to jump-start your creativity, your motivation, but also to jump-start your SELF.

[The above photo is from my first self-retreat. On that one, I had a little guidance from Father Jim Martin’s enhanced ebook, Together on Retreat, which can be found on Amazon.]