Photo by Joe Grant    2014
Photo by Joe Grant  © 2014

…and hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

-Romans 5:5

Seeker,

How would you define your “daily office”—the work life calls you to, the way you pattern your day, the habits that clothe the passing moments of life?

 

Fleeing the trivialities of the marketplace,

the first monks

sought out the soul of Christianity in wild and rocky places.

 

Here they re-patterned life,

marking hours in prayerful rhythm,

and forged a daily office to transfigure routine into ritual.

 

Ironically, these hours of office,

first formed in ancient cloister,

now shape the routine of office-workers around the globe.

 

With due attention and wakeful wonder—

practicing soul-stretching habits—

the mundane may still become mystical, and work an act of worship.

 

The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us. Our battles with our habits speak of dreams yet to become real.

-Mary Oliver

 

How do we re-inhabit our days,

to wear us wider,

and stretch the span of our sojourn?

 

Can we invest our brief time together

in the holy activity of being

and becoming more human?

 

What might wake us from slumbering self-obsession

and bring us to our knees, as we negotiate

the stumbling blocks of ideology?

 

If suffering-love is more lasting

than faith and hope,

what are we prepared to give up today, for love’s sake?

 

And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

-1 Corinthians 13:13

 

The trust-filled gaze of an infant

implores us to do our utmost

to make a safer world.

 

Tender shoots, boldly up-reaching,

beckon us to stoop and tend to beauty,

green with hope-fullness.

 

Timeworn elderly hands,

shakily extended,

beg us to slow our pace to inhabit every fleeting moment.

 

Silent, hungry cries

of kin clad in different skin

fire the desire to simply live as better beings.

 

This visible, earthly world is still God’s creation: one should not condemn it as a valley of tears; it is really the miracle work of God. And this earthly life is the life that God gives us, which it is our task to develop. Here is our place of work, the vineyard in which the Lord calls and places us…

-Emil Brunner

 

Some soul-stretching habits

for this season

of lengthening:

 

Enter the quiet,

listen for the signal

beneath the static;

 

Seek out sole time,

turn off  in order to tune in

to rhythms deeper;

 

Extend loving attention

and human concern toward livelihood,

beyond the immediacy of you and yours;

 

Reclaim Christhood! Without a sound,

let all who cross your path this day

know they are Christ-companions, not competitors on life’s journey.

 

Whenever I groan within myself and think how hard it is to keep writing about love in these times of tension and strife which may, at any moment, become for us all a time of terror, I think to myself: What else is the world interested in? What else do we all want, each one of us, except to love and be loved, in our families, in our work, in all our relationships?

-Dorothy Day

 

Today, may you help

make a world

where it is easier for people to love.

joe

On Tenderness and Mercy

An Engaging Meditation excerpted from Still In the Storm, a new publication by JustFaith Ministries.

Still in the Storm book cover (1)

We dare not confuse

tenderness with timidity,

mercy with weakness,

or suffering-love with sentimentality.

It takes strength to be gentle,

resilience to be tender,

courage to forgive…

Receive this 8-minute recording by Joe Grant, as a Lenten gift.

Put yourself into a quiet, receptive space before taking the plunge into this visual meditation.

Click here to take the plunge:

http://youtu.be/m70hgxIFz3I