Reflection on New Things

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (See Revelation 21:1-4 NRSV) .

My family and I recently moved to new home. It has been a stressful time. It is also why I have not written a blog entry in a while. Moving into a new home brings a lot of chaos. There is the endlessness of letting go of how things have been for so long. Getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose. Brining together so many loose ends to make a new beginning.

As we contemplate All Saints Day, All Souls, with this reading from Revelation; we cannot help but meet a profound mystical experience. The Saints and those who have gone before us give us a vision of a new Heaven and a new earth in the here and now. God meets us where we are; in our moments of chaos and grief to speak with our hearts. God is working in our contemplative consciousness to transform us through the chaos; not from it. God is drawing us away from our false-sense of self that wants everything so neatly planned out and organized; to a new way of life through Jesus Christ and His redemption of our souls through healing and reconciliation.

At the end of The Rule of St. Benedict, he states that it is a Rule for beginners. That is why we return to the Prologue to reread those famous words; “Listen my child. Incline the ears of your heart.” The new Heaven and earth are coming to us in the here and now. This moment, place and time is where God is drawing us into a deeper relationship with God’s Self to bring a new revelation to our hearts and lives through which the Holy Spirit will “renew the face of the earth.” (Psalm 104:31).

Are you listening with the ear of your heart for God to bring a new Heaven and earth in your life?

Amen.

Peace be with all who enter here.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

Visit my website for information about my ministry of Spiritual and Grief Companionship.

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Reflection on the Path of Life

“You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11, The Book of Common Prayer, p.600).

Traveling along on a path can bring a mixture of emotions. It is great to get away from the stress of life to walk on a new path. Yet, even a familiar path can cause some anxiety. What will we discover on the path? Will we be lifted up, or brought down by fear because of something unexpected?

The path of life that God puts before us every day is full of things we can predict. When we become too wrapped up in what is predictable, we can become too self absorbed. The unexpected and unusual will show up. It will meet us in our “cell.” It will teach us what God’s true joys and pleasures are. God finds so much joy and pleasure in us, because of God’s extravagant love. To find God’s joys and pleasures, we must let go, and allow God to show us what path we need to be on.

The contemplative is always searching for union with God in the many experiences of life. Contemplative prayer asks us to be open to what God’s paths are to learn about where God is leading us. The contemplative is looking for ways to turn ourselves over to what disturbs our comfort zones, to be reformed and reshaped to find God’s pleasures and joys that are beyond time and temporary things.

“In God’s goodness, we are already counted as God’s own…” (The Rule of Benedict : a Spirituality for the 21st Century, by Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, p.5).

God wants the show you the path of life. Get ready to learn God’s fullness of joy and pleasures.

Amen.

Peace be with all who enter here.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

If you or someone you know could benefit from my ministry of Spiritual and Grief Companionship, visit my website.

If you feel led to buy me some coffee to help support this ministry, please scroll down to the bottom of the right sidebar and click on the Benedictine Coffee Mug. Thank you so very much.

Reflection on A Contemplative Advent

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and love, for they are from everlasting. (Psalm 25:4-5, The Book of Common Prayer, p.614).

Among my many social challenges I experience because of autism is knowing when, who and how to ask for help. It happens because of being overwhelmed by too many options in my brain at one time. Over the past seven years since I was first diagnosed, I have had to learn that the sooner I tell those closest to me that I am overwhelmed by my options and need help, the less overwhelmed I will be. I will get the help I need, when I accept my vulnerability and entrust what I need from the right people.

Advent is a season of waiting and watching for God in the Person of Jesus. We look forward to the return of Christ in glory. We want Jesus to come and change this world of violence and chaos to how we think things should be. The season of Advent leads us to remembering that God did something so profound in the Incarnation. In the book Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, one of the contributors Karl Rahner in The Divine Dawning wrote,

“No, you took upon yourself our kind of life, just as it is. You let it slip away from you, just as ours vanishes from us. You held on to it carefully, so that not a single drop of its torments would be spilled. You hoarded its very fleeting moment, so you could suffer through it all, right to the bitter end” (p.71,72).

If we want a contemplative experience of Advent, we must “begin again.” We begin by praying with the Psalmist that by ourselves, we do not know how to find God’s truth and know God’s compassion. The contemplative looks for the mystery of God in our humility and vulnerability as life is in the here and now. In our suffering and messy lives the Advent of Christ is already happening. When we let go, and allow God to teach us the way of truth, salvation and compassion; the Holy One comes and makes a home within us. It is a very limited experience, and so we continue to cry; Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.” (RB 1980: The Rule of St. Benedict in English, Chapter 72, p.95).

What are you waiting for Jesus to do for you this Advent?

Amen.

Peace be with all who enter here.

Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB

If you feel led to buy me some coffee to help support this ministry, please scroll down to the bottom of the right sidebar and click on the Benedictine Coffee Mug. Thank you so very much.

Reflection on Desire

MountainImage

O Lord, you know all my desires, and my sighing is not hidden from you. (Psalm 38:9. The Book of Common Prayer, p.637).  

We do not have to look very hard around us to know that we live in a time of instant gratification being on steroids.  Our computers, iphones, ipads and such can keep us tuned into everything from our favorite video games to social media and more.  As marvelous and amazing as these things are, there is still a deep void that cries out from within our hearts that longs to be filled by more than instant gratification can possibly satisfy.

The words from Psalm 38 are dangerous words.  They require us to let go of the things that bring us instant gratification, so that we may allow the God who wants to love us so deeply can truly fulfill our ultimate desire.  God brings us the fulfillment of desire that calls for us to abandon ourselves to give ourselves over to what is infinite and comes in God’s sweet time.  The desire to know beyond a shadow of doubt, that we are loved in ways that our minds could not possibly comprehend.  When we open ourselves to the God who knows all our desires and has heard our sighing even more that we can feel or utter; we risk being displaced by the Holy Spirit to be touched by things that we cannot see or explain, but calls us to a deeper love of God and our neighbor.  We can only know within ourselves that there is some thing or someone there, that touch cannot satisfy.  Our emotions may be engaged, but no feeling can actualize enough to say exactly what it is or surmised by any human logic.

In Contemplative Prayer and the mystical experience of the Holy One, we experience a glimpse of how much God desires us.  After all, the desires are there by God’s initiative not ours.  The sighs are not hidden from God, because those sighs are reaching out to our God who hears them as clearly as a sparrow in spring calling out for its mate.  It is that same creative and redemptive love through which Jesus gave His life on the Cross, and rose again from the dead so that we might experience such love from God’s perspective.  All we “know” is God, because God is all that matters.  The fulfillment of our desires for the One for whom our sighing is really meant.

May all of us grow in love and trust for our God who knows our desires, and hears our sighing.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

Reflection on My God is My Lamp

God My Lamp

You, O Lord, are my lamp; my God, you make my darkness bright (Psalm 18:29 The Book of Common Prayer, p.604).

Sometimes the word darkness gets a bad reputation.  It comes from the belief that nothing good happens at night while it is dark.  There is some truth to the concept if you believe that darkness is where faith ends.  As Christians, faith does not end with darkness.  Christ Jesus is our Light of hope.  At the Great Vigil of Easter the newly lit Easter Candle is processed into the church as we chant, “Christ our Light.  Thanks be to God.”  Among the reasons that Monastics of various orders celebrate Vigils and/or for some Matins, is because it is symbolic of watching for Christ our Light to come and scatter our darkness.

There is no doubt that we are living through times that can be described as dark.  As Christians, we must live with faith and hope that Christ continues to “make our darkness bright.”  St. Benedict in The Rule quoted John 12:35 in The Prologue.  “Run while you have the light of life, that the darkness of death may not overtake you.” (RB 1980, p.16).  It was not enough for St. Benedict to use the word “walk” that ordinarily begins the Bible verse.  He believes that there is too much urgency to walk.  So, instead, Benedict tells us to “run.”

The words from Psalm 18:29 are an acknowledgement of God’s relationship with us in our dark moments.  It is a testimony of what the Psalmist has experienced combined with heartfelt faith and anticipation of what God will do in the future.  As Christians, we need to live into this relationship of God being our lamp who makes our darkness bright.

In Contemplative prayer is the experience of the Light that pierces the deepest darkness, through which God provides for us an awareness of God’s presence that calls, heals and gives us hope.

May we be attentive to God as our lamp and light.  May that faith shine through us and around us.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

O God, Eagerly I Seek You

Serenity

O God, you are my God; eagerly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my flesh faints for you, as in a barren and dry land where there is no water.  Therefore I have gazed upon you in your holy place, that I might behold your power and your glory. (Psalm 63:1-2, The Book of Common Prayer, p.670).

Just before I began writing this blog post, I did a search on Google for an image of searching.  The only images I could find were copied and pasted images of a Google search engine. LOL.   So, I settled for what I used above the Scripture verse for today.  I chose it because the verse from Psalm 63 speaks of searching for God eagerly with a firm faith that God is the One who quenches our thirsting souls.  The picture is of a person sitting on a dock looking out at a foggy body of water, with very little visibility.  What inspires me is that the one sitting there views all of it with beauty and hopeful expectation.

We do not always get to chose the moment or environment in which to search for God.  Most circumstances are beyond our control.  Yet, those moments are opportunities to search for God beyond what we can see or understand; so that God can give us a new perspective.  Each opportunity for a new perspective widens our vision of God in what is invisible.  It is experienced and lived; even if it isn’t something that can be touched or comprehended.

Today, right where we are, whatever we are doing or experiencing; God is searching for us more than we are for God.  Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB often writes, “We are seeking God, who has already been found.”  God is already deep in our hearts, longing to be loved and held; only to become the most pure expression of who we really are.  God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

A Light to Enlighten

Lit Candle

Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised;  For these eyes of mine have seen the Savior, whom you have prepared for all the world to see:  A Light to enlighten the nations, and the glory of your people Israel.  (The Song of Simeon Nunc dimittis, The Book of Common Prayer, p.120).

These wonderful words of Simeon found in Luke’s Gospel 2:29-32 sing of freedom, peace, light and glory.  Simeon waited in the Temple for the arrival of God’s promise to him.  He remained in prayer and anticipation that what God gave him in faith, would become what he saw.  His ears were tuned in to hear the voice of God.  He awaited the Light that would enlighten.

As we all face our dark moments, this Canticle of Simeon is a prayer encouragement to believe that the Light that enlightens will one day become visible for us.  Persistence in prayer is willing to keep praying and being open to the grace that helps sustain us.  The Holy Spirit wants to stretch our hearts so that the Light of God that will enlighten our souls will show throughout all our lives.

May we follow the example of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in obedience to God on this Feast of the Presentation, and remain vigilant in prayer as we await God’s Light to guide us into a greater experience of God’s presence.  May that Light shine through us and be a sign of hope for others who live in “darkness and the shadow of death.”

Amen.

Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB