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Reflections

Reflections

In the Storm Still

Exploring "engaged presence" in the midst of the turbulence of our times.

 - reflections excerpted or carefully crafted to accompany you in your practice of 'engaged presence,' as you draw the world of crying need and awesome complexity into your heart and center.
 
In the Storm Still comes in regular installments as reflections, resources and reminders for engaging spirituality in times like these. Created by Joe Grant, Louisville, Kentucky. Reproduced with permission.

Lost and Found

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost. Luke 15:6

Seeker,
Who looks out for you?

We need not look far and wide
for the Source of Being, around and inside;
for Presence relentlessly seeks us out.

The surprise of salvation is that we are healed;
pursued by Mystery,
found in forgiveness,

by an ever-patient Presence who,
unperturbed by waywardness,
tenaciously tracks us down.

Whence could I flee your Spirit or escape your Presence? Psalm 139:7

For a time, we might cast ourselves
into the chasm of mass distraction;
thinking to be unreachable.

For a while, we might let our souls be held captive
by the shadow-play of plasma screens,
or gorge on sound-bite reactions to life’s tragic wonder.

But, in due time, even here,
joy can unseat us, mystery unsettle us,
pain up-end us and forgiveness find us out.

The meaning of awe is to realize that life takes place under wide horizons, horizons that range beyond the span of an individual life or even the life of a nation, a generation, or an era. Awe enables us to perceive in the world intimations of the divine, to sense in small things the beginning of infinite significance, to sense the ultimate in the common and the simple; to feel in the rush of the passing the stillness of the eternal. Abraham Heschel

Every seeker understands
what it is to be found and found out;
sought and caught out by life.

Those on a quest
are content to be enticed into unknowing
by penetrating questions.

And the lonely soul
finally finds home
by welcoming others.

Whomsoever welcomes you welcomes me, and welcoming me, welcomes the One who sent me. Matthew 10:40

Should we allow ourselves to be found,
we might receive and radiate mercy;
becoming beacons in the densest night.

We cease pursuing a separate “Other”
when we are entangled,
caught up in the hurting-hope of a sister or brother.

All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.

Francis Thompson

New-found by forgiveness,
the hungers of the sorely afflicted
unshackle us from spiritual self-seeking.

Forgiving brings us to our knees,
not to beg but to revere,
to let ourselves be found, without trace of shame or fear.

Holiness is no longer hidden, except in plainest sight.
Joy kindles hearts
and hope hangs on every smile.

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts, where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could all see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. Thomas Merton

joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am

By Mercy Undone

Photo by Joe Grant © 2019

Go, learn what this means, ‘It is mercy I desire, not sacrifice.’
For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.
Matthew 9:13

Seeker,
When so many jockey for privilege and position, with whom do you locate your life?

In Haiti they say:
We see from where we stand.
So, how we stand, and with whom becomes critical.

By-standing is not the same as with-standing,
and understanding is the fruit
of much more than standing still.

Humble solidarity with the castigated ones,
soaking together under mercy’s reign,
invites refreshing reconciliation.

For you, Holy One, are good and full of mercy,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.

Psalm 86:5

We might, for a time, stay safe in our heads,
protected by sureties, shoring up opinions,
polishing personal perspectives on everything and everyone.

But sooner or later, seeping through the cracks,
mercy usurps personal preeminence
by exposing our failings and fallacies.

And, when we fall, as surely we shall, we all want mercy.
But first we must pay the admission;
stooping humbly through the low doorway to forgiveness.

What was cruel has become merciful. What is now merciful was never cruel. I have always overshadowed Jonas with My mercy and cruelty I know not at all. Have you had sight of Me, Jonas my child? Mercy within mercy within mercy.  Thomas Merton

Perhaps this is why mercy feels cruel.
Fractured by failure, deluded by disappointment,
we are forced to face pain, darkness, and chasms too deep.

Our calloused hearts chafe
at compassion’s unction,
as they soak and soften in sorrowful grace.

Debilitated or dispirited
by burdens beyond us
we bend, and like the children we always are, we cry out.

No one can be excluded from the mercy of God; everyone knows the way to access it and the Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one. Its doors remain wide open, so that those who are touched by grace can find the certainty of forgiveness. The greater the sin, so much the greater must be the love. Pope Francis

When life breaks down,
love breaks out,
mercy over-sweeps us and we are worn permeable.

If this has not yet
happened to you,
mercy might be long overdue.

There are circumstances that must shatter you; and if you are not shattered, then you have not understood your circumstances. In such circumstances, it is a failure for your heart not to break.
Leon Weisseltier

Lord have mercy,
on the land, and on the air.
Christ have mercy, on creatures everywhere.

Christ have mercy on my sister, on my brother.
Lord have mercy on that strange
and most blessed sacrament of the other.

So, if today you hear compassion’s call,
from your core (with courage) respond,
and, free to forgive, let yourself by mercy be undone.

joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am

Re-Sourcing

Photo By Joe Grant © 2019

How blessed the lowly, earth shall be theirs.
Matthew 5:5

Seeker,
Could we be responsible for anything and everyone we touch?

At this moment,
no matter where you find yourself,
surely you are touching something manufactured.

Most likely you are handling plastic,
wreathed as we are
in all things synthetic.

Cast your eyes on your surroundings;
the multitude of objects, surfaces, clothes, and containers,
crafted in countries far distant, by fingers unseen.

So many miraculous manipulations of oil,
Earth’s ancestral legacy,
made solid and see-through; ubiquitous and nearly everlasting.

Replacing wood and stone, leather and bone,
clay, glass, and steel,
the blessing of petrochemical polymers has now become a blight.

Unless we swiftly and radically redirect
this working, wanting, wasting spree,
three decades more, and plastic trash will outweigh all the fish in the sea.

The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. Pope Francis

And whatsoever we do
unto to God’s good garden
we do unto to the cherished children and humble creatures.

This is disaster of our own doing,
billions of lives— without exception or exemption—
trapped in spirals of consuming and discarding.

How can goods be good for us
if they are not good for all;
for plants, plankton, people; for all creatures great and small?

And how are we to disentangle
practiced patterns and appetites
from the ruination of Creation; throwing life and lives away?

They have made my land a desolation;
desolate, it mourns to me.
The whole land is made desolate,
but no one lays it to heart.

Jeremiah 12:11

Perhaps, like all things “soiled”,
the transformation imperceptibly it starts,
like sap that in Springtime rises with the warming wind.

We become aware, we reach out to whatever
crosses our palms or graces our eyes— coffee-cups,
computer keys, handshakes, buds, branches and sacred sunlit leaves.

Touched thus by life, God-made and human-shaped,
we can wonder at Creation,
contemplate components, count the costs and casualties of everything.

We might also try to re-trace the stories
of the stuff that stuffs our days
back to each beginning; its very sacred Source.

The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God. Thomas Merton

Whether wood or rock, paper, plastic, or person,
are we not all, in some way responsible,
for whatever, whomsoever we touch?

To the trio of “reduce, reuse, recycle
might we also add reflect and return;
a grateful heart to the Source of All, and all those in between?

By regularly re-Sourcing our lives,
we might be healed enough of hurting and hoarding,
to graciously release the good that is only loan to us.

They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will fill with knowledge of the Holy ONE
as waters cover the sea.

Isaiah 11:9

How will you retrace the blessings and burdens that grace your day ?
joe

Find me on Facebook and Instagram: @InTheStormStill

Coming in November 2019, A New Book by Joe Grant

Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace Pre-Order Set For Release On 11/12/2019 12:00:00 AM

To pre-order: https://shop.franciscanmedia.org/products/wandering-and-welcome-meditations-for-finding-peace-pre-order-set-for-release-on-11-12-2019-12-00-00-am