Minute Meditations

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Don't Lose Sight of What Matters

Amid all the disaster and distress

that wheels around and swirls within us in chaotic times,

there are also always marvels to behold.

Let neither fear nor preoccupation

keep you from being touched

by wonderfully wounded life.

May you find a way in every day,

to share your great-fullness

for all that touches your eyes.

May you refuse to be crushed

but rather, look lovingly upon all with tear-washed eyes,

trained on woundedness, straining for wonder.

As you savor the sweet brevity of your days,

may passion puncture you, letting out joy,

till warmly you are welcomed; a sight for sore eyes.

from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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What Would You Do?

If this were your last day, hour, minute, or breath, imagine how you might drink in the daylight, taste the twilight, touch the stars, smell the sunshine, delight at songbirds, listen to the look of your loved ones, bow before the sanctity of a stranger, be carried away with astonishment, and be beside yourself with awe at the wonder of it all. Perhaps we engage life in its fullness when we stop asking if we are there yet and live into the unfolding and radical realization that we are always already here." For it is only here that we can really be, wholly present and fully engaged; and no matter where you go, there you are.

from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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Set an Intention

Presence exacts its coin

our dearly held desire for self-preoccupation,

and the fantasy of control that presumes to preside over and above.

Mystics, artists, and prophets exemplify

this surrender into solidarity;

letting the self be moved by suffering and inspired by imagining.

True spiritual practice harbors this same intention

the hand-over of self, that places us on a collision-course with grace

and draws us into a deepened state of readiness.

This holy intention

leads to whole, undivided attention,

where we come to know life in its raw fullness!

from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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Still in Stormy Times

Amid the tumult of these electrically charged, frenzied times, contemplative living does not propose an escape from our very real, practical, and sometimes intractable problems. On the contrary, it suggests a way of being still, while still being in the storms that rage all around and within us. Like sturdy trees that bend with the breeze, wisdom-inspired living offers a deeper mooring for our being and our doing, which allows for movement even as we are deeply rooted. Seasoned by tears of joy and lament, prayer-centered presence invites us to welcome the whole world by drawing it into our heart-center. Here theology mixes with theater and prophetic action with poetry, as walls come tumbling down, making way for wonder, woe, and well-being.

—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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The Holy Ground of Now

What prevents you from being fully immersed in this moment, the holy ground of “now”?

Every grace-laden moment,

is primed with possibilities

for anyone who is wide open and ready to receive.

The only limit

to our Maker’s abundance

is our limited capacity to receive.

Consider a time when you lost yourself

and fell into fullness —

fully alive, fully connected.

—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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Trust the Heartfelt Questions

The scope of every life is indeed defined by the questions we choose live into, and if we are blessed to live long enough, we will inevitably end up shaped like a question mark. Since quest is also the start of every question, it is questions, not answers, that are the surest guideposts for any journey of faith —which necessarily means moving into the unknowable. Always trust the open, heartfelt question that lays bare the soul to unknowing. Whether they are simplistic or sophisticated, handle answers with care, for they often reflect and display, for all the world to see, the broad sweep of our ignorance. Perhaps, for this reason, wisdom teachers use stories, ballads, parables, or poems. Such lyrical musings open spaces for fresh appreciations and diverse perspectives. They foster fascination and expose imagination to wider fields of understanding, laced with mystery, which always leads us down and out to face yet another, more penetrating question.

—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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Persuasive Peace

Peacefulness is its own persuasion. That is the best option for those committed to living the Gospel. The Franciscan response to sin and division is to forgive myself and my neighbor, thereby becoming peaceful in my own center, and then to reach out to others and “work mercy” with them, even with those whom I find it difficult to love, who repel me in any way. We work together toward the good, or we perish as individuals, as societies and as civilizations. Saint Francis began a new evangelization in his own time, not by trying to be social reformer. He simply loved Christ and lived the Gospel, and he and his brothers became thereby catalysts for social change. They became “Holy Fools” who turned the world upside down by simply living the truth of the Gospel of Christ. Like Francis and his brothers, we all can learn to love again, even in the midst of division and war. And the map Francis gave us for learning to love is the Gospel and his own life of following in the footsteps of Christ. This map has been summed up beautifully in his Peace Prayer, a prayer he did not write but certainly is the way he prayed and lived and taught by example. It is a prayer that outlines everything that made Francis the peacemaker that he was and the model for peace that he is for us today. It is a prayer that shows us how to find the truth again, if we’ve lost it, or to continue living in the truth we’ve already found and are trying to live.

—from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo

 

 

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Cultivate a Disciple's Heart

Seekers, pilgrims, disciples; all are wayfarers who find themselves stumbling along the stony path toward integrity. They are people trying to live into life’s lessons by taking hard-earned insights to heart and turning them into habits. Whether they perceive it as troublesome, disturbing, inspiring, or consoling, seekers embrace everyday wisdom by adopting a receptive attitude, cultivating a learning heart, and approaching life as novices; for whom each experience is welcomed anew. In some Buddhist circles this has been called the Beginner’s Mind. Christians might simply call it cultivating a disciple’s heart.

—from the book Wandering and Welcome: Meditations for Finding Peace by Joseph Grant

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The Way of the Love of God

A preference for light and beauty is one of the reasons St. Francis is attractive to us and why he was so successfully a peacemaker in his own time. It is why today his town of Assisi has been the site of peace conferences and prayer meetings to promote peace. St. Francis is seen as the gentle saint who shows us that the way to peace and justice is the way Christ has shown us in the Gospels, namely, the way of the love of God, which is THE way; and its companion is the way of love of our neighbor as ourselves. This basic Gospel truth is the message of the Gospel St. Francis finally was able to hear in the Gospel he lived and preached. He learned that if we put those two commandments in precisely that order, we easily see how and when we sin in departing from the truth and in hurting our neighbor. All truth is from God, and God’s truth is that we are to love God, and loving God will show us how to love our neighbor. Living the Gospel must start with embracing this basic Gospel truth. Only then will we, too, begin to hear the Voice of God…. It is only necessary to be true to oneself; and if it is called for, to speak our own understanding of what the truth is without denigrating others. Peace is achieved more effectively by trying to bring out the best, not pointing out the worst, in others. And we bring out the best in others by being ourselves peaceful. Our own peaceful presence will do more than trying to persuade others that we are right and they are wrong.

—from Surrounded by Love: Seven Teachings from Saint Francis by Murray Bodo

 

 

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