Tag Archives: spirituality

Abundant Life – Currently Available for All

spring summer 2015 cover“I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly,” said the Christ (John 10:10). “All those other things – that big bank account, that prestige you seek, that power you hope to gain – those are all thieves and robbers,” he said. “Only I can give you abundant life.”

The Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Reflections magazine explores “abundant life” and invites you to do the same. Printed issues should be in homes soon; the online issue is now available by clicking this link or clicking on “Abundant Life” in the topics menu on the right.

In this issue you will find
articles from wonderful writers,
questions for your further reflection with each article,
resources for small-group study,
and an interview with Patsy Sasek, the artist who created the cover for this issue.

If you do not receive a printed copy of Reflections magazine and want to, or if you do receive a printed copy and would prefer to read it only online, please send a note to
marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

We welcome your feedback.

The Story

 

By Marjorie GeorgeFix Anything!

What happened? What the hell happened? A week ago we were entering the city in triumph. People were shouting “hail to the king,” throwing their cloaks on the road in front of him and waving palm branches.

And now we are huddled in this dark little room with the doors locked, and he is dead. The revolution has failed. It’s over.

I sit on the floor with my back to the wall, knees pulled up to my chest, hiding with the rest of them. I disappear under my cloak – whew this thing is smelly; I need to find a stream soon. Most of them are still asleep on the floor. What now? What are we going to do now? Go back home, I guess, ignore the jeers and cruel jokes from the people of my village who told me I was crazy to follow him when I left three years ago. Continue reading The Story

Come out, come out, wherever you are

gateYash Enclave is a gated community in a new neighborhood. Inside, the streets are clean, homes are well kept, and there is seldom a honk heard from the cars as they cruise through, stopping to make way for kids riding bicycles, gliding by on rollerblades or chasing after balls.

But you probably won’t be buying a new home there because Yash Enclave is located in north Bangalore, India.

According to an article from India Ink in the New York Times, “Beyond Yash Enclave’s manned gates is India’s urban reality: slums, potholed and traffic-choked roads, piles of garbage on street corners, traffic fumes, and a cacophonous din from the revving motors and incessant honking of the cars, buses and motorcycles.” (http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/at-bangalores-gated-enclaves-the-chaos-outside-comes-knocking-at-the-door/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0)

Ah, the legacy of the Western world. Continue reading Come out, come out, wherever you are

Now we Begin

by Marjorie George

voices of adventIt was a dark and stormy night (OK it was a rainy afternoon), and I was squeezed into the front seat of our brand-new 1970 VW Bug as my husband sped to the hospital for me to deliver our first baby. “Come now,” the doctor had said on the phone, “yes you are ready.”

“But I’m not ready,” I kept thinking. Oh, the nursery was properly decorated, baby bottles were sterilized and waiting,  the diaper service was on stand-by, and this was sure enough labor.  But I wasn’t mentally and emotionally ready for this thing that I suspected was about to overthrow my life. We had been married seven years by then and our little life was pretty settled. I sensed that was about to implode. Turns out I hadn’t seen nothin’ yet. Continue reading Now we Begin

Regrets

bad idea 

by Marjorie George

To everyone who received a “test” message from this site this past Tuesday – I am sorry.  The truth is, I was working on a new design for the site and thought I was on the practice page. I was not.  

Even as I hit the “activate” button, my mind clicked in and I grabbed the air –  “nooooooooo.” But it was too late.  I was hoping most of you would think it was a system-generated test. But I must confess my mistake. 

And you were so gracious – you replied that you had received the test, and you tried to click on the link, but it went nowhere. The management regrets the error. 

The management regrets . . . We spend a good deal of our lives – probably more than we should – regretting our mistakes.  Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish I had stayed in school. I should have listened to my father. I should not have spent that money. I should not have said that. I should not have eaten the cookie. 

Regret lurks in the soul, says Joan Chittester, especially among the aging. She reminds her listeners in a video produced by Spirituality and Practice of words from Hindu spiritualist Sivananda: “Do not brood over past mistakes and failures; that will only fill your mind with grief, regret, and depression.”  

Let it go, they say. There is nothing you can do about it, they advise. We all make mistakes, they add. So we let it go – almost.  But often we hang on to it with a little thread of a tether. And we yank on it from time to time to remind ourselves of the awfulness of it all. 

Followers of the 12-step programs understand what to do about regrets: in steps 8 and 9 the recovering person declares that he or she has “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” 

And what of the injury we do to ourselves when we allow mistakes and regrets to rob us of our standing as forgiven children of God.  I said to someone recently, ”I wish I could forgive that person.” And he said, “I wish you could forgive yourself.” 

We allow the regrets of the past to determine the course of our futures. And there is some healthiness in that – we would hope we learn from our mistakes. But there is a deeper learning to be had that is captured in a wise phrase I heard recently – whenever the past comes into the present it is always for healing. 

We call it redemption, and it is that for which God became incarnate in Christ and lived among us. In redemption the old is not just forgiven – as significant as that is – it is turned inside out and given new purpose.  Forgiveness is always about bringing forth new life. Ezekiel saw it when “dem dry bones” put on flesh and blood and danced up out of that valley (37:4-10).

This is much to make out of a simple little mistake of hitting the wrong button on my computer keyboard on a Tuesday evening.  But often our little lives are microcosms of the larger life in which we all participate. In God’s economy nothing is wasted, and every moment is a teachable moment. 

As James Dennis reminds us in this week’s posting of the class he is leading on C S Lewis, that wise man taught that “We learn on the one hand we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and on the other hand that we don’t need to despair in our worst, for our failures are certainly forgiven.” 

Forgiven and available for redemption. May the healing begin. 

Marjorie George is editor of ReflectionsOnline and Reflections magazine. Reach her at  marjorie.george@dwtx.org or leave a comment below.

Opportuities this week

C. S. Lewis on Christian morality. Listen to this week’s class led by James R. Dennis, O.P.

Catch author Ben Morse at Viva Bookstore today, Friday, Oct 18, 4 to 6:30 pm  Join him for workshops on Saturday at Church of Reconciliation, San Antonio. More info here.

Take two hours out of your busy week for a short walk and meditation at the Bishop Jones Center in San Antonio, Saturday, Oct 26, 9 to 11 a.m. More info here or email Marjorie George at marjorie.george@dwtx.org

The One

by Marjorie George

The piece of art was hanging on the wall of my favorite bookstore/gift shop. Done in muted shades of deep pink, green, and yellow, it captured a sweet rendering of a simple, lovely young woman with a flower in her hair.  And beneath it the words:artists palette

Dear Girl, you are the one you have been waiting for.

I bought the piece intending to give it to a young woman I know. Then I decided it was a message I needed to hear myself.   I wasn’t too sure I understood it, but somehow it spoke truth to me.

“Are you the one we’ve been waiting for?”  John’s disciples came asking Jesus (Matthew 11:2).

“Go tell John what you see,” Jesus replied – the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and the good news is all over the place.

Seizing the teachable moment, Jesus turned to the crowd surrounding him and put the question to them: “And you – who is it you are waiting for?”  A reed swaying in the wind? A man dressed in fine clothes? A prophet? (11:7-9).

Never mind answering, he added. You do not have ears to hear it. You want whom you want. You want one who will tell you what you want to hear, one who will dance to your pipes and mourn at your dirges.  You want to play the tune and have God almighty adjust himself to the pitch (11:17).

 For whom do we wait? In what do we invest all our hope?

It happens sometimes with a piece of art that you can scrape away the top layer of paint to reveal a different drawing underneath.  Artists call it pentimento.  An artist at the work of creating will envision the final piece in a certain way, but in the act of creating will see other ways of presentation.  A tree originally envisioned as upright might end up bent over in the final work.  A hand in the subject’s lap turns out to be a hand to the heart.

I wondered what the pentimento might be beneath the finished portrait of the lovely, innocent young woman.

I wondered about the pentimento beneath the “you” and the “me” that we present to the world.  How closely do we now project the original intent of our creator? And have the changes been of His making or our own?

We can spend our entire lives desperately trying to find “the one” – the one thing, the one plan, the one lover, the one possession by which our lives will finally be fulfilled. We change our addresses, we change our hair, we adopt personas that do not belong to us. We dance to the pipes of others and sing dirges about things we do not truly mourn.

Nothing satisfies. Until we look inward, way down deep inside, to touch “the one” of God’s creation and Christ’s redeeming.

You are the one you have been waiting for. Not the you of your creation; the you of God’s creation.  When you find it, buy it, take it home, hang it on your wall. That’s what I’m going to do. I think maybe I understand it now.

 

Marjorie George is editor of ReflectionsOnline and Reflections magazine. Reach her at marjorie.george@dtx.org.