Good health is wealth, and so often we take this for granted. We rise each morning and often go through the day mechanically. Yet there are moments and incidents that take place in our life which make us think of how grateful we need to be for the Gift of Life.
Contemplate This explores the deepening dimensions of silence and contemplation.
Contemplate This - We live in a much-too-hasty age. There is little or no time to process what happens to us each day. This is even true in religious life.
I have to admit I am dismayed by what has been happening on the campaign trail. Primarily spurred by Mr. Trump, I witness the anger of my brothers and sisters who, over these past decades, feel that they have been left behind. But contemplation invites me to see how we are all connected. Equality, mutuality, abundance, non-violence and interconnectedness are the messages of Jesus.
Everything is in flux and there are no definitive answers to these fundamental questions at this in-between time. I once had ready replies to who I was in ministry, community, and family.
I first saw the child in the Detroit Free Press as the news was breaking regarding the Flint, Michigan, water crisis. His face wouldn't leave me. I placed his picture where I pray so I could contemplate it. Then the February 1 issue of TIME magazine had that picture on its cover. His face with the caption —The Poisoning of an American City — has become an icon to me of what happens when we forget the human connections with nature and make economics the highest priority in decision making.
I must confess that often the yearly ritual of receiving ashes on my forehead at the beginning of Lent has become dangerously routine. Certainly I pause at the solemnity of the occasion, but it has never touched me with the power that it will this year.
I am a Scrabble player — maybe even addicted to it! Playing Scrabble helps me cope with life. My usual partner is a musician who is also a mystic: this makes for a heady combination. It's a time when we don't have to be "nice" to each other: we can be competitors and just enjoy the game.
A new year. Ending the old year and welcoming in the new is surrounded by quite a ritual. We watch the bright silver ball drop in Times Square and we make New Year resolutions in hope of changing some of our behavior. We have a sense that the new year brings us another opportunity to try to be better. As I pause to reflect on this "transition" from an evolutionary lens I see some similarities.
The Nativity scene is what comes to mind for many of us when we think about Christmas. There is the manger with Mary kneeling by the infant Jesus with Joseph by her side. Often there are shepherds and a few sheep as well as some angels hovering in the sky. When St. Francis of Assisi created this image in the 1200s, he did it to remind people that this holy day is about worshiping God rather than gift giving. But this visual image did far more than that. For the people of his time it spoke to the felt sense of what this mystery was about, and it became a permanent part of our religious imagination.
An image swept over me toward the close of the Parliament of World Religions last month. I was swimming in the ocean. I saw the larger known creatures closer to the surface — whales, dolphins, swordfish — then I began going deeper seeing species of fish I didn’t even know existed. The variety of colors and shapes thrilled me. There were even those who were translucent because they live so close to the bottom of the ocean floor away from the light of the sun. So many different kinds, all unique, all necessary and all part of the evolutionary journey and the sea’s creative energy.