Category Archives: Gleanings

Year of Mercy: Depth

(2) Pope Francis gets straight to the point in explaining why he declared the “Year of Mercy”–it is what God most longs to give, and what we most long to receive. God’s desire to have mercy is our salvation.  This … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Breathing Spaces

A meditation from Martin Copenhaver, pastor of Wellesly UCC, in Wellesley, Ma…. “In our already overcrowded lives, another space is being taken away. When I was learning to type, I was taught that you should have two spaces after a … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Ready to Sail!

Welcome to 2014!!! As you know, I believe we are living in a new pentecost–in a time when the fresh Wind of the Spirit is blowing.  Here is a great quote from St. Ephraem to connect us with this movement … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Be Still…and Know

“If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace.  In that stillness you will know what His will is.”  (Amy … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Living Stones

Good words from Origen about our being a spiritual house…. “All of us who believe in Jesus Christ are said to be “living stones” according to the statement of scripture when it says: “Like living stones be yourselves built into … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Making the Best of It

These words from Robert Fulghum’s website recently spoke to me, I believe that things work out best for the person who makes the best of the way things turn out.

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Gleanings: Contemplation

Contemplation is about waking up. Simply defined, to be contemplative is to experience an event fully, in all its aspects. Biblically this is expressed as knowing “face to face.” What is implied in that phrase … is that we are … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Writing

The Oboedire ministry brings people across my path who say, “Sometimes I think I should be a writer.”  I offer his piece from Henri Nouwen’s Bread for the Journey (April 27) to encourage you… Writing can be a true spiritual … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Obscurity

Here is a good quote from a young pastor I have only recently found, Jonathan Martin (Renovatus Church in Charlotte).  It comes from his first book, Prototype (Tyndale House)…. “In our culture of constant access and nonstop media, nothing feels … Continue reading

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Gleanings: True Unity

I don’t usually post long excerpts, but this recent writing by Richard Rohr reinforced my longstanding belief (thanks to E.Stanley Jones especially, but not exclusively) that the Incarnation is the core of the Gospel… I sincerely hate to say it, … Continue reading

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Gleanings: What Mystics Know

The mystics are those who are let in on this secret mystery of God’s love affair with the soul, with my soul in particular—and that God loves me uniquely. All true love gives us this sense of being special, chosen, … Continue reading

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Gleanings: No Substitutes

I recently read this quote from Brennan Manning… “The Word we study has to be the Word we pray. My personal experience of the relentless tenderness of God came not from exegetes, theologians, and spiritual writers, but from sitting still … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Pray Until You Pray

A.W. Tozer communicates an important reminder in his exhortation to “pray ’til you pray”…. Often the last 10 minutes may mean more to us than the first half hour, because we must spend a long time getting into the proper … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Gospel Paradox

Richard Rohr offers this thought-provoking meditation on the difference between some conventional religion and the Gospel… The clarification here is fundamental and central. A historian of religion once said (I cannot remember where I read it) that all religion begins … Continue reading

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In-Sight: Where Is James When You Need Him?

Blogging has become a very personal exercise for me.  I find that often, I have to write about something that is more of a lack in me than a possession.  Today, is one of those times. We would be in … Continue reading

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Gleanings: All is Grace

A few days ago, I quoted Henri Nouwen as saying God is waiting to see “the slides of our lives” when we get to heaven.  The quotation raised the possibility (given its being cited apart from the original context) that … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Giving and Receiving

“Nobody is so poor that he/she has nothing to give, and nobody is so rich that he/she has nothing to receive.”   Pope John Paul II

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Gleanings: The Ministry of Receiving

Henri Nouwen reminds us that receiving is as much a ministry as giving is… But receiving is just as important, because by receiving we reveal to the givers that they have gifts to offer. When we say, “Thank you, you … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Life as a Journey

I like this image of life, provided by Henri Nouwen in Bread for the Journey (March 31)… This is what life is about. It is being sent on a trip by a loving God, who is waiting at home for … Continue reading

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Gleanings: This is the Day

These words from John Henry Newman provide a good meditation as Easter Day comes to a close… And here we are, even on this great Day, this Day of days, on which Christ arose from the dead,—here are we… as … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Experience, Necessary but Limited

St. John of the Cross offers this important word about Christian experience, the necessity of humility, and the inevitability of Mystery… “However elevated God’s communications and the experiences of his presence are, and however sublime a person’s knowledge of him … Continue reading

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Gleanings: True Community

Henri Nouwen reminds us about the nature of true community… As long as we relate primarily to each other’s wealth, health, stability, intelligence, and soul strength, we cannot develop true community. Community is not a talent show in which we … Continue reading

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Gleanings: A Transforming Use of Scripture

Richard Rohr recently (e-letter 2/22) commended the following use of the Bible… When the Scriptures are used maturely, they proceed in this order: 1. They confront us with a bigger picture than we are used to: “God’s kingdom” that has … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Two-footed Christianity

Richard Rohr (e-letter for Feb 20) offers us a good image of our Christian walk… “The Jewish prophets had one foot in Israel and one foot outside and beyond. So must you have one foot in your historical faith community … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Marked by Ashes

Tonight, millions of us will participate in Ash Wednesday services.  I hope this poem by Walter Brueggemann will inspire you as you prepare yourself to be… Marked by Ashes Ruler of the Night, Guarantor of the day . . . … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Where It All Begins

Over against a pseudo spirituality that shifts the emphasis from God to us, Richard Rohr reminds us where it all begins… God is always the initiator, God is the doer, God is the one who seduces us. All we can … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Holding Creed & Experience Together

We sometimes wrestle with keeping the objective and subjective elements of faith properly related to each other.  A recent comment from Richard Rohr is helpful… “The only things we know at any deep and real level are the things we … Continue reading

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Gleanings: God’s Unconditional Love

Henri Nouwen offers us this powerful word… “We often confuse unconditional love with unconditional approval. God loves us without conditions but does not approve of every human behavior. God doesn’t approve of betrayal, violence, hatred, suspicion, and all other expressions … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Essence of Devotion

Mother Teresa captures the essence of the devotional life… “It is possible that I may not be able to keep my attention fully on God while I work, but God doesn’t demand that I do so. Yet I can fully … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Contemplation and Action

Richard Rohr offers this helpful insight… “It does not matter which side you start on, but eventually action and contemplation must meet and feed one another. When prayer is authentic it will always lead to actions of mercy; when actions … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Christian Disposition

St. Francis de Sales sheds light on the way we should relate to others… “I would rather account to God for too great gentleness than for too great severity. Is not God all love? God the Father is the Father … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Community–A Sign

A recent comment from Henri Nouwen reveals why narcissistic persons can never create or live in community… “Community is first of all a quality of the heart. It grows from the spiritual knowledge that we are alive not for ourselves … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Who Christians Are

Bishop Peter Chrysologus (c. 389-450) offered this definition of a Christian… “The Christian becomes the new skin that is ready to receive new wine, the wine of the Son’s wedding, crushed in the winepress of the cross.”

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Gleanings: The Way of Words

In a recent reading of St. Ambrose, I found this wisdom from one of God’s dear servants, “We win people over by the grace of our words.”

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Gleanings: The Necessity of Compassion

Here’s a good second post for Wednesday—the day we focus on clergy and spiritual leaders here at Oboedire.  Henri Nouwen reminds us of the importance of compassion in the practice of ministry…. The Church often wounds us deeply.  People with … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Forgiving the Church

Henri Nouwen’s writings in Bread for the Journey are currently dealing with the church, and I’m finding a number of them to be particularly inspiring, especially as we live in a time when some are advocating a “churchless Christianity.”  Nouwen … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Grand Reversal

Richard Rohr’s daily e-letter has a powerful writing on mystical love, showing how it is a grand reversal of our tendency to think about the God-human relationship… Ordinary Christianity has emphasized that we should love God. This makes sense, but … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Praying Always

Richard Rohr provides this helpful insight into Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing”…. We pray always whenever we live in conscious union with God. Then every action is a prayer no matter how secular, mundane, or ordinary it might appear. … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Transformational Prayer

I read the following reflection from Richard Rohr earlier today.  It is so powerful, I did not want to delay in passing it on to you…. CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER “Contemplation,” or meditation as it is called by some, became more popular … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Nature of Truth

Richard Rohr has given us a helpful perspective on the discovery of truth in relation to paradox… Truth lies neither in the total affirmation nor in the total denial of either side of things, but precisely in the tug of … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Faith is Surrender

Richard Rohr challenges us not to confuse faith with egotism… When Christianity aligns itself with power (and the mindset of power, which is the need to be right and certain one is right) there’s simply very little room for the … Continue reading

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Gleanings: The Real Purpose of Prayer

Oswald Chamber’s comment about prayer in today’s reading of My Utmost for His Highest is on target and worth pondering…. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Silent Prayer

Prayer is largely just being silent: holding the tension instead of even talking it through, offering the moment instead of fixing it by words and ideas, loving reality as it is instead of understanding it fully. We must not push … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Learning How To Receive

On July 10th, I wrote about the need for “shutting the door” and praying in secret to God.  I used the experience a friend of mine had with E. Stanley Jones years ago—when Brother Stanley told him, “the person who … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Meditation

Meditation implies the capacity to receive grace whenever God wishes to grant it to us, and therefore [meditation is] a permanent disposition to humility, attention to reality, receptivity, pliability.  Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer,p. 71.

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Gleanings: A Life of Prayer

If you want a life of prayer, the way to get it is by praying.  Basil Pennington, Centering Prayer, p. 56.

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Gleanings: Happiness

Happiness, I have come to understand, comes when what I choose to be about in life is actually worth spending my life doing.  Joan Chittister, Following the Path, p. 22.

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Gleanings: Living at a Human Tempo

If we really want prayer, we’ll have to give it time.  We must slow down to a human tempo, and we’ll begin to have time to listen.  And as soon as we listen to what’s going on, things will begin … Continue reading

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Gleanings: Spiritual Freedom

Spiritual freedom is not a characteristic or present-day Christianity.  We are still, stifled, inwardly tied-up Christians….We live off the surface roots, not from the depths.  The surface roots go out into the cultural, educational, economic, social, political, perhaps also the … Continue reading

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Gleanings: A Guiding Word

Let us not just study God’s word.  It is a word that must be prayed.  Then the Spirit will guide us, and the whole church, to all wisdom and truth. John Michael Talbot, Reflections on the Gospels, Volume 2, p. … Continue reading

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