Lent 02•24•2021: Show Me The Way

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

🏵 Philippians 2:12-15 🏵

“So work out your salvation in fear and trembling. It is God who, for his own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act. Let your behaviour be free of murmuring and complaining so that you remain faultless and pure, unspoilt children of God.”

Below I am sharing the definitions of two words I rediscovered as I was reading my Lenten devotional today by Henri J. M. Nouwen. I hope you discover a nugget or two of knowledge as well.

Gnosis (the knowledge of God, St. John)

• esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation

Memoria Dei (the memory of God, St. Basil)

• This memoria becomes an inner presence, and this presence becomes prayer – life lived before God and in the awareness of his presence.

Show Me The Way…

We are asking God to show us the way. But before anyone ever gets to the point of asking and seeking God; we must admit he exists.

Nouwen shares in his book, when we say from our hearts that God exists, EVERYTHING trembles in heaven and on earth. This is because when we acknowledge the existence of God, all that is, flows from him. A way of knowing that we have come into the true knowledge, (Gnosis) of God; we openly allow ourselves to become acutely aware of how we experience ourselves. Take the time to name and claim those things that are uniquely (YOU)! The list should include everything not a list of good vs. bad, just who you are.

About me…I’m an artistic, I’m a learner, I like food, I like going to Disney World, my feelings are easily hurt, I’m fearful, I’m a thinker, I like romance, I like sunsets, I like the ocean, I am too quick to judge, I’m a giver, I’m smart, I like to talk, I talk too loud, I’m a fighter, I’m a lover… that’s a few things, get the idea. I EXIST!

Experiences of love and hatred are different, the desire of power is different from a desire of service; however, these are sameness insomuch as they relate to my existence, as to what really counts . I exist no more or no less based upon my values, likes, desires, political affiliations, etc.,

I Exist. •PERIOD•

What does count about existence, is that as soon as I say, GOD EXISTS, my existence is no longer the center of my life. This is because of (Memoria Dei) the essence of the knowledge of God, it has revealed to me and opened my eyes; my existence as deriving it’s total being, from him. Yes, him, God, I exist only because God exists!

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Clear Out Day 7

Donate personal possessions such as clothes, books, shoes, to live a second life. Take time to figure out what is essential and what is extra.

~Prayer~

You who live in the secret place of Elton,

spending your nights in the shelter of Shaddai,

saying to Yahweh, “My refuge, my fortress,

my God in whom I trust.”

You who say, “Yahweh, my refuge!”

No disaster can overtake you,

no plague come near your tent;

he has given his angels orders about you

to guard you wherever you go.

—Psalms 91:1-2, 9, 10-11

~ Amen

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•23•2021: Show Me The Way

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Hello friends—

Our prayers and prayer life are essential for a healthy relationship with God. Prayer is how we communicate with God. In my own personal experiences it has been a great source of comfort and at times frustration due to my own lack of listening skills. Our frustration can be of our own making, due to our impatience and inability to listen to God’s voice. At times our prayers can be viewed as a monologue instead of a dialogue. We do all the talking and either don’t wait for a response or we don’t want to hear the response. Our prayers sometimes sounds like a litany of requests, thanksgiving, guidance, answers, questions, solutions, compromises and many more that are rooted in logic parts of our minds and not our hearts. Nouwen says this about prayer life, “The crisis of our prayer life is that our minds may be filled with ideas of God while our heart remains far from God.” The key to a dialogue prayer life, is our hearts! ❤️ God speaks to our hearts, when we listen with our hearts, then we can connect with God on an intimate level. God’s voice is gentle and is soothing to the soul.

🔹 2 Thessalonians 3:5 🔹

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

Our lives and the world are filled with so much noise that some of us simply cannot sleep in deafening silence because we are so saturated and conditioned to the noise. And as hard as it may seem, it is within that quietness and stillness, we can hear God’s tender voice calling to us.

When we recognize the voice of God we begin to see and hear him all around us. One of my favorite places to see and hear God is in nature. I love to take picture of things that seemingly call out to me, things of beauty that perhaps only my eyes can see. At this very moment I’m listening to the clock “tick” from across the room, as if God is saying Charlotte, you are not alone. God is in the face of strangers, a smile from someone sharing their joy with you. God is the sun rising from above a heavy fog. *This is one of my most favorite photos.

Photo credit: Me (10/03/2018)

And, borrowing from a conversation I had yesterday with my very dear friend Barry, “God is the lighthouse; anchored and leading us home.” God is always the immovable lighthouse ready to welcome us home, it is we who move freely toward and away from the lighthouse, only to be tossed to-and-fro by the waves of the world we live in and by the choices we make.

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Let Go Day 6

It is human nature to hold on to resentment and grudges. Today practice letting go of resentment and open your heart to new possibilities.

✝️ Prayer ✝️

Why, O Lord, is it so hard for me

to keep my heart directed toward you?

Why does my mind wander off in so many directions,

and why does my heart desire

the things that lead me astray?

Let me sense your presence in the midst of my turmoil.

Take my tired body,

my confused mind,

and my restless soul into your arms

and give me rest, simple rest.

~ Amen

~Charlotte, the Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•22•2021: Show Me The Way

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

💠 Monday of the First Week of Lent 💠

~Matthew 25:34-35, 40 (NJBV)~

♥️ HOSPITALITY {vs} HOSTILITY 📛

Hospitality:

  • hospitable treatment, reception, or disposition (thanked our hosts for their hospitality)
  • the activity or business of providing services to guests in hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. —

Hostility:

  • deep-seated usually mutual ill will (glad to have gotten throughthe divorce proceedings withoutany visible signs of hostility OR showed open hostility toward outsiders)
  • conflict, opposition, or resistance in thought or principle action

Hello friends and Happy Monday to all of you! 🌻💛

The Bible gives us many examples of hospitality and Mr. Nouwen reminds us it is an important virtue on page 26 of his book, Show Me The Way. “When hostility is converted into hospitality then fearful strangers can become guests revealing to their hosts the promise they are carrying with them. …but even more than that [virtue] in the context of hospitality guest and host can reveal their most precious gifts and bring new life to each other.”

Biblical stories of hospitality can be found throughout the Bible, below are a few:

1. Genesis 18:1-15 (Sarah/Abraham’s son announced)

2. 1 Kings 17:9-24 (Widow of Zarepharh/Elijah)

3. Luke 24:13-35 (Traveler/Emmaus/Stranger)

The words from Mr. Nouwen spoke to my weary heart today. As I left work I felt very tired and somewhat disappointed in myself. I thought to myself, I could have been a better version of myself, my voice could have been more soothing at times, I could have been more patient, and I should have taken more deep breaths and prayer more often. For those I work with, they probably did not see the person I’m describing, I am much too harsh with myself and more likely they accept me…flaws and all. I can say with all honesty that I had no preconceived notions to raise my voice when discussing things that I am passionate about. I did not set out to be impatient, I know I get anxious and sometimes it’s hard for my brain and mouth to work positively in unison 🤣😉

The truth is this my friend, a stranger is someone we just haven’t met or met properly. It’s good to be cautious and to use common sense, practice safety and to trust your intuitions. Baby steps friends, the scriptures tell us, when we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and welcome a stranger…we are welcoming Jesus! Peace to you my friends. 💞

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Quiet Time Day 5

Spend 10 minutes today in silence and prayer. Will this be easy or hard for you?

🙏🏻 ~Prayer~🙏🏻

Dear Lord,

show me your kindness and your gentleness,

you who are meek and humble of heart.

So often I say to myself, “The Lord loves me,”

but very often this truth does not enter

into the center of my heart.

Let these weeks become an opportunity for me

to let go of all my resistances to your love

and an occasion for you to call me closer to you.

~ Amen

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing 

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.merriam-webster.com/

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•21•2021: Show Me The Way

Sunday, February 21st, 2021

Happy 1st Sunday of Lent—

Today, I am reminded of a conversation between Jesus and Peter, found in John chapter 21, verses 15-19, in which Jesus asks Peter the same question three times, “do you love me?” I’m sure there was a hint of frustration coming from Peter because each time he responded by say, ‘Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.’ What is interesting to me in this exchange is Jesus’ response to Peter is different each time he answers:

• Feed my lambs. (John 21:15)

• Tend my sheep. (John 21:16)

• Feed my sheep. (John 21:17

• Follow Me. (John 21:18)

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=John%2021:15-19&version=NRSVA

The Bible is very clear when it comes to how we are to love God and I found a few verses in the Bible telling us the clear answer.

(1). You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Deuteronomy 6:5

(2). You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. —Matthew 22:37

(3). Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. —Mark 12:30

(4). You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind. —Luke 10:27

Jesus, was devoted and obedient to God, constantly longing and living in his presence. What a beautiful example given to us by Jesus. When our focused desire is to love God constantly and consistently, loving others is the natural progression. It no longer seems like a competition dividing our love between God and towards others. Love is a never-ending source of spiritual nourishment, we receive and then we pass it onto others.

As we continue our Lenten journey together, let us be ever so mindful to love God will everything we are and to follow Jesus; in doing so Jesus will “Show Me/Us The Way.”

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Simplify Sunday 1

Read one chapter in the Bible today.

The prayer below was written by Charles de Foucauld and it is powerful. His life story is extraordinary if you’re interested in reading further about him I have included a link below to click on.

~Prayer~

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

Show Me The Way — Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/media/articles/prayer-of-abandonment-charles-de-foucauld/

https://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/author/foucauld/

(NJBV) New Jerusalem Bible Version/Translation

Lent 02•20•2021: Show Me The Way

Saturday, February 20th, 2021

~Luke 5:27-28 (New Jerusalem Bible)~

“When he went out after this, he noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, sitting at the tax office, and said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And leaving everything Levi got up and followed him.”

Photo credit: Father Lemieux

Dear Friends— Thank you for following me and traveling with me on this Lenten Journey.

Follow Me!

Follow Me?

Is it a question? Is it a statement?

As believers, we have answered the call of Jesus, “to follow” him. One thing I’m absolutely sure of is, we all have had our own unique experience in answering the call “to follow.” Some have it in a slow and gradual invitation and acceptance while others have a rapid, come to Jesus moment, while others answer the call at different intersections along the spectrum of life’s experiences.

Mr. Nouwen points out in his book, “Show Me The Way” ‘Not only did Jesus come to free us from the bonds of sin and death, he also came to lead us into the intimacy of his divine life.’ (1)

It sometimes feels like Jesus/God are unreachable; compared to the ease we have in instantly connecting with people at any time or any place using the advanced technology available to us.

I can tell you from personal experiences that God is even more readily available to all of us at anytime and all at the same time. Unfortunately, I have a lapse in good judgment this far more often than I’d like to admit. Honestly, it is due to my own foolish pride getting in the way and sometimes it my shame, whatever the case my be. What I know to be true even through all my insecurities/doubts is that God is and will always there for me. I love how Mr. Nouwen explains this and does so more eloquently than I have tried, “We see Jesus as the all-knowing and all-powerful Son of God who is unreachable for us sinful, broken human beings. But in thinking this way, we forget that Jesus came to give us his own life. He came to lift us up into loving community with the Father.” (2)

What does living a spiritual life look like to you?

Jesus wants to share with us the relationship he has with the Father. Jesus wants us to follow him and to live a life transformed by love. One might even say, “Radical” love! The ministry that Jesus led was “Radical” at the time, when we can process this, we can begin to see the meaning of spiritual life. All that belongs to Jesus is given for us to receive. (3)

A spiritual life can be lived in as many ways as there are people, says Nouwen and he’s absolutely correct!

The spiritual life for some may indeed translate into a life of dropping everything and follow where Jesus leads. This is exactly what the disciples did when Jesus said, “follow me.” Mother Teresa also chose a similar path as she gave everything to follow her calling. One of my favorites example is Gladys Aylward, she felt called by God is go to China and in 1938 she led almost 100 children across 100 miles of rocky terrain to safety from Japanese invaders from the county of YangCheng.

Living a spiritual life ultimately means, “Being in the world without being of the world.” (4) It sometimes means giving up things such as jobs, homes, social groups, political activities, arts and entertainment but these are not absolute for any one person. There are things of this world that can become a compulsion and addictive to many, while others are non-affected by the same.

A lesson I have learned over time and I want to share freely with you is this, Judgment is like a two-edged sword, it will cut on the downward strike but be careful with the upswing.

Photo credit: Frits Ahlefeldt©️

“People who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.”

Strive to live a life pleasing to God, listening for God’s voice and follow where He leads. ~Peace

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Simplify Day 4

Designate a giving jar where loose change can go. At the end of Lent, give the collected money away, perhaps someone in need you see on the street, give it to your church or perhaps an extra tip to a deliver person bring you food or someone serving you in a restaurant. You may also set an intention to give to it regularly.

~Prayer~

Lord, whoever serves you,

must follow you,

wherever you are.

If anyone serves you,

your Father will honor him.

— After John 12:26

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

(1) (2) (3) (4) Show Me The Way. Page 20; paragraph one. Henri J.M.Nouwen • 1992 The Crossroad Publishing

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://fatherlemieux.com/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Inn_of_the_Sixth_Happiness

double-edged sword illustration

Lent 02•19•2021: Show Me The Way

Friday, February 19th, 2021

Romans 8:38-39

“For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

What does love look like? Love is many things to many people and for a variety of reasons. My favorite author, C.S.Lewis writes about love in his book, “The Four Loves.” Lewis goes into great detail discussing each brilliantly. *(personal opinion).

These are the Four Loves that Lewis describes:

Affection (storge)

Affection covers an array of loves. Like animals, the care of mother to babe is a picture of affection. It relies on the expected and the familiar.

Friendship (philia)

Friendship is the love dismissed. “To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves,” says Lewis, “the crown of life and the school of virtue.

Romantic (eros)

Different than friendship, lovers, “are always talking to one another about their love” and “are normally face to face, absorbed in each other,” says Lewis.

Charity (agape)

This is our chief aim, the unconditional love of the Father given to us through his Son. Affection, friendship and romantic love are each the training ground for charity to grow. It’s also a rival to the three.

*Link for additional information: https://www.cslewis.com/four-types-of-love/

As we continue our journey of Lent, today I want to share with you, “The Love of God” based upon my own experiences and thoughts from Henri Nouwen. In his book, “Show Me The Way,” Nouwen explains that the love of God has become visible in Jesus. God, sent his son Jesus to be born and be human. He is fully divine and fully human. Jesus descended from heaven to earth to live life as a human and to live along side other humans. Jesus not only lived human but also died; being condemned and crucified. He was sinless and had committed no offenses yet died a horrific death. That my friends is the picture of love. Jesus, shows us love in many ways, his obedience to his father, and his actions to care for the poor and afflicted. Jesus chose to do these things as a way to know God, and to teach us to know God.

I used to think that the best way to know God was to read my Bible, read books about the Bible, and take classes to learn about the Bible & God. These are wonderful things to do and I encourage you to pursue them, along with a prayer life. The true essence of God can only be grasp in a healthy prayer life. Listening for God’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s guidance. God’s voice invites each of us to “follow Jesus.” Just as the disciples “followed” Jesus.

Is the voice of God calling you to “follow?”

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me.” ~John 10:27 (NRSVA)

As for my own experiences with love, it has been both beautiful and terrifying. God has blessed with me according to Lewis, all four kinds of love. I’m better at some than others but I’ve not given up on any of them. The ability to love or even recognize love is because God loved us first. “We love because he first loved us.” ~1 John 4:19 (NRSVA)

It is in our stillness, it is in our relentless patience and in our deepest desires that will we hear the voice of God and begin to grasp his unconditional love for us.

Yes, Jesus Loves You!🤍

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

~Simplify Day 3

What is over-complicated in life that can be simplified?

Perhaps a simple meal. I have opted for white bread and bologna sandwiches for my lunch this week. Another good choice is rice & beans, it’s simple, nutritious and is found in many cultures around the world. How about you(?) anything come to mind…

~Prayer~

God, you are my God, I seek you,

my soul is thirsting for you,

my flesh is longing for you,

a land parched, weary and waterless.

I long to gaze on you in the Sanctuary,

and see your power and your glory.

Your love is better than life itself,

my lips will recite your praise;

all my life I will bless you,

in your name lift up my hands;

my soul will feast most richly,

on my lips a song of joy and, in my mouth, praise.

On my bed I think of you,

I mediate on you all night long,

for you have always helped me.

I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings;

my soul clinging to you,

your right hand supports me.

— Psalms 63:1-8

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

Reference:

https://biblehub.com/

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Four Types of Love

Lent 02•18•2021: Show Me The Way

Thursday, February 18th, 2021

Deuteronomy 30:19-20

“Today, I call heaven and earth to witness against you: I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live, in the love of Yahweh your God, obeying his voice, holding fast to him; for in this your life consists, and on this depends the length of time that you stay in the country which Yahweh swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give them.”

“A life of faith is a life of gratitude.” -Henri Nouwen.

A life of faith is a life that is dependent upon God; it is praising God and thanking God unceasingly. I whole heartedly agree with Mr. Nouwen, I also am acutely aware of my ineptness to be obedient. When I was much younger I found the verse and phrase “pray without ceasing” very difficult to comprehend.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRSVA)

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

It took some time but I think I now understand that “without ceasing” has more to do with ones actions and overall perception towards God and the life He created. Praying without ceasing seemed impossible to my young mind but as an adult I see more clearly, my praying without ceasing has less to do about my words, a bowed head and clasp hands; (although still relevant) and a lot more to do with my entire being and connection with God. I find myself praying in the most remote places, in my car, in an elevator, in line at the grocery, at scenes of accidents, and seeing emergency vehicles just to name a few. These are all possible because I know that God is with me always. He is with you too, my friends. As we journey together through Lent let us be mindful that we are all God’s children, He loves each of us and He will never leave us. Do not confuse obedience with perfection. God has never ask us for what we cannot do. We are human, not an excuse but a truth that we are born into a sinful nature. We live in a world overshadowed at times with darkness and temptations, we must seek the light, the Light of Jesus and find the perfect love that can only be found in God.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“…Though the light has come into the world

people have preferred

darkness to the light

because their deeds were evil.

And indeed, everybody who does wrong hates the light and avoids it,

to prevent his actions from being shown up;

but whoever does the truth

comes out into the light,

so that what he is doing may plainly appear as done in God.”

— John 3:19-21

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

Pick something that happens regularly— like brushing your teeth, taking a walk or washing dishes. Say a prayer when completing these task.

~Prayer~

O God, you are not far from any of us,

since it is in you that we live,

and move, and exist.

You, who have overlooked the times of ignorance,

that they must now repent.

— After Acts 18:27-28, 30

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

Show Me The Way by Henri J. M. Nouwen

• The Crossroad Publishing Company (1992)

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Lent 02•17•2021: Ash Wednesday

Hello my dear friends around the world and close to home—

As the season of Lent begins, let us be reminded that this is a time of be nearer to God. It is a time of prayer and fasting as we journey the path that Christ traveled to Jerusalem, to Golgotha and to His final victory over death. The road we must travel has been described by many as a “narrow path” and not a wide and gentle avenue. Lent is a time of recognizing and putting aside the things of darkness and putting upon ourselves the light, the light of Jesus Christ.

As we spend time in prayer, let us be mindful to listen for God’s voice. Pray is not a one way conversation, it’s easy to present our needs, wants and yes, even our desires to God; but how often do we stay alert and truly listen to God’s answers(?). In the busy and noisy world we live in, it can be difficult to hear our own thoughts at times. A challenge is to spend ten minutes every day with God, I believe this firm foundation is a great starting place to build our lives being in sync with our Creator. Who knows, it could change our lives from the ground up, up to the Heavens!

Henri Nouwen shared a couple of paragraphs that read like I had written it about my own life experiences; I found it to be very profound and very human, I hope it speaks to you as well.

Photo: Show Me The Way by Henri J. M. Nouwen, page 13, paragraph 2 & 3.

Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practice for today:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

2. Review the day with gratitude.

3. Pay attention to your emotions.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.

5. Look toward tomorrow.

Prayer

Faithful God, trusting in you,

we begin

the forty days of conversion and penance.

Give us the strength for Christian discipline

that we may renounce evil

and be decisive in doing good.

We ask this through Jesus Christ. ~Amen

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

* Show Me The Way by Henri J. M. Nouwen

* Biblical references from the New Jerusalem Bible

Why Lent?

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

Dear Readers & Friends—

Tomorrow starts the beginning of the Lenten season of 2021. It is my hope and prayer to share this season with you and that together we can listen for God’s voice. May we seek God and ask Him to “Show Me/You/Us The Way” the way is a reference to “road signs pointing to decisive commitment, to deep love of God and our fellow men and women.” (1)

History of Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, in the Christian church, the first day of Lent, occurring six and a half weeks before Easter (between February 4 and March 11, depending on the date of Easter). Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season. It is commonly observed with ashes and fasting.” (2)

“In the early Christian church, the length of the Lenten celebration varied, but eventually it began 6 weeks (42 days) before Easter. This provided only 36 days of fasting (excluding Sundays). In the 7th century, 4 days were added before the first Sunday in Lent in order to establish 40 fasting days, in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fast in the desert.” (2)

“It was the practice in Rome for penitents and grievous sinners to begin their period of public penance on the first day of Lent in preparation for their restoration to the sacrament of the Eucharist. They were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, and obliged to remain apart until they were reconciled with the Christian community on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter. When these practices fell into disuse (8th–10th century), the beginning of the penitential season of Lent was symbolized by placing ashes on the heads of the entire congregation.” (2)

“In the modern Roman Catholic Church, the ashes obtained by burning the palms used on the previous Palm Sunday are applied in the shape of a cross on the forehead of each worshipper on Ash Wednesday. Together with Good Friday(which marks the crucifixion of Jesus before Easter), Ash Wednesday is an obligatory day of fasting and abstinence, where only one full meal and no meat are to be consumed. Although Ash Wednesday is not a holy day of obligation, it is traditionally one of the most heavily attended non-Sunday masses of the liturgical year. Worship services are also held on Ash Wednesday in Anglican, Lutheran, and some other Protestant churches. Eastern Orthodox churches begin Lent on a Monday and therefore do not observe Ash Wednesday.” (2)

I am going to be using a book by a Henri Nouwen, “Show Me The Way” and a pamphlet from Vibrant Church Communications, “Lenten M•I•C•R•O Practices” as we journey together.

Anchor Verses for Lent

Photo: Book jacket back

Crossroad•New York 1992

Pre-Lenten Prayer

From the Beginning of Time

Jesus,
you have known us from the beginning of time,
you have known us in the depths of our dreams and in the darkness of our shame,
you know us as your beloved.

Help us to own that core identity more and more in this season of repentance and mercy.
Give us the rock-solid assurance of your unwavering faith in us
as we seek the same in you.

Amen.

—Author Unknown

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

Reference:

(1) Quote from Henri Nouwen “Show Me The Way” page 9.

(2) https://www.britannica.com/topic/Ash-Wednesday-Christian-holy-day

https://www.xavier.edu/jesuitresource/online-resources/prayer-index/lent-prayers

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/new-jerusalem-bible-1985-roman-catholic-njb-voice/id802886356

Loneliness

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

Loneliness

Friends—

Please know that you are never truly alone although it can feel like it especially these days during the pandemic. I want you to know that God is always with you. He may not be visible to your human eyes but trust me, His presence can be felt. Many times I have felt His presence when I have been so distraught and there was no one to console me. God loves you and He does not want to see you hurting. You may not wholeheartedly believe me and that’s okay; however, I would challenge you by asking you to open a dialogue with God for yourself.

Isaiah 41:10

“…do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Isaiah 41:13

“For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.”

Hebrews 13:5-6

“Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have; for he has said, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you.’ So we can say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?”

Matthew 28:20

“…and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Proverbs 8:17

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.”

1 Peter 5:7

“Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

Below is a link to a Meditation from the Henri Nouwen Society. I found it “comforting” to read the words that have often describe moments in my life. It can be truly overwhelming to consider all the important and critical things going on around us. Life is happening no matter where we live, work or (play). Also, below are other links you might find helpful for depression, loneliness and isolation. I am not familiar with any of them personally, please you at your own discretion. I would recommend speaking to a licensed therapist, it doesn’t mean you are sick or that anything’s wrong with you, counseling is an opportunity to speak freely about your own thoughts with an objective person listening, not judging.

Loneliness

I wish you PEACE, my friend!

~Charlotte, Seeker of unexpected Comfort, Happiness, Joy and Patience.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://www.openbible.info/topics/god_always_with_me

https://psychiatry.uchicago.edu/news/17-easy-things-do-when-youre-feeling-lonely

http://www.contacthelpline.org/emotional-listening-support

https://www.crisistextline.org/topics/loneliness/#signs-of-loneliness-1

https://www.crossroadshospice.com/hospice-palliative-care-blog/2020/march/18/support-hotlines-for-loneliness-depression-and-isolation/

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-deal-with-loneliness