Tag Archives: joy

Breathe God’s air

Keep your eyes clean and your ears quiet and your mind serene. Breathe God’s air.

Work, if you can, under God’s sky.

But if you have to live in a city and live among machines and ride in the subways and eat in a place where the radio makes you deaf with spurious news and where the food destroys your life and the sentiments of those around you poison your heart with boredom, do not be impatient, but accept it as the love of God and as a seed of solitude planted in your soul.

If you are appalled by those things, you will keep your appetite for the healing silence of recollection. But meanwhile—keep your sense of compassion for the people who have forgotten the very concept of solitude.

You, at least, know that it exists, and that it is the source of peace and joy.

You can still hope for such joy. They do not even hope for it anymore.

–Excerpt from New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton.

*(changed “His” to “God’s” and “men” to “people” to make language more gender-inclusive)

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Rejoice, Rejoice Believers

Rejoice, rejoice, believers,
and let your lights appear;
the evening is advancing,
and darker night is near.
The Bridegroom is arising,
and soon he draweth nigh;
up, pray, and watch, and wrestle:
at midnight comes the cry.

See that your lamps are burning;
replenish them with oil;
and wait for your salvation,
the end of earthly toil.
The watchers on the mountain
proclaim the Bridegroom near;
go meet him as he cometh,
with alleluias clear.

O wise and holy virgins,
now raise your voices higher,
until in songs of triumph
ye meet the angel choir.
The marriage feast is waiting,
the gates wide open stand;
rise up, ye heirs of glory,
the Bridegroom is at hand.

Our hope and expectation,
O Jesus, now appear!
Arise, thou Sun so longed for,
over this benighted sphere!
With hearts and hands uplifted,
we plead, O Lord, to see
the day of earth’s redemption
that brings us unto thee.

–Words: Laurentius Laurenti, 1700; trans. Sarah Findlater
–Music: Llangloffan (traditional Welsh tune)

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Rejoice!

I’ve had a pretty bad last few days. A friend of mine hurt my feelings pretty bad the day before Thanksgiving. And then I spent Thanksgiving alone, which was a first for me and, although I actually enjoyed it, it was sad not being with my family or close friends. And then over the weekend, a person I’ve been romantically interested in for a year or so, and very good friends with for almost two years, gave me some news. I knew he had been interested in another guy for quite some time. But on Sunday, he dropped a bomb on me and let me know that they had decided to get married. It really hurt. I’ve been super upset since then.

And so for the last few days, I’ve been lost in my thoughts. I couldn’t sleep. I haven’t wanted to talk to anyone. I’ve been very introspective and contemplative. I’m wondering why God is bringing me this pain right now as I approach the 1-year anniversary of my mother’s death, and as I am still so unsettled and confused after the recent presidential election. What is God trying to show me in all of this? Is God even there? Is there any hope to be found in all of this? Why does my future all of a sudden look so empty, so lonely, so sad?

In the midst of all of this, I’ve been distracted with the fact that it is the beginning of the Advent season, one of the most beautiful, meaningful, and sacred times of the year to me. Over the weekend, I set up my Christmas tree and made a homemade Advent wreath. And this past Sunday night, the first night of Advent, I attended a truly sublime Advent Lessons and Carols service at my church. The service ended with a profoundly beautiful singing of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. Three different choirs alternated singing verses along with the church filled with around 500 people. It was uplifting and spine tingling. And since then, I’ve been singing the song in my head over and over.

Tonight, on the car ride home from work, as I was stuck in gobs of traffic, I put “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” on the stereo. I found myself meditating on the refrain:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

And it just hit me. Why am I consuming myself with sadness, and bitterness, and hopelessness? God is with me (Emmanuel!) in the midst of all of this. In spite of all of these bad feelings, I should rejoice in knowing that God’s peace is within reach. God’s grace and love and care surround me and are within me, no matter what befalls me. I shouldn’t be sad, rather I should rejoice in knowing these things.

And peace began to wash over me. It’s amazing how God can speak to us in the most mundane of ways. I think it speaks to the wonder of who and what God is…God is with us, in the midst of our daily lives. In the stranger, in the gentle breeze that blows, in the storm clouds that thunder and rain, in the raging fire, and in the swells of the sea. God’s presence supersedes all that we experience, and all we must do is listen with our eyes and we will hear it through all of our senses.

God’s peace does, indeed, surpass all understanding. And for this, I am truly thankful.

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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Sleepers, wake!

“Sleepers, wake!” A voice astounds us,
the shout of rampart-guards surrounds us:
“Awake, Jerusalem, arise!”
Midnight’s peace their cry has broken,
their urgent summons clearly spoken:
“The time has come, O maidens wise!
Rise up, and give us light;
the Bridegroom is in sight.
Alleluia!
Your lamps prepare and hasten there,
that you the wedding feast may share.”

Zion hears the watchman singing;
her heart with joyful hope is springing,
she wakes and hurries through the night.
Forth he comes, her bridegroom glorious
in strength of grace, in truth victorious:
her star is risen, her light grows bright.
Now come, most worthy Lord,
God’s Son, Incarnate Word,
Alleluia!
We follow all and heed your call
to come into the banquet hall.

Lamb of God, the heavens adore you;
let saints and angels sing before you,
as harps and cymbals swell the sound.
Twelve great pearls, the city’s portals:
through them we stream to join the immortals
as we with joy your throne surround.
No eye has known the sight,
no ear heard such delight:
Alleluia!
Therefore we sing to greet our King;
for ever let our praises ring.

–Words: Philipp Nicolai, 1597;
–Music: WACHET AUF

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Colossians 1:11-14

May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from God’s glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. God has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Continue reading here.

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May the God of Surprises delight you

May the God of Surprises delight you, inviting you to accept gifts not yet imagined.
May the God of Transformation call you, opening you to continual renewal.
May the God of Justice confront you, daring you to see the world through God’s eyes.
May the God of Abundance affirm you, nudging you towards deeper trust.
May the God of Embrace hold you, encircling you in the hearth of God’s home.
May the God of Hopefulness bless you, encouraging you with the fruits of faith.
May the God of Welcoming invite you, drawing you nearer to the fullness of God’s expression in you.
May God Who is Present be with you, awakening you to God in all things, all people, and all moments.
May God be with you.
Amen.

By Elizabeth Eiland Figueroa (http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/19916/may-the-god-of-surprises-delight-you)

– See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/19916/may-the-god-of-surprises-delight-you#sthash.pOaKS0KN.dpuf

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O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling

O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling,
to tell to all the world that God is Light;
that he who made all nations is not willing
one soul should fail to know his love and might.

Refrain:
Publish glad tidings: tidings of peace
tidings of Jesus, redemption and release.

Proclaim to every people, tongue, and nation
that God, in whom they live and move, is Love;
tell how he stooped to save his lost creation,
and died on earth that all might live above. Refrain

Send heralds forth, to bear the message glorious;
give of thy wealth to speed them on their way;
pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious
till God shall bring his kingdom’s joyful day. Refrain

He comes again! O Zion, ere thou meet him,
make known to every heart his saving grace;
let none whom he hath ransomed fail to greet him,
through thy neglect, unfit to see his face. Refrain

–Words: Mary Ann Thomson (1870)
–Tune: TIDINGS (James Walch, 1837-1901)

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