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Discipleship in Shorthand – by Biff Weidman

Posted by on Jun 22, 2020 in News | Comments Off on Discipleship in Shorthand – by Biff Weidman

Discipleship in Shorthand – by Biff Weidman

(Originally published in the newsletter of the St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House.) Years ago, I spent eighteen months living and working at The Hermitage. I experienced a way of life that was “sane and simple”. I was nourished in solitude. I glimpsed a simplicity I’d never known before. Seemingly everything about the setting and our rhythm of life encouraged mindfulness, alertness to God’s presence. Again and again I was called back to Jesus’ words: “Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me” (John 15:4). Each morning we gathered for prayer, reciting “The Hermitage Affirmation.” And these lines in the Affirmation have been written on my heart ever since: “The call to us here today are these words of Jesus: ‘Come, all who are weary and whose load is heavy; I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to wear, my load is light.”’ [Matthew 11:28-30] These few verses, it seems to me, distill the way of Jesus— discipleship in shorthand: Come to meRemain with meLearn from meRest in me Come to me On the eve of his death, Jesus assures his friends: “I will not leave you orphans. You will not be left alone. I will come to you.” [John 14:18] Daily we’re invited to rest in this promise: “You are not alone”. We’re called out of isolation and into communion. Jesus calls us to come to him, to live in him, and to set aside any thought that we can “live the Christian life” apart from him. As disciples, we’re to live our lives in the very same way that Jesus lived his. He lived by the indwelling life of the Father, doing nothing in his own strength, but “only what he saw the Father doing” (John 5:19). We’re not meant to weary ourselves trying to live by Jesus’ example. We’re meant to enjoy his presence, to be yoked to him, to participate in his life. The call comes anew to us each morning: “Come to me. Journey with me. Listen to my voice. Let me show you the heart of the Father. Let me show you what I see.” Remain with me/Take my yoke We are bound to Christ, united with him. Yet how easily we turn our attention elsewhere. We can lose sight of the treasure of his presence. We can “wander into a far country”. Jesus invites the “weary and heavy laden” to come to him. What leaves me “heavy laden”? So often I grow weary when I forget that “the Lord is near”, when I lean on myself rather than on Jesus, when I live “as if orphaned”. Theologian Geordie Ziegler suggests that “to be a Christian is to be—here and now—in the company of the risen Lord.”[i]  And when I forget, I falter. And I begin to think that what’s needed is more earnest effort to “be Christlike,” to conform my life to Jesus’ example. Instead of staying close to Jesus, who is the way, I live as if Jesus was the way, but is no longer. The Christian life becomes a disheartening attempt to imitate Jesus’ exemplary life. And that’s a sure path to weariness and discouragement. Learn from me In Isaiah 50, the servant cries out: “Morning by morning the Lord God wakens—wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught.” The...

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A Blessing from The Hermitage

Posted by on Apr 27, 2020 in News | Comments Off on A Blessing from The Hermitage

Blessing from “The Pattern of Our Days: Worship in the Celtic Tradition from the Iona Community” edited by Kathy Galloway.

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Contemplative photography/Visio Divina group

Posted by on Apr 16, 2020 in Blog, News | Comments Off on Contemplative photography/Visio Divina group

Contemplative photography/Visio Divina group

We are planning on starting an online contemplative photography/Visio divina gathering. Each gathering as a time of sharing, sitting, gazing, and reflecting.

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“Give me a drink:” Longing for the Presence of Christ – Part 4

Posted by on Mar 20, 2020 in News | Comments Off on “Give me a drink:” Longing for the Presence of Christ – Part 4

“Give me a drink:” Longing for the Presence of Christ – Part 4

—a Meditation by Naomi Wenger, Lent 3, 2020 This meditation is based on the Lenten Retreat given at The Hermitage on March 7, using the scriptures for the third Sunday in Lent for 2020. It will be posted over four days this week, Monday (3/16), Tuesday (3/17), Thursday, (3/19), and Friday (3/20). Each day includes a meditation and suggestions for practice. In this time when the whole world is focused on a virus, my hope is that you will be encouraged to keep thirsting for Christ. Quench We come now to the end of the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman. In this section of the story, the woman is gone. She’s in her home place testifying to Jesus’ gift of “living water,” (that is, acknowledging her own deep truth and living from that place into the forgiveness of God). What remains are two scenes, one with the puzzled disciples and one with the townspeople. Read the story in John 4:31-42. Jesus refuses the food that the disciples have gotten in town. Rather, he insists that he has other food—doing the will of God. I wonder if you have ever experienced the loss of appetite after a particularly enriching experience.  Jesus explains this experience by inviting the disciples to imagine. Imagine, he says, that all of these green fields are golden and dry, ready for harvest. Just so, the sower and the reaper can work together in one field in God’s agronomy. He then points to the lunch they brought, “see,” he says, you brought (reaped) what you did not sow. It is the work of all the people who bring in the harvest that you carry in your hands. Thus, you have entered into the labor, even though you did not do the work.” This is amazing. Jesus is expanding the labor of one to include the labor of all. He is at the same time contracting seasonal growth, making all seasons compress into the harvest. Have you ever held an acorn in  your hand? If so, you have experienced this kind of compression. You have held a tree, possibly a house or furniture, perhaps the warmth of a fire or heat for cooking. In that one small nut, lies not only potential but all that will become real out of that nut. I think that is what Jesus is teaching here. He also describes the timelessness of eternity. When there is no time, that is no “beginning, middle and end” to the story of life, then all things happen simultaneously, out of time. The sowing and the reaping are done together, so that all may “rejoice together.” This is a picture of the eternal kin-dom of God in which all is joy and only joy. Jesus’ thirst is fully quenched by the true living water he had to offer. The woman’s thirst was fully quenched by owning her own truth and receiving the gift of life from Jesus’ acceptance. The townspeople’s thirst was fully quenched by hearing the word for themselves. The disciples remain puzzled and thirsty. They are thirsty and hungry. They are blessed. They will be filled. The psalmist tells of this experience in a different voice. Ps 42:7–11.   7     Deep calls to deep  at the thunder of your cataracts;  all your waves and your billows  have gone over me.  8     By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,  and at night his song is with me,  a prayer to the God of my life.  9     I say to God, my rock,  “Why have you forgotten me?  Why must I walk about mournfully because the enemy oppresses...

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“Give me a drink:” Longing for the Presence of Christ – Part 3

Posted by on Mar 19, 2020 in News | Comments Off on “Give me a drink:” Longing for the Presence of Christ – Part 3

“Give me a drink:” Longing for the Presence of Christ – Part 3

—a Meditation by Naomi Wenger, Lent 3, 2020 This meditation is based on the Lenten Retreat given at The Hermitage on March 7, using the scriptures for the third Sunday in Lent for 2020. It will be posted over four days this week, Monday (3/16), Tuesday (3/17), Thursday, (3/19), and Friday (3/20). Each day includes a meditation and suggestions for practice. In this time when the whole world is focused on a virus, my hope is that you will be encouraged to keep thirsting for Christ. Drink How much water do you need to drink in a day? Since we know that water is necessary for life, how much is enough? There are several formulas for calculating this amount. One that is easy to remember is to take your weight in pounds and halve it. Then, drink that amount in ounces of water each day. For example, If someone weighed 150 pounds, they should drink 75 ounces of water each day. One thing is certain, we have to drink. It is our action that makes drinking possible. This may seem fairly obvious, we all drink every day. But I wonder if we realize that spiritual drinking also requires our action. Leonhard Schiemer, an early Anabaptist martyr puts it this way: “For as the water does not quench my thirst unless I drink it, and as the bread does not drive away my hunger unless I eat it, even so Christ’s suffering does not prevent me from sinning until he suffers in me.” We can be thirsty, we can be near water, but unless we drink, we cannot be satisfied. Just so, our spiritual drinking is necessary to imbibe the living water. Jesus asks the Samaritan to drink of the living water. Read John 4:16-26. Jesus asks the woman to own her deepest need. That is, he points to her failure in relationships—in loving. Perhaps, we can imagine a woman who is widowed once or twice. Perhaps we can imagine a woman scorned by a man, but this detail of going through five husbands and then giving up on marriage altogether and just living with the next man is evidence of disordered relationships. So, Jesus, in offering her living water shows her that to drink, she has to own her failure, she has to take off her masks and her self-pity, she must become just who she is “warts and all.” There is no other condition in which we can drink the living water.  The funny thing about drinking the living water is that sometimes it seems as if we are being poured out, or that we are emptying ourselves. The psalmist, too, knows this feeling: Ps 42:4–6 4     These things I remember,  as I pour out my soul:  how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God,  with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving,  a multitude keeping festival.  5     Why are you cast down, O my soul,  and why are you disquieted within me?  Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,  my help 6 and my God.    My soul is cast down within me;  therefore I remember you   from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,  from Mount Mizar.  My soul is cast down, therefore I remember you! What is remembered as the soul is poured out? The memory is of companionship, of joy, of glad shout and songs of thanksgiving of feasting with the throng. So, we learn with the Psalmist that as he is being poured out, he remembers God. The God who is with him in the plains of Jordan, the high mountains of Hermon and...

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