Reflection Masthead
Issue 165 - A New Year - December 2017
On the threshold of a New Year,
we offer our blessings, we share some options,
and we extend our best wishes to all our readers.
Blessings for a New Year

May the spirit of peace dwell with you.
May hope and joy be daily companions.
When trouble comes, may friends be by your side.
May you gain wisdom.
May you savor beauty.
May you always keep learning, yet still treasure familiar gifts.
In your presence, may others find joy and peace.
May you receive gifts graciously, and give gifts generously.
May you never know want, yet live always with the holy gifts of longing and desire.
May time flow lightly, never hang heavy.
May fear come only to visit, but never reside in your soul.
In a world of noise and conflict, may you drink deeply from springs of quiet and calm.
- by Bill

Leave Behind - Bring Forth
       This reflection came easy as we prepare to end 2017 and bring in the New Year. It was stimulated by the bowl of fruit and vegetables on our kitchen counter, a spark of divine will waiting to be noticed. The dried, shriveled, ginger finger needs to be thrown out. Meanwhile I notice the green sprout from the red onion in the well of the bowl. There are some habits and activities we should leave behind and some we should embrace with intentionality to insure a holier and happier year ahead.
       The new year will probably bring another phase of downsizing. Being involved in the process for 3 years, we have gotten rid of much that we don't need. Now I'm looking at my precious antiques like my mother's doll collection. We also talked about downsizing our foreign travel and this year doing something local, such as eating at "The Best of 2017" restaurants in San Antonio as listed in "mySA," Express-News. (12/27/17) "These top 25 dishes proclaim San Antonio's culinary range" - sort of like visiting various foreign countries.
       Most important to me is leaving behind trite religious practices and bringing forth those of benefit to God, myself, and others. As my peers ask for prayers in their failing health or grief at the loss of a loved one, I pray for them by name at Lauds and Vespers. This year I will secretly choose a special prayer partner each month, pray for that person by name at all prayer times (the Divine Office 7 times a day), and reach out to that person with cards, calls, and visits.
       Another spiritual practice I plan to bring forth from last year is the daily "examen of consciousness." Mark Thibodeaux's Reimagining the Ignatian Examen, a dear little book of daily self-checks - and God-checks - is a treasure and value many times its size. It is a variation from the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, a spiritual practice benefiting seekers and pilgrims for over 500 years. One of the goals of the Spiritual Exercises is "ridding the soul of disordered attachments" (to leave behind) so that we are better able to increase awareness of God's presence (to bring forth) - even noticing green onion sprouts prompting the soul to engage in the process.    
       --by Jan

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Copyright (c) 2017 Soul Windows Ministries


Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries



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