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Issue 104 - Into Self Into God- April 2014

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Invitations of Jesus in the Gospel of John

Follow me. (1:43)

I, the one speaking to you, I am he. (4:26)

Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (5:40)

It is I; don't be afraid. (6:20)

Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness. (8:12)

You are of this world; I am not of this world. (8:23)

Apart from me you can do nothing. (15:5)

If you remain in me and I in you....  (15:7)

Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake


96-Reveal Your Mercies

98-Pilgrim Soul

99-Your Book, Your Verse


101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

103-Pretense Free

Link to all past issues  

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                                Into Self Into God


          Our Theresian community is discussing Ron Rolheiser's new book, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing. This week's study focused, in part, on the statement: "In Scripture, the opposite of faith is not doubt but anxiety. To lack faith is not so much to have theoretical doubts about God's existence as it is to be anxious and fearful at a deep level."* Sure, it's natural and human to be worried about our future, worried about what will happen when, worried about the unknown. The discussion in our spirituality group then shifted and zoomed in on being anxious and fearful. I told of one of my Directees** who has found the root of her anxiety. Very simply: when she gets into herself she becomes anxious and fearful; when she goes into God, she relaxes and is peaceful. Prayer, particularly a prayer of "giving it to God" as she calls it, is the way.*** One of our spirituality group members chimed in that, for her, choosing one word to pray with as in Centering Prayer allays her worries.

          The contemporary monk and mystic Thomas Merton wrote: "The only true joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into union with the Life Who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls." A daily examine will raise our awareness of our motivations: am I into self or am I into God?   

          Self-centered anxieties and fears may be more obvious to others than to ourselves. It could be that we just 'don't get it.' Other times excessive anxiety causes us to numb the symptoms with prescription medications. Sometimes we act out. Consider the events in biblical history that we recall especially during Holy Week. Self-centeredness of the Roman officials turned violent against Jesus, the objectification of their anxieties and fears. All of this in spite of Jesus' life-long invitation to get out of self and to come to him.

                                                        --by Jan


*Ronald Rolheiser, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing. Cincinnati: 

          FranciscanMedia, 2013. p. 20.

**In heartfelt gratitude to C.F., faithful Directee of more than 20 years

          and from whom I have learned much.

***Click here for printable Prayers.


How Near the Holy Bides

                                                                 --by Bill 


In one of his poems,* Scott Cairns reflects on the Greek word, mysterion. As you might expect, the word is often translated as "mystery." But it can also be translated as "secret" or as "sacrament." As the latter term suggests, there is always something tangible in the Greek mysterion: As Cairns puts it, "Mysterion is never elsewhere, ever looms, indivisible and here...." He then concludes,

"Receiving it, you apprehend how near

the Holy bides. You cannot know how far."

The Holy bides somewhere deep in our desires, and near our deepest fears. The Holy bides within the beauty of the budding rose, yet, too, in bitter tears. This Holy Week reminds us that the Holy bides in bread and wine, in the washing of tired feet, and in the prayers of darkest night. The Holy even bides, indivisible and here, while stretched out on a cross.

One need not withdraw from life to encounter the Holy. By living deeply into life, "you apprehend how near the Holy bides. You cannot know how far."



*"Adventures in New Testament Greek: Mysterion," in Philokalia: New and Selected Poems, 2002, p. 35.

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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries