"The Ba'al Shem Tov spoke to his disciples about such persistence this way: 'A man of piety complained to the besht,* saying, 'I have labored hard and long in the service of the Lord, yet I have received no improvement.
I am still an ordinary and ignorant person.'
And the besht answered, 'Ah yes, but you have gained the realization that you are ordinary and ignorant, and this in itself is a worthy accomplishment, is it not?'
Persistence and perseverance in hard times may not guarantee that we will receive what we set out to do. But what we ourselves can become inside ourselves, in spirit and soul, in the process will be more than worth the effort."
from Becoming Fully Human by Joan Chittister *besht - acronym for Ba'al Shem Tov
One of the main hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality is imaginative prayer - the placing of yourself inside the telling of a biblical story. In the poem below, Antoinette Voute Roeder places herself in the second chaper of Mathew, verses 13 and 14. Here is yet another Epiphany moment - a time for Mary and Joseph to enter unknown territory with this child who is already making their impossible life even more complicated. From the art above we can see that this must have been a harrowing journey.
I recently received news that the path I thought I was on is no longer the path that I am on. This has led to deep lament, anger and sadness - i.e. the process of grieving. And with it came a huge desire to chuck God in the bin. Of course that desire must have passed because here I am once again talking about my desire for God. Sigh...So like the Holy Family, I'm packing my knapsack and heading towards all the unknowns that Egypt may hold, choosing to focus not on what might have been but on what is and is to come.
journey (in the way of Ignatius)
"We watch them until they are mere specks
on a wide and vacant desert:
woman huddled in her shawl
jouncing on the donkey's back,
man beside her, walking tall,
I say to you, let us go too.
Let us start upon this journey
into unknown lands and future
where we have no friends, no home,
no kin waiting, no work to perform.
At our feet I see two backpacks,
royal blue, festooned with straps
of leather and with shiny buckles
Bulging with their contents,
they are equal size and weight,
heavy with the same provisions.
As I hand one on to you
and look into your eyes
I know you pack no miracles.
I can expect no angel bands
or acts of God along the way:
just all things needed for the journey
and your priceless company
until we reach that other country,
an extraordinary banquet,
that long promised feast.
Mathew 2: 13 & 14
Ignatian prayer: St. Ignatius of Loyola left us a prayer practice which involves
the use of one's imagination with scripture passages."
This passage is from Antoinette Voute Roeder's Weaving the Wind, p. 101,102
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Today's Gospel reading is the familiar story of Jesus turning water into wine as recounted in John 2:1-11. Antoinette Voute Roeder captures the intensity of the mother-son relationship in this poem from her book "Weaving the Wind"....Enjoy!