In the opening words of poetess and therapist, Anne Hillman, we are given the vision of a community as our best personal vehicle for the sacred journey of life when she writes:
We are all on a journey together… To the center of the universe….
look deep into yourself, into one another … It is looking to the center which is everywhere. That is the holy journey…
First you need only look; notice and honor the radiance of everything and everyone about you….
Play in this universe. Tend to all the shining things around you; the smallest plant, the creatures, and all the objects in your care.
Be gentle and nurture. Listen…
As we experience and accept all that we really are… we grow in care.
We begin to embrace others as ourselves…
and learn to live as one among many…..
In the second quote, abbess, poet, and physician Hildegard of Bingen sees the life of the soul as a greening or a ripening of the spirit. She exclaims:
“Good People! Most royal greening verdancy! Rooted in the sun, you shine with radiant light. In the this circle of our earthly existence, you shine so finely.
It surpasses understanding. God hugs you. You are encircled by the arms of the mystery of God.”
Hildegard of Bingen
Closing Words: # 700 & 701 (adapted) For all who see God, may God go with you. For all who embrace life, may life return the affection. For all who seek a right path, may a way be found…
For we receive but fragments of holiness, glimpses of eternity, brief moments of insight. Let us gather them up for one another and be renewed by their grace, and move boldly into the unknown of each new day.
Children’s Presentation: What One Thing We Need …. How we gain awareness
According to an ancient Indian fable, there once was a mouse who always was always afraid… One day, the mouse, because of his fear, went to a wizard and complained, ” I am afraid of cats- please turn me into a cat…” The wizard with a wave of his hand, then transformed the mouse into a cat! A short amount of time went by, and the mouse who is now a cat came back to the wizard and exclaimed, ‘ I am so afraid of dogs… Can you turn me into a dog? The wizard quickly complied and with another wave of his hand, turned mouse who was a cat into a dog! A short time later, the wizard received another knock on his door… it was mouse who became a cat who is now a dog. Now he asked the wizard to turn him into a panther, because as a dog he feared that he would be eaten! The wizard stopped for a moment, thought, and then reluctantly waved his hand, and now mouse who was a cat who was a dog, became a panther!
After a short time, panther showed up at the wizard’s door… this time complaining that now that he was a panther, hunters were after him!!! Could the wizard please turn him into a hunter!!!
The wizard hearing all this, quickly waved his hand over the panther, and immediately the panther became a mouse again!!! The wizard then told the startled mouse, ” I can do nothing for you, nor can I help because you still have the heart of a mouse!
Q: What do you think the meaning of this story might be???
Q: How or why is it that people try to change their outsides, without also trying to change what’s inside? Q: How important is it to put your heart into whatever change you want to make in your life?
Adult Story: Listening With One’s Heart…
A legend from the Sahel of Africa tells us this story about the wisdom of the desert and the ears we need to hear it…
One day, a traveler was taking a long journey across the desert. Along the way, his car stalled, and he could not get it to go any further. He had to get out a walk… Becoming hot and very uncomfortable, he began to worry about ever being found, about ever finding any water so that he would not die in the heat. He struggled up one hill and down another each time desperating looking for any sign that water was near… He started walking in every direction, frantically searching…. As he staggered around, he did not see a long low branch of a dead tree sticking out, and he tripped over it and landed flat on the ground… with no energy left he began to give up any hope that he would find the water he needed.
As he lay there, feeling helpless and dejected, he suddenly became aware of the silence of the desert. Once he stopped his own cries, he felt a mysterious, majestic stillness around him- a quiet undisturbed by a single sound… As he lay there his mind quieted down, and with just a wisp of a wind, he suddenly raised his head and felt that he had heard something… something so faint, that only the sharpest ear and the quietest mind could detect it…
With a renewed hope and restored energy, he followed that sound,
and kept moving until over another hill, there was an oasis, a place of cool, refreshing water….
Q: What are the themes of this story? How could they relate to your life? In what ways are you like the man in the desert? How easily can you quiet your mind ? How well do you listen?
Pastoral Meditation: The Treasure That We Are
Jesus once said, “[ That the realm of God is like a treasure, buried in a field. The person who finds it becomes overjoyed, and rushes back into town, sells everything they have, and goes out and buys that field.]”
Relax now, get as comfortable as you can, breathe slowly and deeply … and take a visual exploration with me to identify your treasure ….
I have a treasure, the thing that I value most in my life, and I identify it to myself now… then, I relive some of the events and experiences that led me to discover it…
I think back on the history of my life and from time to time, I thought that I had found this treasure earlier in my life, but for some reasons known and unknown, it was not what was most valuable to me…
In affirmation of the treasure that is or the treasure that is soon to be,
I present a symbol of it , and place it on the altar of my highest sense of love, trust, caring, truth… I say to this treasure, ” Of all the things I have or have had, you are the greatest…”
I then think to myself how much would I give, how much would I gladly do in order to preserve and protect this treasure….
If you feel that you do not already have such a treasure, then acknowledge with that with sadness — and hope for the day that you shall find this supreme gift… a treasure that you would give up everything for…
Now, centering on your own heart beat, and emptying yourself of all other sounds and thoughts, … listen… listen with your heart to these words
“You are a treasure… Someday, somewhere, and in someway, you will be discovered for what you truly are- you will be found and claimed… claimed with all heart, and mind, and soul…. If you had not discovered your value yet, trust that you will be found …
That you are a multifaceted treasure. There are so many jewels of my inner nature that are kept and concealed in me… I joyfully review each of these and gratefully remember any person who acknowledge me, and the value I contain… and I hear a whisper of the Divine, and to my delight,
The Holy that I hear from deep within me tells me that I have always been a treasure, always valued and will be kept secure and sacred with its heart …