Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

All living things change. It is the way of the universe. It is God’s way of working in our individual lives as well.

An excerpt from, Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time, written by Charles W. Sidoti, BCC. (Traditionally Published)

Coming to terms with life’s constant change is one of the greatest challenges that we face. It is interesting to note, however, that there are many areas of life in which we often have little or no trouble accepting change. Sometimes we welcome it with open arms; at other times we may find it bittersweet. For example, many parents experience the bittersweet aspect of change as they watch their child board the kindergarten bus on the first day of school. The change of seasons is an example of a change that we often take in stride, accepting it as a natural and even welcome part of life.

There is another level of change, however, that affects us differently when it occurs, because it touches us differently. Changes of this kind are the ones that involve a significant part of our personal world.

We know intellectually that all good things eventually come to an end, but the fact that they come to an end is outside of our control. It isn’t left to us. Albert Einstein is credited with the statement, “Nothing happens until something moves.” There is a lot of meaning packed into this short sentence. If it were up to us, certain things in our life would never change. For example, the people we love would never die.

When significant change occurs in our lives, no one consults us before allowing it to take place. If we can somehow manage to keep our heart open when something significant moves in our world, we will eventually come to realize that there is a universal compassion, that exists, a loving presence that cares, and waits upon our response. This universal compassion is most often perceived in the quiet-stillness of our own heart. It is revealed to us through an intuitive awareness, a knowing that comes from deep within that we are loved. During times of difficult life transition and change, when we are anxious and desperately searching for answers, we may hear the words rise up from the very center of our being, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46: 10).

Although we sometimes feel left alone to face life’s changes, God promises to be with us always. It is through the ongoing process of change happening in our life, followed by our response, that we discover “who we are” in God’s world. When we are able to open ourselves to this process, our life becomes integrated more and more into God’s larger world. We will eventually discover our proper place in it and find inner healing at a very deep level. We will become aware of our connection with the Creator in a way we never imagined and see life and everything in it in a completely new way.

All of this will come about because God cares enough to “allow something to move” in our world. It is here in the ongoing process of change, if we can find a way to keep our hearts open, that the faithfulness and mercy of God’s promise to lead us can touch our life in a profound and meaningful way.

Connecting Point: All living things change. It is the way of the universe. It is God’s way of working in our individual lives as well. Think about the way you feel when change happens in your life. Do you always feel the same, or do different types of change affect you differently? The more you are able to see change, all change, as the way in which God works in your life, the more you will be able to see your life as a journey of continuous growth toward what it means to be human and what it means to love.

Prayer: God of goodness and peace, your love for me and for all of creation is the only thing that does not change. The universe has been changing for countless years. I have been changing since the time I was conceived in my mother’s womb. Help me to make peace with the constant change that is a part of life. Help me to realize that you are always with me waiting in the midst of the change to give me something new and good. In times of difficult, tragic change, when I am in the depths of grief, help me to find hope, trusting when I can’t understand, that when all else fails you are still God. Help me to wait for your love, mercy, and wisdom to be revealed to me. Amen.


Traditionally Published

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Faith is very much about what we choose to do when we are afraid.

This article is an excerpt from, Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time, Written by Charles W. Sidioti.

What do you think it really means to live by faith? Growing in faith is about learning to trust during those times when we cannot see clearly and cannot understand what is happening in our lives. Faith is very much about what we choose to do when we are afraid.

Faith is sometimes referred to as light. Joyce Rupp, in her book Little Pieces of Light, reflects on the many different ways in which inner darkness, while not something we find pleasant, is often a naturally occurring and even necessary part of our spiritual growth. She makes the point that sometimes the light, compared to the darkness we are experiencing, can seem very tiny.

Rupp tell she story about how she and some others were preparing a room for a retreat they were directing on the topic of Native American Spirituality. They wanted to provide the people attending the retreat with a prayer experience called “The Pipe Ceremony,” which begins with an experience of total darkness. The darkness of the specially prepared room would symbolize the womb of Mother Earth from which we all come. To prepare the room for the prayer ceremony, the group closed all the windows and curtains, even putting black plastic bags and tape over all the cracks around the doors, hoping to block out all outside light. The ceremony began with the group sitting in a circle as the leader turned off the lights.

Rupp describes the moment when the lights were switched off as an “instant flood of blackness – like falling into a black hole.” Rupp describes how, as her eyes adjusted to the darkness, she began to see “tiny little pieces of light.” These tiny beams of sunlight were penetrating the extremely small holes around the window frames that the tape had not completely covered. She explains how she “smiled deeply inside herself” when she saw those tiny pieces of light through the darkness. In her words, “Yes, I thought, ‘this is what has always sustained me in the tough times. No matter how thick the darkness, the light has always remained.’ This reality has convinced me that I can live through dark experiences and not be overcome.”

As I reflect on my own experiences with inner darkness, whether due to some significant loss and the grief associated with it, or deep fear and anxiety, I am able to relate to Rupp’s description of feeling like I am falling into darkness, “a black hole.” Rupp shared her experience of needing to let her eyes adjust to the sudden darkness during her retreat experience before she could see the tiny pieces of light. In the same way, when tragedy or something unexpected throws us into sudden darkness. This waiting on the tiny pieces of spiritual light are a way of “waiting upon the Lord” in our relationship with God.

Looking back on the difficult periods in my life, the light, tiny though it may have been, has always remained, eventually becoming visible. During my times of inner darkness, it has always come down to my personal choice of deciding to follow that seemingly tiny light of faith, reaching out to God for help and mercy from within my inner darkness. Sometimes this has meant just putting one foot in front of the other until the overwhelming darkness begins to dissipate. We can also choose to turn away from the light in complete despair. That I have also done for brief periods of time.

I like to think of faith as being like the flame of a candle, which by its very nature is very fragile. It is always on the verge of being extinguished. Yet, when I have been able to remain open in times of inner darkness, I have discovered that the flame never goes completely out. At times I have seen it grow awfully dim. But it is still there, a tiny piece of light that guides me during difficult times.

Connecting Point
Sometimes it is necessary to wait in our darkness while our inner eyes adjust to that darkness. It is then that the tiny pieces of God’s light and presence can be seen. If you can be patient for just a while and resist the urge to panic when darkness and confusion come upon you, no doubt the fragile but powerful light of faith will emerge out of the darkness to light your path.

Lord, it is hard to wait in darkness. The confusion, pain and uncertainty make me fearful. In these moments, help me to wait for my inner eyes to adjust. Help me to be patient and to wait for you to reveal your presence. Give me the strength and the desire to turn toward the light that you provide, and to allow it to guide me. Amen.

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