Invitation to Poetry: Blessed Be

Welcome to our 45th Poetry Party!

I select an image and suggest a theme/title and invite you to respond with your poems or other reflections. Add your responses in the comments section.  Feel free to take your poem in any direction and then post the image and invitation on your blog (if you have one) and encourage others to come join the party! (permission is granted to reprint the image if a link is provided back to this post)

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POETRY PARTY THEME: Blessed Be

I co-lead two Soul Care Supervision Groups here in Seattle with my wonderful partner Kayce Hughlett (click the link to see her own Beatitudes). The group is a place for those in ministries of soul care – spiritual direction, counseling, pastoring – to make space for their own process and self-nurturing.  Our theme this month was “Blessed are the Small Selves” which arose out of my own reflections during this season of Lent on all the ways my smaller selves need some honoring and attention.

We can spend a lot of energy on being big and radiant- it is an essential part of offering our gifts to the world.  My word for the year was even sovereignty which I have been praying with for Lent and discovering how part of being sovereign (which means, in part, being fully self-possessed) is tending to and making space for some of the more tender and vulnerable places – the parts of self which long for some care and attention.  This is part of the desert journey of Lent.  The Beatitudes are all about the blessedness of the smaller selves and your invitation this week is to write your own Beatitude(s).

Here are some questions to ponder, rest in each one for a moment to see what it stirs:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

Where are the places you are poor in spirit – longing to surrender yourself to something much bigger than your own ego?  Where are the places where you feel like an exile in the world?

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted

Grief tells us that we loved deeply, that we are passionate.  Where in your heart do you experience a grief that lingers, that is calling for some attention?

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth

To be meek, means to have softened what is rigid within; to be like the fertile soil which receives its nourishment from the rain, allowing it to seep down into its substance.  Is there a place within you that is longing to soften and yield?  Is there a tender place longing to emerge and be expressed?

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy

Those who are merciful are the ones who extend grace, they also receive grace in return.  Where in your heart do you experience the longing for grace and mercy?  Where is the part of yourself that offers mercy and grace?

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God

To be pure in heart means to live in congruity between your inner life and your outer life, it means to live from an awareness of the sacred pulsing in your own heart moment by moment and in the world around you.   Where in your life do you have a longing for integrity and for seeing God?

Blessed are the Peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God

The peacemakers are those who seek to bring peace to their own hearts so that their interactions with others come from a place of peace, who extend the practice of shalom into the world.  Where in your heart do you experience the longing to make peace?  What are you feeling in conflict with?

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.

What are the quiet voices within you which have been persecuted?  How have you shut out the wisdom of these smaller selves?  How might you begin to make more room for them to emerge?

Your invitation this week is to write your own Beatitude – what is the small self needing to be blessed right now?  What is the gift waiting to be received?

It might be a single Beatitude – Blessed are the . . . – or a whole series which rise up when you sink into the quiet spaces of yourself.  Rest into the power of these smaller, gentler selves and notice what they have to teach you.

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Praise for Water, Wind, Earth, and Fire:  The Christian Practice of Praying with the Elements from Publishers Weekly:

In a warm, personable manner, Paintner, a Benedictine oblate and spiritual director, invites the reader to engage creation as a sacred text by prayerfully exploring theological dimensions of the elements. Drawing on Celtic tradition, Paintner explores religious and cultural symbolism; for example, water’s associations with the direction west, the season autumn, and its physical forms and spiritual dimensions, such as tides, thirst, tears, baptism. Suggestions for reflection and action include the application of lectio divina, a practice of sacred reading typically used with scripture, to nature, encouraging the reader to listen deeply for the stirring of the holy in sacred texts around us. In each chapter, Paintner offers reflections on her prayer life during the book’s composition, demonstrating how she applied the spiritual practices she suggests (such as lighting a candle when contemplating Fire). Quotes from scripture, poets, essayists, and Christian mystics encourage the reader to seek divine revelation and comprehension of God’s love for all creation by cultivating a contemplative relationship to nature. Simple and powerful, this book will be a welcome new resource for individuals and groups seeking spiritual connection to creation.

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