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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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32 Responses

  1. Peacemaker has connotations to it that make it seem less desirable to me – at least at first. Blessed are the doormats – blessed are those who never make waves – blessed are the wimps.

    But then I started naming peacemakers – Jesus, Bonhoeffer, Romero, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, The Cellist of Sarajevo, a student in Tiananman Square.

    Blessed are the peacemakers for they do not settle for the status quo.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they stand in front of the tanks rolling through the square.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they sit at the front of the bus.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they proclaim the truth.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they bear witness to the light.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they never let those lost to hate, be forgotten.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they hold the bodies of the lepers.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they place food into the mouths of the hungry.
    Blessed are the peacemakers for they will never go quietly into the night.

  2. Blessed are those who forgive,
    For they will receive peace and joy,
    Blessed are those who are forgiven,
    For they will be released from negativity

  3. Blessed are the discouraged
    May I breathe from my heart

    Blessed are the unsure
    May I put one foot forward, and then the next

    Blessed are the exhausted
    May I rest in becoming

    Blessed are the cranky
    May I watch the storm clouds blow through

    Blessed are the sad
    May my tears grow food

    Blessed are the overwhelmed
    May I string each bead with care

    Blessed are the shy
    May I know I am held in love

    Blessed are the scared
    May I feel the circle of all life around me

  4. Blessed be

    Amnesty-
    Sanctuary-

    Gloria in Excelsis Deo!

    O, the wondrous sounds of mercy
    voiced in the words of the Most High….

    first echoed by angels;
    then, interpreted by Love-
    and now- imparting an aura
    so strong as to hallow
    those human counterparts
    who translate the logos of good news.

    A gesture of love becomes
    an act in God’s stead-
    His hand in earthly matters.

    What the angels began
    becomes the human role-
    all of us- joint agents of mercy
    in a world of want and woe-
    going where God cannot go.

  5. Blessed are those who are still, for they will be given movement.

    still

    a single icicle
    fearfully made as
    water
    glides slowly down
    like ants marching home
    slowing slowing
    to the point of unity.

    then the world
    comes crashing down
    as the weight of the
    water
    is too much to bear
    even for the
    fearful
    icicle.

  6. Beautiful, Christine!
    Here’s my post to the prompt: http://virtualteahouse.com/blogs/beth/archive/2010/03/22/the-60-minute-mile-explained.aspx

    And here’s the poem:

    Blessed be

    the little moments of opening

    the knowing that the dead sparrow found at the side of the road

    or broken-necked by my plate glass window

    is being missed by its mate, its children.

    On a good day, its image of both brokenness and connection will stay with me more

    than five minutes.

    Then the fast-paced walk designed for another purpose slows and becomes a prayer.

    The perfection of love, this creature of infinite ordinariness.

  7. Blessed are those with hurt feelings
    For they shall be healed

    Blessed are they who dare to let go
    for open hands receive new things

    Blessed are the friends who listen
    They have the ears and shoulders of Christ.

  8. Blessed are the ones who speak for those without their own voice.
    Those who are victims of abuse and neglect.
    Those who are marginalized and disenfranchised.
    Those who are made small by a world that has us believe lies of power and control.
    Those who are young and new to a country that only want’s people who look like us.
    Those who are trapped, imprisoned, and who are wallowing in those dark places.
    Those who cry out to be heard, but aren’t because it’s easier not to listen.
    Blessed are the ones who speak for those who long to be heard, long to be loved, long to be noticed.
    Blessed is the model our Jesus gave us!
    Blessed be!

  9. We see you in all living things………….
    Today we lost our beloved Felix,
    oh how we will miss you.
    We never thought you would leave us so soon,
    how sweet the days when you were here.
    We’ll remember the love between us,
    how you snoozed in your bed
    your antics on the stairs.
    How you danced and played with your Emily,
    who looks for you always.
    We’ll imagine you playing and romping together outside,
    where you spent your days together always.
    Emily will remind us now of your sweet love.
    Now Tio has come to us, who reminds us of you,
    who loves to sleep in your bed,
    explores all of your haunts and
    brings love to help us understand.
    Why did you have to leave us?
    We love you Fee.