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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)



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.


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. Blessed are the ones who are broken
    for they have nothing left to lose
    and are free to share all they are
    more willingly, more openly

    Blessed are the ones who listen
    who ask thoughtful, sometimes piercing questions
    They are present like a small clear gem–
    Hard, brilliant, sparkling, hidden

    Blessed are the trees that shed blossoms when it pours
    releasing scents of spring
    while bowing to the elements of nature
    holding on to nothing but living

  2. haiku blessing for the ‘tribe’

    shedding bravado
    blessed be the fragile one
    out of frailty, strength

    peeling off the mask
    blessed be the fearful one
    out of the shadows

    discarding the rancor
    blessed be the gentle one
    out of ill will, peace

    erasing labels
    blessed be the she who is
    out of remnants, whole

  3. I have so far to go on the originals I feel no need to add any more – just allowing God to build these into my heart is a lifetime worth of Divine artistry – we are His poema!

    A beggar sits beside the road
    His lack displayed to all
    He has no place to call his own
    no servants at his call

    He cannot purchase food this day
    No pillow of his own
    Depending on a pitteous gift
    He sits his dusty throne

    A sparrow finds its daily bread
    A beggar finds his, too
    A beggar for the Bread of Life
    Will drink the Water True

    A heavy heart can bend a man
    With cares beyond his ken
    He mourns the loss of what he knew
    And what was true back then

    He feels the hole within his being
    An empty sense of lack
    He senses things are not the same
    There is no going back

    A sparrow goes on in his loss
    A mourner goes there, too
    The Suffering Servant shares our pain
    And lifts us when we’re blue

    A humble heart is self-aware
    Yet looks away from self
    It knows its weakness is complete
    Its strength sits on a shelf

    In gentleness it touches men
    Whose strength has failed at last
    It knows it shares discouragement
    Has been there in its past

    The sparrow chirps, the man is bowed
    And lands upon his knees
    For blessed is the one like this
    The Earth belongs to these

    A man who hungers after God
    Of self-achievement strip
    His heart in preference for the
    Divine Relationship

    He starves for truth and justice seen
    While in this mortal coil
    He thirsts for God made manifest
    To that goal is his toil

    The sparrow trusts in God above
    For righteous justice done
    And as the man leans into Christ
    God’s righteousness is giv’n

    A gift of love is freely made
    Forgiveness for offense
    When arrogance gives cold affront
    A tender recompense

    A just demand to retribute
    Rejected out of love
    Desired good for the offender
    Compels the man to give

    A sparrow holds no grudging hate
    within its heart of flame
    An act of mercy tends to grow
    encourage more of same

    A heart enflamed – refining fire
    Is losing nothing real
    The false is burned away by flame
    the true, flame will reveal

    The flame is not a pleasant thing
    Intangible its gain
    The purity in spirit made
    Is born in waves of pain

    Cathartic trial will surely come
    embraced by those who see
    the value underneath the dross
    God manifest in me

    As conflict fills the world today
    Outside ourselves and in
    A few will come to grips with God
    Rejecting self and sin

    Through actions of the Living God
    Their conflict made to cease
    They spread the peace that He has bought
    From war they bring surcease

    A man cannot peacemaker be
    Until it is inside
    He has a child of God become
    Does in the vine abide

    And when these attitudes were mine
    I showed them to the world
    And some rejoice to see their good
    but others insults hurled

    And more than insults thrown at me
    but thorns and nails were mine
    An opportunity arose
    to let these virtues shine

    And when their perfect peak had come
    Expressed in I, the Son
    I bowed my head and then I said
    My Father, it is done

  4. Christine and Kayce,
    This is to make touch with you in an effort to share comment or question with you as you are sharing with us your subscribers. Do you have a format for this request?


    Blessed be the pests
    and blessed be the twits

    Blessed be the long winded
    and small minded

    Blessed be the lane blockers
    and turn signal deficient

    Blessed be the Hummer driver
    and blessed be the cell phone yakker

    Blessed be the movie talker
    and the vente caramel macchiato shopper

    Blessed be the lady screaming at her kids
    and blessed be the kids throwing fits

    Bless them all bless them all
    for the blessing that it is to be.