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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. These are all so amazing, they make my heart open wide just reading them. My prayer this morning has been a receiving of their gifts – so thank you dear poets.

  2. From “Sounding the Soul”

    A Calling Out:

    I am a village of sorrows. A family mourning. A population of darkness.
    Burned by loss, I see the teacher come consoling.
    “If you had been here, Lord. If only . . .”
    I would have been better, tried harder, done more.

    You are troubled in spirit, my Lord.
    My death is your loss too.
    Oh, see how you love!
    Your eyes on the Father, you pray; I wallow.
    “Come forth!” you cry.
    And I in my shabby shroud am bound up, not free, but dead in sin.
    “Come forth!” you call.

    I am a village of travail, a family of sorrows, a crowd of blame
    Tangled in poor choices, bad decisions .
    Call me out, Lord! From disappointment and daunted expectations.
    Call me out of the shadow of Self into the Whole that is you.
    “Come Forth” you cry.
    See how desperately I refuse to need you?
    Yet here at the tomb your tears mingle with mine.
    See how you love?

    Costumed in funereal tatters, in loose bravado I hide,
    Hoping the dark will cover the rot of self-reliance.
    I fold in on myself — entombed in Self. Oh, call me out, Lord!
    Reignite that barely burning ember that blinks hidden and deep.
    Oh, see how you love!

    Call me out, Lord! Call me forth that I may live.
    Unbind the sinner! Embrace the corpse and set me free!
    And Jesus cries, “Come forth!”
    Oh, sweet Lord . . . see how you love?

  3. blessed is the caregiver
    who sacrifices everything
    for he loves with his entire being
    often to point of exhaustion
    when nothing is left to give
    he chooses to surrender loved one
    into the hands of God
    who breathes in new life
    when realization comes
    i cannot do it alone

  4. Thanks to all of you. I meditated and wrote on the prompt while spending the day waiting in an office. The day is over, the waiting is not. I appreciated your company.

    Blessed be those who offer small kindnesses,
    those who offer grace,
    those who offer love to the stranger.
    They are the hands and feet and arms and voice of God.

  5. Blessed be those
    who are longing
    to rest in the
    heart of God

    For in their
    pregnant longing
    wings of freedom
    shall be born

  6. To the multi-cultural and caring Mt. Pleasant Community of Washington DC


    Blessed be
    the streets of DC
    his home for all these years

    with piercing eyes
    with crumpled face
    his daily job
    to beg to live

    the streets of DC
    they are our church
    these stones our altar
    this man our priest

    to touch his hand
    it is our communion
    to hear his raving
    it is our sermon

    to respect his pride
    it is our commission
    as we stop to greet
    God’s luminous person
    on the hard blessed stones
    of the streets of Washington DC

  7. Here are two haiku. The second one is in celebration of today, the Feast Day of the Annunciation of Mary… in nine months she will give birth to Christ!

    Look into the depths
    rooted and grounded in love
    this is life in Christ

    Do not be afraid
    You have found favor with God
    Blessed be this day!

  8. Blessed be…
    who arrived
    on my tongue
    like a communion wafer
    dissolving into nothingness,
    filling every cell of my being
    with hosannas
    and holy light,
    sacred scripture
    into my ear,
    while a divine prayer
    to the heavens

  9. In the beginning was the Word……the word is sound…

    Blessed be
    Every note in the uni-verse
    Resonating in the heart of those who listen
    In endless arrangements of form and beauty
    Inspiring infinite blessings
    A gift of depth and expansion
    Creating ascension
    With all that is Holy in song