Dearest monks, artists, and pilgrims,
We have three treats for you this week!
The next installment of our Mary Prayer Cycle video podcasts is now available. Last Spring we created a prayer cycle and audio podcast series to accompany my book Birthing the Holy: Wisdom from Mary to Nurture Creativity and Renewal. Today we continue our release of the companion video podcasts for the Birthing the Holy Prayer Cycle with Day 6Morning and Evening Prayer. The full prayer cycle is available here.
Day 6 morning and evening prayer takes as its theme Theotokos and Mystical Rose. Theotokos means God-Bearer and invites us to consider all the ways we are called to birthing in our own lives. As Mystical Rose Mary beckons us to see the boundaries of our limited vision and enter into sacred imagination and expanded perception.
The podcast for Mystical Rose includes a new dance for the Litany of Guadalupe choreographed and produced by Betsey Beckman, and featuring a group of Filipino dancers. There are similar threads in Mexican and Filipino cultures who were colonized by Spain simultaneously in the 1500s. Both cultures now have integrated a blend of indigenous dance and festivals with the overlay of Christian faith, and in particular, both cultures have a robust devotion to Mary. Click here to watch the dance and read the rest of Betsey’s reflection on its creation.
Connected to these themes of birthing and unfolding our sacred purpose, I was interviewed for the summer journal of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The theme was “Entering a Relationship with Radiance.”
This is an excerpt:
You have stated that you believe in “the revolutionary power of stillness and spaciousness, and of practicing presence to life’s unfolding” and that a commitment to this practice can change the world. Would you say more about how the world can change in this way? What has it meant for you to live with this commitment?
This question reminds me of a quote from a David Whyte poem: “what you can plan is too small for you to live.” I am definitely a “recovering planner”! I read that line years ago after I finished my graduate studies and was discerning my next step. That’s when I discovered this idea of unfolding and ripening. I started to notice how the seasons helped me pay attention to that.
When I commit to sitting in silence, when I commit to a life that is slower, when I commit to a way that has less striving and reaching and trying to prove myself – or where I simply exhaust myself – then the more life reveals itself to me and the more God reveals the next invitation in my life. What’s the next invitation which when I think of responding to it, I feel a sense of joyfulness? Where do I feel that sense of shimmering that confirms this is where I am being invited next? What is going to create more capacity within me to hold grief?
Committing to this way of being has a lot to do with intuition and letting our intuition guide us. We live in a very rational culture that emphasizes linear thinking. But using our intuitive senses can create a lot of spaciousness and openness within us to receive the gifts offered to us by the Holy.
I work with creativity and the arts and see how much that energy – which is an invitation to co-create with the Divine – needs slowness, spaciousness, stillness, and the freedom of non-grasping in order to unfold in its own time and manner. We cannot see what our path is – probably even more than a day out, if even that. We are never guaranteed anything other than that moment-by-moment learning to trust in what’s unfolding and learning to tend to those little signs that come to us through dreams, nature, conversations, or other prayer.
All of this contributes to changing the world. Those small acts make a difference – even though we will probably never know how. We have to act as if the small actions have an impact – because the other alternative is to go into a kind of nihilism and give up.
Join Therese on Wednesday for Centering Prayer and Melinda on Thursday for her contemplative yoga practice. These are the final programs before our summer break, so join us to be in community together, to slow down and bring yourself present to the radiance of this moment.
With great and growing love,
Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE
Mary Icon Block Print by Kreg Yingst