Tag Archives: spirituality

4 Spiritual benefits…

A post on aleteia really made me pause to think about our relationship to the natural world. The article 4 Spiritual benefits of modern homesteading hit close to home. Here in verdantour rural area of upstate New York, nature in all its wonder is right outside our door: lush green fields, flowing streams, verdant hills, views uninterrupted by city buildings, highways… the stuff of man’s creation.

The author, Philip Kosloski, cited four benefits to modern homesteading:

  • Fulfills God’s call to be a steward of the earth
  • Provides more time for silence and contemplation
  • Creates a renewed sense of gratitude
  • Fosters a healthy attitude of humility

After prefacing his thoughts with an apt quote from Pope Francis’ Laudato si, he briefly

deaconspeaking

Chicken coop and bee hives

explains each spiritual benefit, weaving in both Hebrew Scripture references and his thoughts about our closeness to God when we “cultivate” a close and personal relationship with his natural creation… a creation that provides an abundance for our needs, if only we are attentive to it.

When was the last time you planted and tended a flower or a vegetable plant? Have you ever thought about having chickens or bees for your own natural or organic food? Is it even possible where you live? If not, do you support others who are, through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or even a farmers’ market?

Good questions for any of us… especially as we consider the goodness of our God in His great love for us!

More than meets the eye

Twitter posts these days are propelled by more than just 140 characters. The majority of tweets contain visual images:  photos, graphics and even movies. Why? Twitter itself recommends visual information to capture more “impressions”… people catching a tweet and spending more than a split second on it.

Really, it makes sense… particularly if the visual image captures the essence of the brief tweet. One of our recent tweets that has garnered a number of impressions is this one.

Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi Tweet

Deir Mar Musa al-Habashi – Syria

After requoting a tweet from the Diocese of Syracuse @SyrDiocese: Let us keep our eyes focused on Christ! My thought turned right away to St. John of the Cross, man and mystic truly focused on Christ… particularly Christ on the Cross. I added this quote from John of the Cross to the original tweet: “One act done in charity is more precious in God’s sight than all the visions and communications [with God] possible.

I was tuning into @SyrDiocese reminding us to keep our eyes focused just as John of the Cross had prompted us to consider what is seen in God’s sight. We all need those reminders. Of course, this eventually led me later in the week, after the Daily Office to consider what I have seen, AND how it has changed my life.

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Frenco Pecchio – Milano, Itally

And so the post above. Once again, the depth of John of the Cross’ wisdom propels the conversation, but the image is amazing:  a 4th or 5th century fresco in an ancient monastery 80 km north of Damascus, Syria; a place I knew well, because I had prayed my Morning Office there in the Spring of 2011 at the beginning of the “Arab Spring” in Syria! The Monastery of Saint Moses the Abyssinian is perched high upon a cliff in the desert near Lebanon. There I encountered God in a profound way that truly penetrated my soul, as St. John writes.

A short tweet… an image. Far more than meets the eye!

Joyfully Proclaiming the Cross of Jesus Christ

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano

Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano

In the run-up to this year’s Clergy Convocation at the Edgewood Resort and Conference Center in Alexandria Bay, NY, I was considering the title of Bishop Caggiano’s presentation: “We Are Called to Joyfully Proclaim the Cross of Jesus Christ”. Recalling an encounter with another presentation on the Cross at the Oblate Seminary and College in San Antonio, TX, I was moved by Richard Rohr’s insightful lecture on the contradiction of the Cross and left to wondering if another presentation on the Cross of Christ Jesus was indeed something I needed. How wrong I was!

In his opening remarks on Monday evening, September 15, 2014, this remarkably insightful Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut challenged the nearly 150 priests and deacons in attendance to refocus, look beneath the surface at the roots of our faith, consider the Holy Scriptures and to ask the hard questions. In the end, he said, “Everything that we do, everything we are as clergy rises and falls at the Cross of Jesus Christ.”

Providing ample time for dialogue as well as thoughtful reflection, Bishop Caggiano presented concise, insightful and actionable comments on our call “to be covered by the dust of the rabbi’s sandals… called by sure grace… sure and uncertain love, to receive the gift of joy“.

With the Bishop’s permission, I have attached a 2-page pdf with my notes of his presentation. They are in no way complete or authoritative, and they miss the richness of his address punctuated by personal anecdotes and meaningful side notes from Mother Theresa, Pope Francis and others.

My hope is that in some small way, our fellow laborers in the vineyard will have cause to reconsider our mission, as Bishop Caggiano framed it, and to embrace the Cross, seeing in Jesus Christ’s extended arms an embrace for all humanity in unconditional love, and from his crown of thorns to the pierced feet an unbroken line between God and man uniting heaven and earth… reestablishing the kingdom.

Convocation Notes:  2014 Syrdio Convocation Notes

Photo Credit:  Dc. Tim McNerney