Today’s Bible reading

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42

More thoughts for meditation

Convictions come in all shapes and sizes—some are as big and obvious as Moses’ burning bush, others come as delicate, emerging little flickers. One way to capture and nurture those flames is by intentionally reflecting on and praying our experiences. We may discover that we are standing on holy ground more often than we think! We may experience tangible grace in many ways.

tangible grace

In the aftermath of WW1 many orphans crowded into institutions because they had no one to care for them in the devastation of the war. There is a story about a particular orphanage where the desolate children had been starving before the end of the war. They cried at night even though they were safe and had food at the orphanage. Finally someone had the idea to give each child a piece of bread, a tangible reminder that there would be enough food tomorrow. The tears stopped and the children could sleep. We all may need tangible reminders of God’s provision for us. These practices for daily prayer can help us see what sorts of things still terrorize us and also see where we have tangible grace to hold on to.

Prayer practice

  • Prepare:
    • Grab a journal and pen
    • Choose an experience to reflect on—it could be any experience or meeting (a retreat, a walk, a conversation, a leadership training, a coordinating group meeting, a cell meeting, a public meeting, a meeting with a friend, therapist or spiritual director, or even a memory)
    • Ask God to enable you to remember and review the experience
  • Perceive:
    • Listen and look with God at what you recall about (the meeting): topics, interactions and discussion, experiences.
    • Jot down the things that are significant for you—whether it’s a perspective, feeling, insight, surprise
    • Read over what you have written and ask God to guide your attention as you listen to the one thing that you sense is important for you to pay attention to at this moment.  
    • Follow the leading given.
  • Ponder:
    • Turn your attention to whatever has surfaced for you as that “one thing needful” given to you in this exercise.
    • Take some time to be yourself with what is given.  
    • Consider the images, feelings, or physical sensations that emerge.  
    • Follow your intuition.
  • Pray:
    • Tell God about what you are experiencing.
    • Ask God about what you don’t understand.
    • Ask God, ask yourself: “Where is there grace in this for me? What is God’s invitation?”
    • Affirm your willingness and desire for God to be with you and at work in you and in what is going on for you for good.

You can do this same process with the Bible! Try using 2PROAPT from the Way of Jesus site.

Suggestions for action

Learn the Ignatian way of “examen.” The Daily Examen is a practice that Ignatius of Loyola thought was the most important discipline of all the disciplines to help his comrades grow deep in Christ. It’s a simple practice of quieting yourself before God and then letting the events, thoughts, and feelings of the past day roll through your mind.

Ask God to point out the broken places, where sin/self-absorption captured you. Let those go to God. These are the desolations of the day.

Ask God to remind you of the joy and hopeful moments in the day. These are the consolations of the day.

Some people practice something like this by naming the high point and the low point of their day. Journaling a record of this is helpful.  It helps us hang on to tangible grace.