But he was silent

 

But he was silent and answered nothing.Mark 14:61

Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.Mark 15:5

PalmsToday is Palm Sunday and we hear once again the Passion proclaimed in our churches. These two sentences struck me as I listened and prayed with the Gospel at mass on Saturday night.

Jesus’ silence says more than his words at these moments. And of course silence is probably one of the Continue reading

Why pray?

resizeWhy do we pray? And how does it work? I’m not sure that these questions can be easily answered, or if they are even the right questions to ask. Not that I know what the “right” questions are. Given recent events, and after seeing the Facebook page of a non-religious friend, I did post the second question on Facebook, and was surprised to find over 50 replies in the comments! They came from a wildly diverse group of people, and not only from church-goers. The long, thoughtful thread that emerged moved me deeply.

Would any of the replies have satisfied the original question on my other friend’s page in the first place? Probably not, and for more multiple reasons. This goes back to my point about if “how does prayer work?” even being the appropriate question.

An internet search of that very question brings Continue reading

About that camino…

6It hardly seems real that in a little over one year from now, Sue and I will be boarding a plane to begin our Camino Santiago. Such a thing would not be possible without the outpouring of support received from so many of you. And how I thank you for that on-going support – not simply material support, for which I am deeply grateful, but for the tremendous friendship, love, encouragement, prayer and more that comes to me every day from so many. There truly are no words.

questions-and-anwers-5-728If I know you, I have your email. To those of you generous ones who I do not know… please leave a comment here, or simply send me your email at festinalente07 at gmail. To all of you who who donated, if I don’t have your snail mail address, and if you are willing, please also send my way so that I can (eventually) send a handwritten thank you. You may not feel that it is necessary, but I would like to do so!

I’ve been slow to Continue reading

There is no path

This is not the camino, but it reminds me of the camino. ©Fran Rossi Szpylczyn photo

This is not the camino, but it reminds me of the camino. ©Fran Rossi Szpylczyn photo

When I launched my camino campaign, I had no idea what to expect. I certainly did not expect it go take off. As I have said before, I was nervous – and I felt awkward. My expectation level was low, so I figured if nothing happened, so be it. So many people have responded, and continue to respond, with tremendous generosity, both materially and in friendship, love, prayer, as well.  It is overwhelming, but it is primarily awe inspiring and I am overflowing with gratitude that is beyond words.  Thank you all so much.  My heart and my prayers for all of you who have supported me in whatever ways you can!

Since I did not have any expectations, rather unusual for a super-controlling person like myself (those who know me well and personally can attest to this! 🙂 ) the entire experience has shifted how I view my  Camino de Santiago. Suddenly what felt like a dream, has more reality to it. The thought of going had a Brigadoon-like Continue reading

Looking Towards Lent

Keeping-a-Holy-LentAlthough it may be hard to believe, Lent begins in less than three weeks, on Ash Wednesday, February 18. For many of us, Lent offers us the time to re-orient ourselves through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  As we walk with Jesus in the desert, we are given gifts which may appear heavy and burdensome, as we are confronted with the weight of our own sin. That said, we are also given the gift of change and transformation, ultimately dying and rising with Christ our Lord.

Long before Lent begins, I am on the lookout for prayer resources to use during that season. This year, I have before me, three books, each one offering different gifts of prayer that you may Continue reading

Touchstones of Faith – a guest post by Linda Berkery

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For the past twenty-five years, whenever I have faced a difficult trial, or feel uneasiness in my faith, I return to the same “touchstone” memory. It was the day when a change of health taught me to cherish small moments, and write daily prayers of gratitude. It began with the day I focused on the present rather than fear the future.

On a cold January day with a brilliant blue sky I was roasting a turkey and frosting a cake for my husband’s birthday. The baby was napping and four-year-old Tommy was upstairs with his new friend, Glenn. Lego music of clinking, dumping, and swishing blended with giggles. I remember checking the clock when the garage door opened. I was not expecting to see my husband Jack until dinner.

“Why are you home so early?” I asked. Jack mumbled, grabbed some Tylenol, and Continue reading

Making time for prayer #whynot

whynotThe other day I posted about New Year’s Resolutions – or lack of them. If you read the post then you know that they have never been my thing – and that I have been prompted by the Spirit to ask the question #whynot? Why not try something new or different, something that has been long desired – or recently imagined – and see what happens? Most change, as we know, comes slowly. Many times one small change can bring forth more sweeping ones over time.

One thing that seems to come up for a lot of people is the desire to pray; either to begin a regular prayer practice, or to deepen an existing one. Speaking as the world’s most undisciplined person, I can tell you that the only consistent practice in my life is Continue reading

The Rosary

91M-xFSA0KL._SX466_October is designated as the month of the Rosary. Does this idea make you want to roll your eyes? With images of a kind of quaint piety tumbling through your imagination. Perhaps you are reminded of times when old grandmothers and other elderly women were seen in church, clutching their beads.

As for me, I am very sentimental about the Rosary, but not in a way that is pious or saccharine. It was 25 years ago, in late September/early October, that I, as a young woman, clutched a rosary in my hand and made my way back to Church. Anyway, that is a story that I told before, and I won’t retell it today.

As this month begins this year, it is impossible for me Continue reading

Retreat

QuietI just returned from a wonderful retreat at Wisdom House in Litchfield, CT, a place that I have long wanted to visit. A number of years ago, I did visit Litchfield a few times, but I have not been there in a long time, nor had I been to this place.

In the on-going embarrassment-of-riches department known as my life, (thank you God)  I was asked to help facilitate this retreat, which was being presented by a team. What a joy to be able to say yes.

For almost 48 hours I did not listen to a radio, watch a television, look at a computer screen, see or hear any news. What I did do was receive the grace to be able to fully sink into a real place of peace – a true retreat.

There were 18 retreatants, and 6 of us on the retreat team. My portion was near the very beginning so I really got to participate and relax with everyone else. The topic of the retreat was prayer, with different forms presented. There were no shortage of both aha and ahhhh moments. This diverse group of women was a joy to get to know; I arrived knowing only one of them and I left feeling my heart touched by many. God shows up in everyone, giving new meaning to the Catholic idea of “here comes everybody.”

LabWisdomDawnWe had a good amount of free time and I walked the labyrinth more than once. This morning I arose, heading out there shortly after sunrise. Oh, how I loved walking with the sun peeking over the hills and trees in the morning quiet, barefoot in the wet grass.

Returning around noon, I made two more turns, quietly praying the Jesus prayer at first, then making up a short prayer of my own. The space between heaven and earth seemed little more than a diaphanous veil at that point. Many prayer intentions and thoughts of friends and loved ones were alive in my heart during these two days.

Today I drove home in silence, relishing the quiet and peace. Now to find ways to continue to nurture this gift, one I have been actively trying to cultivate in the garden of my heart this summer. I am so thankful for the gift of retreat.

What would the world look like if we all had time for retreat, or at least some respite from every day living? Very different, I suppose. Very different.

Veni Sancte Spiritus

248We have entered a powerful time of prayer. For nearly 20 years I have taken this time between Ascension and Pentecost to make a novena to the Holy Spirit.

There is no formula to follow, this is your prayer, your conversation with God. What do you need to pray for? This is a time to ask for wisdom, courage, grace, consolation, and healing from the Holy Spirit, but once again, this is your conversation with God, so what do you need to seek from the coming of of Holy Spirit?

Every year, I like to make my daily novena and to listen to Veni Sancte Spiritus from Taize, which I include here. I love the repetitive chant, seeking the coming of the Holy Spirit, the sound of which typically brings me to a place of silence and peace.

Whatever your prayer to the coming of the Holy Spirit might be, find the words of your heart, which may simply be silent waiting, and offer them to God these nine days. Come Holy Spirit, come.