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Everything Changes

The more messed up this world gets, the more God makes sense.

The Divine Moment

Thursday, March 26, 2015
"For [Saint Catherine of Siena], the divine moment was the present moment. And when such a present moment was considered as a whole and in its details, when the duty included in it had been done, there was nothing more to do, according to her, than to let it go as if it had never been, so that it could make room for the reality and the duties of the following moment".William James

Yesterday, March 25, 2015. John Baillie refers to a thought by Saint Catherine of Siena (whom I've never heard of) in his devotional A Diary of Private Prayer.

Today, I research the Saint Catherine's "divine moment" reference and discover that, in fact, William James penned it while speaking of "Saint Catharine of Genoa" (same saint?) and her mystical experiences.
"...it is said that 'she took cognizance of things, only as they were presented to her in succession, moment by moment.'"

Digging deeper I discover James' lectures on "Saintliness" in his book The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. In one lecture he states:
The transition from tenseness, self-responsibility, and worry, to equanimity, receptivity, and peace, is the most wonderful of all those shiftings of inner equilibrium, those changes of personal centre of energy, which I have analyzed so often; and the chief wonder of it is that it so often comes about, not by doing, but by simply relaxing and throwing the burden down.

I look up the word equanimity.
(Latin: æquanimitas having an even mind; aequus even animus mind/soul) is a state of psychological stability and composure which is undisturbed by experience of or exposure to emotions, pain, or other phenomena that may cause others to lose the balance of their mind. The virtue and value of equanimity is extolled and advocated by a number of major religions and ancient philosophies.

The English writer Samuel Johnson, a.k.a. Dr Johnson, defined equanimity as "evenness of mind, neither elated nor depressed." In Christian philosophy, equanimity is considered essential for carrying out the theological virtues of gentleness, contentment, temperance, and charity. [Twenty essays on the practical improvement of God's providential dispensations]
"If you don't search for more, you'll never find it." ~ Galen G. Weston

Quiet Strength

Saturday, March 21, 2015
Wow, Facebook is an addiction. [Sigh.] Today, again, I have decided to deliberately break ties with the social media guru. There is so much more to life than scanning my news feed on Facebook. And if there is one thing I learned during my recent sabbatical, its that there are many things in life that just do not matter. Facebook being one of those things.

Recently I have been reflecting on Colossians 3:12. The Message version says,
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline.

In alternate translations quiet strength is expressed as meekness or gentleness, although I appreciate The Message's interpretation. Finding quiet strength has been my experience over the last 8 months.

When I was a kid I had a poster on my wall of a lion and lamb sitting together that read:
...in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength...
Isaiah 30:15 | King James Version

I have become so aware of the importance of quiet time in my life - retreating to pray, like Jesus did [Mark 1:35] or simply sitting in silence to quiet my mind. My strength is renewed and I discover new insights related to my identity that gives a fresh, hopeful perspective on life, living and relationships.

I also find peace in the quiet - peace that guards my heart and keeps me mindful [Philippians 4:7].

And, today, that is where I find my strength.