Revisiting…Why Wisdom?

The word WISDOM shimmers in my faith imagination.  Language for God, the Divine, Jesus, Christ, Spirit has lost much of its power for me due to (a) familiarity, having lived the Christian tradition for 69 years, and (b) abuse, having heard these words used in ways that are more harmful and hateful than healing.  So WISDOM, which is one of the threads of the Christian bilbical tradtition, sounds a fresh note and can resonate at many layers for me.

It was this intrigue with the word WISDOM that took me to a WISDOM SCHOOL with teacher Cynthia Bourgeault in November of 2015.  Continue reading

Talking to Think

We used to tell our creative and vocal daughter when she was a preschooler, “You can think without talking, you know!” Perhaps that was my way of asking for some quiet so that I could think and then perhaps talk.

Most of us, to really hear ourselves think and to sound out the meaning of our lives need both — thinking and talking.  But most of all we need listening.

As a sacramental conversation, spiritual direction includes talking, thinking and deep listening.  It is a stylized or ritualized conversation in that it has a distinct beginnning and end and a central focus.  For me that focus is best named as Wisdom.  While there are two chairs in the room – Director and Directee – a Third Partner, Wisdom, hosts the conversation.  Together as reflections arise we listen for the presence and activity of Wisdom, the Source of Life and Love in the directee’s life.

3chairspainter2g_pseffects_web

We listen for one thing – Wisdom.  That means we talk about all things.  For Wisdom insinuates itself into all of life. Our sacramental conversation becomes an outward sign of an inward grace: the evolving direction for living one’s life.  The Spiritual Director cannot “give” this direction.  Only the directee can sense when they hear Wisdom deep within, emerging in their own words, desires and intentions.

I am listening.  If you would like to glean along with me from the domain of spiritual direction, check in here.  If you are looking for a spiritual director, contact me.  I have space for listening as you Sound Out Wisdom.

Easter Sunday: Telling the Jesus/MaryMagdalene Story

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • Perhaps Isaiah still addresses the Servants — all of us.
  • What did Mary Magdalene say? What did she tell the other men and women? She must have told THEIR story – Jesus and Mary Magdalene. She was the witness. She was the story teller. She proclaimed the Good News. Until the Risen Jesus…

Isaiah 25:7-8

YOU, YHWH will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples,

the sheet that is spread over all nations;

YHWH will swallow up death forever.
Then YOU will wipe away the tears from all faces,

and the disgrace of YOUR people YOU will take away from all the earth,

for YOU have spoken.

John 20: (1-10) 11-18

But Mary MAGDALENE stood weeping outside the tomb.

As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;
and she saw two angels in white,

sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.
They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,

but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him,

“Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.

But go to my brothers and say to them,

‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,

“I have seen the Lord”;

and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Jesus and Mary Magdalene from the St. John’s Bible

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

Saturday: Vigil at Jesus’ Tomb

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • Perhaps Job’s reflections take in Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
  • How and where do you think Mary Magdalene kept vigil? Perhaps she remained at the sealed tomb.

Job 14:1-3, 7-9 (1-14)

“MORTALS, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble.
THEY come up like a flower and wither, flee like a shadow and do not last.
Do you fix your eyes on THEM? Do you bring THEM into judgment with you?

“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.
Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground,
yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant.

Mark 15.44-16.5

Pilot learned from the centurion that Jesus was dead, he granted the body to Joseph. 

Then Joseph bought a linen cloth, and taking down the body, wrapped it in the linen cloth,

and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.

He then rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.

St. Mary Magdalene at Prayer by Jan Lievens (1607-74)

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

Friday: Near the Cross

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • What if the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah are sung to Mary Magdalene and Jesus together?
  • What if Mary Magdalene remained as near to Jesus as possible from his arrest, through his torture and death, and to the tomb? What if she remained there, keeping vigil, through the Sabbath?

Isaiah 53:4, 5b

Surely THEY HAVE borne our infirmities and carried our diseases;

yet we accounted THEM stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.

By THEIR wounds we are healed.

Luke 23.44-54

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, 

while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 

Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’

Having said this, he breathed his last. 

When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said,

‘Certainly this man was innocent.’

And when all the crowds who had gathered there for this spectacle saw what had taken place,

they returned home, beating their breasts. 

But all his acquaintances, including the women who had followed him from Galilee,

INCLUDING MARY MAGDALENE, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph,

who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action.

He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea,

and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. 

This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 

Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth,

and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. 

It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning.

Mark 15:47

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where the body was laid.

View from the Cross by James Jacques Tissot
Detail

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

Footwashing Re-Imagined

Sometimes the Spirit surprises. Here is what “came to me” as I entered the story of footwashing with Mary Magdalene today:

Mary at Jesus’ Feet by Chris Cook (I also see Jesus at Mary’s feet in this image. nbl)

It was not Peter; it was me.

“Surely you are not going to wash my feet?

(Here, Yeshua? In front of these men and their jealousy? Their libido?)

“I am in you and you in me. Would you refuse this sign? This is my seal to you, even as you sealed me in tears and nard. This is my feeding, my pledge. I will serve you always, even as you have served and loved me. Then all will see how all will love — male/female, slave/free, Jew/Gentile — all will serve. All will love. All will bow down, one to the other. Especially at the feet of the least. And there I will be, as you wash and feed one another when it seems I am gone. Even as along the way the women have washed and fed this lot, Mary…”

There they are. The tears of shared gaze.

“Wash all of me, then, Rabbi.” (Did I say that aloud?)

“No… For now, hold, contain, memorize this washing. Bury it in your heart, that same healed and devoted heart that keeps your life awash, flowing with living water. Out of your belly, Out of your heart. Out of your deepest desire. Love flows. The love of service — washing any, washing me — is the love of abundance. It pours out of its own accord. Beyond what you can ask or imagine.”

“Here, my Lord. My feet. My hands. My heart.”

by Nina B Lanctot 04-01-21

Thursday: Together — Wash Feet; Bless Bread

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • Mary Magdalene washed Jesus’ feet with tears or with costly perfume, an act of love and empowerment. Jesus now washes the disciples’ feet. (Recall Monday’s reading and imagination.)
  • Can we imagine Mary Magdalene later “handing on” the words and memories of the Last Supper?

John 13:12-17 (1-17, 31b-35)

After Jesus had washed their feet, had put on his robe, and had returned to the table, he said to them,

“Do you know what I have done to you?
You call me Teacher and Lord–and you are right, for that is what I am.
So if I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.
For I have set you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you.
Very truly, I tell you, servants are not greater than their master, nor are messengers greater than the one who sent them. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you,

that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread,
and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said,

“This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying,

“This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Mary Anointing Jesus at Bethany by Daniel Gerhartz

Jesus Washing Peter’s Feet by Ford Maddox Brown

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

What is LOVE’S invitation to you today?

“Human One” by Alana Levandoski

Reflections, wisdom, lyrics and a gorgeous video have been produced and shared by Alana Levandoski. HUMAN ONE: EASTER THROUGH THE EYES OF MARY MAGDALENE. She, too, is inspired by the work of our common teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault.

You can read Alana’s reflections and lyrics HERE.

…I cannot cling

The ripple’s gone out

Beyond the stars and back

Human one

Alana Levandoski — HUMAN ONE

You can watch her video HERE.

HERE is a link to Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, THE MEANING OF MARY MAGDALENE which you will find at the bottom of her blog page.

Wednesday: Reclining on Jesus’ Breast

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • What if the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah are sung to Mary Magdalene and Jesus together?
  • What if Mary Magdalene, who may have procured the room and prepared the Passover meal, was also seated next to Jesus as the Beloved Disciple?

Isaiah 50:5 (4-9a)
YHWH has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.

John 13:21-26 (27-32)
…Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, “Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.”
The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking.
One of his disciples–the one whom Jesus loved—MARY MAGDALENE — was reclining next to him;
Simon Peter therefore motioned to THEM to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
So while reclining next to Jesus, SHE asked him, “Lord, who is it?”
Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.”

So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot.

by Julia Stankova
Jacopo Bassano, Last Supper, 1546

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL? WHAT SENSES ARE ACTIVATED?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING? HOPING? FEARING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?

Tuesday: Sharing Jesus’ Troubles

You are invited to enter Sacred Imagination, here…

Begin by chanting, opening your heart to enter the Sacred Story:

Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love. Fall fearless into Love.

Chant by Darlene Franz

Following are wonderings, scripture texts, an image or two, and questions for reflection. In all these allow yourself to enter the story with and through Mary Magdalene, or others, as you are led. You may want to journal, draw or share your experience with another.

  • What if the “Servant Songs” of Isaiah are sung to Mary Magdalene and Jesus together?
  • What if Mary Magdalene also accompanied Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he wrestled in prayer?

Isaiah 49:1 (2—7)
Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away!

YHWH called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb YHWH named me.

John 12:26-27 (20-36)

Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.

Whoever serves me, the Father will honor.
“Now my soul is troubled. And what should I say–‘ Father, save me from this hour’?

No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.

Mark 14:32-34
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, 

“Sit here while I pray.” 

He took Peter, James and John along with him, AND MARY MAGDALENE,

and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” 

he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.”

This work is from the Matson (G. Eric and Edith) Photograph collection at the Library of Congress

ENTERING THE SCENE

  • ENTER THIS SCENE AS MARY MAGDALENE or ANOTHER, AS YOU FEEL LED.
  • WHAT DO YOU NOTICE, PARTICULARLY IN YOUR BODY?
  • HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SELF, OTHERS, EVENT UNFOLDING?
  • WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? PRAYING? FEARING? HOPING?
  • WHERE DO YOU NOTICE LOVE?
  • WHAT INVITATION TO AWARENESS OR ACTION DOES THIS STORY OFFER YOU TODAY?