I am preparing to go on a pilgrimage with The Academy for Spiritual Formation. We’ll be traveling to Ireland in early July, visiting places associated with St. Kevin, St. Brigid, St. Patrick, and St. Columba. I hope to be sharing photos, prayers, and reflections from the road. This prayer is for all of us preparing for pilgrimage.
We stand on the shore
Waiting to climb into the coracle
That will take us on this pilgrimage.
We have our itineraries, our passports,
Our credit cards and bank cards,
Our cell phones, bags, and suitcases.
We think we know where we are going
And when we will return.
But on this trip, on this pilgrimage,
We need only our eyes, our ears,
Our minds, our hearts.
Where will you take us, Spirit?
And when we return to this place,
Will we be the same?
Guide us as we climb into this coracle
And give ourselves over to the waves
And the wind and the currents.
Lead us, God of Pilgrimage,
To where you would have us go.
What pilgrimage are you anticipating?
I come to the water,
Full of sadness.
By the shore,
I set my burdens down
And paddle away
Into the still beauty of the sunrise.
This other world welcomes me.
The call of the kingfisher,
The grace of the heron,
The soaring beauty of the eagle, the osprey,
The jump of a fish.
This other world soothes me.
The vastness of sky and bay,
The burning clarity of summer sun,
The gentle breeze upon my face.
My heart sings in morning prayer:
“God said, ‘Let there be light …'”
“New every morning is your love, Great God of light …”
“You are my God, I search for you from early in the morning …”
I return to the shore.
My burdens still there, waiting for me,
But somehow, a bit lighter.
I am a bit stronger, more hopeful,
Lifted up by the stillness, the beauty,
The prayers of morning
That sing inside my heart.
Find more of my blessings in my book Christ Beside Me, Christ Before Me: Celtic Blessings. Subscribe to my video channel at YouTube.
Join me in May at a retreat — a 5-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation — on the topic of the Psalms. I’ll be serving as the worship leader. For more information or to register, click here.
Psalms for Life: Praying Alone and Praying Together.
May 4-9, 2015
Camp Sumatanga, Alabama
Faculty: Roberta Bondi and Don Saliers
Roberta will focus on the many ways the Psalms can be used as a tool for Christian formation and prayer. For centuries, people have turned to the Psalms for solace, guidance, renewal, celebration and so much more. The 150 Psalms reflect a wide range of experience and expression. Roberta will guide the participants into a greater understanding of the Psalms and how to use the prayerbook of our forbearers to deepen our prayer life and our walk with God.
Don will focus on the use of the Psalms in corporate settings including worship and small groups. The Psalms are both personal expression and communal formation; Don’s lectures and worship leadership will explore this relationship in a number of ways, and invite us to bring our own lives and communities of care and ministry to the Psalms throughout the week.
An Amazing Opportunity!
I can’t say how awesome it will be! With Roberta and Don teaching us in the model of the Academy for Spiritual Formation. Incredible lectures, inspiring worship, times of silence and times of fellowship. All in a beautiful setting! I hope you will consider joining us for this amazing week!
For more information or to register, click here.
I got to meet Sr. José a few years ago during a week’s session of the 2-year Academy for Spiritual Formation at Mercy Center in Burlingame, CA. She called us together for sessions with the beating of a drum and tried to teach us how not to be late to the sessions (a sign of disrespect). She had us howling like wolves and dancing in the nave of the chapel. She told stories. One that made a big impression on me was that she asked a carpenter friend of hers to make her a wooden casket. She had him fit it with shelves and then kept it in her house as a temporary bookcase. She kept us laughing even as she taught us about God, about prayer, about life.
Earlier this year, she passed away. And since then, I’ve been learning even more about her amazing life. I knew she was a Seneca elder and Franciscan nun. But I didn’t know that she knew some of the modern-day leaders in the faith. A friend of hers, John Dear, recently wrote an article with stories of Sr. José’s encounters with some these people. Dorothy Day went to Sr. José for retreat. During an event they were doing together, Henri Nouwen asked Sr. José to talk with him each day about the death of his mother.
Sr. Jose taught at Matthew Fox’s institute. Below is a trailer for a documentary called Holy Rascals, which presents a different way of thinking about religion and human spirituality. The trailer has footage of both of Jose and of Matthew Fox.