All Who Walk in the Way of Perfection

“I look to the faithful in the land that they may dwell with me. All who walk in the way of perfection shall be my friends.”[1] – Psalm 101:6

 Four years ago, my friend Tim recommended that I read The Philokalia. “They know what they’re talking about,” he said, referring to the Christian monks whose writings were compiled in this volume. They knew what they were talking about. Considering that Tim was pursuing a doctorate in patristics, I trusted that he knew what he was talking about, so I ordered the book.  My life has never been the same since.

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All Saints’ Day

All Hallow’s Eve traditionally was to All Saints’ Day (November 1st) what Christmas Eve is to Christmas Day. There isn’t time to go into the history of the Church holiday called “All Saints’ Day” but do an Internet search sometime if you didn’t realize Hallowe’en was originally a Christian festival. Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses on the church door on October 31st knowing there would be crowds of worshipers coming through those doors the next day.

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My Mother, the Saint?

“Shalom Chaverim…`Til we meet again…” Tears slid down my face as I sang the familiar Jewish folk tune and watched transfixed as my mom’s irregular, rasping breaths slowed, slowed, then stopped.

After my sister and I made the first round of phone calls notifying people of my mom’s passing, I stepped outside into the thick Florida air for a few moments alone.  It hit me for the first time: my mother was in the Lord’s presence. For almost all of her sixty-eight years, she’d been a tough-minded secular Jew, and had always prided herself on her ability to hold a grudge.

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The Harvest and the “Great Cloud of Witnesses”

This is one of my favorite seasons.  The slanting golden sunlight, cerulean skies, whiter than white clouds drifting along, multi-colored leafs gently wafting to the forest floor, and the bustling harvest in the fields as combines make their way reaping the fruit of the earth.

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My “Fave” Saint

When I first read Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jeanne Guyon, I wondered, How did this woman acquire such a deep knowledge of God? I loved her ideas about praying Scripture and “beholding the Lord.” I wanted to be her! She knew the contours of the spiritual life and knew how to interact with God.  So when a publisher asked if I’d be willing to condense and update her autobiography, I jumped at the chance.

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Called to Journey

There is only one Saint that has deeply impacted my life, and he continues to impact my life on a daily basis. He died on the day I was born, July 31, although 399 years separated the two events. The two books I have written were birthed by the thoughts and insights that flowed from his quill as he jotted down notes from one of the two books he was reading, Life of Christ, as he recovered from having his leg shattered by a cannonball.

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I am Woman, Hear Me Roar

In conversations with friends over the years, inevitably it comes up that each of us tends to have a “favorite” book of the Bible. Mine is the Book of Philippians. I am not sure when this attachment started, but I can think of several possibilities. The first Christian decal I placed in my car as a new 16-year old believer was Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. I also had a youth group leader who challenged us as a group of boisterous, gossipy girls to change the way we acted through that lyrical passage from chapter 4, verse 8, where Paul encourages the Philippians to think upon “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right…” rather than the horrible things we were saying to and about each other.

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Lessons from Julian of Norwich

In 2005, 40 days before Holy Week, I “spent time” with Julian of Norwich by means of the book I Promise You a Crown edited by David Hazard. Julian was an anchoress who lived in England during the Black Plague years (1300’s).  An anchoress or anchorite was one who lived in a monastic cell in a cathedral setting with one window open to the world outside.  Julian spent most of her time in solitary prayer and mediation but it was likely that on one day of the week she opened her window to the world and spoke with those who needed her counsel.  I picture her like the Peanuts comic strip character Lucy, standing behind her “counter.”  But this lady also wrote books about her personal, mystical, near death experiences with God. I was intrigued by her life and her writings, particularly her meditation on a hazelnut!

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Woman of Courage, Wisdom and Depth

I checked in at an eight-day silent retreat with resistance resonating in my soul.  What will this experience be like? Have I discerned God’s leading in coming to this place?I pulled my suitcase down a long hall, noticing that each room was named after a great saint of the faith. I reached the room that would offer me refuge in the days to come. It was the Teresa of Avila room.

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Saint John, The Uncle

Many official saints like St. Benedict, St. Bonaventure and St. Ignatius (to say nothing of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John) have greatly influenced my spiritual life. I have read what they have written and what others have written about them and I have tried to apply their teachings in my life. I am indebted to them and many others whom I have never met personally.

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