downloadable PDF file: Women of Faith Resources February 2019
by Margaret Felice in A Book of Grace-filled Days
“The Christian life is one of goodness and generosity. The smallest kindnesses are pleasing to God.” (p. 70)
“What has most recently inspired you to bless the Lord? What has so filled you with joy or wonder that you couldn’t help but exclaim your praise?” (p.74)
“I place my hope in mystery, knowing I will spend the rest of my life discovering the marvelous mystery of God.” (p. 84)
Featured Day: February 14 ~ St. Valentine’s Day
Death: February 14, 270
Patron of: engaged couples, happy marriages, love, and young people.
A few biographical facts:
St. Valentine was a Catholic priest and doctor. He lived in Italy during the third century. When marriage was outlawed in Rome, he married couples who couldn’t get legally married. Because he was going against Roman law, Emperor Claudius sent Valentine to jail. While in jail, Valentine reached out to people with the Love of Jesus. Valentine befriended his jailer Astorious, and helped his blind daughter, Julia, with her lessons. Because he would not renounce his faith, Emperor Claudius had him sentenced to death. Before his death, Valentine wrote a last note to Julia and signed it “From your Valentine.” That note inspired the beginning of writing loving messages to others on February 14th, the date Valentine was martyred. Pope Gelasius the first established February 14th as Valentine’s official Feast Day. Valentine is known as a saint through whom God helped people in miraculous ways.
Lectio Divina: Scripture and prayer for meditating
The author, Joyce Rupp, and the poet, Maya Angelou, offer us food for thought and contemplation. Read each selection a first time. What word or words call out to you? Read the selection a second time. What word or words call out to you this time? Read the selection a third time. Ask the words or words calling to you: what is it you want to say to me today?
A Prayer For Valentine’s Day
from Out of the Ordinary by Joyce Rupp
Praise to the One whose love stirs the ancient embers
sparks the breath of prayer
Praise to the One whose love entices the wandering
beckons the confused
Praise to the One whose love grows wings on the weary
dreams hope in the discouraged
Praise to the One whose love soothes with the ointment of mercy
transforms with the touch of compassion
Praise to the One whose love threads the energy of friendship
stitches the strength of fidelity
Praise to the One whose love tickles the soul with laughter
urges the heart toward joy
Praise to the one whose love embraces the untamed
dances with the passionate
All praise to this Gracious One
All gratitude to this Beloved
All love to this Mentor of Friendship
All devotion to this Shaper of Hearts.
Touched By An Angel
by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
For additional Valentine Day “food for thought and contemplation”, go to godweb.org.
Audio Divina: Music accompanied by images
Enjoy the following selections of music and let your heart and soul be touched by the beauty of orchestration and song.
LOVE SOMEBODY: The Valentine’s Day Choral Project: Enjoy these children in a video promoting music education, collaboration, and seasonal love! Happy Valentine’s Day!
Alone with God: Father, Jesus, Spirit: This mix invites us to time alone with God, in God’s Love.
For Spiritual Reading
Understanding Love on Valentine’s Day: This article invites us to experience four different ways to understand how we love in life. These four ways come from the four words used in Greek to express the word love.
A Brief Reflection On the Role of Agápe When Caring for Your Feelings: Rev. Edwin McMahon, SJ, adapts texts from the First Letter of St. John Chapter 4 to explain the importance of Agape Love as we pay attention to our feelings.
Visio Divina: Art for Prayer and Meditation
“Visual images are another doorway to sacred awareness. They can touch into our desire to grow in intimacy with God. So, we encourage one another to let ourselves be touched by the colors, shapes, figures and symbols that capture our attention most as we are praying. While gazing at an image ~ a painting, a photo, an icon, a sculpture, a piece of pottery … something may leap out at us, calling our attention to something of God just waiting to reveal itself to us.”
(Ideas inspired by Christine Valters Paintner and Betsey Beckman in their book, Awakening the Creative Spirit: Bringing the Arts to Spiritual Direction. See also Abbey of the Arts.)
Blowing Kisses: Remember a child blowing heart kisses to you. What memories stir within you? What could be transformed if peoples of the world blew kisses to one another? As you reflect and pray today, why would you blow kisses and to whom?
Peacock: This peacock was created many years ago at a Bertucci’s paint-nite show of hearts. Enjoy the colors, the imagination, the ingenuity. Take out your own watercolors, crayons, or chalks and have a Valentine paint-nite with your women friend(s), or simply by yourself.
The Incredible Art Department was founded for elementary art students in Indiana. Now, it serves all age levels and includes art lessons, news, and resources of interest to students, teachers, parents and artists the world over.
From the Leadership Team of Gatherings for Women of Faith
May you enjoy a Blessed Valentine’s Day!