downloadable PDF file: Women of Faith Resources January 2019
by Margaret Felice in A Book of Grace-Filled Days
“Whether your heart is filled with excitement or anxiety as the New Year dawns, let it expand in love.”
“When the glory of the Lord is revealed, its light illuminates the people. May we not only see the light but reflect it so that others may come to know God’s glory.”
“Every time we proclaim the Lord with our mouths or our lives, we continue Jesus’ ministry.”
Featured Day: January 31, Birth Date of Thomas Merton
Birth: January 31, 1915
Death: December 10, 1968
Thomas Merton, a convert to Catholicism, was a Trappist monk, pacifist and author. From 1947 until his death in 1968, he wrote more than 70 books, 2,000 poems, and numerous essays, lectures and reviews. In 1948, Merton published The Seven Storey Mountain, his autobiography and the story of his early search for faith that led to his conversion to Catholicism. For additional biographical information see the Abbey of Gethsemani website.
Lectio Divina: Scripture and prayer for meditating
- Mark 10:17-31
- “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
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.
It is quoted that Thomas Merton said: “If we have not silence, God is not heard in our music. If we have no rest, God does not bless our work.”
Dawn: Sunday by Kathleen Deignan A Book of Hours: At Prayer with Thomas Merton. We can also pray other “weekday dawns” found on YouTube.
A Forest Contemplation: A forest meditation with the monk, author and poet Thomas Merton. Scott Peddie.
From Jazz to Chant commemorates the 42nd anniversary of Thomas Merton’s death. Before becoming a monk Merton went to jazz clubs. In the monastery, he discovered chant. This program celebrates both forms of music. Enjoy!
For Spiritual Reading
Find quotes for spiritual reflection at the Spirituality and Practice page at spiritualityand practice.com.
Marian Poems by Thomas Merton: Merton had a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Mary. Explore his Marian Poems for reading, contemplation, and delight.
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.)
Photography is art. Merton spoke of Zen photography: being aware of the present moment, appreciating what is right in front of us, instead of thinking about the next thing we have to do. He would say: “Stop looking and start seeing.” He invites us to see God in our ordinary, everyday moments, in what is common. The following photos are examples of Merton’s Zen photography.
Trees are one of Merton’s favorite subjects. Today, stop to really see a tree outside your window or along your pathway and admire its beauty, its gnarled branches, and its presence to you here and now.
A chair – a chair is so commonplace to us. Look at and see, really see the story of a chair today, or, reflect on what the story of this chair might be.
A cross on a pathway, a cross in the distance, a cross on a church: notice a cross on your byway today. Or, remember a cross that you once contemplated. To what memory does the cross lead you?
A Blessed New Year from Gatherings for Women of Faith