Monthly Archives: November 2015

Advent’s Beginning

Standard

Greetings, Kind Readers,

As you know, every once in a while I share some prose.  Here’s the most recent work from my other site, thecatholicyogi.com that I thought was fitting for this site, too.  I hope you enjoy.


 

Today is the second day of Advent, a holy season of anticipation, preparation, and by the end, we hope, a readiness.

It is easy to get caught in a whirlwind of perfectionism in which we strive to meet unrealistic expectations of our own making or those of others.  It is even easier to strive and then compare ourselves and our families to everyone around us, including those halfway around the globe.  Are my spiritual traditions better or worse than my neighbors’ traditions?  Am I teaching my children less effectively, less ideally than my friend is teaching hers?  The perfectionist/comparison trap yields only two results, both unwelcome:  placing ourselves above others, or, putting ourselves below others.  Tons of judgment.

Image result for christmas tree

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali outline ten ethical principles, yamas and niyamas, or social and individual observances.  One of the yamas that might help with this perfectionist/comparison trap is aparigraha, or the practice of non-attachment.  This non-attachment extends to more than the material objects we surround ourselves with, but to all of our inner and outer experiences as well.  We can become attached to anything and everything, such as the results of our hard work, or the outcome of situations and circumstances we struggle to orchestrate.  This attachment is also described as a “hunger” or a “craving,” and we can crave the bad things as well as good.  We can strive to have the most tastefully decorated house on the street, give the best gifts, host the most entertaining parties.  At times we even hunger after noble things like becoming an excellent yogi, or a good Christian, or a Catholic saint.

 

While it is wonderful to have the passion and energy for virtuous pursuits, it does no one any good if we constantly judge ourselves as “not living up” and make every one of us miserable in the process!   If we can practice letting go of our attachment to any particular outcome or result, we give ourselves a great gift of grace.

Perfection comes in the fullness of time.  We can’t rush it or control it or demand it.  All of us ripen at different stages and in different seasons, and none of us will reach perfection this side of death.  But if we practice even a bit of non-attachment throughout this holy season, we might just find a contentment that feels like heaven.  And not only will we have a more restful and happy spirit throughout the holidays, we will have souls ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, our Lord and Savior, through whom our perfection comes.

Image result for advent candles

 

The inspiration for this post came at church the week before Thanksgiving.  I picked up a copy of The Magnificat Advent Companion, a small book of blessings, daily scripture, reflections, and prayers, and inside the front cover I found a poem by Rita A. Simmonds.  It is simple and profound.  Enjoy.

This Advent

Prepare a Christmas list.
Don’t tell lies about what you want.
Go outside
and ax the dying tree,
watch it crash in the snow
leaving behind brown and green needles both.
Clear the cupboard of expired soups and noodles
old antibiotics
stiff marshmallows never melted,
and give away
the fresh box of cereal
the olives and canned tomatoes
flour, salt and sugar.
Don’t stuff a turkey
that’s already stuffed.
Make room in the refrigerator
for fresh fruit.
Clear your closets.
Give away blankets and boots
jackets and gloves
that no one has worn.
Confess the cobwebs
and skeletons
past celebrations
have kept and ignored.

Image result for christmas nativity

May we all be blessed with holy simplicity this Advent season.
Happy Practicing!

The Catholic Yogi

*All photos via google images.

 

 

A Prayer for Today by Phillip Brooks

Standard

O God:

Give me strength to live another day;
Let me not turn coward before its difficulties
or prove recreant to its duties;

Let me not lose faith in other people;
Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of
ingratitude, treachery, or meanness;
Preserve me from minding little stings or
giving them;

Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so
honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure
can dishearten me or take away the joy of
conscious integrity;

Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see
good in all things;

Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth;
Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness;

And make me the cup of strength to suffering
souls; in the name of the strong Deliverer,
our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Reposted from forwardmovement.org

Mystery breaks

Standard

I am living, loading the dishwasher,
driving the van, matching socks,
when my little ones say, “I miss God.”
I know this missing.

One day I stood in my house,
my bed, my dishes, my tables
and chairs all around, and my
heart cried, I want to go home.

These mysteries break my heart.

I watch the morning sky;
I see mars, and jupiter and venus.
They hang, glowing ornaments
on invisible trees.

Does Christ hang this way, glowing
with generosity on all our invisible trees,
a call to desire giving our last two coins,
our last bits of chocolate, our last everything?

My heart breaks for these eucharistic mysteries.