Showing posts from May, 2009

The Fountain of Life from St. Columbanus

O God, you are yourself that fountain ever and again to be desired, ever and again to be consumed...Inspire our hearts, I ask you, Jesus, with that breath of your Spirit; wound our souls with your love, so that the soul of each and every one of us may be able to say in truth: "Show me my soul's desire," for I am wounded by your love.

These are the wounds I wish for, Lord. Blessed is the soul so wounded by love. Such a soul seeks the fountain of eternal life and drinks from it, although it continues to thirst and its thirst grows ever greater even as it drinks.

Therefore, the more the soul loves, the more it desires to love, and the greater its suffering, the greater its healing. In this same way may our God and Lord Jesus Christ, the good and saving physician, wound the depths of our soul with a healing wound- the same Jesus Christ who reigns in unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever.

"For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back int…

How is Spiritual Direction Different?

The best definition of spiritual direction I've seen, especially as compared to pastoral counseling and therapy: "Psychotherapy is interested primarily in self-understanding, pastoral counseling in self determination, and spiritual direction in self-surrender to the discerned will of God."

from James Fenhagen, Invitation to Holiness, p.47

Taboo of Clergy Burnout Addressed in New Release

A spiritual director once asked me the most difficult question I've had to answer as a pastor: "Who listens to you?" God and/or spouse were not one of the choices. At the time, I was on an individual spiritual retreat in the mountains far away from my parish, and she was asking one the basic questions that many church leaders, clergy and otherwise, avoid. Are you leading on empty? is another way to ask the same question.

That's why I am so grateful for the bent of Wayne Cordeiro's Leading on Empty. Cordeiro is a successful church planter and pastor. He speaks around the world. The book is a multifaceted approach to the costs not taking care of ourselves, such as burnout and depression. In continually referencing his own story of recovery from suffering a nervous breakdown, Cordeiro, doesn't attempt a "one size fits all" paradigm for health, but rather, offers wisdom and insight as someone who's been there. Moreover, his continued recovery- and…

Hanging by a Thread

My one-time allergist looked at my nose and just quipped, "OK, but you're hanging by a thread." Living in Houston since late '86, I've found many ways to cope with vulnerability to sinus problems. I've tried a little of everything to avoid various infections. At the time of the exam, I thought I was doing much better than just hanging by a thread!

The doc's rather rude awakening is the gift of being brutally honest, one we all need at times I'm sure. Spiritually though, maybe the best thing we can do is to let go of whatever we're holding onto so tightly. Like the young boy who can't jump down from the tree he just climbed, we'd be free if we only we'd let go. Our world, our horizon would burst open as a result. And we'd be on the ground, safely home.

Someone told me to tie a knot when I feel like I'm dangling by a thread, but for some reason, that doesn't help me. I can hear those words in the mouths of Job's friends. …


In serving others, I surrender control of the situation. Jesus' own example of washing the smelly and dung encrusted feet of his disciples in John 13 embodies this particular kind service.

One of the most difficult things for most, not all, is to be on the receiving end of someone else's service. When I was very young, I remember getting up early and trying to prepare breakfast for the whole family. I only remember pouring juice, milk, and getting cereal out. To jazz it up a little, I rifled through the buffet and set some party favors out. When the family came down, they showed a mixture of dismay, laughter, and maybe one or two thanks. "Don't do that again" was the message. I didn't shake the juice and it came out in various shades, which I thought was fine.

But receiving service is awkward, especially for people who've been out there giving and in control all their life. The change in roles can be difficult, even devastating. When I worked among retiree…