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Put Out Into the Deep

“At present I believe, but in the glory to come...what appears to me at present so perplexing, so foolish, so  inconsistent...will all be entrancing, and will delight me eternally by the beauty, order, knowledge, wisdom, and incomprehensible wonders it will all display.”    –Fr. Jean Pierre De Caussade I sat across from the seasoned face of Monsignor John Esseff on a retreat decades ago, his deeply set Lebanese eyes boring into mine. “I see you,” he said–intimidating words coming from an exorcist with the gift of reading souls. I braced myself. “You have a fear of not ‘producing’ enough for…

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Honest Homage

Release. Reconnect. Restore. Which one of these words speaks to you the most right now, in this moment? And if you could add a word or phrase after that word to describe what you need, what would it be? For the last two Friday mornings, I have participated in a movement session called “Dance for Mental Health.” The facilitator opens with this invitation. Release. Reconnect. Restore. The first session I said, “Release… anger and mud.” The movement that came out of me that day was stomping and brushing and fists on the ground. Very strong, angular movement. It was very…

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Lift Me Up, Lord

Building a sense of safety requires trust—not reliance on others, but trust in the strength and beauty of our innermost selves, made in the image and likeness of God. For me, this has been one of the most difficult parts of healing from prolonged trauma. Everything I thought to be true turned out to be an illusion, or so it seemed. After such a blow, how can I trust anything again? If I can no longer rely upon my own intuition and perceptions, what can I trust? Who can I trust? My foundation had been built on sand, and I…

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The Healing Power of Creativity

Our Lord began wooing me with the beauty of art and His boundless gift of creativity when I was a very young girl. At the age of six, my grandmother began teaching me the art and skill of oil paints and together we created a painting of my favorite stuffed animal, a dog named Henry. This painting still hangs in my home today. While attending the Theology of the Body Institute’s course, The Way of Beauty, a study of Saint John Paul the Great’s “Letter to Artists”, I realized just what a gift this first oil painting and the memories…

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Musings on Love, Death and the Song of Songs

As an apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among young men. With great delight I sat in his shade, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. – The Song of Songs 2:3 In this verse of The Song of Songs, Jesus is compared by His bride to the apple tree; the one tree that is pleasing to all the senses. The apple tree is also symbolic of the tree that Christ died upon; the tree that restored and redeemed what was lost at the apple tree in the Garden of Eden by the…

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The Bridegroom’s Bouquet

Have you ever felt rejected? “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; by the Lord has this been done.” – Acts 4:11 Have you ever felt like pieces and parts, broken and worn? How do they integrate? “Therefore, thus says the Lord God, I will gather you from the nations and collect you from the lands through which you were scattered, so I can give you the land of Israel. ” – Ezekiel 11:17 We long to be loved not just for how we can grow, or who we will become, but right now with all of…

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Relocating the Home of the Bridegroom

Relocation has been a part of my life since I was a young child. My family moved to a different town about once a year, which meant uprooting me (yet once again) from friends, school, church community, and all the rest. As a result, I grew up lacking a sense of safety—a wound that has carried over into adulthood. And here I am, a middle-aged woman, moving yet again—just one year after my last move. I still have no anchor in this world, no grounding. I tried—so hard!—to find it. I sought loves and marriages (yes, in the plural), yet…

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Light in the Darkness

“I feel like I’m in hell.” During times of intense suffering, it is not uncommon to hear someone relate their experience to being in hell. In fact, I hear it said often in the course of ministry to those recovering from the effects of traumatic circumstances. Of course, we understand the essence of what is being conveyed by using this cliche, but a particular sentence from a reflection I read recently jumped out and got me thinking… “You may be experiencing a sort of hell on earth. Nevertheless, think of what hell really is. The Church teaches that hell is…

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Blues Dancing With the Bridegroom

“Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait on the Lord.” ~ Psalm 27:14 Apparently this “waiting” in the original Greek means “intertwined.” The invitation then is to be intertwined, mingled with the Lord, so that when He runs, we run; when He stops, we stop. It is like a three-legged race, or even more, like a partner dance. I love to blues dance. It is a form of partner dancing in which the duo is very sensitively attuned to one another’s core, the breath, the subtle movements. The man leads, and the woman follows. The woman must be…

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