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Advent Awakenings

Pay Attention

November 30, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Advent Awakenings; Thoughts from the First Sunday of Advent…….

The first Sunday of Advent marks the opening of the new Church year.  Lists are prepared and sometimes we feel a crunch for time.  As we prepare our homes are we doing the same with our hearts?

The Gospel for the first Sunday of Advent says: “Stay awake!”  “Keep alert!”  “Be aware!”  “Pay attention!”. 

In the first session of the book Advent Awakenings it suggests to us to

The movement of light in a quiet room
To new beauty on a road I travel every day
To fresh meanings in an ordinary conversation
To the signal for help in the eyes of someone I might prefer to avoid
To new possibilities in a “hopeless” situation.

By the simple act of “pure attention” we can become aware of God’s presence in the world around us.  Mystics in every age have defined this act of paying attention as prayer. 

How do we and where do we begin if it already feels like we are “crunched” for time?  We all brush our teeth at night before bed, so, post on your bathroom mirrors the following questions for Reflection:

  • How have you recognized God in your everyday life today?  When?  Where?
  • Are you fully present as you go about your everyday stuff? 
  • How can you be more present in your relationships?
Teeth brushed - Reflection complete!
Keep a Prayer journal
  • Make a list in a notebook or your phone, column for gratitude and note each day at least three things you’ve had to be grateful for.  
  • As you acknowledge your blessings, space in your heart begins to open, preparing your heart for Advent. 
  • Write down a significant line from Sunday’s Scripture passage or a daily meditation book you use, as a guide for your week.
  • Listen to a piece of music and allow it to nurture you.
  • Take a walk without ear buds and listen to nature.
  • Listen and look attentively to someone who his talking to you.
  • Commit to paying attention to God in a special way this season.  Add a daily prayer experience such as going to Mass, praying in quiet, starting with 2 – 3 minutes and increasing during the Advent season; you decide what might work for you.  This is your Advent.
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Art As Prayer

November 19, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Prayer as Art: A Collage-Making Experience

Saturday, December 5, 2020 9:00—12 noon (via Zoom)

Art is a form of communication; Prayer is a way of being with God. Together, this process helps to direct our hands, mind and heart toward God. (~Art as Prayer; Prayer as Art Drawing to God)

This day will be guided by Hillary Gilles and Jodie Rubenzer. No artistic ability is needed; you will be easily guided through a step by step process and registration will assure that you receive all necessary supplies in the form of a prepared kit.

Please Sign up by Dec. 1 Email— or call 715.425.1879 ext.110

Sharing Thoughts That Stir My Soul

November 12, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Feuding with Martha and Mary

April 03, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Feuding with Mary and Martha

This social distancing and Safer at home have conjured up in me an internal feud.  I know this is what has to be, but it’s tough at times.

What am I supposed to be doing now?  Believe it or not there was a time when I longed to be more like Mary, just having some time to rest at the feet of Jesus.  I was even involved in a book study several years ago titled, “Having a Mary heart in a Martha world”.  Well now it seems I’ve found myself in a Mary world wondering, “What should Martha be doing?” 

I pulled out my Bible, so I could read this passage of Mary and Martha again, to see if I could gain any clear insights as to what it was I might be wrestling with.  There it was in vs 40 “Martha was distracted with much”.  I don’t think it matters if we are a Martha or Mary, distraction plays its part in what we are called to do and what we actually end up doing.  At least for me it does.  And especially now.   So when Jesus responds to Martha with “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled with many things, one thing is needful and Mary has chosen the good portion.”   I want to believe that what he meant was “Know your purpose”.  What are you being called to at this moment in time?

So what is “my portion”?  For me I think that it is this:  awareness, combined with compassion which can equal a call to action.  Compassion wells up in me when I watch the news and see both the sadness, and the good that is flooding the airways due to this recent health crisis.  I am moved to tears with the pain and kindness shown by people all over our nation.  Also, when I hear of friends and family losing jobs and struggling to keep small businesses open, my heart aches because we’ve experienced that too.   I realize it’s okay to be Mary for a bit, sitting at the feet of Jesus, but then I need to get moving and become Martha; moving outside myself to do something. 

So now when I pray, I ask God for direction into where He might need to use me today and then I work to be attuned to the people and needs that show up in my day instead of the agenda I’ve prepared for my day.    I suppose it’s a somewhat safe prayer for me now, given what I can do is limited, however I have had opportunities to reach out; as well as opportunities to say thank you to those essential workers providing us with mail delivery, food and healthcare.   I’ve been connected with family and friends through Z00M, FACETIME and strangers, with a wave or smile.  So I guess for me at this place in time, I find myself praying these words:  Jesus, take away the distraction that I may lean more closely into you like Mary so, the Martha in me will know what to do. 

I can only hope that Jesus will respond and say, “Jodie you have chosen the good portion”. 

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