For Parish Nurses

Spiritual Development

                          Devotion for Lent 
                        by Carol DeSchepper, National Chair
 
Lent bible and candle
                  Opening Yourself to Cross Love

 The season of Lent is upon us.  These days of the church year leading to Easter are days of stopping to assess our lives and refocus them in ways that bring us closer to Christ.  People may fast (which might include fasting from our prejudices, our superiority, our ethnic divisions, our gossip, our fears, our divisions and our small selves), offer service to others and/or use these weeks to reevaluate and transform their prayer life.

Richard Rohr, a Franciscan Priest and proliferative writer has said: ‘There are two moments that matter.  One is when you know that your one and only life is absolutely valuable and alive.  The other is when you know your life, as presently lived, is entirely pointless and empty.  You need both of them to keep you going in the right direction.  Lent is about both.’1

As I reflect on this quote from Rohr in light of the parable of the Prodigal Son, the young son got to the point of experiencing life as pointless and empty and became repentant.  He recognized his poor choices and, in spite of them, knew by returning home, he would be reunited with his father (though he did not know if he would be welcomed) and perhaps, find life again.

We all want to have our lives be valuable and alive, to serve some greater purpose.  We seek that aliveness throughout our years, sometimes in healthy ways, sometimes unhealthy ways.  The last thing we want is for life to feel pointless and empty.  But without some ‘pointless’ moments, days, weeks, or years, perhaps we aren’t motivated to keep seeking. 

 Have you been at a pointless place in your personal or spiritual life?  I went through a many months in my life where I was estranged from my parents.  I made a choice they could not honor or bless and we spent too long never communicating.  It wasn’t as though the silence would bring healing, but the wall was up. Anger stood tall and darkened any door of understanding and healing.  Eventually, my Dad wrote me a letter of apology and asked me to come home.  I often think about that letter and the months that preceded it and wondered how the fractured relationship could have been avoided.  I think about the courage it took for my Dad to again open the door of his heart and his home.  The subsequent months were awkward and strained, but transformation happened.  While my story unfolded a bit differently than that of the Prodigal Son, the message of reconciliation and healing is the same. 

 In these weeks of Lent, I encourage you to reflect on where healing needs to happen in your life.  We can keep the walls up or we can reach out in love and seek and/or offer forgiveness.   To paraphrase some words from writer Ann Voskamp, Cross Love that looks upside down, weak, surrendered and sacrificed is the only strong power that ultimately upends the fractures, the pain, the heartache and conquers the dark.  His Love has no boundariesand then He binds all the beloved to Him, to shape them to be like Him.  Either Jesus is the answer to the ultimate problems of the human condition — or there is no ultimate answer.

May your Lenten journey be filled with healing and reconciliation, hope and transformation.  Let yourself experience Cross love in these weeks of Lent and as we experience Resurrection joy on Easter and forever.  Live into the ultimate answer and be transformed.   

1Wondrous Encounters – Scriptures for Lent, Richard Rohr

To see the three devotions in Graceful Aging series click on the following:
The Gift of Hope                   The Gift of Humor                             The Gift of Vision


Resources for Spiritual Development
Spiritual Direction – Seeking a Spiritual Companion
Spiritual direction is, in reality, nothing more than a way of leading us to see and obey the real Director — the Holy Spirit hidden in the depths of our soul. (Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA)

Some of you may wish to seek a spiritual director as a way to nurture your own spirituality.  This document briefly describes what spiritual direction is, identifies common misconceptions about spiritual direction, and gives you ideas on how to find a spiritual director.  Spiritual maturity and growth is critical for the parish nurse.  As you support others wholistically, tending to your own soul is important.  Spiritual Direction is only one way of keeping yourself on solid footing spiritually.  You might have other disciplines and practices that meet this need for you.
Please Click here for a more indepth discussion of Spiritual Direction by Carol DeSchepper,
including a web site to locate a Spiritual Director in your area.

Melissa's Prayer Journal:  The Power of Prayer in the Face of Cancer
http://melissasprayerjournal.com
http://www.MBMpublishers.com
A resource for faith encouragement and development, especially for people with health issues. In her letters to God, Melissa perfectly illustrates the power of positive coping in any circumstance! Give this book to anyone struggling with faith, health, or life issues, and let them learn Melissa’s secret for thriving in spite of difficulties!

Web sites for Spiritual Renewal and Growth 
www.joycerupp.com
This is a wonderful spiritual resource from author and retreat and conference speaker, and spiritual "midwife"".  Joyce has a B.A. in English, a M.R. E. in Religious Education, and a M.A. in Transpersonal Psychology.  She is a member of the Servites (Servants of Mary) Community and was a volunteer for Hospice for fifteen years.  She currently resides in Des Moines, Iowa.  To sign up for her monthly newsletter go to joyce@joycerupp.com.

Joyce Rupp will be leading a retreat at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center,  9/24-28/2017.
Theme: BOUNDLESS COMPASSION
For more information see:
http://spiritinthedesert.org/category/list-of-upcoming-programs

God Pause Daily Devotion
Looking for spiritual refreshment? God Pause email devotions are short, meaningful reflections on the following Sunday's lessons and gospel delivered directly to your email box. By Sunday, you'll be ready for an extra meaningful worship experience.