Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Celtic Skin

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani  (No. 249)

'The sun has played havoc on your Celtic skin.' Dr Raju tilted her head.
I'd never considered myself a member of the Celtic clan before. For a moment I felt I had been plucked from their midst and deposited into my current, sunburnt, country.

'The cream will irritate, redden, wrinkle, blotch and burn your skin,' she muttered as her hand swept across her script pad, 'but it will halt the changes to your cells and prevent skin cancer.'

She pulled the page off the pad and swung around to face me. 'Twice a day for four weeks and I'll review in three months.'

I push through the glass door and the sun blinds me. Celtic skin. Hazel eyes. I fossick around in my handbag, and retrieve eye protection. Fabulously designed to filter out UV, wrap around the sides of the eyes and fit over prescription glasses. If only I had discovered these decades ago.

Celtic skin. Well suited to the grey, protective clouds of the British Isles.
I slide my freckled, wrinkled hands into my fingerless gloves and shove on my wide brim hat.

In 1969, along with another 80,000 immigrants from the UK, our family responded to TV ads promising days of endless sunshine in Australia. Missing from the Ads, and the dictionary, were terms such as basal cell carcinoma, ultra-violet rays and SP Factor 30 +. Perhaps we wouldn’t have splashed baby oil on our backs and cooked ourselves on the beach. We thought calamine lotion would fix it all.

I had travelled to the farthest limits of the sea, but even here He had guided me, protecting me in His right hand. The skin condition I had developed can turn into cancer. Dr Raju's ointment promises healing and I thank God His hand guided me to seek her out. 

Spiritual Writing

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No. 250)

Stories begin as a small seed. The inspiration for a book can be prompted by a seemingly insignificant conversation, a news announcement, a scene in a coffee shop or a day at the beach. A writer recognizes the inspiration and develops it. The seed is nurtured through brainstorming, researching, writing, editing and gradually the story takes shape.

For an author of a spiritual work, whether fact or fiction, the extra ingredient of prayer is added to the mix. There is an element of powerlessness we humans have in the creation of our stories. Gardeners and farmers plant and nurture seeds. Each day they can celebrate the plant’s growth. While they may be able to explain the science behind its development, they have no power to make the process work. 

The desire of many writers is to touch reader's lives, whether to bring healing, hope or inspiration. We can write to our best ability but ultimately we have no power to cause that transformation.

Just a few quiet minutes for prayer before a blank screen or empty page can connect us to the greatest power of all. Spiritual writing and prayer work in partnership to bring God's transformation, either to ourselves as writers, or to our readers. 

Try it today: read the scripture, slowly and prayerfully, followed by 5 minutes of free writing. Spend the next 5 minutes in silence, and be open to what happens.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

ANZACS: They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old

10 Minute Daily Retreat 
Repost 24/4/2015
The Ode
They shall grow not old,
As we that are left grow old, 
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning 
We will remember them.

'The Ode comes from The Fallen, a poem by the English poet and writer Laurence Binyon (1869 – 1943) and was published in London at the Winnowing Fan: Poems of the Great War on 1914. The verse which became the League Ode was already used in association with commemoration services in Australia in 1921.

The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Easter Sunday

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No.247)

After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 

And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.  His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 

 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.  But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 

 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 

 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Matthew 28:1-10
Light’s glittering morn bedecks the sky,
Heav’n thunders forth its victor cry:
The glad earth shouts her triumph high,
And groaning hell makes wild reply.

While he, the King of sovereign might,
Treads down death’s strength in death’s despite,
And trampling hell by victor’s right,
Brings forth his sleeping saints to light.

Fast barred beneath the stone of late,
In watch and ward where soldiers wait,
Now shining in triumphant state,
He rises victor from death’s gate.

Hell’s pains are loosed and tears are fled:
Captivity is captive led:
The angel, crowned with light, hath said:
‘The Lord is risen from the dead.’

Author of all, be thou our guide
In this our joy of Eastertide;
Whene’er assaults of death impend,
Thy people strengthen and defend.

To thee who, dead, again dost live,
All glory, Lord, thy people give:
All glory, as is ever meet,
To Father and to Paraclete.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Fourteenth Station of the Cross - Jesus is placed in the Tomb

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No. 246)
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.  So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth  and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 

From an ancient homily via the Liturgy of Hours

'Something strange is happening—there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. 

The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. 

The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.'

Thursday, 13 April 2017

The Last Supper

10 Minute Daily Retreat - Read the Word of God with a prayerful heart.
By Susanne Timpani (No. 245)

In today’s Gospel, we return to the Upper Room. The mood is sombre and there are a few ‘elephants in the room’. Jesus acknowledges the imperfections of his fellow dinner guests; predicting a betrayal and a denial.

Being His Last Supper, He has much to say. When you read today’s Gospel, enter the Upper Room. Is there a particular text that speaks to you?  

The final scene spoke to me. The Last Supper ended with prayer.

After the psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of OlivesMark 14:26

As I exit the Upper Room, I glance at the mess we have left behind. A lamp flickers to aid a servant clear the table, tidy away the cushions, foot towels and basin.

While everything appears ordinary, my heart tells me this Supper was significant. I turn around and catch up with the rest of the Disciples as they disappear into the darkness.

Much of what Jesus told us during the Supper, I don’t understand.  I do recognize the path to the Mount of Olives. He is leading us to one of our favourite places to pray.

This final act of the night summarizes everything for me. No matter how uncertain I am, all Jesus asks is to follow Him into a place of prayer.