I was on a contemplative ‘Psalms of my Life,’ retreat last week. As a group we worked through a variety of psalms and the accompanying feelings that the authors conveyed through their writing: lament, anger, fear and celebration. Leading up to this retreat I had been aware of some sadness that I was experiencing around my family of origin. After the lament session I went back to my room to sit in silence. I had just written out the beginning lines of Psalm 86: “Bend an ear, God; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch!Keep me safe- haven’t I lived a good life? Help your servant – I’m depending on you!” when I heard the call of an eagle outside my room. At first I thought, “No, that’s not what I think it is” and went on just sitting with the verses, and coloring in my art journal with some dark pastels (symbolic of my sadness). The thing with eagles and I is that somehow they connect me with the presence of God in a tangible, natural form. I heard the cry again and got up from the couch and stood at the bedroom window, looking out. There, maybe 20 feet away, was a bald eagle, sitting, waiting, looking at me from a tree. I wept. The eagle sat, and called, and waited and watched and after about a half hour flew away. The eagles presence conveyed to me feelings of love, comfort, strength and affirmation.
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>Sharon,I was touched when you shared these moments at dinner last night. Thank you for writing it out.I an consistently intrigued by how “God moments” occur for each of us.I know in my life they are very real. They feel so specific to me, just like your eagle is so specific to you.I guess contemplative spirituality is recognizing and articulating the workings of God made “sacramental” specifically to each of us.. i.e. the eagle for you in this moment,.I love the notion of ” sacramentality”..In the Catholic tradition a “sacrament is an outward sign of an inner grace” Jesus is The Sacrament of God. in his humanity ( the outward part, the tangible, recognizable part) he brings an “inner grace” to the world..the grace of his Spirit. To me the beauty of the Christian theological traditions of the Incarnation, God becoming human ( sacramental) is that anything can be “sacramental” or a means of bringing God’s grace, bringing God’s love, presence to each of us personally.Learning to recognize “sacramental moments” ( like your eagle) makes God alive and very present.. I have noticed over the years people are not fluent in this spiritual practice of recognizing “sacramental moments.”It is the spiritual practice of hearing God’s voice, and heart .. and it is often done “sacramentally”This morning at Mass I had a God moment.. There was a young priest celebrating Mass. He was Congolese. ( very black) He spoke English very well but with a heavy accent.His eyes, his motion of lifting his hands generously up and out in prayer felt sacramental…I felt Jesus’ heart was flowing thru him..Also alll the suffering of the Congo, of his people seemed present in him, here with us in a nearly all white congegation..I was moved by how God can surprise us and talk to our hearts in such a profound and deep way. That Congolese priest was a “sacrament” for me this morning.I was grateful this morning as God talked to me ; and I am grateful how he talked to you through the eagle.
>Thank you, Barb. I’m glad you figured out how to comment 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing