We celebrated International Day of Peace here at the House of Prayer
“Contemplative living is a way of listening and responding to our everyday experiences by consciously attending to our relationships with self, others, God, and all of nature” -
Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton - A participant's view point
A Poem from Michael Leunig.
At a recent Saturday morning liturgy at the House of Prayer we were introduced to JOMO (Joy of Missing Out) with a poem from Michael Leunig. One line in the poem caught my attention ‘you spurn the treasure on the shelf in favour of your peaceful self;’ which reminded me of my journey over the past years gradually choosing and realizing the pleasure of emptiness and silence and taking time to enjoy a simple, peaceful and (as much as possible) natural life.
Leunig’s poem includes: … ‘And rush towards that shining thing. The latest bit of mental bling….trying to have it, see, it, do it, You simply know you won’t go through it; the anxious clamouring and need, This restless hungry thing to feed.’
Dr William Glasser, in his book Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom refers to this pressure as ‘external control psychology’ and he lists 7 behaviours that contribute to the breakdown in relationships: blame, criticize, complain, threaten, punish, manipulate and nag. Alternately he suggests 7 behaviours that build relationships which he says is built on ‘internal motivation psychology’; respect, encourage, negotiate, trust, accept, listen, support. He says that as humans we need connectedness and when we are not feeling connected we feel pain; the way we deal with this pain can be either effective or ineffective depending on our choice of behaviour. He says that the first relationship we need to build is a relationship with ourselves.
I use Choice Theory a lot and as a Spiritual Director at the HOP I am constantly reminded that as people of faith we are called upon to behave in effective ways to build our relationship with God - to love God with all our hearts and to love our neighbour as ourselves. This is a constant choice, a motivation from within that is fed for me from people like Michael Leunig offering us JOMO!
The Blessing of Animals
World Animal Day is a day of action recognised worldwide for animal rights as well as welfare. The mission of this day is to raise the status of animals and improve welfare standards worldwide. It is celebrated on 4 October, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi who is recognised as the animals’ patron saint.
World Animal Day is today observed by animal-lovers of all beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds. Animal blessings are held in churches, synagogues, and by independent Animal Chaplains in parks and fields. Animal rescue shelters hold fundraising events and open days; wildlife groups and schools organize information displays and projects and people donate to animal charities or pledge to sponsor a shelter animal.
Since 2002, on the Saturday closest to the feast of St. Francis, our own local St. Francis (Fr. Dave Lancini) has been blessing the animals in Anderson Park. Currently our congregation consists mainly of dogs, but in earlier year we have welcomed horses, lizards, turtles, cats, birds and on one occasion a pet carpet snake actually shed his skin during the service. The ashes of special pets have been scattered under the rain tree and people also remember those pets now gone who have played a special part in their lives.
Everyone is welcome, furred, winged, two-footed, four-footed and we look forward each year to welcoming the hospital dogs. It is amazing how the chaos quietens immediately the service begins and everyone behaves very well, even the owners.
Our liturgy usually incorporates a reminder that we all inter-related in creation and that we share a common responsibility for the well-being of one another, including our animals and environment.
The greatness of a nation and its moral progress may be judged
by the way its animals are treated ~ Mahatma Gandhi ~