A Native American and his friend were in downtown New York City, walking near
Times Square in Manhattan. It was during the noon lunch hour and the streets were filled
with people. Cars were honking their horns, taxicabs were squealing around corners, sirens
were wailing, and the sounds of the city were almost deafening. Suddenly, the Native
American said, "I hear a cricket."
His friend said, "What? You must be crazy. You couldn't possibly hear a cricket in
all of this noise!"
"No, I'm sure of it," the Native American said, "I heard a cricket."
"That's crazy," said the friend.
The Native American listened carefully for a moment, and then walked across the street to
a big cement planter where some shrubs were growing. He looked into the bushes, beneath
the branches, and sure enough, he located a small cricket. His friend was utterly amazed.
"That's incredible," said his friend. "You must have super-human
"No," said the Native American. "My ears are no different from yours. It
all depends on what you're listening for."
"But that can't be!" said the friend. "I could never hear a cricket in this
"Yes, it's true," came the reply. "It depends on what is really important
to you. Here, let me show you."
He reached into his pocket, pulled out a few coins, and discreetly dropped them on the
sidewalk. And then, with the noise of the crowded street still blaring in their ears, they
noticed every head within twenty feet turn and look to see if the money that tinkled on
the pavement was theirs.
"See what I mean?" asked the Native American. "It all depends on what's
important to you."
Spiritual direction is about
"listening" to what Jesus wants to tell us in our lives. Sometimes in our
hectic, scheduled filled world with never ending events, we lose our ability to "tune
into" the Lord.
Spiritual direction also is about prayer, meditation, and hallowing out a sacred
space for communion with God. In the Aramaic, Jesus spoke about qadash, which is
usually translated as "holy".
But qadash can mean more than holy. Qadash combines two Semitic
word roots: one root is a pivot or point upon which everything turns; the other root is a
circle which expands out from that point (pivot) with power. A derivitative, nitqadash,
means to hallow, to make holy, to create a sacred space - as in the Lord's Prayer nitqadash
shmahk "hallowed be Thy name".
Creating sacred space for what is the pivot of our lives, we thus find our
place in God's creation ("what is my purpose in life?") AND having that power
(grace) to achieve our destiny. Creating sacred space is both external and internal:
External by setting aside a physical space (room or shrine) with time for prayer and
meditation; internal by creating or "hallowing out" a space within our hearts.
If you are looking for spiritual direction, I am available to help you. Contact me, Fr. Steve, to set up
Julian of Norwich
Very few details are known about the life of Julian of Norwich. She was an
anchoress who lived in a special cell attached to the parish church of St. Julian, which
may account for her name. She was the first woman to write a book in English. Some feel
that she originally belonged to a community of Benedictine nuns because she had more
formal learning than most women of her day. Others feel that because her writings show
such a deep understanding of what it means to be a mother, she was a laywoman who may have
lost her husband and children when the plague swept through Norwich in 1361.
When she was 30 years old, she was intensely sick and came close to death. At that time
she had a number of visions of Christ on the cross. She recovered and lived many more
years, writing down what she had seen and learned from her visions. The themes which run
most strongly through her writings are the motherhood of God and Gods mercy towards
weak humankind. So Jesus is our true Mother in nature by our first creation, and He
is our true Mother in grace by His taking our created nature.
Her hermits cell was a simple structure with a window that opened onto the interior
of the church and its altar, and another that opened for those who came to her from the
street, seeking counsel or merely a listening ear. In this icon she is shown at the latter
window with her cat, listening to those who come to her with their problems, fears and
The Anglican Church keeps her feast on May 8.
"Julian of Norwich" courtesy of and © Br. R. Lentz ofm.
Reproductions available from Trinity Stores www.trinitystores.com