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Fr. Steve's

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Who We Are Not

Short History
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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 ears!"

"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 noise."

"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 an appointment.

juliannorwich.jpg (20686 bytes)
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 God’s 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 hermit’s 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 woes.

The Anglican Church keeps her feast on May 8.

"Julian of Norwich" courtesy of and Br. R. Lentz ofm. Reproductions available from Trinity Stores •