One thing that never stops, whether I am in a writing hiatus or not, is the continuous collection of words of wisdom spoken and written by others. I seem to have a mountain of them on my desk or collected in my computer. I have noticed that there is one modern day spiritual writer who seems to speak much to my heart. His name is Paul Ferrini and he has been involved in spiritual work for more than 35 years. He is a prolific writer with many books to his name and one day I hope to attend one of his retreats. You can learn more about Paul at his web site www.paulferrini.com. In the meantime here are just a few of his spiritual insights.
“When you don’t want to do something, say "no" clearly.
A simple "no" said clearly from the heart can prevent the drama of self-abuse.
When we no longer betray ourselves by saying "yes" when we want to say "no", we will no longer attract people into our life who will disrespect our boundaries.”
“Some people complain about the boat.
Others try to escape it. Neither choice is helpful.
Until you accept the boat for what it is, it cannot take you to the other side.”
“You are the judge and the savior
No one else can condemn you for your mistake or release you from your guilt.
You must come to terms with what you have done.
You must acknowledge your error and atone for it.
The forgiveness of others is nice to have, but it means nothing if you cannot forgive yourself.”
Your compassion arises
when your ability to love
no longer depends
on how others treat you.”
God doesn’t ask you to pretend to be someone or something you are not.
God wants you to be who you are with all your contradictions and dichotomies.
If you have to deny any aspect of who you are to be spiritual, then you are creating an inauthentic spirituality.
True spirituality should be an instrument of revelation, not a tool for denial.”
I hope I have peaked your interest enough that you will go running to Paul’s website. I find him to be a magnetic yet gentle spirit even before I have met him in person. Blessings on your journey.
Many years ago, during a period that I was living in England, I attended a very special retreat at Aylesford Priory which is located in the heart of Kent. The Priory is an ancient religious house belonging to the Order of Carmelites and dates back to the 13th century. The setting there was extremely peaceful and welcoming and I returned several times to attend other retreats.
The reason that the particular retreat I mentioned above was so special was because I received an incredible gift, the first of many messages that God has given me through others. One of the participants on the retreat was a woman who suffered some physical disabilities. She was confined to a wheelchair and had a companion who helped her with everything.
On the second day of the retreat our group had broken up into small groups for discussion. I do not remember the specific topic that we were discussing but I do remember that I struggled badly with the word “faith”. I was, of course, trying to be very “intellectual” in my participation – probably trying to impress someone as I did frequently in those days. And because I was not being “real” I was totally missing the point.
In my egotistical attempt to appear sophisticated and clever I became very frustrated and irritated. I remember making a comment along the lines of, “so what the heck is this “faith” thing anyway; I’m not a theologian. How am I supposed to understand the notion of faith?”
At that moment the woman in the wheelchair (I regret I do not remember her name), leaned across the table, took my hands in hers and spoke very quietly and gently. I will remember her words for ever, and for ever I will be indebted to her. She said, “Margo, use the word trust.” I sat there, unable to say a word, and my heart filled up and my eyes filled up and my soul filled up.
She continued to explain that she implicitly trusted her companion to take the best care of her physically and in the same manner she implicitly trusted God to take care of her spiritually. I was very humbled and I think that was the moment that I experienced my first real feelings of gratitude. Today the whole of my belief in God rests in trust and this trust in Him has grown over the years as I see all that He has done for me, a wretched imperfect human being.
God continues to send me messages, sometimes through others, sometimes through readings or events that take place in my life. The most recent message is an old and beloved one. It comes from the gospel of Matthew, 11:28.
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying
heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
This was the featured scripture verse in one of my meditation books on 27th July. It appeared again in another meditation book on 29th July. And one more time Max Lucado offered it to me in “Grace For The Moment” on 30th July. When He wants to get my attention I usually hear it three times in quick succession. So I am hearing that I need to rest more in the quiet of God. I need to quit struggling and let God do it for me. I need to stop trying to fix situations and people outside of myself. There’s already one Savior and it’s not me!!