In the past, as a card-carrying member of our goal-oriented American culture, I dreaded the arrival of Lent. It felt like another opportunity to recommit to unfulfilled new year’s resolutions, always giving up something pleasant and doing something unpleasant.
Now, I see Lent as a positive opportunity to focus on gratefulness, to fast from negative thinking, to acknowledge my very human needs for security, control and affection. These needs influence all of my decisions. Since I want to make decisions aligned with my spiritual beliefs, I can acknowledge my needs and release them in meditation. All that is needed is to sit quietly with the mystery of infinite love, learning to accept myself as a spiritual person on a human journey.
When our limitations and strengths are brought to meditation, we are slowly enabled to die to self-importance, selfishness, exclusiveness and anxiety. Wounds are slowly transformed allowing new life in community to arise; life lived with expectation and hope.
Our pastor, Suzanne Dunn, and our assistant pastor, Jeannette Love, meet with meditators, beginners and practiced, at La Casa de Maria every Monday at 1 p.m. and Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. All are welcome.
An attitude of gratefulness is a natural outflow of meditation. Gratitude calls many members of the Beatitudes community to be of service to the larger community. Members serve in warming centers and soup kitchens for the homeless. Some volunteer for Common Ground, administering the Vulnerability Index Survey of the homeless as well as Laundry Love, where they launder clothes for homeless people.
At Christmas time, we sponsor a Christmas gift-giving to the WillBridge community. From volunteering for the League of Women Voters, the Gay and Lesbian Resource Center, La Casa de Maria and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital, Hospice, to teaching impoverished children, serving on the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury and being a board member at Friendship Manor, we are motivated to reach out in support of peace and social justice.
The Catholic Church of the Beatitudes offers a place for all who seek healing, understanding and acceptance of themselves as part of a community that believes in the possibility of living our spiritual potential on our human journey.
“Now is the time, God’s reign is present, change your life, and believe some very good news” (Mark1:15). Only two things are required: sitting quietly with the mystery of infinite love, and calling to mind the many blessings received on a daily basis.
“The trees, the flowers, the plants grow in silence. The stars, sun and moon move in silence. Silence gives us a new perspective.” — Blessed Mother Teresa
— Genie Hoyne is a member of the Catholic Church of the Beatitudes, which meets at 5:30 p.m. Saturdays at First Congregational Church of Santa Barbara, 2101 State St. Click here for more information, or call 805.252.4105. Click here for previous columns.