Sister Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, has written a new book. Those familiar with her writing will be excited by this news, for it has been almost ten years since she blessed us with a book.
Although I have never met Macrina in person, she and I have exchanged some emails and notes over the years. I consider her a friend. As she once said to me, “We writers have to stick together!” So, in today’s blog, I’d like to treat you to some excerpts from her new book, The Flowing Grace of Now: Encountering Wisdom through the Weeks of the Year (Ave Maria Press.)
The book has essentially 52 reflections, one for each week of the year. Every reflection is a meditation on a “spiritual teacher” in our life. Some teachers are actual people like Jesus (of course!), St. Paul, the Canaanite woman in scripture, a particular spiritual writer, etc. Other teachers include the following: the four seasons, silence, simplicity, light, darkness, your desire for God, those who have encouraged you, your need for healing, someone who needs you, your sins and weaknesses, the reality of your death.
Each reflection begins with a scripture text that leads you into the spirit of the week. Next is a brief meditation written in Macrina’s simple yet lovely style. There is a closing prayer (my favorite part!) and a final quotation from a spiritual writer such as Joyce Rupp, Max Lucado, St. Teresa of Avila, Pope Francis, Abraham Lincoln, Joan Chittister, St. Teresa of Calcutta, Thich Nhat Hanh, Henri Nouwen, and many others. I appreciated the variety!
Now for a sample from her book. Week 28 focuses on God as refuge and shield. Here is the lovely prayer she wrote:
O God beyond all names, I want to encounter the unfathomable poem that you are. O Holy One, you have pitched a tent in my heart. You are my shelter, my tree of life. You are my cave, my haven, my abode. You are the sanctuary where I dwell. I am the sanctuary where you dwell. I do not ask you to free me from the storms of life that assist my growth. I ask only that you protect me and help me make wise choices. O let it be!
Macrina concludes that reflection with these words from Joyce Rupp: “Cave of refuge, provide a sanctuary of solace as I wait for the unrecognizable future to reveal itself. Do not let my troubles steal my joy.”
At the end of the book are two helpful guides: a subject index and a scripture index. Macrina is a popular author and retreat facilitator who makes her home with the monastic community of St. Scholastica in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (I’m giving a retreat there in May so I’ll get to meet Macrina for the first time!) If you’re looking for a worthwhile gift for a friend–or for yourself!–you might want to check out The Flowing Grace of Now.
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Did anything stand out for you in today’s reflection?
Have you read any other books by Macrina that you would recommend for us?
PS: A big thank you for your prayers for last weekend’s retreat on hope at Villa Maria, PA. And a big thank you to the wonderful 35 participants. I was inspired by their attentiveness, goodness, sense of fun, and their eagerness to grow in their faith! Special thanks also to Sister Jane Marie, our hostess, for all she did to make our stay at the Villa such a beautiful experience.
Psalm 62 says, “God is my rock and salvation… my refuge.” This song, written by John Michael Talbot, is sung here by Wendy and Mary. This version of Ps. 62 has been a favorite of mine for many years. I hope you like it too.
I invited you to respond to this reflection and/or video below.