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Work 2: Action

Question:

Consider your routines – where is God?

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Transcript of Video:

There are times when I’m enthusiastic about going to prayer in Chapel with my Brothers, to what we call the Daily Office. There are other times that I’m less enthusiastic about it. But I think the powerful thing about religion is that it teaches us that there is a value in simply doing something. There is a value of actually going through the motions of something – whether you have your heart and soul in it is actually immaterial to the practice. I think there is a lot of confusion about that. I think a lot of that confusion comes out of a lot of distorted thinking in the Protestant Reformation. There is actually a value in ritual. There is actually a value in doing something – that’s immaterial whether you can rationalize it, whether you can understand it, whether you can put your heart and soul in it – there’s actually a value to just going through the motions, through the steps. And I think sometimes when we’re in – I think we can apply that sometimes to work. I think sometimes it’s simply a matter of doing it. It’s simply a matter of doing it. And it’s in the doing that we are transformed and we are shaped and we are renewed and that we even – The reason liturgy and ritual was so important in the Church is because people realized that this was how they came to belief. This is how they actually – how their souls would change, how their hearts were softened and how they were able to give themselves to the ministry.

So I think sometimes we have to approach work that way: “I’m going to do it because this is what is here and this is what has to be done and I’m simply going to do it.” It’s the doing. And I know that that’s not very popular, that’s not something that’s very popular, it’s not a kind of thinking that’s very current in the world we live in where it’s about personal fulfillment, it’s about personal satisfaction – you know, “Is your job personally fulfilling?” I think sometimes that’s true. I think sometimes that’s not true. But I think that part of our humanness is sometimes just pushing through.

-Br. Robert L’Esperance

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101 Comments

  1. Helen Chandler on April 1, 2015 at 09:18

    When the going gets tough it is easy to become despondent and feel like walking away and giving up. I really resonated with the idea of “going through the motions” doing what needs to be done simply because it needs to be done. There is hug value in ritual and routine for getting me through the difficult times. It gives me space to step back and not let the moment of difficulty consume me, but see the bigger picture of my part in God’s mission.

  2. suzanne robinson on March 19, 2015 at 19:18

    God is in the expanded family of SSJE through
    the internet. We live 7 states away from SSJE.
    For years, I longed for a way to come in contact
    with those affiliated with SSJE who lived nearby
    as we were not able, with ease, to come to the Monastery. The gifts shared by SSJE brothers who came to the greater DC metropolitan area on teaching/preaching missions nurtured us
    with Holy Water revivifying parched soil. The same
    has occurred though the grace of these Lenten
    mediations, questions and reflections. Thank you
    blessed brothers at SSJE. All Glory be to Thee O
    Lord Most High.

  3. Jana Everett on March 14, 2015 at 16:36

    Where is God in my routines?
    God is when my cats interrupt my computer work and morning coffee. God is in the exercise routines. God is when I am able to teach my classes without extensive notes. God is in my cooking healthy dinners.
    I need to take to explicitly be grateful for my blessings at the end of the day.

  4. Faith Turner on March 14, 2015 at 15:29

    I thank God when I awake that I have another day. I thank God for my teeth as I brush them.

  5. Kimber on March 13, 2015 at 15:40

    As I wrote in yesterday’s post, I seem to not stick very closely to a routine. Of course, I do have my part-time teaching, which means that I have to be at a certain place at a certain time most days of the week. I’m never am late for or miss Sunday Eucharist or Wednesday evening Taizé. And I rarely miss a rehearsal of the master chorale I sing with. But when it comes to routine housework, paperwork, yardwork, errands, etc., I’m not very good at sticking to a regular practice. I tend to put things off and avoid those daily chores until they absolutely have to be done. Right now I have mail to go through and bills to pay, and it’s hard for me to even “go through the motions,” let alone have any interest in or enthusiasm for the project. I know I’ll feel better, lighter somehow, when I’ve finished, but my tendency is to procrastinate.

  6. Jana Everett on March 11, 2015 at 23:18

    God surrounds me as I prepare for class. god is there when I exercise. God is in the friendships I’m making at 29th st gym

  7. Elizabeth S on March 11, 2015 at 09:59

    Consider your routines – where is God?
    Upon awakening, I speak to God. At night when I lay my head down, I speak to God. I am trying to keep a daily practice of morning reflection with God (I’m hitting it at about 30%). I really appreciate the message in today’s posting. One of the 12 Step slogans if “Fake it til you make it”. It applies to our action. We might be thinking that we don’t want to go to worship or a meeting, but we go anyway. We do the action, and after a time the thoughts will follow. It really works.

  8. Claudia Booth on March 10, 2015 at 21:15

    Yes, Brother Robert, yes, yes, yes! There are many churches, many denominations, many ways of worshipping this LORD. Liturgy brings something ineffible to worship, something beyond rationationalization. When you meet “it”, you know it. Thank you, GOD, for the experience!

  9. Christine white on March 10, 2015 at 20:35

    God is with me with all my routines. Even if they are not exactly what they should be he is guiding me to improve.

  10. Tracy on March 10, 2015 at 18:56

    I’m so grateful that I can read other people’s interpretations for the breadth of thought & ideas they offer. I struggle with routine in some ways & share the comfort it can bring too. My job is one where I need to adapt and change a little so I can’t get into too much of a routine, but I love the general pattern I have developed to be able to change a little within it.

    I have struggled with prayer, but through reaching for strategies and interests that I had been warned about as a teenager, it has given me courage and intimacy with God. I can see how the more present, real and intimate God is the more permanent, personal and routine my being with him becomes. I feel spiritually I’m growing again and into a very different phase. I also think there’s an element of risk, but that means my faith needs to grow in God to look after me.

    I think it seems to be important to have a balance of routine and the unknown, the same and the different – to stay where you are in some ways but to push forward in others – having an element of comfort and security but also being willing to become uncomfortable and vulnerable to be closer to God.

  11. Lissa Davis on March 10, 2015 at 11:24

    I always know God is there in the routine and mundane times of life. He has a purpose. It’s not my job to understand, but to do in faith.

  12. Susan Dredge on March 10, 2015 at 11:09

    I am a routine person. I feel safe and secure in routine whether it be my daily “chats” with God, just any time and anywhere, on the bus, feeding the birds, walking but also in formal prayer and praise in Church. Also, I enjoy the routine of even mundane tasks, filing, washing-up, ironing where my mind can just be free and wander but I like continuity in daily tasks and to see a job through and well done.

  13. Randy Ruffin on March 10, 2015 at 11:06

    The sort of work I have to “push through” sometimes is cleaning house, or ironing. But if I consciously/intentionally do it with the sense that it is all part of bringing God’s order and cleanliness into our life – and as part of caring for things and for others who may come into our home, etc. – God is in the routine. I often think of people who are part of my life, or in need, and lift them in prayer as I prepare a meal – God then is in that routine. God is in my morning quiet times and bedtime prayers.

  14. Mark on March 10, 2015 at 08:01

    God is always in the midst in any routine chore I perform because He is always in my heart

  15. shawn on March 10, 2015 at 07:27

    Just pushing through now….doing the next right thing over and over and over…..seeming not to be getting anywhere….period of desolation…..I know God is in it but don’t feel it…..staying as faithful as possible. I am most aware of God’s presence when having my teeth drilled….the worse the situation the closer I feel to Him. When will it break? It hasn’t been nor is it always this way but that’s where I am right now.

    • Sarah Acland on March 11, 2015 at 09:14

      All things change, and this will change too. I will pray that when it changes for you, your life will become more colorful and light-filled. I have found that pushing on with routine pays off in the long run.

  16. J.A. on March 10, 2015 at 07:04

    Where is God in my routines? – at the very center of them. Liturgy, rituals, beloved corporate prayers are a bit like learning a piece of music. Once I’ve done them over and over enough that they become automatic is when I become free to pour my heart and soul into them to really become part of the music. And during that time, my heart is so alive and my mind, so focused that I come across God – who was there the whole time. And so it is with work. Once I know the steps, I can revise, improvise in order to improve a process for the good of all. And in blessing others, I am blessed…and there is God, right where he was the whole time.

  17. Dee Dee on March 9, 2015 at 23:14

    It isn’t always this way, but when I am paying attention, as I did many years ago, and now have been for the past couple of years, I notice that God is a bit of a practical joker towards me, in a sweet way. God puts little things into my routine that call my attention to God. It might be a silly coincidence, or something out-of-the-ordinary that I notice in my various daily routines, a song, a comment, a creature or a flower I see. When this sort of thing happens, I often say that I heard giggling — meaning that I got the wink and the nod from God. This is how God is present in my routines — God just plops down right in the middle of them with something that makes me smile and say, “Yes, God, I see that you are right here in the midst of this. Thanks for the reminder.” It is a fun way to live. I hope it lasts.

  18. Linda B on March 9, 2015 at 21:31

    There is comfort in doing familiar things. Sometimes when I am hurt or afraid just doing simple tasks. Just moving calms me and allows me to focus on God.

  19. David Cranmer on March 9, 2015 at 21:29

    As I focused on where is God in the routines, I was reminded of verse 5 of hymn 155 in the 1940 hymnal:
    The trivial round, the common task,
    Will furnish all we ought to ask;
    Room to deny ourselves — a road
    To bring us daily nearer God.
    Fortunately, my temperament is such that I do push through and do the common task whether I feel like it or not. Often as I am engaged in my common routines, thoughts of God come into my head, and I start praying. but I find that my mind easily wanders, and my prayers terminate rather quickly. I am thankful that my living arrangements for years have allowed me the time in the morning to read the Bible and pray.

  20. jane on March 9, 2015 at 21:25

    I was at Centering Prayer Group tonight and brought up how the routine of personal prayer as well as our weekly group has helped me feel calm inside. Jesus hoped we would be in Him as He was in the Father and we can only do this through the good routine habit of prayer. I am a writer and often have to push myself to concentrate on what have to finish ( or edit etc) but love to spend time with God.

  21. Sophfronia on March 9, 2015 at 21:19

    God is in the quiet of my early morning routines: tea, prayer, reading. But He is also in the routine of my work, specifically my writing, because it is the work I believe I am meant to do. As I work I’m hoping I can reflect His light in whatever I manage to put on the page every day.

  22. Susan Zimmerman on March 9, 2015 at 20:52

    The ‘is in my ‘practical routines’ via any Absolute. E.g. At my job, I work with numbers and long ago I experienced nature of God’ something of the Infinite nature of God, when understanding that 1+1+1+1+1…can go on infinitely. The Absolute of numbers, as well as the Absolute of Time (finite/Eternal), as well as all of the many Absolutes surrounding ones’ routines say something about the creative ‘Infinite nature’ of the creator. Furthermore, once one can actually identify the same quickly one may say “Oh Well” and a sort of ‘staticness’ brings boredom. I later learned that within ‘every’ Absolute there are also polarities in tension and there went the staticness. E.g. +1, -1; nighttime, daytime, etc… However, it seems that there will be a ‘time’ when the Lion lays down with the Lamb, which suggests the polarities of Genesis 1 will be coming to an end.
    In my theoretical routines, which I prefer, I discovered more than the ‘nature of God for all to see’ I have encountered the Spirit of God…the Infinite in front of me. This spark exists in each ‘person’.

  23. Robert on March 9, 2015 at 20:05

    There can be humility in performing our routines. We all have them: work, family, health, etc. But there can also be pride, turning our routines into idols of perfection or the absolute. Saying how busy we are can be a boast, “Look at me! I’m so busy!!” I very much like Brother Robert’s honesty about ritual, especially because it is so balanced by the understanding that we all need moments, now and then, to ask ourselves what they are for. Bob

  24. Julie on March 9, 2015 at 20:02

    Routines. There is a comfort in the familiarity of routines even if it’s not your favorite routine. There is also a satisfaction completing your task, your routine, or your job for the day. God gives us the chance to have comfort in these things if we allow it. These things are a soul soother and I think God wants us to know and learn how to enjoy even the mundane if necessary.

  25. Karen Fast on March 9, 2015 at 19:56

    I’m recently retired and find physical tasks and exercise away from my desks (yes, I have two at home) a joy, with God’s presence felt. But I can let papers and books cover and clutter all the surfaces in my home in no time, it seems, and I don’t find God in the chore of finally putting the books away and sorting through those papers, filing some, recycling some, reading through some, etc. That discipline needs to become daily routine for me so that I’m not overwhelmed and prevented from feeling God’s constant presence. I hadn’t thought about God in the “picking up.” Thank you.

    • Sarah Acland on March 11, 2015 at 09:10

      This is so true for me. Thank you for the idea that “picking up” can also be God’s work. It sure doesn’t always feel like it!

  26. gwedhen nicholas on March 9, 2015 at 19:47

    Well, I’m fortunate because my work implicitly includes God. When I play the organ at church, or if I am practicing for a service I am playing to Gods’ glory . He and I are both playing the organ. When I am not playing the organ I read my Bible or another book, and I find God there. When I am listening to music I, maybe subconsciously, but just as importantly, find God there. When I am cooking, which I love, I do it with love, and as well as possible,so that my family has something delicious to eat. God is love, so I find God there.

  27. Clare Keller on March 9, 2015 at 16:41

    God is a special thread in the fabric of my life. It is like a gold thread in a tapestry. It catches my eye and reminds me that it’s also behind the tapestry much of the time, but when it comes to the surface it brings a little yes-breath, a thank-you, and when it’s behind the tapestry it’s supporting the other threads. The pushing through and its value for me is to keep on weaving even when it all looks just like a boring green carpet. The work is close work – seeing the big picture is a once in a while privilege, but it wouldn’t be there if not for the day to day weaving, in and out, back and forth.

    • Jennifer on March 11, 2015 at 21:29

      What a beautiful way of saying it. I love this!

  28. David Bowring on March 9, 2015 at 16:36

    I have mixed feelings about the value of doing prayer things whether your heart is in it or not. Perhaps a practice that once was helpful is no longer, we have simply outgrown it. I suppose a good test is to let it slip and see if you miss it or not. If you don’t miss it, what has taken its place?

  29. PT on March 9, 2015 at 15:12

    Combining today’s video with yesterday’s I see some things to ponder. We/I look for God in the grandeur and miraculous in life. God is ever present there, of course, but hardly at the expense of the minutia of daily life and all its routines. God is always present in my life; it is I who am not always present & aware. I end many days realizing that I have not thought of, or prayed with God even once.

    Practice requires two things, passion and discipline. I have lacked both recently. The tie-in to yesterday is that I have depleted the landscape and things have become barren. It is time to reset and pray for the passion to be renewed. The fact that I am following the routine of this series tells me Br. Robert is right on target when he speaks of the tremendous value of just going through the motions. Awareness is the first step.

  30. Nicki on March 9, 2015 at 15:04

    Kicking and screaming through a life of routines that at times I was convinced were put there just to frustrate me, was a hard job and the only way I knew to deal with it. I often shunned suggested routines in fear that they would bog me down and get me into a rut. My life of survival has been affirmed and comforted in the one routine that I chose, which was to attend church. Beginning at age 11, and later after a couple of rocky times, this journey was the only and obviously the best routine I, with God’s help, set for myself. Happily, a great deal of it was spent in a choir loft. God was/is right here all the time, guiding me, loving me, honoring me and I’m sure doing a lot of wincing.
    My lifestyle put me in a seat-of-the-pants learning mode. I felt alone, doing the best that I could. This is a difficult habit to break, but God has been so attentive and nurturing, that I have learned, finally, that I never did any of it alone. God’s help has been there, every step of the way

  31. norma on March 9, 2015 at 14:56

    For me, God is all around me in everything I do.He is constant.

  32. Debbie on March 9, 2015 at 14:28

    I find when I do the routine jobs it becomes a second nature and mindless. I don’t get stuck with “this is the list” and don’t detract from it. I am open to the things that pop up while I am doing the list. I think if I leave myself open to the things that pop up that I am also leaving room for God. I have found myself being where I was needed most on several occasions, because I wasn’t where I was “supposed” to be.

  33. Patricia on March 9, 2015 at 14:17

    Our routines changed early Sunday morning. We were waking up in the light and now we wake up in the dark. By after dinner it was dark and now it is still light. It will take me about 2 weeks to get reoriented and yet God is here!

  34. Maria on March 9, 2015 at 13:36

    Robert, thank you so much for this pearl of hard-earned wisdom that you shared. It resonated profoundly with me. I love you all and may you continue to be blessed and may we, whom you teach, help us understand, to reach out and try to grasp the ineffable, continue to bless and pray for you.

  35. Jan on March 9, 2015 at 13:32

    My involvement in this Lenten series is life-changing for me. The wisdom of the brothers snd your comments that describe your successes and concerns are incredibly helpful. I am struggling to set up a morning routine of reflection and prayer….to make time in my day for God. It is what I need and want. I would like to ask for some help from you,,mostly about the logistics of this. What time of day do you do your prayer and reflection , and how long do you spend doing it? Do you have a set sequence of prayers and reflections? What does your reflection time look like? As I said, I am struggling and I think if I have some concrete examples of what you do, I can feel more comfortable. Thank you all for yoir wisdom, your encouragement, and your willingness to share your own thoughts and feelings. This is my first time to post, but I read what you write every day.

  36. Irene on March 9, 2015 at 12:44

    Routine… it swallows me up. I forget about God, about His look upon me. I remember about Him just when go into chapel or church.
    Sometimes I think: does God really need my routine prayer? my routine duties? sand of my everydays life?

    I dream to learn to live in God’s presence. Is it possible? Oh, God!!!

  37. Harold Pound on March 9, 2015 at 12:35

    God is everywhere, but at times I forget that fact.
    When I am with the homeless men is respite at the center, I try to ask God to help me be a better chaplain, and I ask God to teach men by listening at least twice as much as I talk. When I do this I’m amazed at the conversations that develop.

  38. Muriel on March 9, 2015 at 12:18

    I thrive on ‘routines’ and need them to get through the day with the help of God. A morning prayer for all , helps me and I love to think of my nearest and dearest and ask for God’s help to guide me through the day. I do not always have my heart in my daily chores and used to just go through the motions but making things meaningful certainly helps. Also, I try not to feel guilty for just going through the motions because as Br, Robert says the ‘doing’ is important. I end the day with a prayer of gratitude for everything- work, health, energy, communication from others and for God’s love.

  39. Lisa on March 9, 2015 at 11:38

    My morning meditations and sitting silently – starting my day in this way almost without exception – opens my heart and mind to God and to subtle and very gradual transformation. I HAVE to do this before my day begins if it is to happen at all. And it “sets me up” to being open and seeing my world through a different lens during the remainder of the day. It is invaluable to my spiritual growth.

  40. Verlinda on March 9, 2015 at 10:57

    God is with me in my most mundane routines–driving to work, washing dishes, cleaning the bathroom. I’ve often found that by doing something I really don’t like to do but have to do brings God much closer to me than some more traditional worship rituals. It’s all in my mood, I suppose–but like the athletic shoe company says, “Just do it!”

  41. Daniel on March 9, 2015 at 10:47

    Thank you Brother Robert for expressing the hidden joy of routine! On my first visit to an Anglican eucharist service I was caught by the words “it is meet, right and our bounden duty”. There is so little sense of duty in our civilization, it seems, and this weekly reminder has become a significant source of strength and joy for me. In my musical practice also, sometimes just “going through the motions”, be it with a scale or a technical study, or a simple passage of a well-known piece, eventually brings me to the point of being able to connect with the instrument in earnest, and to tackle my own limitations through more applied effort. Then there is room for the insights to grow.

    By attending to a spiritual routine I am more able give attention, thanks and praise for all the gifts we receive through grace.

  42. Karen on March 9, 2015 at 10:35

    God is always with me. I just need to look for God. When I’m struggling with work and daily routines and chores, I pray for the energy and motivation to push through.

  43. maureen on March 9, 2015 at 10:29

    I think of the many necessary daily routines (laundry, cooking, hygiene etc . . .) as tending God’s creation, that is caring for self and others so that we are ready for the more interesting – or challenging – work when it comes. For reasons that are a long story, it was necessary to remove of all my mother’s clothes from her room at an assisted living facility and clean them. At first the task was daunting and difficult, until I focused on it as an act of loving my mom. As an act of love, it was much easier.

    • David Cranmer on March 9, 2015 at 21:19

      Thank you for reminding me of this. It will help me as I interact with my step-mom.

  44. Rev Tom Calhoun on March 9, 2015 at 10:26

    We go through our motions every day, and of course God is always with us. But do we constantly think of God? I’m a pilgrim on that journey…I haven’t arrived.

  45. Louise Howlett on March 9, 2015 at 10:07

    God is most present in my awareness when I am pushing myself to do a routine that is necessary– housework or cooking, writing up my notes after therapy sessions, writing sermons– but I sometimes avoid or procrastinate and need God’s help to push through. I am always so thankful and have a sense of blessing and freedom when the task is done and I have been aware of God helping me through it.

  46. Theresa on March 9, 2015 at 09:54

    In just being there for people. In showing up and never knowing if the routine will be routine or will be totally disrupted by the unexpected–the people interruptions, the weather, cancellations, and even illness.

  47. george on March 9, 2015 at 09:32

    Woody Allen said 90% of life is showing up

    • Rev Tom Calhoun on March 9, 2015 at 10:22

      Thank you for the smile.

  48. Terri on March 9, 2015 at 09:25

    I miss having a routine each morning. God continues to be in my life. I pray each day to God to give me guidance in searching for a new job. I am very routine-based in my everyday living and feel lost at the moment. I am not sure how to handle this free time besides reading and watching Netflix and cutting food vouchers for an outreach program we support at church.

  49. Sue on March 9, 2015 at 09:16

    Recent retirement has done away with many of my former routines! Trying establish new ones has led to a lot of questions about where God is now in various parts of my day. I used to think routines were boring. Now I can see there is a certain need for them, for some things to become “muscle memory”, so I can get beyond them to being quiet so I am more aware of the God who is always present.

  50. Karen on March 9, 2015 at 09:12

    I have a morning and afternoon/evening prayer time with God. This is when I thank Him for all that I recognize needs thanks (I believe that there is also much in the day that I should probably be giving thanks for, but don’t know that these things are occurring) and ask Him for the things I believe a need to. Now I’m trying to learn how to make time to sit and give God an opportunity to speak to me. This is not easy for me; just making the time is so out of my routine. But I’m trying and will continue.

    • David Cranmer on March 9, 2015 at 21:14

      Not easy for me also.

  51. John on March 9, 2015 at 09:06

    Since much of my work is not routine, repetitive and dull, but rather engages my knowledge, skill and creativity, I had not associated “just pushing through” with my work. As I reflect on the routine aspects of work, it seems that my sense of God present comes easier then.

  52. Marilyn on March 9, 2015 at 09:01

    These words are exactly the ones I needed to hear this morning.

  53. Vicky Moore on March 9, 2015 at 08:58

    More and more I am seeing my life as a gift and I am learning to live in each moment so I do not waste this gift. When I am intentional about completing a task, being present in my relationships with others, pausing to watch the sun rise, and praying I find a sense of joy. In that joy is the nearness of God.

    • Mimi on March 9, 2015 at 20:24

      I loved your comment and will think about it all day.

  54. Ralph on March 9, 2015 at 08:49

    Ritual is an interesting one. Before any ritual becomes a habit our eyes are wide open, we strain to comprehend, and we walk away touched by experiencing something new… We grow a little.

    Later, after the habit has fully crystallized into not much more than muscle memory we enjoy this place that to us feels very comfortable. We are in our comfort zone. Which can be a good place, or a trap that holds us back… And perhaps we stop growing.

    So, how to utilize ritual and still continue to grow? What am I saying… It’s this… To me growth never feels quite comfortable.

  55. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 9, 2015 at 08:46

    I find God in the every day tasks of cleaning the house,
    putting things away, cooking dinner, cleaning the dishes, cleaning the counters, taking out the trash, etc. Theses tasks seem meaningless, but when we do these tasks with forethought, care and love, then even the smallest task becomes meaningful because it is with God’s help.

    • Joanna. Cotter on March 11, 2015 at 23:23

      How true & in so doing, one feels peaceful.

  56. N on March 9, 2015 at 08:43

    A wonderful contribution from Brother Robert – some days I know that my heart is not in my morning prayer but nonetheless I have never regretted ‘pushing through’. God’s presence is everywhere inescapable – prayer, liturgy, routine help to remind me of that even in my cloudier moments.

  57. Marta e. on March 9, 2015 at 08:35

    Yes. The mind watching the mind’s working. Being “with” washing the dishes, being ” with” prayer as you pray, always extending the mindfulness to each task throughout the day turns the entire day into a day of meditation.

    • Marta e. on March 9, 2015 at 08:38

      Habits, good or “bad” create more habits but observing them gently helps create corrections and progress.

  58. Sarah Acland on March 9, 2015 at 08:23

    I am appreciating the contact with the community of praying people that comes from reading these posts. It really helps to push my thinking forward, and yes, things you do all the time definitely shape the way you are. It is not possible to participate in something and not be formed by it. It seems to me that the same goes for recurrent thoughts.
    There is a story from Native Americans about an old man talking to his granddaughter. She asks him what he’s watching. He says – ‘I am watching two wolves fighting inside me. One is a good wolf, and the other is evil’.
    She asks – ‘Which one will win?’ And he says – ‘The one I feed’.
    I try to remember the story when angry, resentful, hateful thoughts pass through my mind. I don’t want that wolf to win!

    • NA on March 9, 2015 at 08:34

      Amen!

  59. NA on March 9, 2015 at 08:21

    It is interesting to me to revisit this question from another perspective because I have had the opposite problem, often pushing through when my body and soul was screaming at me to stop. I think the specific What through which we are pushing is crucial to consider. I have found that establishing a routine, regular habits that replenish and nourish, like this Lenten series, are also things that sometimes have to be done regardless of whether you feel like it. Sometimes our feelings lead us astray from the very things we need the most, and we need to remember that a feeling is a feeling, not a command. Oddly enough, I have also found that somehow in the doing, a greater desire for the thing you really need the most is able to well up.

    • NA on March 9, 2015 at 08:25

      That said, I’d also like to chime in that these daily video meditations are really filling a need for me, and I’d sure love to see them continue in this form throughout the year! Even just hearing the bells first thing as we start puts a beginning to the day that I find heartening toward the challenges of the day. Thank you, Brothers, all!

      • NA on March 9, 2015 at 08:35

        Not to mention being a place where God is very present in that routine!

      • Jane on March 9, 2015 at 10:47

        It was wonderful to read about your desire to see the video meditations continue throughout the year. This is just what I was thinking as I powered up my lap top to view today’s meditation. The sound of the bell a the beginning of each video helps me to become centered for the rest of the day and the message of each video is so meaningful to me. And I so appreciate the sharing of so many others, which is also helping me to grow. Thank you to all of you!!

      • Janet on March 9, 2015 at 11:43

        I would love to hear the Brothers in this form throughout the year. I have been following the daily sermons this past year as my daily discipline, and have found them so helpful. But to see you, and to hear your voices speaking from the heart, brings me much closer to you and your words.
        Thank you Brothers, and God Bless you.

  60. Carole on March 9, 2015 at 08:01

    Yes, there is comfort in just doing it, and yes sometimes we just have to do it, push through it so to speak. But, we are never alone

  61. Norm Anderson on March 9, 2015 at 07:56

    God is with with me ALWAYS. I am aware of God’s present only sometimes. I do find God in the mundane often though-the fulfilling of a mundane chore can be centering and satisfying when I become aware that God is actually WITH me-performing that chore.

  62. Joan Alayne stevens on March 9, 2015 at 07:55

    God is presnt in all of my routines but I am not always present. I love it when I am. One of my favorite books, Everywhere You Go There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn is on meditation. I like to think that, similarly, wherever I go there is God. It is my challenge to be more aware of this.

    • Janet on March 9, 2015 at 11:29

      Years ago, on a silent retreat, our leader gave us this thought to meditate on:
      “God is not elsewhere.”
      When I am rushing around, trying to do too many things at once, it sometimes pops into my head. It always makes me stop, makes me breathe, and I am able to see things more clearly.

  63. Michael on March 9, 2015 at 07:54

    My relationship with routine is complex. On the one hand I can find it boring and tedious, and in the next moment, it comforts and reassures me the world is as it should be. Yes in a world that is increasingly individualized, finding value in routine may seem counterproductive, but pushing through and needing to work at something whether it is finding God, meaning in your work, or a reason to stay in a marriage all have value. Fake it until you make it, has a degree of sanity to it

  64. Kathy B on March 9, 2015 at 07:50

    God is always in the routines, and I am most productive when I rest in that, but too often I get so busy that I forget to acknowledge it. Fortunately, when I have a chance to come back to my thoughts, he’s been there all along. I start with morning meditation, and a quiet pause before school starts, but then I take off running. It’s no wonder why I’m always spiritually panting…

  65. Page on March 9, 2015 at 07:47

    This is very important to understand. Sometimes things just need to get done no matter if one is motivate to do it. My Daughter & I were talking about that this morning, before I watch the video. She is having trouble with wanting to do her school work for her college classes. I am going to have her watch these before she goes to class this morning hope it helps. I thank God for providing me you, brothers. You thoughts and wisdom’s have helped me and my family to be who we want to be and to become.

  66. Linda H. on March 9, 2015 at 07:38

    It is taking me a while to respond. The easy answer is my morning prayers for those in need and my evening prayer of gratitude, but as I take more time to consider my routines and think about Gos’s presence, I realize that when I shower or exercise or cook or wash dishes, God feels close when I’m unhurried and focusing on my body or the meal or the dishes I’m washing. To me it’s about being present and doing something intentionally. If I’m hurried, which is too often the case, there’s too much noise for God’s presence to known.

    • Michael on March 9, 2015 at 07:56

      The space to hear or feel something is important

  67. Nancy W. Del Borgo on March 9, 2015 at 07:35

    Br. Robert has scored a direct hit. I have changed. The ritual I love so dearly now is postponed until I have done the day’s readings. It’s a sacrifice, but one I now cannot get along without making. God comes first now. Always.

  68. John David Spangler on March 9, 2015 at 07:33

    Brother Robert, I have a very close friend who is an agnostic, even so I rank him very highly as a spiritual advisor. He is always very curious why I keep on practicing my religion. (I’m a cradle Episcopalian and have become more “high church” over the years, making the sign of the cross, genuflecting, etc.) He and I agree with such observations as: “Man never does evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” (Balise Pascall); and, religion and the practice of it is all too often “based on laws not God”. (The Revd. Joanna Leiserson). I am preparing an answer, an explanation, of why I keep on going to Church. Your Lenten observation for to-day will help me do so. As you wrote, the powerful thing about religion is that it teaches us that there is a value in simply doing something and a value of actually going through the motions of something. Thank you! I have already quoted you in my explanation and will do so again. On work, my father always taught me to do all jobs well. P. S. I served in the U. S. Navy aboard the “jeep” aircraft carrier the U. S. S. Cape “Esperance”. There is always “hope”. Thank you for keeping it alive!

  69. Kathleen on March 9, 2015 at 07:32

    I like this idea of applying the thinking around the transformative effect of religious ritual to daily routines. How are my daily routines, the ones I need to just push through, transforming me? A friend of mine took a job after college in a particular financial firm. He said that much of what the company did was “evil,” but that it was just a job for him and he wasn’t directly involved in any of the questionable activities. So for years it was his routine, he pushed through, and it had a transformative effect on him, changing his values and his outlook on life. I’m not sharing this to suggest that working for financial firms is wrong. I’m thinking of it as an example of how we are often not aware of how our daily routines transform us. So today I am going to try to think about my daily routines, how they might be transforming me, and if that transformation is leading me closer to or further from God.

    • Carol Tolonen on March 9, 2015 at 09:59

      WHOA! Brother Robert said pushing through with routines is SOMETIMES good, not always. I think we have an obligation to also be aware of the effects of our routines on others and to question them and perhaps refuse to do them if we feel they are immoral. He was talking about rituals and routines whose purpose we see as good but that we just don’t feel like doing today.

      • Kathleen on March 9, 2015 at 10:23

        I agree with you. I think Brother Robert also asked us to examine our routines and wonder about the transformative effect they might be having on us. I used my friend as an example of how we can be blind to the transformative effect that our routines have. It was an extreme example to be sure.

        • Carol Tolonen on March 10, 2015 at 07:57

          Thanks for your reply, Kathleen. I misread you. I thought you meant that participating in routines can transform us to be able to accept what we must do without complaint and that that is a good thing. As I reread what you wrote, I see you were speaking about a dangerous negative transformation. Thanks!

    • David Cranmer on March 9, 2015 at 21:05

      Thanks for reminding us of this fact — we can be transformed without realizing what is happening to us.

  70. Roderic Brawn on March 9, 2015 at 07:20

    I go to church, and yesterday during our Eucharist service my mind wandered to the extent that I did not remember the Homilist’s message. I hope there is value in doing things. I sing in the Senior choir. Well I brazenly sang a wrong note because my mind wandered during the singing of the anthem. I was singing more quietly because I think sometimes I sing to loudly. I wanted to hear the other basses. Then my mind went somewhere else even while I went on in an automatic mode. I need to work better when I work.

  71. Christopher Epting on March 9, 2015 at 07:08

    Yes, I think of the disciplines of the Daily Office, weekly Eucharist, sabbath keeping, even daily chores and work as practice, as Spring Training against the day when my very life may depend on self discipline. Personal fulfillment is not all there is!

  72. JGlow on March 9, 2015 at 07:07

    How amazing is it to routinely sit with God before breakfast? He is there every morning. What a joy to routinely fellowship with the spirit, amazing grace indeed.

  73. Barbara on March 9, 2015 at 07:06

    Where is God? God is in the here, now — in this breath… just as God was in the there, then — in the previous breath … and just as God already is and shall be — in the next breath — and the last. I AM THAT I AM.

    • suzanne robinson on March 19, 2015 at 19:10

      YES

  74. Susan on March 9, 2015 at 06:57

    As I listened to this, I thought about a conversation I had yesterday with a woman who is new to the Episcopal church. Liturgy is all new to her – she is not used to worshipping that way. For a while, she will need to think about it – what page she’s supposed to be on, what the community is praying, etc. I thought about how the familiarity of “the work of the people” makes a worship service almost like walking a labyrinth for me. I just do it, very automatically, and in that communal practice that is so familiar, my thoughts are able to rise above to experience something else that is beyond the sum of the parts. I believe the same is true for the rituals of my daily life with my husband, and our sharing of household chores. A dance of balance and coordination all surrounded, held together, and blessed by God.

  75. Kara on March 9, 2015 at 06:04

    Here in the present…no matter how I feel…

  76. bob on March 9, 2015 at 03:22

    Sometimes it just about pushing through- brilliant.

    That’s the chores, the admin, the least favorite course marking. Trying to take those to God will be a challenge but a good one.

    • Elissa on March 9, 2015 at 11:02

      Love the concept of ‘Pushing Through’ or as my father would have said “Buckling Down’. With the perspective that there is satisfaction to be gain in doing the mundane, the routine and the unpleasant, it helps to also remember that every so often, you should check where you are in the process (or work) to see that the “needle” is going up or the process has some direction.

      • bob on March 9, 2015 at 18:20

        Looking up to check – lovely thought – will do that.

    • Judy on March 9, 2015 at 22:25

      It seems like God is a routine for me. Prayer in the morning, prayer at night, prayer sometimes during the day, but not nearly as often as I would wish. It is as if I forget about God except in “prescribed” times. I really want that to change. I mean to have God in my daily routines, and it’s like I forget to.

      • Cameron Coley on March 10, 2015 at 06:49

        I for the most part make prayer a routine. Unfortunately, worry is too which prompts prayer. Pushing through to pray as part of a routine is good because it helps me to maintain. I always get irritated though because I want to pray more or I feel like I have not done it enough. I want to make gratitude more s constant part of my day.

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