Pruning

Like a garden, your life might be full of plants, growing all over the place. Some of these you want to keep; others have to go. They may be good in themselves, or were good in the past, but are no longer good for you. They are in fact stopping you now from thriving and growing, dissipating your energy, preventing you from realizing your vision. Name them. Then, with clippers in hand, ask for the courage to prune, ruthlessly, that you may bear much fruit, to God’s glory.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Change

Because Jesus, our Risen Savior promises to be with us always, to the end of the age, we can even face confidently that final and greatest change, which is death itself: when “we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.”

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Alleluia

We have died and are now alive in Christ. In our hearts, we give joyful thanks that there is no going back. For we are in Christ and are a new creation. Everything old has passed away – see, everything has become new. Alleluia!

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Redemption

Life has a way of bashing us about. We each bear our scars, even though we prefer to hide them from the gaze of others. But this Easter season, we celebrate with joy that extraordinary power of God which redeems what is broken, mends what is torn, and gives life to that which has died. This is the good news of Easter: “For the one who raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us.”

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Faith Seeking Understanding – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Br. Geoffrey Tristram

John 20: 19-31

The story of Jesus’ appearance to Thomas is one of the most moving in all the Gospels. And for me, the most powerful evocation of the scene is found in that amazing painting by Caravaggio, called, ‘The Incredulity of St Thomas.’. If you don’t know it I really recommend it for a meditation. Jesus is standing in the room with Thomas and two other disciples. He has just said, ‘Peace be with you’. And now, in the painting, (although the text does not tell us whether this happened), Jesus grasps Thomas’ hand and thrusts it deep into the wound in his side. Thomas and the other disciples stare with utter astonishment.  But Jesus looks tenderly at the amazed face of his friend, as he first uncovers his wound. As Jesus pulls back his robe to show the wound, it catches a ray of brilliant sunlight, and the whole scene is bathed in this light. It is a poignant moment of enlightenment, and of coming to faith for Thomas.

It was seeing Jesus’ body, in all its brokenness and woundedness which brought Thomas to belief. But this beautiful story is not a story of proof but a story of love. For me, the story of Thomas is not primarily a story of a sceptic who comes to believe because his list of doubts is answered; not an intellectual assent to something proven. The story of Thomas is rather the story of a man who comes to believe not because he has enough proof, but because he has actually touched the mystery of divine, self-sacrificial love. Read More

Hope

Death has been conquered. As the leaves and flowers burst forth, so Jesus bursts forth from the tomb. ‘Behold I make all things new!’ There are many reasons right now why our own hearts might still feel frozen or wintry: anxiety, restlessness, uncertainty, loneliness, grief. In your prayers, open your heart to Jesus and invite him to draw near. Allow him to fill you with new life and hope.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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The Hour Has Come – Br. Geoffrey Tristram

Br. Geoffrey Tristram

John 12: 20-36

‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified’. I find our Gospel reading today, on this day, this Tuesday in Holy Week, to be really moving.  We are in company with Jesus as he gets ready to die. He is fully prepared. As Son of God he knows that his death will bring life and salvation to the world. But he’s also Son of Man, he is just like us: flesh and blood. He is fearful. ‘Now, my soul is troubled he says’. We hear similar words in the other Gospels, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; (Matthew 26:38)

Each day of this Holy Week, Jesus draws closer to his death. We meditate again on his gracious words and actions, culminating in that glorious final commitment from the Cross, ‘Into your hands O Lord I commend my spirit’.  In doing so we can I believe be strengthened to prepare for our own death. Jesus was fully prepared for his death, and we should be too. There is something rather important being said in the Great Litany in the Book of Common Prayer when we pray to be ‘delivered from dying suddenly and unprepared.’ It is good to be ready, to be prepared for when our own death comes. St Francis of Assisi could speak of death as ‘Sister Death’, because she was for him a familiar and welcome companion. It is said of Pope John 23rd -good Pope John- that as he lay dying of a rather terrible stomach cancer, he told his secretary, ‘My bags are packed and ready to go.’  In the Rule of our Society we read, ‘We are called to remember our mortality day by day with unflinching realism, shaking off the sleep of denial.’ (Chapter 48).  Death for the Christian is no enemy, is not to be feared, but is rather a kind angel waiting to lead us into the presence of our heavenly Father. Read More

Loss

The events of Holy Week trace how Jesus slowly loses first his followers, then his trial, then his clothing, then his strength, and finally his life. Holy Week offers the powerful invitation, day by day, to let go – to loosen our fearful grip on our attachments, our illusions about ourselves, to strip ourselves of all that keeps us from receiving the new life that the crucified and risen Lord longs to give us.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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Breakthrough

Christ breaks through to you, not in those places where you are strong, but precisely where you know failure or weakness. It is there that God is waiting to meet you, to offer you forgiveness and renewal.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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A provocation for your day:

Where do you try to keep God out? What parts of your life or self seem too flawed, unlovable, or unredeemable? Let God in.

Habits

What is restricting your growth into larger life? Perhaps certain habits, compulsions, attitudes, or behaviors have hardened into a kind of shell, stopping you from growing. God is inviting you to break that shell.

-Br. Geoffrey Tristram, SSJE

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A provocation for your day:

Which of your habits is God inviting you to reconsider, perhaps to interrupt? Look for the tools that God has placed in your life to address them.