daily reflection: morning thoughts

Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick.

— ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, p. 164

For many years I pondered over God’s will for me, believing that perhaps a great destiny had been ordained for my life. After all, having been born into a specific faith, hadn’t I been told early that I was “chosen”? It finally occurred to me, as I considered the above passage, that God’s will for me was simply that I practice Step Twelve on a daily basis. Furthermore, I realized I should do this to the best of my ability. I soon learned that the practice aids me in keeping my life in the context of the day at hand.

henri nouwen: the large network of God’s people

The saints are God’s holy people. The apostle Paul speaks about all those who belong to Christ as “holy people” or “saints.” He directs his letters to “those who have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be God’s holy people” (1 Corinthians 1:2; see also Ephesians 1:1). This sanctity is the work of the Spirit of Jesus. Paul again says: “All of us, with our unveiled faces like mirrors reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the image that we reflect in brighter and brighter glory; this is the working of the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

As saints we belong to that huge network of God’s people that shines like a multitude of stars in the dark sky of the universe.

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daily reflection: self-acceptance

We know that God lovingly watches over us. We know that when we turn to Him, all will be well with us, here and hereafter.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 105

I pray for the willingness to remember that I am a child of God, a divine soul in human form, and that my most basic and urgent life-task is to accept, know, love and nurture myself. As I accept myself, I am accepting God’s will. As I know and love myself, I am knowing and loving God. As I nurture myself I am acting on God’s guidance.

I pray for the willingness to let go of my arrogant self-criticism, and to praise God by humbly accepting and caring for myself.

henri nouwen: saints, people like us

Through baptism we become part of a family much larger than our biological family. It is a family of people “set apart” by God to be light in the darkness. These set-apart people are called saints.

Although we tend to think about saints as holy and pious, and picture them with halos above their heads and ecstatic gazes, true saints are much more accessible. They are men and women like us, who live ordinary lives and struggle with ordinary problems. What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God and God’s people. Some of their lives may look quite different, but most of their lives are remarkably similar to our own.

The saints are our brothers and sisters, calling us to become like them.

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daily reflection: a sense of belonging

Perhaps one of the greatest rewards of meditation and prayer is the sense of belonging that comes to us.

— TWELVE STEPS AND TWELVE TRADITIONS, p. 105

That’s what it is — belonging! After a session of meditation I knew that the feeling I was experiencing was a sense of belonging because I was so relaxed. I felt quieter inside, more willing to discard little irritations. I appreciated my sense of humor. What I also experience in my daily practice is the sheer pleasure of belonging to the creative flow of God’s world. How propitious for us that prayer and meditation are written right into our A.A. way of life.

henri nouwen: the saints who live short lives

As we see so many people die at a young age, through wars, starvation, AIDS, street violence, and physical and emotional neglect, we often wonder what the value of their short lives is. It seems that their journeys have been cut off before they could reach any of their goals, realise any of their dreams, or accomplish any of their tasks. But, short as their lives may have been, they belong to that immense communion of saints, from all times and all places, who stand around the throne of the Lamb dressed in white robes proclaiming the victory of the crucified Christ (see Revelation 7:9).

The story of the innocent children murdered by King Herod in his attempt to destroy Jesus (see Matthew 2:13-18), reminds us that saintliness is not just for those who lived long and hardworking lives. These children, and many who died young, are as much witnesses to Jesus as those who accomplished heroic deeds.

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daily reflection: step into the sunlight

But first of all we shall want sunlight; nothing much can grow in the dark. Meditation is our step out into the sun.

— AS BILL SEES IT, p. 10

Sometimes I think I don’t have time for prayer and meditation, forgetting that I always found the time to drink. It is possible to make time for anything I want to do if I want it badly enough. When I start the routine of prayer and meditation, it’s a good idea to plan to devote a small amount of time to it. I read a page from our Fellowship’s books in the morning, and say “Thank You, God,” when I go to bed at night. As prayer becomes a habit, I will increase the time spent on it, without even noticing the foray it makes into my busy day. If I have trouble praying, I just repeat the Lord’s Prayer because it really covers everything. Then I think of what I can be grateful for and say a word of thanks.I don’t need to shut myself in a closet to pray. It can be done even in a room full of people. I just remove myself mentally for an instant. As the practice of prayer continues, I will find I don’t need words, for God can, and does, hear my thoughts through silence.