Wishing you a Blessed 2015
In February, we hosted a group of Tibetan Buddhist monks from Australia, who created a beautiful Sand Mandala for Peace. This was our last Buddhist event before the name of the Centre was changed from SAT CHIT ANAND (meaning Truth Consciousness Bliss) to BENEDICTUS DEUS.(meaning Blessed be God). A new website was designed (by me!) which was a huge learning curve: one of those things you think you will never be able to do, and then suddenly it is done! And you are amazed - how did i do that!
On a personal level and as part of my ongoing spiritual formation, I attended 2 retreats in Cape Town: The Gift of Life with Fr Carl Arico from America, hosted by Contemplative Outreach in May; and The Philosophy and Theology of Leadership with Professor Al Gini from America, hosted by the Jesuit Institute and comprising their annual Living Theology Course in June.
I did a 4-day Jesuit Prayer Guiding Course in Pretoria in August, where we learnt different prayer techniques and how to assist and guide others in prayer. I also attended a wonderful 4-day Accelerate Seminar in Plett entitled Life is Spiritual, with Johnny Louw and Jacques Malan of Father's Voice Ministries.
I assisted with a Centering Prayer Renewal Day in November, which was hosted by Contemplative Outreach at the Anglican Church in Knysna, and I was appointed Chairlady of the newly established Garden Route chapter, which extends from Oudtshoorn and Mossel Bay to Plettenberg Bay.
With you one wild and precious life?
The start of a New Year is traditionally a time to make new year’s resolutions, to set goals, or to create some kind of a vision for the year ahead. Why should we set goals? Because life is a gift and we don't want to waste it. We don't want to just drift along aimlessly. Goals are good. They are a spiritual discipline. They challenge our faith, they develop character and build hope.
Goals are a spiritual responsibility:
If you don’t have goals for your life, you have already decided to let other people run your life. When you don’t decide in advance what is important, you let other people decide. It is your life: make the most of it! Dream big! Albert Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." So set your goal, keep your eyes focused on it, and move toward it. William Blake said: "What is now proved, was once only imagined."
Goals are statements of faith:
Every time you set a goal, you are saying, “I believe that I can do this. I believe God wants me to do this. I believe God is going to help me do this in my life.” Goals are a statement of faith, and they also stretch your faith. The bigger your goal, the more your faith will be stretched. The Bible says: “According to your faith let it be done to you” (Matthew 9:29). Henry David Thoreau said: "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
Goals focus your energy:
Focus is the key to an effective life. If you spread your energy out and diffuse it over too many things, it is difficult to make impact. If you focus your life, it is more powerful, and more likely to impact the world. Blessed Mother Teresa said: "You cannot do great things, but you can do small things with great love." The key to being effective in life is to concentrate on the important things. Goals help you maintain that kind of focus. St Paul says: “I do not run without a goal. I fight like a boxer who is hitting something and not just the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26)
Goals give purpose and meaning:
Goals keep you going. They motivate you and give you direction. As they say, it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, it is better to try and fail than never to have tried at all. Goals don't have to be big. No-one learns to run without learning to crawl and to walk first. Small goals are important, because to get from where you are to where you want to be, isn’t one big leap, but many small steps. So carry on, one step at a time. In the beginning it may seem impossible, but remember that with God, all things are possible!
Goals build character:
The greatest benefit to your life will not be your accomplishments but rather what happens inside you while you are moving toward your goal. God is more interested in your character than in your accomplishments. While you’re working on your goal, God is working on you. He is building your character, and that is what will last for eternity. That’s why Paul says: “I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize” (Philippians 3:12). It takes energy, effort, and purpose to reach your goal, and in the process you become more like Christ.
Reflect: God has a calling on your life:
What goals will you set for this year so that you are continually growing in every area of your life? In what ways do your goals reflect what you hope God will do and expect him to do in and through you? Are your goals aligned with God's will for your life, so that you can receive His blessing?
“We plan the way we want to live, but only GOD makes us able to live it.” (Proverbs 16:9) We need God’s Spirit to empower us, and to enable us to make the changes we want to make. Effective and long-lasting growth and change is not based on willpower – it is based on God power – it is based more on trusting than on trying. It is faith that moves mountains. “You will not succeed by your own strength or by your own power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord.” (Zechariah 4:6)
Lord, may everything we do begin with your inspiration,
continue with your help, and reach perfection under your guidance.
May you be filled
with the knowledge of His will
in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,
so that you may walk worthy of the Lord,
fully pleasing to Him,
bearing fruit in every good work,
and growing in the knowledge of God.
May you be strengthened with all power,
according to His glorious might.
MAY 2015 BE A YEAR OF TRIUMPH! May we abide in God's will. May we walk worthy and be fully pleasing. May we blossom and flower. May our good works grow and prosper and produce much fruit.