Tag Archives: Creator

otium sanctum means…

(photo: Thomas Merton)

A friend’s comment spoke volumes to me, so I wanted to devote a post on the idea.

“The key to spiritual growth is otium sanctum, so hard to trust in our world that values efficiency and quick results.” -Doug Jackson (Excerpt of his comment on the previous post.)

On page 85 in his book, Spiritual Direction and Meditation, Thomas Merton explains otium sanctum:

Now the Fathers of the Church well understood the importance of a certain “holy leisure”  [or] “otium sanctum.” We cannot give ourselves to spiritual things if we are always swept off our feet by a multitude of external activities. Business is not the supreme virtue, and sanctity is not measured by the amount of work we accomplish. Perfection is found in the purity of our love for God, and there is plenty of  time for it to mature.

Otium Sanctum is part of the not doing– It’s the “hard work” of that. The notion is paradoxical certainly, but bluntly revelatory.

How do you “not do” in your life, or for God which brings you to greater maturity?

Do you think God does or does not function with otium sanctum?

If so, how?

Thanks for your participation on this one.

Parlous Thoughts on Praise

everything praise

The most loving, holy, good, powerful Being is also the most humble. Does he crave praise?

He demands it. He deserves it. He wants it. Yet, it cannot be for the reasons humans enjoy it. God is not a man.

Ego issues do not beset God. This reason doesn’t fit the picture of the perfect Being who died in humiliation to save us.

God, as a rule, doesn’t force his power on us, and if he did, continual obedience would be inescapable. Look around, and in your own heart: such is not the case. At all.

It seems God is pleased with what turns out to be our feeble and fleeting attempts at praise. But why would it matter so much to him? Why would scripture be rife with the stuff? Why would God make a big point to command it of us?

Might it be that it’s good for us?

Might it be that it’s helpful for us, and gets us straightened out?

Might it be that by giving praise to Almighty Creator and Father God, we learn who he is, and who we are, in a way that is not possible otherwise?

It seems that we tune to the proper pitch with it. We obtain an appropriate sense of the world (Reality), ourselves, and others when praise takes place. (Even more so when praise is first and chief of our attitude and actions.) It seems like a powerful orientation takes place when we praise.

If we’re not careful, we might not be the centers of our own universe. Then what? (gasp) Reality could set in. Of course, that’s a good thing. An adjustment, but a good thing.

What thoughts do you have on praise or its purpose?

How does it help you?

Spiritual Challenge: A prayer walk.


Flickr photo from this source.

I’m curious to know if you’ve ever been on a prayer walk? Would you please tell me in the comment section/link below?

The weather (in North America) is changing to mild temperatures, and the beauty of Spring is here.

I’d like to inspire you to carve out 20-45 minutes, (or more, if possible) within the next few days from the time you read this, to absorb the beauty of creation, and the God of it.

This beautiful picture gave me the kick to write this post. Let’s both do it. Go to your calendar now, check for a spot, and mark it down. Morning time, evening, weekend, whatever. You truly have 20 minutes, I know it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. We both know-once you mark it down-it’s quite likely to happen.

With this time, you can allow yourself the experience of a guided prayer walk, using some, or all of the guidelines I’ll lay out below. It will help create a place in your heart to experience the presence of God within and around you. It’s really the perfect Rx for the spring season.

Some suggestions for your walk time:

Items to bring along-

– Comfortable, durable, Shoes

-(if needed) Sunscreen/basic first aid kit



-Notepad and pen


(Some of you may want to bring a Bible. If you feel this is important, I am suggesting that you read Scripture before you go on this walk, and if you’d like, bring along a passage, or verse that is on your heart.)

First, allow yourself to acclimate to your environment. Notice your surroundings. Walk deliberately, and also wait, sit or rest, once in a while, and take in your surroundings. Put hurrying aside.

Second, as issues, or chatter run through your mind, push them gently aside, or if they are quite intrusive, jot them down, and give yourself permission to think of them, at another time. (You may may find it helpful to briefly lift those things to God in prayer, and purposefully “hand them over,” before you continue your walk.)

Third, continue until you feel like you’d like to find a comfortable place to sit, or rest, for a little while. The jot down something about your surroundings, and associations that may come to mind about God, and God’s character. Note your response to God, or his creation. Or, record other thoughts you feel are meaningful, or maybe things you would like to explore further, at some point.

Fourth, enter into a time of prayer. It can be any length of time. This is a time of conversation, and also worship. Worship involves  adoration of God. Speak, but also listen.

Fifth, be where you are.

Sixth, Continue your journey until you are ready for it’s conclusion. During this time, you may want to spend more time in prayer, engage in vigorous exercise (walk at a rapid pace, for instance), gaze appreciatively at nature, or sit in quiet, or a bit of each. It’s a free-play, or freeform period of the hike/walk, where you can have all the freedom to enjoy it in the way which makes the most sense for where you are right now in your life. Sense God’s love for you, and his delight in you. If you cannot, ask him for the grace to do so. Forgive others, and forgive yourself.

Seventh, when done, offer a brief prayer of thanksgiving, and accept God’s grace. Receive from God. After a few minutes, write down noteworthy thoughts, experiences, ideas, sensations, or insights that happened along the way, or during your prayers.

Eighth, Later, share some, or all, of your notes with at least one other person.

You may want to walk with another friend, a spouse, or in a small group etc.

How rewarding this is!

For this, I suggest that a period of prayerful silence be observed during the whole time,

and conversations between people be postponed until after the walk is through.

Group discussion after the walk may prove very fruitful.

If you give this a try, I’d love to hear how this goes.

Will you please share your experience here?

(Photos you’ve taken can be sent to ovationeneterprises (at) verizon (dot) net)

May God be with you.

Speaking in Frystown, Camp Swatara

Really excited to post that I’ll be the speaker, at chapel time in the morning- May 30th, on Memorial Wkd.  at Camp Swatara. This is a wonderful camp for families.

May 29, Saturday a.m.  Kid’s Carnival

May 29, Saturday p.m.  Dreamakers-Family Show

And again July 25th.

benefit car show

Come on out and visit. It’s beautiful at Camp Swatara. Plus, I’ll be building my famous Lasagna Campfire Formation. I’ll bring the marshmallows, you bring the chocolate bars.

Today’s Art Work-

In efforts to beautify the school commons area, Evangelical Theological Seminary is sponsoring an art contest due March 19th, open to students and spouses of students.

So-Today I did art: painting and drawing. It’s been such a long time. I went to the College of visual and performing arts at Kutztown University for my undergraduate studies. As I progressed I got further away from the foundational stuff, and more into computer design programs.

Today, I had to do a few awful sketches to rub some of the rust off, and I’m not back in good form, but here is what I accomplished today.

As I progress on my artbox, I’ll post photos, and give information. See if you can see themes, or guess where I’m going with this as I go. (I’m about 2/5 done with the project.)

Creating, especially art and writing, is a spiritual practice for me. What do you create that is a spiritual practice for you?

Spontaneous Praise

This morning on FACEBOOK, I issued a challenge to my friends who happened to be on their computers at the time. The challenge was simple: Sing Praise.

Quickly, a friend replied by posting a Psalm of her own. Inspired, I rejoined with more praise, and then so did another.

After you read what happened, maybe you can type in a few words of praise.

Jodi Shockey Plum 

I sing praises to Your name oh Lord, praises to Your name oh Lord. For Your name is great and greatly to be praised. i sing praises to Your name oh Lord…
about an hour ago · 

(me) Praise you God, the Highest One. You glory extends from the heavens to the depths of the earth. The stars shout for joy, the tree sway to your music, the birds sing your refrains, the creatures acknowledge you.

Sharon Herbster

Praise God from whom all blessings flow. . .Praise Him ye creatures here below. . .Praise Him above ye heavenly host. . .Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

(Once my granddaughter was talking to me on the phone from NC and sang me her “Jesus song”. She asked if I knew any Jesus’ songs and I enthusiastically said “YES!”. “Sing one for me, Mimi” she asked. So, I did. When I finished she said, “Sing me another one!” This repeated and went on for close to a half hour. . .)


Everlasting God,

In whom we live and move and have our being:

You have made us for yourself,

So that our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

–Augustine of Hippo (Algeria/354-430)