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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Being Gracious

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Phil 5:8

Paul’s epistle to the Philippians is one of his most tender letters. Weak and in prison, he writes to the community of Philippi thanking them for supporting him and reminding them that they ought to enjoy and celebrate the lovely and the gracious gifts of God all around them. What a wonderful challenge and opportunity.

For years I have had the privilege of working with a lay woman colleague and friend. Gaynell Cronin has a genius for creating sacred space. With a cloth to cover an old table, a flower, a piece of drift wood and a candle or two, she can take the ordinary things we see everyday and arrange them in a such way that those who gather with her are drawn to quiet and prayer.

On occasion, I have tried to replicate her work but with little success. No matter what I do, it never seems to reach the standard of loveliness she is able to create. What is wonderful about her gift is that it is like a metaphor or a sacred image, always inviting the viewer into the space, never telling them what to think or how to feel, but urging them to let go into the loveliness of God. A beautiful environment quiets our spirits, softens our edginess and reminds us not to obsess about our weaknesses, but to celebrate the wondrous all around us.

Today, be gracious especially to those who annoy you.

Who do you most admire for their gracious way of living the Gospel?

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