• Eirenicole

Bright Fortress

Bright Fortress 1080 1080 Nicole
[podlove-episode-web-player publisher="22076" post_id="22076"]

To be eirenic is to be aimed at peace, oriented toward reconciliation. As a centering prayer I have adopted the prayer attributed to St. Frances, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. So, that is why I call my website Eirenicole – a composite of eirenic and Nicole.

For Lent, we are using the book, The Art of Lent: A Painting a Day From Ash Wednesday to Easter, by Sister Wendy Beckett. This week, the theme is confidence. Our meditation for today is entitled, “A Bright Fortress,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, Seaside Residence II, 1994, Pia Stern. The image is included in the post for this podcast, and accompanies the places where this is posted. If you do not have access to the photo, but do have access to internet, you can google “Seaside Residence II, 1994, Pia Stern.”

Settle; slow your senses. Draw your mind each sense.

In your breath, the coolness of the air;

In your hearing, the birds chirping outside your window, the fan of the computer whirling.

The feel of your seat – cushioning? the texture of the fabric?

The smell of spring beginning to swell in the air

The taste of the snack you just had, or meal you sampled while cooking, or the memory of it

Embrace the whole of your body. Occupy the space within.

Breathe out gratitude for its life.

Breathe in the truth that God occupies the space with you.

As you breathe out, exhale a prayer of welcome.

Continue breathing in and out, allow the Spirit to saturate, to fill you with peace.

Pay attention to God’s invitation to be present.

Settle into the peace of Christ as you listen. Hear the mediation and notice what the spirit of God draws your attention to in this painting. What is Jesus speaking to you here, now?

“Pia Stern’s Seaside Residence II shows a structure (a ‘residence’) …. grounded in more than its own small compass – in God.”

Sister Wendy Beckett, The Art of Lent

More often than not, we have an uneasy alliance with our bodies –

even ignore our corporeality, an attempt at preventing malaise, discontent,


Yet, as we mused yesterday, circumstance, the elements,

elude control, are random, the waves and wind,

untamed, relentless.

Without awareness, intimate knowledge of my body, all sensing by this collection of blood and flesh, sinew and bone, neurotransmissions

 – this casing we are told meant to be a holy temple –

becomes unguarded, unprotected by the

spirit entwined with Divine breath, Life-Source of the universe

and, with a huff, a puff, inevitable, inexorable,

will come tumbling down.

Your fortress, most holy sanctuary, is your corpora-reality;   

And as long as you have breath, the Breath of Life penetrates, permeates, impregnates every cell of your being.

And we are answerable to inward truth: the ground of our being is greater than the entire compendia of the elements, external forces, viruses, grief, joy;

The Ground of our being contains every atom ever spoken,

as we are contained within it.  

May you know the corpora-reality of your sacred being today, and may you walk at the pace of grace.

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About the author


Nicole Oliver Snyder’s expertise lies in the areas of leadership, gender issues, and mindfulness practice as it affects both. Leadership, particularly in an urban setting, requires community-relations skills, and an ability to clearly convey justice issues as they relate to felt, spiritual ones. Dr. Snyder is author of Leading Together: Mindfulness and the Gender Neutral Zone, and specializes in teaching mindfulness leadership development, formative spirituality, counseling, and Old Testament theology (emphasis on justice issues). She has a diverse background in international community-relations work combined with volunteer work in multi-ethnic communities, and with local institutions. She is an ordained Clergy; holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies, w/Education Certificate, an MA-Counseling, MDiv Equiv., holds a Doctor of Ministry and Advanced Certification in Formative Spiritual Direction, and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (CO, MI).

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