• Eirenicole

Joy in Infancy

Joy in Infancy 1080 1080 Nicole

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 joy. Our meditation for today is entitled, “Joy in Infancy,” and the focus of our attention will be on the painting, Baby in Red Chair, c.1810-30, by unknown artist. 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 “Baby in Red Chair, c.1810-30, by unknown artist.”

So as you settle in your space, pay attention to your breathing.

Notice your breath as it passes in through your nose, out through your mouth.

Pay attention to your breathing, slowing your breath a bit.

Consent to silence, give your thoughts permission to be quiet.

Setting into the awareness that God is present.

And as you recognize God’s presence, bring your thoughts to earlier in the day.

When did you notice the Spirit of God in it?

Breathe in the ruah, breath of love of life that is the same spirit in us all.

Breathe in the grace of recognition that God was with you.

As you breathe out, exhale a prayer of acknowledgement.

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

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?

“The very small child, who is loved and protected ….”

It’s absolute belief in what is experienced. Enclosed. Vulnerable. Wholly confident in love. There is something about real joy that is certain – unabashed rest in the experience of it. Joy isn’t a fleeting feeling, a passing whimsy, or even elation.  Where do you notice joy? What binds you from freedom to be vulnerable enough to experience joy? Fear? Illness? The aching isolation from nearly everyone you love?

Recognize the ache, frustration. See it for what it is – sad, even painful, at times. Real. Then breathe in while you hold it out, loosely. Recognize it as universal, shared by us all. Open your grasp further and together we will allow God to carry the weight of it. Consent to rest. Engage your solitude by opening yourself in that vulnerable state to Jesus’ loving presence, the Spirit’s active, powerful healing to your soul, to your body, to your mind. Rest in the silence, knowing the certainty that God is the ground of our being, Jesus is the one through whom we are made and remade, the Spirit is the Love and Life in every breath you take.   

How is joy meeting you in this moment?

May real joy suffuse you this day, and may you walk at the pace of grace.

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About the author

Nicole

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 (MI).