The Annunciation by Linda Sutton
Annunication to Mary by Sawai Chinnawong, Thailand
The Annunciation – Woonbo Kim Gi-chang
Meditation is not always easy, but getting started is quite simple. In his book Christian Meditation, James Finley lays out some basic guidelines:
“The guidelines for meditation practice that I suggest are, with respect to the body, to sit still, to sit straight, to close your eyes or lower them toward the ground, to breathe slowly and naturally, and to place your hands in a natural or meaningful position in your lap. With respect to the mind, the guideline is to be present, open, and awake, neither clinging to nor rejecting anything. And with respect to attitude, the guideline is to maintain nonjudgmental compassion toward yourself as you experience yourself clinging to and rejecting everything, and nonjudgmental compassion toward others in their powerlessness, one with yours. “
Many have suggested to me that Jesus advocated the same food laws as Mohammed and Moses. The gospel of Mark, however, tells another story:
The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)
So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honour me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honour your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
Abbaye de Keur Moussa, near Dakar, Senegal, is a Benedictine monastery of the Solesmes Congregation. Founded in 1961, the monastery became an abbey in 1984. The Keur Moussa abbey church fresco, samples of which I have included above, was designed and painted in 1963 by Dom Georges Saget. Stories illustrated here include: the annunciation, the birth of Jesus, and the wedding at Cana.
John the Baptist – Jesus Mafa
This painting illustrates the beginning of the Jesus story, where John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, warning the people of Judea and Jerusalem that God was coming soon. John was said to wear clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, in the way of the prophet Elijah.
Jesus Mafa paintings like this one were produced in a collaboration between Mafa Christians communities in northern Cameroon and French missionaries in the 1970s.
“The irony of the abortion debate, as it now stands in our church and society, is that it frames these two groups, women and children, as enemies of one another … The Christian response to abortion must reframe the issue to focus on responsibility rather than rights. The pro-choice/pro-life debate presently pits the right of the mother to choose against the right of the fetus to live. The Christian response, on the other hand, centers on the responsibility of the whole Christian community to care for the least of these.”
God’s Word is in all creation
No creature has meaning
without the Word of God.
God’s Word is in all creation, visible and invisible.
The Word is living, being,
spirit, all verdant
This Word flashes out in
This is how the spirit is in
the flesh – the Word is indivisible from God.
– Hildegard of Bingen