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Eremos Magazine - Current Issue

Magazine No 136 [ September 2016 ]

May you find sustenance and challenge in these pages as you seek to discover what is yours to offer in a world that sorely needs your gift.

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Inside this issue

Offering what you have to offer by Karina Harris
Visiting India with Stop the Traffik by Elizabeth Sorrell
The contemplative life by Michael Lewin
Lectio Terrestris: Reading the Book of Nature Contemplatively by Alice-Anne Macnaught
When God isn't enough by Christopher Brown
A matter of life and death by Rosalind Bradley
At her dying what will it be? by Rob Hadfield

Editorial

As I write this editorial on a cold, grey July day in Canberra, it is hard to imagine that by the time you read it spring will have arrived with its promiseof new life. You may find the cover image taken from the 2015 Seasons of Birth (and Creativity) exhibition challenging (disturbing?) in its suggestion of the close connection between death and new life, darkness and light, anguish and joy.

Further revelations of unspeakable child abuse in Australian institutions – both church and state – have been distressing. The massacre at Nice on Bastille Day has highlighted the challenge of birthing the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in today’s world. Many of us are also concerned about the growing support for political candidates with distinctly racist and simplistic views about how such challenges should be addressed.

How are we to respond? We may wonder what we can do to make a difference. I love the title of Karina Harris’ article: ‘Offering What is Yours to Offer’ in which she shares her journey of discerning what this was in her case – a gift for fostering in children a contemplative spirituality they won’t need to discard but that can grow with them.

Elizabeth Sorrell’s ‘Visiting India with Stop the Traffik’ is an informative and thoughtful exploration of the complex social, political and economic aspects of people trafficking. Elizabeth reminds us that we can each play our part in reducing trafficking worldwide simply by being curious and discerning shoppers.

Our Western spiritual tradition includes among its sacred texts the Scriptures, the Book of Nature and our Life as Text. Based on her experiences at a spiritual direction conference and associated retreats that have built on her own attraction to desert landscapes, Alice-Anne Macnaught shares how a contemplative reading of nature can be a source of consolation, renewal and challenge.

‘When God Isn’t Enough’ explores the dynamics of resistance and self-deception that impede our spiritual growth. Reminiscent of ‘The Screwtape Letters’ in terms of genre, in this case the author is not an external devil but Persona, whose role is the preservation of what Merton calls the ‘false self’.

Michael Lewin is also indebted to Thomas Merton as he shares his journey towards discovering what amounts to a ‘rule of life’ based on contemplative practices.

I am always awed by Ros Bradley’s ability to attract such eminent contributors to her edited books, and A Matter of Life and Death, is no exception. What is of special interest is her narrative around writing the book as well as an introduction to its key themes.

The death and dying theme is continued in Rob Hadfield’s poem in which he is preparing himself for his mother’s death.

May you find sustenance and challenge in these pages as you seek to discover what is yours to offer in a world that sorely needs your gift.

Enjoy!

Frances McKay

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