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Quiet Day Guide, September 2nd

Get a printable/shareable PDF here:

If you are at Caroline Furnace: You are welcome to spend as long as you like today in

prayer, meditation, and solitude. We invite you to walk the trails, sit by the lake, Passage Creek, or the spring, rest at a campfire circle or the steps of St. John’s Chapel, or pray the labyrinth.

If you are at home: We invite you to spend time today in prayer, meditation, and (hopefully) solitude. We invite you to walk your backyard, neighborhood, or nearby park, sit by a calming spot, or rest in a comfortable outdoor space.


As many children, students, parents, teachers, support staff, and administrators return to school, we celebrate the gifts that each of them bring to this COVID-19 influenced endeavor, simultaneously recognizing our limitations as well.

Opening Prayer:

O Patient God, You are always with us, encouraging teachers as they enter the classroom

or the zoom-room. Give them an abundance of patience as they learn to juggle the

teaching, sanitizing, distancing and masking, while trying to be attentive to the needs of

their students. Help them to be patient with themselves as well. Help all parents as they

figure out new routines, on-line classes, and manage their own and their children’s

anxiety, worry, and frustration. Help all children as they learn new ways of being, doing,

and participating in school. Help and guide us all.

Scripture Reading: Romans 12:3-8

3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. 6 We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us: prophecy, in proportion to faith; 7 ministry, in ministering; the teacher, in

teaching; 8 the exhorter, in exhortation; the giver, in generosity; the leader, in diligence; the

compassionate, in cheerfulness.


Contemplative Reflection: Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

The God whom I know dwells quietly in the root system of the very nature of things. This is the God who, when asked by Moses for a name, responded, “I Am who I Am” (Exodus 3:14), an answer that has less to do with the moral rules for which Moses made God famous than with elemental ”isness” and selfhood. If, as I believe, we are all made in God’s image, we could all give the same answer when asked who we are: “I Am who I Am.” One dwells with God by being faithful to one’s nature. One crosses God by trying to be something one is not. Reality - including one’s own- is divine, not to be not but honored.

Lest this theologizing become too ethereal, I want to give an example of how honoring one’s

created nature can support morality in practice. I sometimes lead workshops for teachers who want to become better at their craft. At a certain point, I ask them to write brief descriptions of two recent moments in the classroom: a moment when things went so well that you knew were born to be a teacher and a moment when things went so poorly that you wished you had never been born!

Then we get into small groups to learn more about our own natures through the two cases.

First, I ask people to help each other identify the gifts that they possess that made the good moment possible. It is an affirming experience to see our gifts at work in a real-life situation- and it often takes the eyes of others to help us see. Our strongest gifts are usually those we are barely aware of possessing. They are a part of our God-given nature, with us from the moment we drew first breath and we are no more conscious of having them than we are of breathing.

Then we turn to the second case. Having been bathed with praise in the first case, people now

expect to be subjected to analysis, critique, and a variety of fixes: “If I had been in your shoes I would have . . . ,” or, “Next time you are in a situation like that, ,why don’t you . . . ?” But I ask them to avoid that approach. I ask them instead to help each other see how limitations and liabilities are the flip side of our gifts, how a particular weakness is the inevitable trade-off for a particular strength. We will become better teachers not by trying to fill the potholes in our souls but by knowing them so well that we can avoid falling into them. . . . .

If we are to live our lives fully and well, we must learn to embrace the opposites, to live in a

creative tension between our limits and our potentials. We must honor our limitations in ways that do not distort our nature, and we must trust and use our gifts in ways that fulfill the potentials God gave us. We must take the no of the way that closes and find the guidance it has to offer - and take the yes of the way that opens and respond with the yes of our lives. (pgs. 51-2, 55)


Closing Prayers:

Take a slow, deep breath. As you inhale, realize you are receiving God’s Divine Breath as total gift. Exhale slowly. The Spirit of God, she dwells in us all that we may live. Amen.


Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for making each of us unique, created in every vast facet of your image. Allow us to see the special talents in everyone around us, even those hidden in ourselves. Help us to rejoice in our gifts, and be humbly aware of our limitations. Help us all during this new school year to be aware of the blessings of this new way of learning and teaching, as we simultaneously lament its limitations. Thank you for your love, mercy and grace. Amen

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