The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Quote for the Day

 

It is true to say that for me sanctity consists in being myself and for you sanctity consists in being your self and that, in the last analysis, your sanctity will never be mine and mine will never be yours, except in the communism of charity and grace.

For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.

—Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation

 

 


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Ignatian Prayer Adventure – An Online Retreat

So many of us, myself included, spend our lives meeting its day-to-day challenges the best we can.  Circumstances don’t always allow for a thoughtful consideration of how we can make our lives more meaningful and fulfilling.  Sometimes a crisis precipitates a change, sometimes we just can’t keep pushing ourselves to continue doing the same job we hate or stay in a loveless marriage.  We hit the wall, so to speak.

I’ve felt for a while that the best way to get to the other side of my own knotty issues would be through meditation or some sort of contemplative practice.  That by stilling my worried mind a path would emerge.  Lately, all my spiritual wanderings keep bringing me back to St. Ignatius.  And so, I surrender.  I’m saying yes to St. Ignatius by taking part in the Ignatian Prayer Adventure, an on-line retreat provided by Ignatian Spirituality.com.  If you would like to join me you can do so here.

 


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Sundance Ceremony To Be Openly Celebrated in 2014

This post seems to have caused some concern about the 2014 Sundance Ceremony being televised.  Joe Morales Sundance Chief sent the following message:

Hello, this is Joe Morales Sundance Chief and Grand Governing Council member of the American Indian Movement. “Openly” means without fear or shame. 2014 Sundance or any other AIM Sundance will not be televised nor will there be any filming or picture allowed during Ceremony. Hope this clarifies things.

In The First Perspective, Terry Nelson writes about the conflicting opinions in the Native American community about televising the Sundance ceremony.  His piece documents the history of the ceremony’s secrecy and concludes, ” We owe it to the youth to throw off the fear, to openly celebrate what has been retained by the sacrifices of many generations who held on to the songs, to the ceremonies and we in our turn need to keep those gifts for future generations. “

Recently, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (Indigenous people’s national television in Canada) did a story on the Sundance and the airing of the ceremony caused not only some controversy but death threats against David Blacksmith the main person at the Sundance in Manitoba who allowed a television crew into the area. David Blacksmith is Cree, a man who has been sober for decades, a man who has worked with the spiritual side of our people since he was in his early twenties. Blacksmith attended the recent AIM Sundance in Pipestone Minnesota. Also in attendance at the AIM Sundance at Pipestone Minnesota was Leonard Crowdog. Continue reading


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Ignatian Spirituality

Ignatian spirituality is a spirituality for everyday life. It insists that God is present in our world and active in our lives. It is a pathway to deeper prayer, good decisions guided by keen discernment, and an active life of service to others.

Here, we are introduced to a daily practice adapted from Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual ExercisesThe Daily Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and discern his direction for us.  The Examen is an ancient practice in the Church that can help us see God’s hand at work in our whole experience.

The Examen of Consciousness is a way to consider where you found God in the events of your day and where you got in the way of finding God in those events. Regular daily practice of the Examen allows you to reflect on the person you are and are becoming. This six-minute video, produced by the Jesuits of the California Province, brings together Jack White, SJ; Ken Styles, SJ; Tony Sauer, SJ; Ed Fassett, SJ; Mary Ahlbach; Mark Thibodeaux, SJ; Dermot Murray, SJ; and Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM, to reflect on the Examen as a daily spiritual practice.


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Mary Magdalene in the Gnostic Gospels

Many Christians don’t know that it took 500 years to compile the New Testament.  Early Christianity was fraught with conflicts and controversies.  Many of the gospels written as early as 50 years after the death of Jesus were known to church leaders, but never made it into the new Canon. Until the discovery of the Nag Hamadi codices, our knowledge of Gnostics and Gnosticism was gleaned from the writings of their detractors – the early church bishops. Now that the actual Gnostic gospels have come to light, we understand there were many Christian sects in the years following Jesus’ death and many interpretations of his teachings.

Of particular interest to me is the role of women in these communities.  Far from being banned from any meaningful leadership positions in the church, women had equal footing with men among the Gnostics.  In fact, many of these forbidden gospels give Mary Magdalene (who was wrongfully depicted as a prostitute by Pope Gregory in the sixth century) an exalted status as the favorite of Jesus.


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Why The Septuagint Is Important To The Study of Christianity

Timothy Michael Law, author of When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible explains what the Septuagint is, and why it is so important to the study of Christianity.

An early depiction of the Hebrew Bible translated into Greek as the Septuagint.

The name Septuagint refers to what is mostly a collection of ancient translations. The Jewish scriptures were translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek from about the third century BCE in Alexandria, a place booming with Hellenistic learning, to perhaps as late as the second century CE in Palestine. Originally the translation was of the Hebrew Torah alone.

The ancient world had known about translation activity, but there had never been a project this size and certainly not one for religious motives on this scale. I’ve always thought it’s one of the most important cultural artifacts of antiquity, but it often gets discarded as interesting only to those concerned with biblical studies. But there is also information in the Septuagint about the Greek language of the period, the socio-religious context of the Jewish Diaspora, and the very science of translation. Continue reading


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Similarity between Christianity and Upanishads

When the gnostics were labeled as heretics and their writings banned from Christian texts instead of incorporated into them, Christianity lost its own form of mysticism.  In yestereday’s post Vipin Tyagi at the Speaking Tree blog highlights the similarties between some of the gnostic texts found at Nag Hammadi and Hinduism.

By: Vipin Tyagi

A fascinating spiritual aspect from Christianity resembling with truth espoused in Indian spiritual texts  (Upanishads):

Many Indian mystics have described the human body as a house or a city of nine (or ten gates) or doors – there being nine sensory portals through which attention is spread into this material world. These are two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, the mouth and two lower apertures. The inner door, the eye centre or third eye, has consequently been called the tenth door and gate. Nine doors lead out while one leads within.

The metaphor appears in two places in early Christian texts. The most definite mention comes in a Gnostic allegory found among the Nag Hammadi collection of texts. [Named after the region in Egypt where they were discovered in 1945, these ancient books have become the most important source for the understanding of Gnosticism.] The story concerns a certain Lithargoel, symbolic of the saviour, who invites Peter, the apostles and all the poor people of a certain place called “Habitation” to his own city. His purpose is to give them the “pearl of great price” (Matthew 13:46), the treasure of spirituality. Everything in this book is symbolic, much as it is in other spiritual romances  like the ‘Acts of Thomas, and when Peter asks Lithargoel for the name of his city, the reply is metaphorical. Continue reading