I was lucky to attend a seminar at the cathedral on ‘Positive Psychology’ exploring some of the work of Dr Martin Seligman who echoes either knowingly or unconsciously the work of Thomas Aquinas and Ignatian spirituality. It’s not a Pollyanna approach to the world where if we smile no matter what we will feel better, it is a serious and proven way to altar ourselves and the world. It suggests among many things that we stop each night and record 3 things that were positive about the day we have just lived. This can be difficult to begin with but with practice it becomes easier. A study was done with people suffering severe depression with one cohort given antidepressants and another cohort asked to engage in this search for 3 positive things from their day. After 40 days of this the results were amazing – the cohort engaged in recording positive things reported a huge improvement in the depression symptoms whereas the antidepressant cohort reported no change. Now we know that with brain plasticity we can change our brains by various behaviours and this positive psychology has the capacity to do just that.
Advent is a time that points us to change, positive change. As an exercise perhaps give a little time each night as you drift off to sleep to record three positive things that have happened in your day – this will lead to even greater optimism, happiness, and ability to show God’s love.
For further exploration maybe look at authentichappiness.sas.upend.edu
The gospel calls us to be people of Hope even in the darkest hour. Maybe you can find time to say an extra prayer for all those in such desperate circumstances in Australia and the rest of the world?
Our prayer for days ahead is for balance, consideration and listening
God of Comfort,
send your Spirit to encompass all those whose lives
are torn apart by violence and death in Israel and Palestine.
You are the Advocate of the oppressed
and the One whose eye is on the sparrow.
Let arms reach out in healing, rather than aggression.
Let hearts mourn rather than militarize.
God of Justice,
give strength to those whose long work for a just peace
might seem fruitless now. Strengthen their resolve.
Do not let them feel alone. Show us how to support their work
and bolster their courage. Guide religious leaders to model
unity and reconciliation across lines of division.
Guide political leaders to listen with their hearts as they seek peace and pursue it.
Help all people choose the rigorous path of just peace and disavow violence.
God of Love,
we lift up Palestine and Israel — its people, its land, its creatures.
War is a monster that consumes everything in its path.
Peace is a gift shared at meals of memory with Christians, Muslims, and Jews.
Let us burn incense, not children. Let us break bread, not bodies.
Let us plant olive groves, not cemeteries.
We beg for love and compassion to prevail
on all your holy mountains.
God of Hope,
we lift up the cities of the region: Gaza City and Tel Aviv,
Ramallah and Ashkelon, Deir El Balah and Sderot,
so long divided, yet so filled with life and creativity.
Come again to breathe peace on your peoples
that all may recognize you.
God of Mercy,
even now work on the hearts of combatants
to choose life over death, reconciliation over retaliation,
restoration over destruction. Help us resist antisemitism in all its forms,
especially in our own churches. All people, Israelis and Palestinians,
deserve to live in peace and unafraid, with a right to determine
their future together.
God of the Nations,
let not one more child or elder be sacrificed on altars of political expediency.
Keep safe all people from unjust leaders who would exploit
vulnerability for their own distorted ends.
Give wise discernment to those making decisions to pursue peace.
Provide them insight into fostering well-being, freedom, and thriving for all.
Teach all of us to resolve injustices with righteousness, not rockets.
Guard our hearts against retaliation, and give us hearts for love alone.
Strengthen our faith in you, O God of All Flesh,
even when we don’t have clear answers,
so that we may still offer ourselves non-violently
for the cause of peace.
© Rose Marie Berger Sojourners October 9, 2023
Maybe he can’t stand on his feet anymore and suffering has shaped his character but this speech by Pope Francis from a few days ago is simply AMAZING!
“You can have flaws, be anxious and even be angry, but don’t forget that your life is the greatest business in the world. Only you can stop it from failure. You are appreciated, admired and loved by many. Remember that being happy is not having a sky without storms, a road without accidents, a job without effort, relationships without disappointments.
“Being happy is to stop feeling a victim and become the author of your own destiny. It’s going through deserts, but being able to find an oasis deep in your soul. It’s to thank God every morning for the miracle of life. It’s kissing your children, cuddling your parents, having poetic moments with your friends, even when they hurt us.
“To be happy is to let live the creature that lives in each of us, free, joyful and simple. It’s having maturity to be able to say: “I made mistakes”. Having the courage to say “I’m sorry”. It’s having a sensitivity to say “I need you”. Is having the ability to say “I love you”. May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness… that in spring I can be a lover of joy and in winter a lover of wisdom.
“And when you make a mistake, start over. Because only then will you fall in love with life. You will find that being happy doesn’t mean having a perfect life. But she uses tears to irrigate tolerance. Use your defeats to train your patience.
“Use your mistakes with the serenity of the sculptor. Use pain to tune into pleasure. Use obstacles to open the windows of intelligence. Never give up … Above all, never give up on the people that love you. Never give up on happiness, because life is an amazing show. “.
A PRAYER FOR GROWTH
God of mission,
Who alone brings growth to your Church,
Send your Holy Spirit to give
Vision to our planning,
Wisdom to our actions,
Joy to our worship,
And power to our witness.
Help our parish of Holy Trinity to grow in numbers,
In spiritual commitment to you,
And in service to this city and community,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Worship at Holy Trinity each week
Sunday: 8am Eucharist; 10am Sung Eucharist and Morning Tea
Wednesdays at 10am Eucharist followed by Morning Tea
Thursdays at 8.30am Morning Prayer and scripture readings followed by Meditation at 8.45am.
On the First Wednesday of the month the 10am Eucharist has an emphasis on healing with the opportunity of anointing.
Wednesdays Playgroup 9.30am – 11am (during school terms)
Vicar: The Rev’d Grant Edgcumbe 193 Hotham Street East Melbourne
T: 9417 3341
Website: www.holytrinitymelbourne.org.au Email: email@example.com
Vicar’s Warden: Laurie Moore T: 0484 792 134
People’s Wardens: Lynne Mitchell T:0412592005;
Sue Moses-Critchley 9486 3598