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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

February 17, 2024: 1.Therese will speak to us, 2. Retreat Update and 3. a daily reflection.

Saturday, February 17, 2024 From Rev. Dr. Janet E. Blair

Thanksgiving Lutheran / Knox Presbyterian Churches

Just wanted to let you know that our combined board approved the idea of Therese coming to speak at the church, as a joint venture with Knox/TLC and Emmaus, and inviting neighboring church people to join us.


The next step is for me to get in touch with Therese, just to clarify a couple of logistical matters. I plan to do that before I go on vacation (leaving Sunday afternoon for a week and a half). So I'll get in touch with her, and then we'll go from there -- hopefully to discuss some possible dates and so on. We were thinking that we need to get beyond Easter, and we have some other things coming up, but possibly late April or May might work. But nothing is set yet.


The board was very happy to be combing forces with you all for such an event, and they were grateful to know that you all vouch for Therese (since only a couple of people met her when she came to church). They did not think it's necessary for you to come to the Leadership meeting to talk about it, but trust you, since you've known Therese for quite some time.


Anyway, I'll be in touch, at least by email, before I leave on vacation. Things are in a bit of a flurry with getting all ready to go, you know how that is I'm sure, but I will check in.


Thanks very much!


Rev. Dr. Janet E. Blair

Thanksgiving Lutheran / Knox Presbyterian Churches

Santa Rosa, CA

(646) 321-3737

April Retreat Update:

April Retreat Roommates:

  1. Steve & Shannon,

  2. Ed & Mary,

  3. Peter & Cathy,

  4. Dan & David,

  5. Alice & Marcie,

  6. Patti & Denise,

  7. Mary Ellen & Sharon,

  8. Jerry & Hermine (in lower house)

  9. Victoria in upper house.

  10. Bob & Nancy off site and

  11. Jim Jepson as well.

Authentic and Humble Fire


Mystics and sages of all traditions speak of the inner fire, the divine spark hidden in our very cells and in all that lives. This flame of love is the pure presence of God.

—Paula D’Arcy, “A Surrender to Love,” Oneing, Spring 2017


What characterizes the mystics is an amazing, calm clarity because their own agenda, fear, smallness, pettiness, and false self are out of the way. They are able to exist calmly inside of a larger connectivity, and from that place they speak with a kind of authority. That’s part of the reason they’ve always been kept at arm’s length by organized religion. Often, they’re only canonized centuries after they die—if they’re canonized at all.

They weren’t quoting our familiar sources, the Scriptures, or systematic theology that make our coherent religious system fit together. Their vocabulary is often very creative, and even idiosyncratic.

It’s their own experience, but their experience has become so grounded in an inner certitude that they don’t feel the need to justify it by using the language that the rest of us use. Yet, if we sit with their words and allow them to work upon us, we often find a kind of supreme orthodoxy. [1]


Father Richard praises the inherent humility of the mystics and others who have encountered God:


All the truly great persons I have ever met are characterized by what I would call “radical humility.” They are deeply convinced that they are drawing from another source; they are instruments. Their genius is not their own; it is borrowed. They understand that we are moons, not suns, except in our ability to pass on the light.

Our life is not our own, yet, at some level, enlightened people know their life has been given to them as a sacred trust. They live in gratitude and confidence, and they try to let the flow continue through them. They know that love is repaid by love alone, as both St. Francis of Assisi and St. Thérèse of Lisieux taught.


God’s desire and our destinies are already written in our genes, our upbringing, and our natural gifts. To accept that each of us is just ourself is probably the most courageous thing we will ever do. Only the original manufacturer can declare what the product—each one of us—should be; nobody else. “Even every hair of your head has been counted,” as Jesus states (Matthew 10:30).

God chooses us into existence, and continues that choice of us every successive moment, or we would fall into non-being. We are interrelated with Essential Being, participating in the very life of God, while living out one little part of that life in our own exquisite form.


Paradoxically, we can say our life is precisely about us, but once we know who we really are, we can hold this exquisite fire without burning up and burning out. [2]


Reflection by Richard Rohr


[1] Adapted from Richard Rohr, Following the Mystics through the Narrow Gate: Seeing God in All Things (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2010). Available as MP3 audio download.

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