Practice: As We Enter the Feast of Epiphany

Dear Wisdom Friends,

As we enter this Feast of Epiphany, celebrating the arrival of Holy Wisdom at the stable, I invite you all to join me over the next twenty-four hours in keeping Wisdom vigil for our American nation as we enter the eye-of-the-needle of what will surely be one of the sorest tests ever pressed against our democracy and against the resiliency and common sense of our people. Whatever your politics, there is a deep need for Wisdom to arrive again, bearing her gifts of steadfastness, lucidity, and forbearance.

Here are few specific practices you might try:

1. If you feel prepared both inwardly and outwardly, by all means offer tonglen. Sitting still and fully present in your body, consciously breathe in a piece of the toxicity—the psychosis, the fear, the pathology; then breathe out sobriety. No more than ten minutes at a time, then transition into Centering Prayer. This is intentional suffering at it most literal and direct, and it does work powerfully if you can remain rock-steady inside and simply breathe.

2. In addition to or instead to the breath prayer, stay close to this cherished teaching in Philippians 4:8:

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Indeed, think on these things.

3. Pray the beautiful words of the old Quaker hymn:

Dear God and Father of us all, forgive our foolish ways,
Reclothe us in our rightful mind; in purer lives thy service find,
In deeper reverence, praise…
Drop thy still dews of quietness till all our strivings cease:
Take from our souls the strain and stress, and let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of thy peace
Speak through the heats of our desire they coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire; speak through the earthquake, wind and fire,
O still, small voice of calm.

Sing along if you like. It’s 345 in the Episcopal Hymnal 1940.

4. Follow the following link to join in chanting the great Trisagion Prayer here, in the original Greek.

Agios O Theos (oh Holy God)
Agios Ischyros (holy the strong one)
Agios athanatos. (holy undying one)
Eleison imas. (have mercy on us)

Lets’ surround our world this night in a blanket of holy equanimity and remorse of conscience. Frankincense, gold, and myrrh.

Image courtesy of Cynthia Bourgeault


Image at the top: Three Wise Men, 526 AD by the “Master of Sant’Apollinare,” courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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4 thoughts on “Practice: As We Enter the Feast of Epiphany

  1. I am new to this particular wisdom stream ( though not new to such work). I feel so very blessed to have been, all week, listening to the October retreat which you so generously posted on your website, Cynthia. These are the teachings I’ve been seeking. Here they are, now, when most I (and the world) need them. I am so grateful to be able to participate in this retreat, even from afar. You have articulated all that I’ve been intuiting – yet haven’t had the words to speak.

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