brian j plachta
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by brian j plachta on November 22nd, 2020


“These are chaotic times,” my friend, Chris, texted the other day. “The COVID surge is affecting friends and families beyond anything we’ve ever experienced. A cloud of doom hovers over us as anxiety, fear, and hopelessness darken daily life. Is there a way to find comfort in this global pandemic?”


I put down my cell phone, closed my eyes, and searched for an answer to Chris’ question.


“Have you heard of Julian of Norwich?” I texted back after several moments. Lady Julian—as she’s often called—was on my mind after an online workshop I’d attended that week.


“Who’s she?” Chris responded.


“I learned about her at a workshop. Some call her the patron saint of pandemics.”


We continued texting, sharing tidbits about Julian’s life and timeless wisdom.


The Patron Saint of Pandemics



Julian of Norwich was an English mystic who lived in the fourteenth century during the time of the bubonic plague—a viral pandemic that killed 50-200 million people. Often called the black plague, the virus wiped out sixty percent of Europe’s population. It’s regarded as the greatest catastrophe in recorded history.


Little is known about Julian’s personal life. Some speculate she was married, and her husband and children died from the virus. At age thirty, Julian also contracted the disease. On her death bed, staring at a crucifix held by the priest giving her last rites, she experienced sixteen spiritual visions.


After a miraculous recovery, Julian moved into a room adjacent to a local church and became a hermit, devoting her life to prayer and spiritual counseling with those who sought her wisdom. Because of her steadfast devotion to God in the midst of unimaginable adversity, many look to Julian as the patron saint of pandemics.


All is Well. All Shall Be Well.


Julian recorded her visions in the book, Revelations of Divine Love. Her most quoted words, I told Chris, spoke powerfully: “All shall be well and all manner of things will be well...for there is a force of love moving through the universe that holds us fast and will never let us go."


“The words are comforting,” Chris texted back. “But, on a practical level, to believe ‘all will be well’ flies in the face of reality, given the devastation and despair all around us.”


“You’re right. Like Julian, we’re in unchartered waters, for sure. I also struggle to keep a positive attitude. But, I wonder if Julian’s words might comfort us in two important ways?”


We’re Loved. We’re Safe.



“From a spiritual perspective, all is well, since we’re in a divine relationship with God, who loves, guides, and protects us. The Creator comforts and walks alongside us through our joys and sorrows. If the worst happens—we contract COVID and die—we’ll journey to the Other Side and spend eternity in heavenly bliss.


“Physically, all is well too—at least in our corner of the world. You and I have enough food, shelter, and people who love us and whom we love. Our basic survival needs are met. We’re safe. And as we move beyond fear and embrace the truth that we are loved unconditionally, we become the compassion of Christ so we can encourage and support others who are suffering and afraid.”


I didn’t hear from Chris for several hours. Later, he texted these words:


“Life’s a mixture of suffering and joy, and everything in between. I can’t deny the suffering of this pandemic, but I refuse to let fear overtake me. Like Julian, who endured horrific loss and pain and turned to God as the source of her strength and hope, I turn to the Source of my Being and proclaim, ‘I am safe. I am loved. All is well. All shall be well.’”


Tears rolled down my cheeks as I read Chris’ words. He and Julian became my teachers with their words of comfort and hope.


There’s no denying these are tough times. But as we lean into God, we discover we’re stronger than we imagined. Our faith and love deepen.





What words from Julian and Chris speak to you? Where do you find hope and comfort in the midst of this pandemic? Can you proclaim, “All is well. All shall be well.”



—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

by brian j plachta on November 6th, 2020


 
“I tried for years to flip off the negative-attitude switch and click on joy,” my friend Paul told me. “I read books and memorized scripture passages about the joy of the Lord. I even posted a choose joy sticker on my refrigerator. But it wasn’t until I practiced gratitude I finally experienced joy.”
 


“How do you practice gratitude?” I asked.
 


“Every morning before I get out of bed, I cocoon in my  sheets for five minutes or so and bring to mind at least three things for which I’m  grateful.” His smile sparkled. “I call it my ‘gift of gratitude’ ritual.”






 
“Looks like it’s working.”

 


“I list the things I’m grateful for—such as the simple fact I woke up that morning, or the gift of my spouse, children, and friends. Gratitude for God and faith are often on my list as I greet the morning.” Paul chuckled. “This simple practice jumpstarts my day better than morning coffee.”

 






Brother David Steindl-Rast, in Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer—An Approach to Life in Fullness, says that joy is the offspring of gratitude. Practicing gratefulness is our raison d’etre. Like a bell is made for ringing, our human hearts are made for praising and blessing everything with which we’ve been gifted. He writes, “Suddenly everything is simple. What brings fulfillment is gratefulness, the simple response of our heart to this given life in all its fullness.”
 



Maybe Paul and Brother David are onto something. Inspired by them, I began an attitude of gratitude ritual the next morning.
 



As I snuggled in my bedsheets on that wintry November dawn, I was thankful for my dad, who fought in World War II, and all the other veterans and military men and women who’ve served and continue to preserve our country’s freedom. I put health on my mental gratitude list, and my wife, children, grandchildren, and friends. God’s continued guidance and faithfulness rounded out the list.


 




Now each morning when my alarm rings, rather than grumbling, “Ugh. Is it really morning?” or jumping out of bed in a cold panic, I give myself the gift of five minutes to practice gratitude.
 



During the day when life’s challenges try to rechain my heart to negativity, I return to my gratitude list and feel the glowing ember of joy rekindle in my soul.  
 




Cultivating an attitude of gratitude is good medicine for our souls. It focuses our thoughts away from the negative brain drain that crowds out joy. It’s like celebrating Thanksgiving all year round.
 



Tomorrow morning before you get out of bed, give yourself the gift of five minutes to snuggle in your sheets and make a mental gratitude list. As the day ages and drains your energy, pause and bring to mind what you’re grateful for. At the dinner table, share your gratitude list with loved ones and invite them to name the things they’re grateful for also.
 


Then pay attention and watch as joy takes root in your heart.



 



Give yourself the gift of daily gratitude. It nurtures boundless joy.
 
 


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net





 
 
 

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by brian j plachta on October 31st, 2020


"What's that cedar box in your living room?" I asked my aunt.

"It's my hope chest," Auntie responded. Her eyes lifted, filled with memories. "I store all my pretties in it—Grandma's sterling silver, Grandpa's wool blankets, and photo albums of loved ones."

Come to think of it, my dad had a special box too. It was his toolbox. He filled it with handy screwdrivers, pliers, hammers, and wrenches. And as a child, I had a toybox where I stored my baseball mitts, Tonka trucks, and Raggedy Andy.

Each of these vessels contain treasures. We place in them the things we cherish. Their touch, smell, and images bring inner peace. Comfort.


Our Spiritual Vessels


It's the same with our spiritual lives. Our hearts are the unique vessels God has gifted us to store life-giving memories, images, hopes, and dreams.

What we place in our hearts shapes and forms us. They become an inner guide.

And we get to choose what goes into them.


It's All About the Image


According to an article in the online magazine, Imonomy, our image of ourselves, God, and other people greatly affects our identities and belief systems. Because we retain the memory of pictures and metaphors for long periods of time, these images shape and mold us, from the choices we make every day to the stories we tell ourselves about who we are.

It's important to step back and look at what we place in our hearts so we can hold onto the life-giving images, and replace those harmful to inner peace and growth.


Spiritual Toolboxes


In my book, Life's Toolbox—Blueprints Included, I describe some of the spiritual tools necessary to maneuver the ups and downs of life. They include:

Our Image of God. What image of the Creator do you carry in your heart? Is your picture one of love or fear? Is God a friend, a judge, or someone else for you? If your heart were a treasure chest, what picture of the Creator would you like to store there?

The Image of Ourselves. What's your image of your authentic self? What would you like it to be? How does the inner photograph of yourself impact how you live?

•The Gift You Give Yourself.  What do you place in your life's toolbox to recharge? Do you allow yourself the gift of daily solitude to be alone with the Creator? The Divine Spirit desires to guide you and wants what’s best for you. How does the gift of quiet time each day center and ground you in God?

•Books. What books do you place in your hope chest?  Which ones do you read to inspire you, provide new insights, and lead you toward inner peace and wholeness?

•Heroes. Who are the men and women you look up to, those you treasure in your heart? What values do they model for you? How do you integrate those virtues into your life? Is there a mentor, spiritual friend, or soulmate you hold dear who nudges you to grow? If not, can you seek one?

Our hearts and souls are the precious gifts God has given us to store spiritual treasures and claim the lives we and the Creator imagine for us—lives filled with joy, passion, love, and inner peace. As we choose and cherish life-giving tools for the journey, we gain wisdom. We learn how to navigate this thing called life.

What tools are in your Life's Spiritual Toolbox? What images, daily practices, and people strengthen and deepen your relationship with God and your authentic self?

Fill your life with the spiritual tools that inspire you to grow, and see how inner peace, balance, and wholeness flow like Divine Water within your heart.

PS:  If you'd like to discover more spiritual tools for your life's journey, click on the link below to get a free e-copy of Life's Toolbox. You'll also receive the weekly Simple Wisdom for Everyday Living reflection in your email box each Monday.

Claim my Free Book.  


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net








 



by brian j plachta on October 24th, 2020


I’m going to be straight up honest with you. I’m scared—a lot.


I’m scared of roller coasters, bears, being late for work, criticism, crashing my car, loved ones dying, pandemics, getting cancer, having a heart attack, shark attacks, screwing up, and mean people. Just to name a few.


Sometimes what scares me most is being who I am—embracing my gifts, accepting my good and not-so-good qualities, letting myself be loved as I am by God.



I wish I had more courage. Not the “No fear” bumper sticker kind of courage. But true courage—the kind that acknowledges fear, but doesn’t let it cripple me; the kind of courage that lets me do what I have to do even though I’m afraid. If I had more courage, maybe those sunami waves of fear and anxiety that crash and roll inside me wouldn’t knock me over as I surf through daily life.


What’s Courage?


Merriam-Webster says courage is the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear or difficulty.


Mary Anne Radmacher puts it this way: “Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow.”


I’d like to experience true courage the bulk of the time. I’d like to be willing to face life courageously with all its ups and downs and be the Light that Christ says we are.





Tapping Into the Inner Source of Courage


So how do we get there? How do we gain the courage the cowardly lion sought in the Wizard of Oz?


Luke Healy from Integral Christian Network says we can’t think our way to courage. We can’t flip a switch in our minds to move instantly from fear and anxiousness to inner bravery.


Instead, we have to have go deeper. We have to tap into our inner source of courage, which means learning how to embody courage.




It’s a Gut Thing




Courage is located deep within our guts, Healy suggests. It’s connected to vitality—the power to live and grow. When filled with vitality, we radiate with strength and energy. We receive a “jolt of life deep within.”


This vital courage, when physically tapped into, becomes etched within our muscle fibers. It penetrates our cells, lines our stomach walls, and our bodies remember its divine essence.


Courage becomes our natural state of being. Our sacred bellies become a place we can return to whenever we need to feel the inner courage with which the Creator has gifted us.


Practicing Spiritual Courage


We can practice courage by experiencing it deep within our muscles and bones, like spiritual muscle memory
. According to Popular Science magazine, muscle memory is real. It’s the memory stored in our muscles that lets us perform an action without our really being aware of it.


Like muscles, our souls have a spiritual memory. With practice and repetition, our spirits remember what it feels like to feel courage and other positive virtues so we can call upon them naturally as needed. By embodying courage, we embrace its power. We claim God’s spirit of divine love to be who we are. We experience and remember courage on the inside.


One pathway to experience inner courage is to open ourselves to God in times of quiet meditation, where we invite the Spirit to fill us with spiritual courage in every part of our Being.


Here’s some simple steps you can practice to touch and experience the depths of courage within you.


· Sit in a quiet place

· Close your eyes

· Place your feet flat on the ground or floor

· Take a few deep breaths

· Relax your body

· Be aware of God’s Divine Presence

· Feel the Creator’s unconditional love in and around you

· Wiggle your toes and draw your attention to your feet

· Feel the strength and stability of the earth beneath you

· Be grounded in God

· Notice the vital energy that flows up into your body from the ground

· Imagine your feet have roots like a tree diving deep into the soil

· Draw energy into your feet, up into your legs, and into your stomach

· Bring your attention to your stomach

· Place your hands on your belly

· Feel the energy flowing from your feet into your gut

· Notice what that radiance feels like, then savor it, rest in it

· Invite God to fill you with the courage to be yourself—here and now, as you are

· Let spiritual courage fill your stomach with God’s strength

· This is your core, your authentic self. You are held by God in the depths of your stomach with divine love and empowerment

· When you’re ready, bring yourself back to where you’re sitting. Feel your body. Open your eyes.

Enjoy the gift of God’s divine courage within you.


Courage Boosts


You can come back to this practice for a few short minutes anytime during the day when you need a courage boost.


Simply stop for a moment, focus on your feet, and then draw the energy into your stomach. Placing your hands on your tummy, rest in the divine courage—the courage to be who you are—that God has placed there within you.


Guided Meditation


You can also click on the link below to listen to a 14-minute guided meditation I’ve prepared for you.

 Guided Meditation—the courage to be yourself:



Let yourself practice and experience the spiritual courage to be yourself.


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net







by brian j plachta on October 17th, 2020

“Linda’s favorite t-shirt had the word nescio printed in bold letters,” Father Tom said at Linda’s funeral. “When people asked what nescio meant, she replied, ‘I don’t know.’  The acquaintance would then cock their head and ask why she’d wear something if she didn’t know its meaning. Linda would respond, ‘I don’t know.’ Eventually, she’d tell the person she was joking—it was actually a Latin word that meant ‘I don’t know.’”

That’s how Linda lived her life, Father Tom continued. She was open to surprise, awed by wonder. She didn’t try to fit God or people into neat intellectual boxes. She wasn’t trapped by not knowing. To her, life was Divine Mystery.

And rather than being overwhelmed by life’s uncertainty or trying to figure everything out intellectually, Linda had another Latin word she lived by: fiducia. Trust.

Linda trusted she was God’s bride, and he was her bridegroom. They had an intimate relationship. She trusted God more than anything else. She also trusted herself as she listened and followed divine guidance. The word fiducia captured the essence of their spiritual love affair.

As Father Tom spoke, I wondered what it would be like to see the world as Divine Mystery. Would I stop trying to figure everything out, including myself, and simply open my heart to receive the Creator’s unconditional love in all the amazing ways he shows up each day? The morning sunrise, the first cup of steaming coffee, the kiss on my wife’s cheek—all of these are the mystery of Divine Love made real. Tangible.

I don’t know, and I trust. Could that become the motto that calms my endless search for answers? Would that trust help me live life’s mystery, knowing we are guided by the Divine Hand?

Trusting the Three Faces of God


Paul Smith, in Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve, suggests God has three faces, each of which we can learn to trust and understand as we dive deeper into our relationship with the Divine Lover.

The Intimate Face of God.

 This dimension of God is the Creator, our companion who walks alongside us through life shoulder-to-shoulder. “This God comes to us like a close and caring parent, Abba mommy-daddy,” Smith writes. We find this face of God in our hearts as we experience the radiant love planted there. We come to understand the Creator of the Universe is as close to us as our heartbeat, ready to embrace and guide us on life’s pathway.

The Inner Face of God.

This face of God points to the incarnation of divine love in the world through us. We are not God, yet we are made in the image and likeness of God. Our lives embody divine presence as we fill the universe with love, laughter, and hope. This face of God can be found in our gut as we experience God birthing in and through us, making the divine tapestry of love a reality.


God Beyond Us. 

The face of God beyond us allows us to be one with Divine Mystery far beyond human understanding. The Creator is infinite, beyond description and human comprehension. This face of God is found rising above our heads into the heavens. We’re awestruck pondering the immensity of how the Creator has structured a Universe we’re only beginning to explore and understand. This is the face of God that allows us, like Linda, to declare, “Nescio. I don’t know. Fiducia. And I trust.”


Trusting Not Knowing

Each week when I sit to write my blog, I ask God, “What do you want me to write about?” Then I ponder for a day or two to let the answer arise. The topic is usually what I’m learning or what a teacher I’m studying offers me—or what I’m struggling with as I try to learn and grow.

This week, I don’t know what I should write. I don’t know if I even trust what I’m supposed to write. But Linda’s life reminds me, I don’t know, and I trust.

Some things in life are beyond human understanding. That’s the stuff we call “mystery.” It’s the face of God beyond us. We don’t have to understand everything. We only have to trust.

Day by day, moment by moment, Nescio—Fiducia.


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net




by brian j plachta on October 9th, 2020


“I feel like I’m choking.” Paul grasped his throat. “I’m anxious about Covid. I’m fearful of the violence in the streets. I’m tired of the media spewing biased news. Even the spiritual leaders I look up to have turned their voices into rhetoric steeped with political arrogance.” He scratched the back of his neck. “I’ve lost hope.”

“Life is heavy right now.” I leaned toward him. “How about we sit in the quiet for a few minutes and see if God has some wisdom to place upon your heart?”

We closed our eyes and sat in stillness for several moments. The whispers of our breath filled the silence with peace. I wasn’t sure what God might come up with, but I trusted the Spirit would speak.

“The parable of the sower came to mind.” Paul smiled as he sat straighter.  “The world’s chaos, my self-doubt, and worry are the weeds strangling me.”

“What are you in the parable?” I asked. “There’s the weeds, the sower, the seed, and the soil. Which of those are you?”

“I’d like to think I’m the good soil. I’m open to letting God sow his wisdom in me so I can offer love and hope to others. But I need divine help to get past my fears.”

Paul continued talking through the parable. He recalled how the world was filled with terror and conflict during Jesus’ time on earth. The Romans oppressed the Jews. Many of the religious and political leaders were hypocrites living an elite life while preaching spiritual laws but failing to follow them. It was a time wrought with fear and anger. In the midst of it all, Jesus stirred the chaos by preaching the law of love and challenging the elite and powerful.

“I guess we’ve survived lots of tough times,” Paul said as he pondered history. “We went through Vietnam, 9/11, the measles, a polio epidemic, and we survived. We came out stronger. God’s never given up on us. I need to open my heart and let the Creator pour more grace on my soul so the world’s weeds don’t choke out the divine nutrients of love and hope.”

A smile on his face and the glimmer in his eyes told me God and Paul were working through his lament.

Lamenting’s Good for the Soul

As King David modeled throughout the Psalms, lamenting is a vital part of spiritual growth. We take our angst to God—we start by shaking our fists and naming our frustrations. Then we progress to asking for divine help. And finally, we receive the Spirit’s loving guidance. That’s how we move from fear to love.

In Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy—Discovering the Grace of Lament, Mark Vroegop reminds us that the art of lamenting is a doorway to inner peace and growth.

As we finished our chat, Paul’s voice reverberated once again with divine strength. “I won’t choke. I am good soil.”



—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net


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by brian j plachta on October 1st, 2020


People often ask, “How do I move beyond mere intellectual knowledge about God and experience God?” Put another way, “If God is real, how does the Divine communicate with me?”


Paul Smith, author of Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve, offers a path to an ever-deepening experience of God. By focusing on four centers of spiritual knowing that God has gifted us with, Smith says we can move beyond mere intellectual knowledge about God and experience a real relationship with God—the same type of relationship Jesus had with his Father while on earth. Like Jesus, through quiet meditation and times of being alone with God, we can experience direct and divine Presence in our lives.


The four spiritual centers Smith suggests we focus on as an entryway into a deeper experience of God are these:



• The Heart. The heart is the radiant center of the loving presence of God. When we focus on being present to God and ourselves in our heart-space, we can experience a deep connection with the energy of love found there. Some say our soul is a small glowing light in our hearts. The warmth we feel when we place our hands on our chest near our heart is literally the Light of Christ within us. It’s not so much being aware of your heart, but being aware from your heart. In the heart, we experience the Divine love of the Beloved.


• The Gut.  Have you ever heard someone say they have a “gut instinct”? It’s true, because the gut is the source of intuition, creativity, and courage. It’s the place of our True Self in God—where we realize we are made in the image and likeness of the Creator.  It’s like a spiritual womb where God is constantly creating us. There we can access our deepest identity of God Being One within Us. We might say we’re pregnant with God and God’s incarnating the Divine in and through us.


• The Feet.  Like the roots of a tree that dig deep into the soil, our feet are the part of the body that grounds us. When we place our feet flat on the floor and notice the strength and stability they provide, this grounding draws us back to the present moment. In spiritual practice and throughout a busy day, we sometimes fly high off into the clouds. By focusing on our feet, we reconnect with ourselves. Placing our feet on the floor or earth brings us back to the here-and-now. We literally, “Find our feet.” We can then draw the energy from the earth up into the rest of our body to recharge ourselves.


• The Mind.  The typical language of our head is thought. The head is probably the most familiar to all of us. But to experience deeper spiritual knowing we have to reach deeper than just our normal, mental thoughts. We need to clear our minds to be open to receiving God’s wisdom. The best way to do that is to first access the heart-space. Getting in touch with the radiating heart-energy of warmth and love can produce deep peace. We can then move from the heart to the head with a clearer mind because of the power of the radiating heart. It’s as if the mind is a glass filled with water, calmed by the connection with the loving heart. When the mind is cleared, God’s wisdom can speak to us. We might hear a simple loving word or phrase. An image or metaphor may arise. We can even enjoy a gentle and loving conversation with God, all of which, if grounded in love, we can trust is a gift from the Creator.


To experience the mind-body-spirit connection, click on the link below and enjoy a twelve-minute guided meditation.


Open your heart, feel your gut, find your feet, let your mind connect with your heartspace.

Experience God’s wisdom as your mind, body, and spirit connect with the Divine.


Mind-Body-Spirit Meditation Link


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

by brian j plachta on September 24th, 2020

What if you had an inner guide planted deep inside of you? Whenever you had a question, needed affirmation, or wanted someone or something to show you the way, what if there was a place inside of you that you could consult?

You do have a source of wisdom. We all do. It’s our soul. It’s planted in our hearts like a computer chip.  All we have to do is listen and seek our soul’s divine guidance.

At the end of his earthly life, Jesus promised he’d send us the Holy Spirit—the Advocate—who’d teach us everything, including how to live (John 14:26).

As a result, God gave us an on-board computer that’s part of our DNA. The soul—embedded in our human hearts—connects us with God’s Divine Heart. And with practice, we can learn the art of listening to our souls.

In the article, Listening When the Soul Speaks, Emily Madill, writes, “I believe we all have inner wisdom and a guidance system that will help steer us on the best path that sits well with who we are. It’s an inherent trait.”  

Madill offers these suggestions to help us listen to our inner GPS:

1. Get Quiet.  Give yourself the gift of shutting off the world for at least 10 minutes each day. Befriend silence. Rest in it as you create the inner space to listen to your soul.

2. Be Playful. Use your imagination during your quiet time. Let God’s wisdom speak to you. Have fun with the Creator as your heart becomes your Divine guide.

3. Take Action. When your soul gives you loving guidance, take baby steps to integrate the wisdom into your life. Our hearts are always leading us, and eventually, our feet catch up.


If you’d like to practice the HeART of listening to your soul, click on the link below to experience a six minute meditation.  

Let your heart and soul guide you for the rest of your life.

Listen to Your Soul Meditation


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net

by brian j plachta on September 18th, 2020

Imagine, for a moment, what the Apostle John may have experienced at the end of the Last Supper when Jesus invited him to sit and rest his head against his chest.  

What went through John’s mind as he relaxed next to Jesus? Could he feel Jesus’ heart beat? Did he hear the whisper of Jesus’ breath flowing in and out of his lungs? Did John feel safe, loved, embraced?

Through the gift of our imaginations, we can experience the same emotions John felt. We can experience being embraced by God.

The Practice of Imaginative Prayer

In Meeting God through Your Imagination, Christine Warner reminds us it’s okay to use the gift of our creative minds to draw closer to God. St. Ignatius, she writes, invites us to engage our imaginations and senses to experience divine presence.

For Ignatius, meditation is not only about freeing our minds; it’s also about drawing us into an ever-deepening relationship with the Creator through images, metaphors, storytelling, and sensation.

God gifted us with imagination. Therefore, we can explore this divine gift to tap into an intimate experience of the Creator’s loving relationship with us.

Letting the Word Become Our Flesh

One way to enter into imaginative prayer is to take a Gospel story and place yourself in it. First, figure out who is present. Then, select one character and pretend you’re that person. What does it feel like to be there in the flesh, as a character in the story?

As you enter into this meditation practice, engage all five senses—sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch. Immerse yourself in the story. Where, exactly, are you? What do you see? What do you smell? What do you hear? Is it hot, cold, windy? What emotions do you experience?

Continue to experience the scene, going deeper in your imagination.

This exercise places us in the divine narrative of the Gospel as it becomes our story.

Embraced—a Meditation Practice


If you’d like to experience the gift of imaginative prayer, click on the link below and listen to the two minute meditation.  Allow yourself to be embraced by God.


Embraced--A Meditation for You. Click here to experience this two minute mediation.


Savor the emotions you experience and take them with you into your day.


—brian j plachta
brianplachta.net



by brian j plachta on September 11th, 2020

During his forty days of prayer and fasting as depicted in the blockbuster movie, Last Days in the Desert,  Jesus meets a young boy struggling to free himself from the inner voices that keep telling him he is bad. Eventually, the boy gathered the wisdom and courage to shout, “I’m not a bad son!” Those words freed him from the haunting inner voices of shame and doubt. As a result, the boy was able to fully give and receive love.


Many of my spiritual direction clients (myself included) often struggle with the same self-image problems the boy battled in the movie. That pit of self-doubt drowns us in the quicksand of shame stopping us from letting God love us. We get booby-trapped in the false belief we don’t deserve the gift of God’s unconditional love.


Why is it so hard to let God love us as we are, here and now, unconditionally? Who told us we were bad, so that now we place our hands over our ears and run from ourselves and those damning voices?


God did not teach us that falsehood. God is love, not some Brutus who’s ready to condemn us if we step out of line.


That is not who God is. That is not the One who created us in the image of Divine Love.


Like the boy in the movie, we too must stand tall and shout, “I am not a bad person!” We must proclaim those words. Rebuke the falsehoods of shame and doubt that stone our hearts. We must gather the courage and wisdom to open ourselves to the truth letting the river of compassion flow through us allowing us to proclaim, “I am good. I am loved. I am the image of Divine Love.”


As we rediscover who we are, we open our hearts to hear the Creator whisper the words, “I love you.” Then we can whisper back, “I love you too.”


To practice the art of letting God love you, click on the podcast/meditation link below and receive the gift of unconditional love from our Creator.  

 three minute love you prayer meditation

---brian j plachta
brianplachta.net





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