Renewed Each Morning
Reflections from the Rocking Chair
Renewed Each Morning is a website featuring reflections on the wisdom and grace that we need to lead healthy, happy lives rooted in the teaching of Jesus Christ. These essays from Father Philip M. Kanfush, O.S.B., provide a framework for illustrating life's lessons and the opportunities for spiritual growth that can result from being attentive to the voice of God in the surprisingly ordinary moments of daily life. These reflections provide practical wisdom, gleaned from both Scripture and contemporary life, which can be easily applied in our daily lives.
Printed for the first time in September, 2000, the first reflection set the premise for Reflections from the Rocking Chair, a weekly column that Father Philip wrote for his parish bulletin between September, 2000 and September, 2003. That original collection of reflections was subsequently published in a collection titled Renewed Each Morning. The first reflection in an updated form, is printed in the column to the right in order to set the stage for those that follow on the Reflections page.
When I first became an uncle, I learned the value of a good rocking chair and long before I became a monk, my rocking chair became my sacred space, my place of prayer. My rocking chair is the sacred space where I reflect on God's word as it unfolds in my life, and pray. This heirloom rocking chair, the same one in which I found so much joy and peace rocking my first nephew, has gone everywhere that my adult life has taken me. It came with me to the monastery. It was in my college office where I advised my teacher education students and then later in my parish office. My precious rocking chair resided in my Life Skills Support classroom at the Clelian Heights School for Exceptional Children where I taught from 2002-2006, and then it returned to Saint Vincent College with me.
I originally wrote these brief essays for my parishioners at Saint Vincent Basilica Parish in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, which was my first assignment after I was ordained a priest. These reflections, which were printed in the parish's weekly bulletin, were one venue in which, as a part of the teaching office of the priesthood, I hoped to share with my parishioners the fruit of my own "rocking chair" prayer times. That is the reason that they were originally titled Reflections from the Rocking Chair.
However, the primary title for the published collection,
Renewed Each Morning, was derived from the Book of Lamentations:
"The favors of the Lord are not exhausted,
his mercies are not spent;
they are renewed each morning,
so great is his faithfulness" (3:22-23).
This single verse of Scripture, perhaps more than any other, has held great personal meaning for me, and has come to undergird my entire belief system: Our loving Father never, ever, leaves us bereft of hope.
God constantly whispers his love for us in the depths of our hearts, but often the "noise" of daily life drowns out His song. We all need a sacred space where we can rest in stillness and allow the Lord to speak to our hearts. Maybe your sacred space is your kitchen table, your study, a favorite chair or even your porch.
My hope is that this collection of reflections will help you to find a space in your world where you can spend some moments each day with the Lord. Rest quietly in your sacred space. Maybe take a walk with Him. Breathe slowly and deeply, quiet your mind. Repeat a favorite scripture verse. Let God speak to your heart. Even if it is just long enough for a cup of tea, you will find healing and peace.