The story of Thecla is an intriguing one – it is above all a story that demonstrates a woman in active ministry – a story that shows a woman as an Apostle. The story found is found in the apocryphal literature called Acts of Thecla (sometimes found in “The Acts of St. Paul and Thecla) and seemed to attract the ire of Tertullian and the writers of the Pastoral Epistles. In fact, some of the names in this story also appear in the New Testament writings. Thecla used to be a Saint in the Catholic Church, and is still a Saint in the Byzantine Rite. Please note that what I say here is not my original work but a compilation of various interpretations of stories about St. Thecla.
St. Paul was travelling in Iconium with his two companions, Demas and Hermogenes. They were offered hospitality at the house of Onesiphorus. Paul was giving a sermon praising virginity, stating that eternal reward awaits anyone who lives a chaste life. Thecla overheard his sermon from her window and became enamoured by his teaching to the point that she was unable to move from her window for three days and three nights. Continue reading “St. Thecla: Transvestite Saint and Woman Apostle by Michele Stopera Freyhauf”
My simple daily rituals and spiritual practices are what keep me mindful of G-d and G-d’s presence in my life. They also remind me of G-d’s call to justice, care, compassion and love.
“I find by experience, not by reasoning,
but by my own discovery that G-d is near me,
and I can be near G-d at all times.
I cannot explain it but I am as sure of my experience
as I am of the fact that I live and love,
but I know I do.
In the same way, I know I am in contact with G-d.”
This poem by Lily Montagu speaks to me. I read it most mornings as I say my morning prayers, and it is one of those mantras I try to live by. I have found that contrary to popular belief, sustained religious practices can be just as transformative as instantaneous conversion experiences. This is why I have developed certain spiritual and specifically Jewish practices (For more about my joinery to Judaism, see one of my previous blogs “Reflections on my Spiritual Journey: Claiming Judaism”). I find that they help me develop and cultivate a strong relationship with G-d. For example, I keep a kosher home; wear a kippah daily; try to pray at least twice a day and before snacks and meals; practice the principles of Mussar; attend regularly Shabbat services Friday evenings at my Reform Congregation in Lowell and Saturday morning services at a Conservative congregation in Nashua, NH; light Shabbat candles; try not cook or create on Shabbat; make Havadalah to mark the end of Shabbat; give tzedakah as much as I can and study Torah with my friends. This list is not all encompassing and there are quite a few areas of my practice I wish were more disciplined as well.
Continue reading “The Transformative Power of Daily Practices by Ivy Helman”