Tag: Texas

Sacred Spaces: Villa de Matel Chapel

Villa Chapel | Villa de Matel Houston | Used with permission of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word | Nexus Prayer International

Villa de Matel Chapel, Houston

This journal entry continues my introduction to chapels and sacred spaces. The sacred spaces page may be found under the “Resources” menu at the top of this page.

Ruah Sprirituality Center | 6510 Lawndale St. • Houston, TX 77023 | Phone: (713) 928-6053

Located near the heart of downtown Houston, the circa 1920s Villa de Matel Chapel (Villa Chapel) is closer to a Gothic cathedral than a small church building designed for prayer. Yet, despite the breadth of its size and the depth of its beauty, I’ve been blessed to spend many an hour there in both community and solitary contemplative prayer, as well as attend many church services, Taizé prayer services, and weekend centering prayer retreats at the Ruah Spirituality Center.  This is indeed a very special, sacred space to me (that’s the Villa Chapel in the background of my bio photo.)

Ruah’s mission as described on their official website says it best: “Ruah’s spaces are set apart for silence. Silence is presented as nonnegotiable: it is offered as a gift and guarded as a treasure for those who seek. Here people are led to rest in God’s presence; then the same Breath of God (Ruah) who drew them here sends them out to confidently echo the good news of God’s love on the streets of their lives.”

I encourage you to visit the Villa Chapel (reservations required) and, while there, enjoy the healing, spiritual environment of their nature walks, labyrinth, silent prayer retreats, and their contemplative prayer of choice, Centering Prayer. But while there, I also invite you to give nexus prayer a try. Nexus prayer can be done in as little as five minutes a day and The Steps are easy to learn. Questions? Feel free to contact me anytime!

Note: Although a work in progress, I encourage you to visit the sacred spaces page on this website regularly to discover chapels and other sacred spaces in your local area (or anywhere around the world) where you may visit…and pray. – aaw


1 Photo Credit: Villa Chapel photograph Copyright © 2017 Villa de Matel. Used with express written permission. | Many thanks to the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and The Ruah Spirituality Center for the gift of their ministry to the Greater Houston area, as well as their kind permission to link to their website and use their photo of of the beautiful Villa Chapel on this website.

It’s All in the Cards – Part 1

Nexus Prayer "Business" Card (Front)

Nexus Prayer “Business” Card (Front)

To the casual observer, the design choices I made when creating the Nexus Prayer “business” card may appear odd to some. (Truth be told, I actually designed at least half a dozen other cards before finally deciding on this one.) So, what does a landscape photograph of a barn in Nebraska and an empty old chair sitting in an open field have to do with prayer, ministry, or even God? I’m so glad you asked!

For me, both the front and back sides of the card are chock-full of Christian symbolism, but especially the front that features the beautiful pastoral scene captured by photographer, Erin Theisen. But before sharing my own personal thoughts below, I invite you to take a few minutes and reflect on the card (shown) for yourself. Recognizing that “Beauty”, as Margaret Wolfe Hungerford once wrote, “is in the eye of the beholder”, what does the card “say” to you? I’d love for you to share your insights at the end of this post.

So, without further ado, here are my top insights for the FRONT of the card …

The name in the ancient Hebrew used for “God” in Psalm 46:10 is “Elohim” and means “Creator.” Genesis 1:1-2:3. In short, God created everything – the heavens, the earth, and all mankind. Indeed, God is even revealed through his creation Romans 1:20-21. And just as God was close to Adam and Eve as he “walked” with them in the Garden of Eden Genesis 3:8, and as Jesus walked and talked with his family and disciples everywhere he went during his approximately thirty-three years here on earth Luke 3:23, I also feel closest to God when I am surrounded by nature. Whether standing on a mountain peak high above the clouds in Switzerland where I feel I can almost reach out and touch the face of God; taking long, evening prayer walks with only God, the moon, the stars, and the wind as my companions; or following a trail in a local park or even sitting in my own backyard; I have always felt closer to God when alone with him in His creation.

The beautiful sunset reminds me that “The heavens declare the glory of God” Psalms 19:1-6, and that among the three heavens II Corinthians 12:2-4, the one that matters most is the one where God dwells and is waiting for me – every true believer – to one day join him there. Also, the rising and setting of the sun is a daily reminder to me that God’s name is to be praised Psalm 113:3, and is also a vivid symbol of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, “…the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.” Revelation 22:16.

The birth, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, or the gospel as it is partially referred to in I Corinthians 15:3-4 may all be found in Erin’s photograph. First, like the corn crib (or barn) featured in the image, the Savior of the world was also born in a stable, and laid in a manger Luke 2:7. Secondly, among the many metaphors Jesus used when speaking of himself was “the Door.” The wide open barn door brings to mind the words of Jesus: “I am the door. If any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” John 10:9-10.

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