Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I have traveled
many moonless nights,
Cold and weary
with a babe inside,
And I wonder what I’ve done.
Holy father you have come,
And chosen me now
to carry your son.
I am waiting
in a silent prayer.
I am frightened
by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Do you wonder
as you watch my face,
If a wiser one
should have had my place,
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of your plan.
Help me be strong.
Help me be.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven,
Hold me together,
Be forever near me,
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven,
Lighten my darkness,
Pour over me your holiness,
For you are holy.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.
Breath of heaven.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Our Christmas Eve service was a series of hymns and readings, and I helped choreograph at a rehearsal last Monday night. Some changes were needed as various reader's were not available, and I volunteered to take on any readings that were open. The guys shuffled the readings around, and assigned me one, but I didn't look at it until the next day. When I did, I discovered that it was Luke 1:26-58; the annunciation and the visitation.
God's generosity and personal attention never ceases to amaze me.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
How like him we are as we probe around our faith. Jesus stands before us willingly and we thrust our fingers into His wounds, stretching and pulling them as we selfishly seek satisfaction.
The reason that Thomas is a twin is that we are just like him.
Forgive me Lord, and heal my disbelief.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Monday's gospel reading described Thomas' disbelief, and seemed to potentially confirm this line of thought when it tells us that blessed are we who have not seen and yet believe.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
"The fact is that contemplatives, who make the inward journey into the unconscious, frequently have spoken of the joy and pain, apparent opposites, that confronts them: the symbols and the diabols. Again and again I am reminded also of comments Castaneda makes, or rather quotations he records from his shaman. It is only when one claims to understand, that he is really 'in a mess.' The task of the 'warrior' is to achieve a balance between terror and wonder. The numinous and hidden quality of the vision, combined with the seeming multivocality of its symbols, are a common perception with those who surrender to the unconscious. Marghanita Laski, as we said before, has noted that 'ecstasy' has both its fearful and attractive dimensions, just as Otto spoke of the numinous as terrifying and fascinating."
"It seems to me that when people say that they 'talk with Jesus' or 'feel Jesus in their hearts,' they are referring in part to a very superficial level of the unconscious, which we would identify by a kind of warm nostalgia they associate with pleasant memories of their parents, probably quite distorted, or of the 'good old days.' This is not really the content of the unconscious at any level of depth. The feelings of the unconscious are more frequently identified with a sense of joy, as described by C.S. Lewis in his autobiography; a strange warmth, such as John Wesley testified to at Aldersgate; a celestial orgasm, as Teresa of Avila relates; a sublime melody, as the fourteenth-century mystic, Richard Rolle, claims; or the oceanic experience such as Castaneda himself records."
Thursday, December 18, 2008
"The fact that 'passion' means both suffering and a frenzied release of the libido is not altogether accidental. Sexual intercourse and suffering have long been associated in man's mind. There is the notion that in coitus we die a little. It is also true that we pursue a vision that lies just outside our grasp. Ovid wrote somewhat facetiously Omne animal post coitum triste ('Every animal after coitus is sad'), and it is true (even without qualifications). Somehow we can sustain the sexual union, but we should come away with our routine existence more informed by what it might become. This is as true for any deep relationship as it is for mating, and it depends upon our willingness to trust ourselves, to let go of our self-centeredness in that meeting.
That very act of letting go, fueled by the mating urge (Eros), renders us vulnerable. Eros is no respecter of the conventions of society, as necessary as they are. Passion draws us into the abyss, with that curious mixture of pain and longing--that strange bittersweet feeling we never outgrow--and we risk that we might find ourselves in the beloved. Our reason tells us we are only foolish, and it is half right. There is only a thin line between 'puppy love' and the passion of the mating bond. The proof lies in the return to the world of obligation and role. Have we glimpsed in the mystery of love that which enables us to live out our life with a deeper compassion for ourselves and those whom we serve?"
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Written by Cardinal Merry del Val. He was accustomed to recite this prayer daily after the celebration of Holy Mass.
O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I,
That others may be esteemed more than I,
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen.
Monday, December 15, 2008
This has happened a handful of times throughout the last year or so, most typically while napping. It keeps me in a state of semi-wakefulness, in which I simply luxuriate in the experience.
God's gifts are so interesting...
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Sometimes in prayer I am transported to another state of being. It was not quite ecstatic today, but could have developed into that depth I think under different (and quieter) circumstances.
While worshiping I again felt the burning sensation of love and absence around my heart, and I imagined His hands wrapping around it, cradling it, sheltering it, warming it.
I was reminded of God gathering His chicks together into the comfortable warmth of His bosom, and of us being sheltered beneath His wings.
But the image of those hands cradling my heart were the strongest, and the truest.
And the warmth and burning sensation grew as I worshiped Him.
If this is even a hint of the perpetual worship that is to occur in heaven, I can hardly wait. I can see how you could never grow tired of it; it is a different state of being.
Friday, December 12, 2008
"What we are aware of as a fulfillment of our religious quest on the primary level is the ambiguous feeling of both fear and love. We find ourselves gazing into a mystery, which would seem to engage us as an overweening power and yet flood us with an unimaginable assurance of worth. Such experience is not of equal impact in all individuals. Laski described ecstasies of withdrawal and intensity; and perhaps one person is more aware of their smallness and alienation before the mystery, while another is rewarded with the gift of wholeness and unity. At the same time, I do know that reporters as different as St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) and the contemporary American anthropologist, Carlos Castaneda, describe mystical or transcendental experiences in which there is an intense level of pain and delight at the same time."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I abandon myself into your hands;
do with me what you will.
Whatever you may do, I thank you:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
Let only your will be done in me,
and in all your creatures -
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to you with all the love of my heart,
for I love you, Lord,
and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into your hands
and with boundless confidence,
for you are my Father.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
about a "happy Christian." Happiness depends on what happens;
joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays "that
they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves."
-- Oswald Chambers
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
The strongest of images He sent was of His cross being searing hot. I regularly imagine physically uniting myself to Christ on the cross, sometimes hanging with him, my back to His chest, sometimes clinging to the cross directly. In this meditation, I pressed up against and wrapped my arms around it, and it was so hot that the flesh which touched it was fused, so that the cross and I became one.
It was an agony of pain but it was right and good and required.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach--waiting for a gift from the sea."
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
One of the books I read during my brief stint at one such seminary suggested that it is the job of each generation to renew and reform the church and the liturgy.
I think both of these statements are accurate within the context of truth. Each generation needs to find ways to present the truth in a way in which the culture can most effectively respond to it. But the emphasis must be on the truth being the truth.
Truth stands outside of cultural relevance. It is what it is.
Change for the sake of cultural conformity and "relevance" is not life, it is certain death.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
…an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any other satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again. Apart from that, and considered only in its quality, it might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or grief. But then it is a kind we want.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
For a moment this seemed like a bad thing. Like a misplacement, like disorder. But as I thought further I realized that it is a God-given thing and is actually rightly ordered. God gives us a desire for completion with and through other humans because each of us is a reflection of God, a carrier of God. When we become one with another we are in fact a more complete reflection of God's fullness, though still incomplete.
The two become one as we will eventually become one with Him.
For now we see through a glass dimly. Just imagine the face to face...
Thursday, November 20, 2008
I'm still listening to the interview, but I think Karen may tap into the key to mystagogia. She speaks of the study of religion as requiring a "science of compassion", meaning a search for knowledge through 'feeling with'.
She also says that theology is poetry, religion is art, and ritual leads to transcendence.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
“What is universal is not the particular picture, but the arrival of some message, not perfectly intelligible, which wakes this desire and sets men longing for something East or West of the world; something possessed, if at all, only in the act of desiring it, and lost so quickly that the craving itself becomes craved; something that tends inevitably to be confused or even with vile satisfactions lying close to hand, yet which is able, if any man faithfully live through the dialectic of its successive births and deaths, to lead him at last to where true joys are to be found”.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Unhealthy, unuseful, and unholy idealization clearly exists, especially in romance. But not all idealization falls into that camp.
For example, in some ways I idealize my children. I think the best of them and recognize their wonderful capabilities and giftings. They are shining stars to me and always will be. They are beacons of what love means. They have changed my life and helped form me, for which I will be eternally grateful.
But just because all these things are true doesn't mean I don't recognize their weaknesses and frailties. I know full well that they are far from perfect. While their strengths and beauty are foremost in my mind and heart, I am still aware of their faults.
The two are not mutually exclusive.
Not all idealization is idolatry.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
the purple passion of my love
a thin veneer?
my love is miles high
and oceans wide
my love is layers thick
and fathoms deep
and any rain of hurt that falls
will water the fruit
which ripens on love's peak
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I was at a Disney-esque theme park, standing on the bank of a river which represented Pharaoh's command at the time of Moses' infancy. The water flowed from my right to my left, and scattered across the waters were naked babies floating on small rectangles of wood. Some of them were animatronically kicking a leg in the air and turning over. Others lay fetally curled as if trying to stay warm in the chill water. One model could open it's eyes, but the water lapped over it's mouth and so it could not cry, despite the terror and cold and abandonment.
And the silent parade of sacrificed babies floated on and on.
“Someone who wanted to object to this argument might reply with the modern view that ‘divine dissatisfaction’, a constant search for something beyond what we have, is a characteristic valuable for survival. Thus its existence and persistence can be explained on grounds of evolution by natural selection. The price one pays for taking this line is that it makes the desires in question unsatisfiable in principle. If our ‘infinite longings’ do not mean that an infinite object exists to satisfy them, then they mean that we shall never be satisfied”.
“They claim that all our highest desires, whether they are ethical, religious, or aesthetic, are the material products of a lower-order desire (one that could have evolved) that has been first repressed and then sublimated in another form. Great art is, like our daydreams, just another type of wish fulfillment. What we call love is merely a sublimated form of that instinctual lust which lies buried deep in our unconscious.
The lust is primary, originary, natural thing; love is but the artificial, socially acceptable form that lust takes when it is filtered through our elaborate system of psychological defense mechanisms”.
“Why, Lewis asks, must we say that love is a sublimation of lust? Is it not equally possible that lust is a falling away from love? Why must love be considered a projection from below, or evolution? May it not be rather an incarnation from above, a transposition from a heavenly key into an earthly one? Is not the universal human experience that of a search for higher things that goes terribly astray? Of a ‘looking for love’ that goes awry and devolves into lust”?
Monday, November 10, 2008
If God made all things, where did -he- come from?
A good question.
My initial response was that he always was, and that it is a mystery. Not a very satisfactory response, needless to say.
But then the Holy Spirit reminded me that he is outside of time, which is actually pretty helpful. We think of things in terms of pre-existence, existence, and post-existence. But all those things are constructs of time. He is the creator of time, and there is no time before him.
Man asked God's name, and he replied "I Am."
And ever shall He be.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
And I realized that while this is what He asks us to do, and what He wants us to do, the very action of clinging to it and to Him causes Him pain.
No matter what, He suffers.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
St. Jeanne de Chantal (one of my patrons) is known for having taken a heated knife and carving the name Jesus in the flesh above her heart.
I think she did it to have a visual reminder of who it is she was to love.
I feel like I need that too, along with the courage it would take to make the cuts. But I think I would carve it across my face, with the S on the bridge of my nose, so that I would see it in the mirror throughout the day rather than just when getting dressed or undressed.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I saw him praying for his disciples, for all his children who were about to betray him, and for all of us who continue to betray him now. I imagined him struggling against his humanity to pray for them, and winning. And the prayers felt like a fiery fist plunging into his chest and ripping out his heart.
But he prayed anyway.
And as he prayed, he longed for home and cried out to his father "How long?"
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I often feel like that god; greedy, self indulgent, consuming.
But as it turns out, the god does not actually devour her, though he does take her away from family and friends, and transform her. It turns out that he gives her great love and mystical riches.
One central theme of this book is duality, dual natures. The god is both selfish and generous. The virgin is both delusional and lucid. The virgin's sister is both ugly and beautiful. It is a book of "both and".
And so, I suppose, am I.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Here are some thoughts from my priest on retreating:
But if we don't run from the penetrating silence we will see what needs to be seen. We will experience the redemption that will come with listening contemplation. We will receive the embrace of self-acceptance and the rest of God's embrace, or maybe it's first the rest of God's embrace and then the embrace of self-acceptance.
When preparing for retreat, try to get in touch with your desire for a more intimate communion with yourself and with God, for a freer and richer interior life. It's the difference between living in a bachelor's pad and dwelling in a richly and elaborately decorated old mansion with lots of fascinating and mysterious rooms that have still to be discovered.
It was not a silent retreat, but God still used the time away to communicate with me viscerally, just as He did at the last one. Once again He put me in touch with the ache of being separated from Him. Last year the pain was that of a separated lover, with the strength of mourning. This year it was more like the pain of a young child away at camp for the first time; my soul cried out to go home. It was tinged with a sense of abandonment, a bewildered hurt at being intentionally left behind. My heart begged "Please come and get me, please take me home..."
He made me look at myself in bright light, and I didn't like what I saw.
I feel abandoned to my own weakness.
Monday, November 3, 2008
That made me think of John Denver's Annie's Song, the lyrics of which are below. (OK, OK, I concede to having plebeian tastes in music, but this song still makes my soul swell.)
You fill up my senses
Like a night in the forest
Like the mountains in springtime
Like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert
Like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses
Come fill me again
Come let me love you
Let me give my life to you
Let me drown in your laughter
Let me die in your arms
Let me lay down beside you
Let me always be with you
Come let me love you
Come love me again
Friday, October 31, 2008
My heart is heavy for all Christians who do not experience it.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Things I've been contemplating in scattered moments:
- Christ's relationship with Judas, who's last interaction was a kiss.
- Myself as a dagger in a jeweled sheath.
- The joy of family, blood or otherwise.
- The anticipation of retreat.
Friday, October 24, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
We have two choices as usual:
Option A: Save the whales and kill the babies
Option B: Save the babies and kill the whales
Is it truly not possible to be a US politician and be both pro-whale AND pro-baby???
Monday, October 20, 2008
Their voices carry through the door; the sound of men in the absence of women.
My heart pounds. Do I dare?
I take a breath and push the door open. The room falls silent as one by one the men realize I'm not a servant bringing food or more wine.
Their expressions tell a story. Some of them know me and scowl their disapproval and surprise. Those who don’t know me look puzzled; my robes and ornaments confuse them. I can’t think about them now, because he is before me.
I cross the room to where he reclines, his eyes smiling a soft and silent welcome. If only I could sit at his side, and bend my face to his lips! But it's impossible, even for one as brazen as me. Instead, I kneel at his feet, reaching out my hands, unfit as they are, and unfasten his sandals, dusty and worn.
Why has no one washed them?
The tears I swallowed begin to flow. They drip onto the feet of my beloved, leaving tracks in the dust. I cry harder, wishing my broken heart could melt and seep from my eyes to wash him. I dare not look at his face, and simply watch as the tears fall, dripping the dirt of the road away.
I unclasp my hair, and it falls clean, shining, and perfumed. I wrap his feet in its length, winding my head closer until my lips touch the top of one beautiful foot. I wipe away the tears and dust with my hair, wishing I could be washed clean as easily.
When his feet are dry, I twist my hair back, and pull the vial from the bag hanging at my waist. When I snap off the top, the expensive scent of weddings and burials reaches him. He smiles again as he watches me, his eyes speaking love and restraint.
It's hard to look away, but the grumbles of men break through and I turn to finish.
The oil is cool in my hand, and I rub my palms together before picking up the first perfect foot. My hands caress him, sliding from the soft curving arch to his road-roughened heel. I want to give him pleasure, to anoint him with my love. My fingers part each pair of toes, sliding slippery between them. Every touch is a concert of passion, every caress a request.
I want to flood him with kisses but that would go too far; it's a miracle I've been allowed this much. I pour more oil instead, and gently lift the second foot, sorrowing that my time with him is so short. Knowing I must go.
The tears flow faster as I force myself to release him. I rise to leave before it is demanded, and lift my eyes to his again. His gaze pierces me with promise.
I move to the door, holding his gaze, knowing that however long my life before that promise is fulfilled will be too long.
His lips move in a farewell but make out no words.
My heart hears him though. He says, “Goodbye, beloved.”
And I leave.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
"Part of our alchemical work with soul is to extract myth from the hard details of family history and memory on the principle that increase of imagination is always an increase in soul."
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Friday, October 17, 2008
I'm feeling betrayed and trying to enter into thankfulness that God allows me to share minutely in what Christ experienced. I can be with him in the garden as Judas approaches, and can listen to Peter's denial from his place of warmth by the fire.
And then I ponder my own betrayals and how much more like Judas I am than like Christ, and how hypocritical I am to feel wronged. I think about how Christ is betrayed every hour, every minute, and every second of every day.
And I am somewhat humbled, though not enough.
"The act of entering into the mysteries of the soul, without sentimentality or pessimism, encourages life to blossom forth according to its own designs and with its own unpredictable beauty. Care of the soul is not solving the puzzle of life; quite the opposite, it is an appreciation of the paradoxical mysteries that blend light and darkness into the grandeur of what human life and culture can be."
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "It is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."
Monday, October 13, 2008
As St. Paul reminds us (1 Cor. 6: 19), we are "not our own." We belong entirely to Christ. His Spirit has taken possession of us at baptism. We are the Temples of the Holy Spirit. Our thoughts, our actions, our desires, are by rights more his than our own. But we have to struggle to ensure that God always receives from us what we owe him by right. If we do not labor to overcome our natural weakness, our disordered and selfish passions, what belongs to God in us will be withdrawn from the sanctifying power of his love and will be corrupted by selfishness, blinded by irrational desire, hardened by pride, and will eventually plunge into the abyss of moral nonentity which is called sin.
Sin is the refusal of spiritual life, the rejection of the inner order and peace that come from our union with the divine will. In a word, sin is the refusal of God's will and of his love. It is not only a refusal to "do" this or that thing willed by God, or a determination to do what he forbids. It is more radically a refusal to be what we are, a rejection of our mysterious, contingent, spiritual reality hidden in the very mystery of God. Sin is our refusal to be what we were created to be-sons of God, images of God. Ultimately sin, while seeming to be an assertion of freedom, is a flight from the freedom and the responsibility of divine sonship.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Here are the lyrics.
I don't know how to love him.
What to do, how to move him.
I've been changed, yes really changed.
In these past few days, when I've seen myself,
I seem like someone else.
I don't know how to take this.
I don't see why he moves me.
He's a man. He's just a man.
And I've had so many men before,
In very many ways,
He's just one more.
Should I bring him down?
Should I scream and shout?
Should I speak of love,
Let my feelings out?
I never thought I'd come to this.
What's it all about?
Don't you think it's rather funny,
I should be in this position.
I'm the one who's always been
So calm, so cool, no lover's fool,
Running every show.
He scares me so.
I never thought I'd come to this.
What's it all about?
Yet, if he said he loved me,
I'd be lost. I'd be frightened.
I couldn't cope, just couldn't cope.
I'd turn my head. I'd back away.
I wouldn't want to know.
He scares me so.
I want him so.
I love him so.
Friday, October 10, 2008
"The act of entering into the mysteries of the soul, without sentimentality or pessimism, encourages life to blossom forth according to its own designs and with its own unpredictable beauty. Care of the soul is not solving the puzzle of life; quite the opposite, it is an appreciation of the paradoxical mysteries that blend light and darkness into the grandeur of what human life and culture can be." (page xix)
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
-- Winnie the Pooh, from The House at Pooh Corner
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
- As honey drips from the honeycomb of bees, and milk flows from the woman who loves her children, so also is my hope upon You, O my God.
- As a fountain gushes forth its water, so my heart gushes forth the praise of the Lord, and my lips bring forth praise to Him.
- And my tongue becomes sweet by His anthems, and my members are anointed by His odes.
- My face rejoices in His exultation, and my spirit exults in His love, and my nature shines in Him.
- And he who is afraid shall trust in Him, and redemption shall be assured in Him.
- And His possessions are immortal life, and those who receive it are incorruptible.
Friday, October 3, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
- Fill for yourselves water from the living fountain of the Lord, because it has been opened for you.
- And come all you thirsty and take a drink, and rest beside the fountain of the Lord.
- Because it is pleasing and sparkling, and perpetually refreshes the self.
- For much sweeter is its water than honey, and the honeycomb of bees is not to be compared with it;
- Because it flowed from the lips of the Lord, and it named from the heart of the Lord.
- And it came boundless and invisible, and until it was set in the middle they knew it not.
- Blessed are they who have drunk from it, and have refreshed themselves by it.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
"Between knowledge and desire there is often an abyss. ...Certainly Christians know that they do not have a direct line to Christ. But still... "
The chapter talks about ways in which Christians try to cross over the abyss by focusing on one of 3 poles: the scriptures, the sacraments, or Christian ethics. This roughly maps to the ICCEC's concept of converging the three streams (sacramental, evangelical, and charismatic). Focusing on any one of these three brings the picture out of balance, and actually makes it harder to know God. Chauvet continues:
"Faith lives only from the space between the three poles. It is precisely this space which concretely mediates the distance between God and us, our respect for God's difference. This space is uncomfortable because it constantly maintains an emptiness. But this emptiness, which the imaginary unceasingly strives to fill, is what lets Jesus truly be the living One and respects his lordship. It is also what gives Christians room for 'play' by allowing individuals to breathe freely within the faith of the church, instead of submitting them to the uniform mold of one ideology. "
"The tension between liturgy and ethics which we have noted in Judaism is, as it were, doubled in Christianity. It is tempting to assuage the discomfort by either absorbing the liturgy in ethics ('What does Mass matter? The important thing is charity.') or ethics in the liturgy (''I'm square with God: I go to Mass every Sunday and go to confession regularly.') In both cases one becomes a 'dualist' Christian who separates the sacraments from the lived experience. However the good health of faith depends precisely on this discomfort. This is to say that the tension is not to be abolished but managed. "
8. And she labored and bore the Son but without pain, because it did not occur without purpose.
9. And she did not require a midwife, because He caused her to give life.
10. She brought forth like a strong man with desire, and she bore according to the manifestation, and she acquired according to the Great Power.
11. And she loved with redemption, and guarded with kindness, and declared with grandeur.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
- As the eyes of a son upon his father, so are my eyes, O Lord, at all times towards You.
- Because my breasts and my pleasure are with You.
- Turn not aside Your mercies from me, O Lord; and take not Your kindness from me.
- Stretch out to me, my Lord, at all times, Your right hand, and be to me a guide till the end according to Your will.
- Let me be pleasing before You, because of Your glory, and because of Your name let me be saved from the Evil One.
- And let Your gentleness, O Lord, abide with me, and the fruits of Your love.
- Teach me the odes of Your truth, that I may produce fruits in You.
- And open to me the harp of Your Holy Spirit, so that with every note I may praise You, O Lord.
- And according to the multitude of Your mercies, so grant unto me, and hasten to grant our petitions.
- For You are sufficient for all our needs.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
- My heart was pruned and its flower appeared, then grace sprang up in it, and my heart produced fruits for the Lord.
- For the Most High circumcised me by His Holy Spirit, then He uncovered my inward being towards Him, and filled me with His love.
- And His circumcising became my salvation, and I ran in the Way, in His peace, in the way of truth.
- From the beginning until the end I received His knowledge.
- And I was established upon the rock of truth, where He had set me.
- And speaking waters touched my lips from the fountain of the Lord generously.
- And so I drank and became intoxicated, from the living water that does not die.
- And my intoxication did not cause ignorance, but I abandoned vanity,
- And turned toward the Most High, my God, and was enriched by His favors.
- And I rejected the folly cast upon the earth, and stripped it off and cast it from me.
- And the Lord renewed me with His garment, and possessed me by His light.
- And from above He gave me immortal rest, and I became like the land that blossoms and rejoices in its fruits.
- And the Lord is like the sun upon the face of the land.
- My eyes were enlightened, and my face received the dew;
- And my breath was refreshed by the pleasant fragrance of the Lord.
- And He took me to His Paradise, wherein is the wealth of the Lord's pleasure.
I beheld blooming and fruit-bearing trees,
And self-grown was their crown.
Their branches were sprouting and their fruits were shining.
From an immortal land were their roots.
And a river of gladness was irrigating them,
And round about them in the land of eternal life.
- Then I worshipped the Lord because of His magnificence.
- And I said, Blessed, O Lord, are they who are planted in Your land, and who have a place in Your Paradise;
- And who grow in the growth of Your trees, and have passed from darkness into light.
- Behold, all Your laborers are fair, they who work good works, and turn from wickedness to your pleasantness.
- For the pungent odor of the trees is changed in Your land,
- And everything becomes a remnant of Yourself. Blessed are the workers of Your waters, and eternal memorials of Your faithful servants.
- Indeed, there is much room in Your Paradise. And there is nothing in it which is barren, but everything is filled with fruit.
- Glory be to You, O God, the delight of Paradise for ever.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
"Throw yourself on him. Do not fear. He will not pull away and let you fall. Throw yourself without fear and he will receive you and heal you.
I was blushing because I kept on hearing the whispering of those vanities, and I was suspended in hesitation. And again she seemed to say: Deafen yourself to the murmuring of your members so that they may be mortified. They speak to you of delights but none like the ones the law of the lord your God tells you of."
Saturday, September 20, 2008
- As is the course of anger over wickedness, so is the course of joy over the Beloved; and brings in of its fruits unhindered.
- My joy is the Lord and my course is towards Him, this path of mine is beautiful.
- For there is a Helper for me, the Lord.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
"By baptism we have been fitted into a pattern of surrender and exaltation, of self-abandonment and deliverance, of dying and being raised. But such a pattern, far from being alien to the life of the child, is intrinsic to it. Having experienced the trauma of separation from the womb, the child is confronted with the task of learning to live as both autonomous and yet dependent, caught between the desire for communion and the need to accept separation, instinctively struggling to satisfy its own immediate needs yet learning to wait in trust for what it really needs. 'The nerve to separate,' says Fowler of the many experiences of separation and nonfulfillment in the infant's life, 'depends upon the assured return to communion.'"
Bring her into the wilderness
And speak kindly to her.
15 "Then I will give her her vineyards from there,
And the valley of Achor as a door of hope.
And she will sing there as in the days of her youth,
As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
What does this tell us about God's view of wisdom?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Those who have attained everlasting life in the vision of God doubtless know very well that it is no mere bribe, but the very consummation of their earthly discipleship; but we who have not yet attained it cannot know this in the same way, and cannot even begin to know it at all except by continuing to obey and finding the first reward of our obedience is our increasing power to desire the ultimate reward. Just in proportion as the desire grows, our fear lest it should be a mercenary desire will die away and finally be recognized as an absurdity. But probably this will not, for most of us, happen in a day; poetry replaces grammar, gospel replaces law, longing transforms obedience, as gradually as the tide lifts a grounded ship.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
- ... I am putting on the love of the Lord.
- And His members are with Him, and I am dependent on them; and He loves me.
- For I should not have known how to love the Lord, if He had not continuously loved me.
- Who is able to distinguish love, except him who is loved?
- I love the Beloved and I myself love Him, and where His rest is, there also am I.
- And I shall be no stranger, because there is no jealousy with the Lord Most High and Merciful.
- I have been united to Him, because the lover has found the Beloved, because I love Him that is the Son, I shall become a son.
- Indeed he who is joined to Him who is immortal, truly shall be immortal.
- And he who delights in the Life will become living.
- This is the Spirit of the Lord, which is not false, which teaches the sons of men to know His ways.
- Be wise and understanding and awakened.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Friday, September 12, 2008
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Simon, I have something to say to you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. "Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days' wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?" Simon said in reply, "The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven." He said to him, "You have judged rightly."
Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little." He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The others at table said to themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" But he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
"In our religion we hold dear that the divine became one with the human in the person of Jesus, and so we cannot separate the bodily aspects of worship from non-corporeal aspects. We worship God through the mystery of the fullness of who we are as human beings. We are not angels without bodies. We are women and men of flesh and blood and we meet God through our bodies."
"Touch and taste and sign and sounds and fragrance can be intoxicating, enrapturing."
"The five senses, potent and enticing as they are, have the power to draw us beyond words and thoughts, to beauty, love, and even action. It is these very human sensations that open us to the foundational mysteries of our worship, because they are windows into the foundational mysteries of our lives as human beings."
Thursday, September 11, 2008
How can I keep my soul in me,
so that it doesn't touch your soul?
How can I raise it high enough,
past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it,
among remote lost objects,
in some dark and silent place
that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us,
me and you,
takes us together like a violin's bow,
which draws one voice out of two seperate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song.
--Ranier Maria Rilke
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
16 that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love,
18 may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
filling it with sublimity and exaltation
And those who come together in the night
and are entwined in rocking delight
do an earnest work and gather sweetnesses,
gather depth and strength for the song of some coming poet,
who will arise to speak of ecstasies beyond telling.
I -thought- I wanted to be a catechist or an apologist. Turns out I want to be a mystagogiaist.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
And I laugh at that desire given that I am so quick to shrug off the crosses He has chosen for me. The idea of a quick death, by fire or stoning or evisceration, is one I can imagine gritting my way through in the knowledge that His glory lay before me, so very close at hand.
But this long drudgery of life is something else altogether. This cross of love which lasts perhaps for the entirety of my earthly habitation, I am eager to forgo.
Maybe that is why it was especially designed for me. Quick martyrdom would perhaps not be the purging fire my spirit needs. It may be that my stiff necked-ness requires a more sustained and lengthy purification.
Lord give me the humility to accept it.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
7 At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
8 Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
'The letter and spirit of scripture, and of all Christianity, forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternatives either of bodies which are hardly recognisable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast. As regards the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer "No," he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don't bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing which excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it. Hence where fullness awaits us we anticipate fasting. In denying that sexual life, as we now understand it, makes any part of the final beatitude, it is not of course necessary to suppose that the distinction of sexes will disappear. What is no longer needed for biological purposes may be expected to survive for splendour. Sexuality is the instrument both of virginity and of conjugal virtue; neither men nor women will be asked to throw away the weapon they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them."
you have overpowered me: you were the stronger.
But if I say, "I will not remember Him
Or speak anymore in His name,"
Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire
Shut up in my bones;
And I am weary of holding it in,
And I cannot endure it.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Yesterday it struck me that love making while not formally sacrament is at least extremely sacramental. It is our most intense experience and expression of human love. Through it we most closely encounter and commune with the beloved. It it we give and receive love, actively and uniquely.
God speaks to us of this in the Song of Songs, and I am exploring how we are to respond. It is taking me surprising places...
Thursday, September 4, 2008
This prose was read as poetry during the opening prayers at St. Bernard's orientation last night:
"I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is,to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you win then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer."
--Ranier Maria Rilke
For a few years I have been enamored of the idea of stigmata. I'm guessing that part of this is spiritual pride which of course renders me even less worthy of receiving such a gift. From the little I hear about it, it is a silly desire; the stigmata is messy, painful, and embarrassing. I'm certain it is the -idea- of it that I want, and not the reality.
(Just like the idea of carrying my cross is good and noble, while I try to shrug off the reality. More on that in another episode.)
But God is so generous, and humors me like the child that I am.
Some months ago I tripped over nothing and fell quite hard, landing primarily on one knee and my left hand. It was a strange landing; because I was carrying something, the back of my hand hit the ground rather than my palm. I was worried about it for a bit but it quickly healed.
What is left is an interesting scar. It's at the base of the top of my hand, near the wrist bone. It's shaped like a hurricane, with a smooth eye surrounded by discolored skin in an uneven oval.
It looks like a scar might look if I had a roofing nail pounded through my hand. (And yes I know that Jesus would not have been nailed using roofing nails.)
I take this to be a gift from God, and a reminder. It reminds me that I am pretentious to want such a gift of holiness when I am so unworthy and ill prepared. And it reminds me that He knows this and yet sent it as acknowledgment that my desire was heard.
I imagine Him smiling down at me; a child playing at being a saint instead of a princess.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Monday, September 1, 2008
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
"It is the work of poets and artists to inhabit the middle world between tacit hungers and articulate categories. But that is what the world of symbolism is all about. At the tacit dimension meaning feels like a hunger in the gut--for love, for significance, for meaning. We too easily domesticate the questing and yearning for the deep experiences of faith by naming the components with static categories. Often poets have been better at celebrating the shadow world between hunger and healing than have an older cast of theologians."
Friday, August 22, 2008
The visionary is a mystic when his vision mediates to him an actuality beyond the reach of the senses. The philosopher is a mystic when he passes beyond thought to the pure apprehension of truth. The active man is a mystic when he knows his actions to be a part of a greater activity. Blake, Plotinus, Joan of Arc, and John of the Cross—there is a link which binds all these together: but if he is to make use of it, the inquirer must find that link for himself. All four exhibit different forms of the working of the contemplative consciousness; a faculty which is proper to all men, though few take the trouble to develop it. Their attention to life has changed its character, sharpened its focus: and as a result they see, some a wider landscape, some a more brilliant, more significant, more detailed world than that which is apparent to the less educated, less observant vision of common sense.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
"We meet God through symbols"
"Symbols have the power to transport us out of the here and now into an originating past as well as into a fulfilling future."
"Ritual symbols characteristically respond to deep imaginative needs and intentions which are not easily transformed directly into common language."
"The word symbol seems to have been used in ancient times for an object much like today's passport. When a messenger bearing important information was sent to an authority or official, he was given a piece of a broken tablet which would identify himself as authorized when that piece was placed together with another matching piece in the possession of the official. Originally a Greek word, symbol (sum-ballein) meant to pull together aspects which have either been broken apart, sundered, or which have yet to find a synthetic fullness in being united."
"Another obstacle is the adults failure to utilize the full scope of memory and imaging in theological thinking and ritual expression."
"For the fully alive adult is someone who, thought a lesser degree than children, scans the environment, taking in more stimulation than can be dealt with immediately. Even adults seek fuller meanings. As we will argue later, adults who do not know the playful nature of ritual and ritualization--the exploratory range of deep, questing interactions within the formal structure of repeated rites--will become dead to the enlivening potential of their cosmic surroundings as well as thoroughly bored with the ritual dynamics of their community. For these reasons it will be important to keep in mind how fluid a notion play is for Erikson and how integrally it functions in the elaboration of his theory of the "ontogeny of ritualization."
Look's like God is going to have to pull another rabbit out of His endless hat if I'm going to make this work.
The class replaces one previously titled "Sacramental Theology". Yum!!!
And while yes, I'm feeling a bit intimidated, and a bit overwhelmed given this hateful week I've been having, my initial reading is generating excitement.
I'll post a few snippets in days to come.
Pray for me.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Because mystery is horrible to us, we have agreed for the most part to live in a world of labels; to make of them the current coin of experience, and ignore their merely symbolic character, the infinite gradation of values which they misrepresent. We simply do not attempt to unite with Reality. But now and then that symbolic character is suddenly brought home to us. Some great emotion, some devastating visitation of beauty, love, or pain, lifts us to another level of consciousness; and we are aware for a moment of the difference between the neat collection of discrete objects and experiences which we call the world, and the height, the depth, the breadth of that living, growing, changing Fact, of which thought, life, and energy are parts, and in which we “live and move and have our being.” Then we realise that our whole life is enmeshed in great and living forces; terrible because unknown.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
Of emeralds, and of flowers
In the early morning gathered,
We will make the garlands,
Flowering in Your love,
And bound together with one hair of my head.
By that one hair
You have observed fluttering on my neck,
And on my neck regarded,
You were captivated;
And wounded by one of my eyes.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Let us rejoice, O my Beloved!
Let us go forth to see ourselves in Your beauty,
To the mountain and the hill,
Where the pure water flows:
Let us enter into the heart of the thicket.
We shall go at once
To the deep caverns of the rock
Which are all secret,
There we shall enter in
And taste of the new wine of the pomegranate.
There you will show me
That which my soul desired;
And there You will give at once,
O You, my life!
That which You gave me the other day.
The breathing of the air,
The song of the sweet nightingale,
The grove and its beauty
In the serene night,
With the flame that consumes, and gives no pains.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Real knowledge, since it always implies an intuitive sympathy more or less intense, is far more accurately suggested by the symbols of touch and taste than by those of hearing and sight. True, analytic thought follows swiftly upon the contact, the apprehension, the union...
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
There He gave me His breasts,
There He taught me the science full of sweetness.
And there I gave to Him
Myself without reserve;
There I promised to be His bride.
My soul is occupied,
And all my substance in His service;
Now I guard no flock,
Nor have I any other employment:
My sole occupation is love.
If, then, on the common land
I am no longer seen or found,
You will say that I am lost;
That, being enamored,
I lost myself; and yet was found.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Mysticism is the art of union with Reality. The mystic is a person who has attained that union in greater or less degree; or who aims at and believes in such attainment. ... the word “union” represents not so much a rare and unimaginable operation, as something which he is doing, in a vague, imperfect fashion, at every moment of his conscious life; and doing with intensity and thoroughness in all the more valid moments of that life. We know a thing only by uniting with it; by assimilating it; by an interpenetration of it and ourselves. It gives itself to us, just in so far as we give ourselves to it; and it is because our outflow towards things is usually so perfunctory and so languid, that our comprehension of things is so perfunctory and languid too. The great Sufi who said that “Pilgrimage to the place of the wise, is to escape the flame of separation” spoke the literal truth. Wisdom is the fruit of communion; ignorance the inevitable portion of those who “keep themselves to themselves,” and stand apart, judging, analysing the things which they have never truly known.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
"In the night I awoke. Was this my own voice reciting what was written? "'And every secret thing shall be opened, and every dark place illuminated.'"
Dear God, no, do not let them know this, do not let them know the great accumulation of all of this, this agony and joy, this misery, this solace, this reaching, this gouging pain, this...
But they will know, each and every one of them will know. They will know because what you are remembering is what has happened to each and every one of them. Did you think this was more or less for you? Did you think--?
And when they are called to account, when they stand naked before God and every incident and utterance is laid bare--you, you will know all of it with each and every one of them!
I knelt in the sand.
Is this possible, Lord, to be with each of them when he or she comes to know? To be there for every single cry of anguish? For the grief-stricken remembrance of every incomplete joy?... Dear God I cannot... but I will. I will.
I sobbed aloud. I will. O Father in Heaven, I am reaching to You with hands of flesh and blood. I am longing for You in Your perfection with this heart that is imperfection! And I reach up for You with what is decaying before my very eyes, and I stare at Your stars from within the prison of this body, but this is not my prison, this is my Will. This is Your Will.
The man who has known pure joy, if only for a moment...is the only man for whom affliction is something devastating. At the same time he is the only man who has not deserved the punishment. But, after all, for him it is no punishment; it is God holding his hand and pressing rather hard. For, if he remains constant, what he will discover buried deep under the sound of his own lamentations is the pearl of the silence of God.
— Simone Weil
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I hesitate a bit to include these snippets here, in case they are merely sentimental out of context. But here goes.
In this passage, Yeshua talks with his mother about Avigail.
Mary says "This has made you miserable. I've seen this before, but never as bad as it is now."
"Is it so bad?" I whispered. I looked away, as men do when they only want to see their thoughts. "I don't know that it's been bad for me, Mother. What is bad for me? To love as I love Avigail--it has a luster, a great and beautiful luster."
"There come these moments," I said. "These heartbreaking moments--the moments when we first feel joy and sadness intertwined. Such a discovery that is, when grief becomes sweet. I remember feeling this perhaps for the very first time when we came to this place, all of us together, and I walked up the hill above Nazareth and saw the green grass alive with flowers, the tiniest flowers--so many flowers, and all of it, grass and flowers and trees, moving as if in a great dance. It hurt."
She said nothing.
Finally I looked at her. I touched my chest with my fist lightly. "It hurt," I said. "But it was to be cherished... forever."
She smiled. Again she kissed me, and she leaned on my should as she rose to go. ... I stared at the reddened coals.
"How long, O Lord?" I whispered. How long?
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
"But nearly all people I have ever met in this western society in which I live would agree to the general proposition that we need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome. We need to be happy in this wonderland without once being merely comfortable."
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
My Beloved is the mountains,
The solitary wooded valleys,
The strange islands,
The roaring torrents,
The whisper of the amorous gales;
The tranquil night
At the approaches of the dawn,
The silent music,
The murmuring solitude,
The supper which revives, and enkindles love.
Monday, August 4, 2008
"How far the life of the risen man will be sensory, we do not know. But I surmise that it will differ from the sensory life we know here, not as emptiness differs from water or water from wine but as a flower differs from a bulb or a cathedral differs from an architect's drawing."
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Why, after wounding
This heart, have You not healed it?
And why, after stealing it,
Have You thus abandoned it,
And not carried away the stolen prey?
Quench my troubles,
For no one else can soothe them;
And let my eyes behold You,
For You are their light,
And I will keep them for You alone.
Reveal Your presence,
And let the vision and Your beauty kill me,
Behold the malady
Of love is incurable
Except in Your presence and before Your face.
O crystal well!
Oh that on Your silvered surface
You would mirror forth at once
Those eyes desired
Which are outlined in my heart!
Saturday, August 2, 2008
"What more do you want, o soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction and kingdom -- your beloved whom you desire and seek? Desire him there, adore him there. Do not go in pursuit of him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and you won't find him, or enjoy him more than by seeking him within you."
-- Saint John of the Cross
"I sometimes wonder whether bereavement is not, at bottom, the easiest and least perilous of the ways in which men lose the happiness of youthful love. For I believe it must always be lost in some way: every merely natural love has to be crucified before it can achieve resurrection..."
Friday, August 1, 2008
Oh my beloved,
After dreaming night when I woke
it was a strange and worrying thing
to find you standing
at the morning's dawn-eyed window
your face like a flower
the sky has bruised with summer rain.
The last teardrop crossed your lips.
You turned slowly, came into my arms
and sensed my concern,
but your smile and answering kiss
the sound like water
splashing in an oasis well.
It was not suffering, you said,
nor some fear or hurt that made you weep.
The tears that you shed
as you watched me sleeping came from
the joy like thunder
trembling in drought's red river bed.
Love-struck happiness broke your heart
with such sweet pleasure in the breaking
that your very smile,
radiant with soul-fired changes
your light like sunrise
gleaming the dew-diamond desert.
It is a mystery to me
how this joy with tearful heartbreak sits,
but if pleasure set your tears free
then break your heart against the iron of my eyes,
and break it there again,
as often as you like.
I will pick up all the shattered pieces
one by one,
and press them to my lips,
to seal each precious fragment
with adoration's kiss.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
- You have ravished my heart, my sister, my bride;
you have ravished my heart with one glance of your eyes,
with one bead of your necklace.
- How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride,
how much more delightful is your love than wine,
and the fragrance of your ointments than all spices!
- Your lips drip honey, my bride,
sweetmeats and milk are under your tongue;
And the fragrance of your garments
is the fragrance of Lebanon.
- You are an enclosed garden, my sister, my bride,
an enclosed garden, a fountain sealed.
- You are a park that puts forth pomegranates,
with all choice fruits;
- Nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
with all kinds of incense;
Myrrh and aloes,
with all the finest spices.
- You are a garden fountain, a well of water
flowing fresh from Lebanon.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Here are some snippets, many of which quote a variety of other writers' thoughts.
"The language of Christian devotion (that is, of private prayer, meditation and hymnody) springs from the Christian imagination that is aflame with the love of God and is therefore incorrigibly figurative--sometimes boldly and radically so."
"The language of liturgy is poetry rather than prose: it is the product of Christian imagination that has been chastened and shaped by the liturgical and doctrinal tradition."
Coleridge "...suggested that in prose the words are subordinate to the meaning and ought to express it as efficiently as possible without attracting too much attention to themselves, while the words of poetry must be beautiful in themselves, though without detracting from the unity of effect of the whole"
Coleridge describes the birthing of poetry as "that pleasurable emotion, that peculiar state and degree of excitement, which arises in the poet himself in the act of composition".
and says that poetry is "the lava of the imagination whose eruption prevents an earthquake"
He continues to say that it is "the balance in the mind effected by that spontaneous effort which strives to hold in check the workings of passion" and what is required is "an interpenetration of passion and of will, of spontaneous impulse and of voluntary purpose".
"For Keble, poetry acts as a safety-valve for overflowing emotion: the writing and reading of poetry is cathartic and soothes--that is to say steadies or tempers--the spirit suffering the turbulence of passion."
Keble also describes poetry as "a kind of medicine, divinely bestowed on man, which gives healing relief to secret mental emotion or overpowering sorrow, yet without detriment to modest reserve, and while giving scope to enthusiasm yet rules it with order and due control"
and "the indirect expression in words, most appropriately in metrical words, of some overpowering emotion, or ruling taste, or feeling, the direct indulgence whereof is somehow repressed."
Avis himself says "The pleasurable excitement of poetry is due in part to the role of meter in harnessing powerful emotions."
and "Thoughts that defy expression, emotions that are too strong for human nature to bear, are constrained, contained and made manageable"
All I can say is: Yep.