Friday, October 31, 2008

Intimacy with Christ

I was thinking about Eucharist as consummation (again) and made another connection between it and lovemaking within a marriage. It is needed regularly to establish and maintain the particular intimacy that develops no other way.

My heart is heavy for all Christians who do not experience it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lead him not into temptation

"She loved him passionately and selfishly enough to want to lead him into temptation, but truly and deeply enough to want him delivered from evil. And she chose the better desire and prayed that God would make use of the rest, holding back her passion like a race horse forced to merely canter."

--Chantelle Franc

I've missed you

It has been a busy several weeks, as illustrated by my recent silence here. I've missed you.

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.
More on these thoughts in coming days...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Majesty of simplicity

There is a certain majesty in simplicity which is far above all the quaintness of wit.

-- Alexander Pope

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Choices, choices

I don't tend to write about politics here, but this election seems to top them all.

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

She washed his feet with her tears

(Luke 7:36-50)

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.

Socrates on Wisdom

Wisdom begins in wonder.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Care of the Soul (4)

From Care of the Soul (pg 32):

"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

Care of the Soul (3) on delicious intimacy

"Don't you want to be attached to people, learn from them, get close, rely on friendship, get advice from someone you respect, be part of a community where people need each other, find intimacy with someone that is so delicious you can't live without it?" (pg 7)

Friday, October 17, 2008

On betrayal

I've been thinking about betrayal.

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 face behind the face

I need to seek the presence of my beloved Yeshua behind the face of my husband.

This is hard.

Care of the Soul (2)

From Care of the Soul (Introduction):

"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

Science vs Art

From "Care of the Soul" by Thomas Moore (Introduction)

"...psychology is a secular science, while care of the soul is a sacred art."

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Pooh wisdom (8)

"It is very hard to be brave," said Piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal."

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

Merton on Sin

From Life and Holiness:

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

Pooh wisdom (7)

"Pooh?" said Piglet, "You have a lot of friends don't you?" "Yes," said Pooh, "but only one Piglet."

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Mary Magdalene sings

I met with Msgr. Gerry Krieg the other day, and in the course of our conversation, he mentioned the song "I don't know how to love him" from Jesus Christ, Super Star. Interesting timing, given that I've been working on an imagining of Mary anointing Jesus feet.

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

Quotes from Care of the Soul (1)

" of the soul is a sacred art." (page xv)

"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

Holiness of the heart's affections

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination.

--John Keats

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Pooh wisdom (6)

"Well! We keep looking for Home and not finding it, so I thought that if we looked for this Pit, we'd be sure not to find it, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something that we weren't looking for, which might be just what we were looking for, really."

-- Winnie the Pooh, from The House at Pooh Corner

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Words must glow and burn

Too much of our orthodoxy is correct and sound, but like words without a tune, it does not glow and burn; it does not stir the heart; it has lost its hallelujah. One man with a genuine glowing experience with God is worth a library full of arguments.

--Vance Havner

Monday, October 6, 2008

Pooh wisdom (5)

"We'll be friends forever won't we , Pooh?" asked piglet
"Even longer" Pooh answered.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pooh wisdom (4)

“Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is go where they can find you.”

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Odes of Solomon, Ode 40

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. And my tongue becomes sweet by His anthems, and my members are anointed by His odes.
  4. My face rejoices in His exultation, and my spirit exults in His love, and my nature shines in Him.
  5. And he who is afraid shall trust in Him, and redemption shall be assured in Him.
  6. And His possessions are immortal life, and those who receive it are incorruptible.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pooh wisdom (3)

“"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best -- " and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called”

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pooh wisdom (2)

“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh," he whispered.

"Yes, Piglet?"

"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's paw, "I just wanted to be sure of you."”

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Odes of Solomon, Ode 30

  1. Fill for yourselves water from the living fountain of the Lord, because it has been opened for you.
  2. And come all you thirsty and take a drink, and rest beside the fountain of the Lord.
  3. Because it is pleasing and sparkling, and perpetually refreshes the self.
  4. For much sweeter is its water than honey, and the honeycomb of bees is not to be compared with it;
  5. Because it flowed from the lips of the Lord, and it named from the heart of the Lord.
  6. And it came boundless and invisible, and until it was set in the middle they knew it not.
  7. Blessed are they who have drunk from it, and have refreshed themselves by it.