31 January 2008
28 January 2008
27 January 2008
Fixed notions of top and bottom,
I will not return to a universe
The world is flux,
and light becomes what it touches:
above and below water,
and cerulean lamps, small fists passing sunlight
~ Lisel Mueller ~
(Sixty Years of American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets)
(What a comforting thought! Could you imagine anything better than this to hear from God?)
24 January 2008
-- Justin Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia (1/21/08)
23 January 2008
hat tip: Golden is Thy Fame
22 January 2008
“You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
Rabbi H. Kushner (Overcoming Life's Disappointments)
21 January 2008
18 January 2008
This one is from the present.
A monk-cook turns hermit-carpenter and, somehow, the Kingdom of God is made a little more whole.
And while many will reflect on the nostalgia and romanticism of it, what should never be lost is the mystery of it...
After becoming a hermit he did wood working for the community working in solitude most of the time.
This is a rule that springs from what is truly human, and it was able to formulate what was truly human because it looked out and listened beyond what is human and perceived the divine. Man becomes really human when he is touched by God."
If you are at times so weary and involved with the struggle of living that you have no strength even to want him, yet are still dissatisfied that you don't, you are already keeping Advent in your life.
If you have ever had an obscure intuition that the truth of things is somehow better, greater, more wonderful than you deserve or desire, that the touch of God in your life stills you by its gentleness, that there is a mercy beyond anything you could ever suspect, you are already drawn into the central mystery of salvation.
The Coming of God Maria Boulding, OSB
17 January 2008
16 January 2008
and the archives were scoured to find a photo
the picture decided upon wasn't regal;
The one that served him best was this...
By Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are all, quite naturally,
impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being
on the way to something unknown,
and yet it is the law of all progress
that is made by passing through
some stages of instability
-and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually –
let them grow,
let them shape themselves,
without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on,
as though you could be today
(that is to say, grace and
circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you
and accept the anxiety of
feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
15 January 2008
The old monk replied: “No, I used to, when I was younger, but now I have grown old and tired and the devil has grown old and tired with me. I leave him alone and he leaves me alone.”
“So your life is easy then?” remarked the young man.
“Oh no,” replied the monk, “it’s much worse. Now I wrestle with God!”
-Report to Greco, Nikos Kazantzakis
Learn more: Little Nellie of Holy God
What if the pious were to become more liberal and the liberals were to become more pious? What if those who are involved in prayer groups were to become equally as involved within social action? What if those with a passion for social action were to become equally as obsessed with private prayer and private morality? What if the pious and the liberal were to become more understanding of each other? What if liberals were to become as known for their humility, respect of others, and personal prudence as they are known for their social concern? What if conservatives were to define family values widely enough to include the welfare of the poor and of all races? What if Evangelicals were to get serious about justice and justice groups were to get serious about Jesus?
What if liberals were to draw more prudent boundaries even as they challenge others beyond rigidity? What if conservatives were suddenly to push for a greater risk and openness even as they defend the hard-won wisdom of tradition? What if both liberals and conservatives were able to do as Jesus did and bring out from their store the old as well as the new?
What if Pro-Life groups were also to become as known for their defense of the poor, ethnic minorities, the ecology, and the imprisoned? What if Pro-Choice groups were to champion, in the name of women, the most defenceless of all groups in the world, the unborn? What if both groups were to become renowned for the gentleness, their respect of others, and their willingness to sit down and calmly discuss anything? What if these two groups began to pray together?
What if both women and men were to adopt an attitude of sympathy towards each other, recognizing as Virginia Woolf says, that "life, for both of us, is arduous, difficult, and a perpetual struggle"? What if both men and women were more gentle, less cynical?
What if the church began to challenge people to enjoy sex even as it teaches non-negotiably the value of chastity? What if secular culture were to preach the value of chastity even as it challenges towards liberation from sexual repression? What if both, the church and the world, recognized the importance of what the other is saying regarding sexuality?
What if all the Christian churches would begin to focus on the things we share in common (a common God, a common Christ, a common scripture, a common creed, many fundamental dogmas, 2000 years of mostly-shared history) instead of upon the things that separate us? What if all churches would focus as much on who is living in charity, joy, peace, patience, goodness, long-suffering, fidelity, gentleness, and chastity, as on who is dogmatically right?
What if all the people on spiritual quests who are agnostic about their churches were able to understand the importance of involvement in a concrete historical community? What if we all understood more clearly that only obedience and genuflection can save us from being slaves to the pride and wounds of our own egos? What if the churches were to become as known for their challenge to be free-thinking as they are for their challenge to obedience? What if both, the churches and the emerging non-ecclesial spiritualities, were to be more self-effacing, less righteous, less judgmental?
What if theologians were to become as renowned for their children's stories as they are for their attention to hermeneutics? What scriptural fundamentalists were to read the scriptural commentaries of Raymond Brown? What if liturgists were appreciated as much for their practical judgment as they are for their sense of the tradition and aesthetics? What if those who planned the liturgies in your parish understood basic human boredom and tiredness?
What if religious writers were genuinely as interested in bringing God's consolation and challenge to the world as they are in their own reputations? What if all columnists and editorial writers simply forgot about the labels of liberal and conservative for awhile and wrote up things as they appear on a given day?
What if we were all able to stretch our hearts in new ways to be open to a God and a truth that is forever beyond us? What if we all took more seriously the fact that God is ineffable and all of our language about God is, in se, inadequate?
Certainly we would all be more compassionate - and considerably easier to live with!
Fr. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI
14 January 2008
13 January 2008
I do not want to talk about what you understand about this world. I want to know what you are willing to do about it. I do not want to know for what you hope. I want to know what you are willing to work for. I do not want your sympathy for the needs of humanity. I want your muscle. As the wagon driver said when he got to the bottom of the long, hard hill: "Thems that going with us - get out and push. Thems that ain't - get out of the way."
11 January 2008
One of them asked, "Why on our hearts, and not in them?"
The Rabbi answered, "Only God can put Scripture inside. But reading the sacred text can put it on your hearts, and when your hearts break, the holy words will fall inside."
10 January 2008
09 January 2008
08 January 2008
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
"But it's always lonely at the top."
"Yeah, it's lonely at the bottom, too, but at the bottom you at least got company."
-As heard by Robert Fulghum
07 January 2008
06 January 2008
03 January 2008
02 January 2008
01 January 2008
There really isn't one.
"There are many ways to loose your life. Death is just one of them." -Robert Fulghum