Over the weekend I found myself in Kentucky (my family and childhood home) and was able to join the monks at Gethsemani for Terce and Mass on Sunday.
I love the simplicity of it, and the way the light plays throughout the
space. Harry, my Benedictine cousin, tells me that the colors of the stained glass are
supposed to reflect the colors of the Trappist habit.
I watched the monks slowly file into the choir stalls for the chanting
of Terce. There were more young monks and monks-in-training than the
last time I was here about 5 years ago. After Terce, I was surprised
when a monk came back to the place where the lay people were sitting
and opened the gate. We all (all 15 or 20 of us) then went up to the
main alter to join the monks at Mass.
And yet the liturgy was very slow, deliberate, simple and above all,
humble. The radical Pentecostal insight was one of forgiveness. During
one of the prayers the monk said: during this weekend (Memorial Day
weekend) we remember those who die in war, those who are fighting
for us and those who are fighting against us.
The Mass lasted 1 1/2 hours. I loved all of it.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Monday, May 21, 2012
"Today like every other day you wake up joyless and feeling unsafe. Don’t open the door to the study and start reading again. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we DO.
There are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground.”
- Rumi (Coleman Barks' translations)
I'm wondering if today's version of the study is not the computer, the cell phone. So often when I turn off and away from my computer, I sense a new and different world opening itself up to me. Even the way of movement through this world becomes a source of awe. Just breathing, moving, just seeing and listening and being here.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
On Tuesday mornings, while I am in PA, I join a local group of people for centering prayer. After praying, we listen to CDs (or watch DVDs) of spiritual teachers. This morning, I heard Richard Rohr, while speaking of the further journey, describe the four stages of life as depicted in the windows of Hindu church: (1) the student, (2) the householder, (3) the forest dweller who gives up the status quo, and (4) the wise sage. He followed with this poem by Thomas Merton:
When the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say
the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.
Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.
There is no longer
any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo
with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.
Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a momorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an
What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary
is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without vision.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
|Fr. Jon Sobrino S.J.|
In his book, No Salvation Outside the Poor: Prophetic-Utopian Essays (Orbis Books), he writes poignantly about his Jesuit brother Ignacio Ellacuria, the theologian and university president killed with the others in 1989:
"When Ellacuria 'took hold of the reality' of the Third World, he grasped it in an important way as a 'crucified people' … Ellacuria said that the crucified people are one of the main features of our time, not merely something factual that we may consider, but something central that must be considered, without which we do not have a full grasp of reality,"
Saturday, May 5, 2012
In 1992, with a small Pax Christi group, I visited City Soleil in Port-au-Prince Haiti. It was late in the afternoon, and I remember the high "energy" - tension, noise - that I felt as we walked down the narrow passageways, crammed with people and smells. We were so barraged by people begging from us that we had to hold onto each other. Something tells me that this is how it was during the actual Crucifixion of Christ: this intensity, violence, despair and suffering.
I often wonder if I could survive for one day (or night) in this place, and what of the people who live their whole lives there, never knowing any where else. My brothers and sisters. Knowing this place is some kind of blessing and grace that touches the soul.
You can read more about the documentary film Mud Pies and Kites on Gerry Straub's blog here.