Tuesday, August 16, 2022

the new person

This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI

Ilia Delio (The Hours of the Universe) talks about “the new person” emerging in evolution, who is embracing pluralities of gender, race and religion; who is called into a “new type of consciousness where things are first seen together and then as distinct within this togetherness.” (The Hours of the Universe, p. 98.) She affirms that we are being rewired for belonging to the cosmic whole. We are more and more aware that we are one earth community; we have a planetary consciousness that, according to Ilia, evokes a deep concern, especially in younger generations, for the planet and for those who are impoverished or marginalized. She calls younger generations – many of you – “digital natives” because they (you) were “born into a networked world and … think across lines of relationships.” In fact, Ilia says, “we are beginning to see that systems in nature do not work on principles of competition and struggle but on cooperation and sympathy.”

An excerpt from the acceptance speech by Marie Dennis chosen as the “Teacher of Peace 2022” by Pax Christi USA at its 50th Anniversary National Conference, August 7, 2022.


Monday, August 8, 2022

Merton's letter to the Mayor of Hiroshima, August 9, 1962

60 years ago near the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Thomas Merton wrote the Mayor of Hiroshima, Japan:

"In a solemn and grave hour for humanity I address this letter to you and to your people... The events or August 6th 1945 give you the most solemn right to be heard and respected by the whole world. But the world only pretends to respect your witness. In reality it cannot face the truth which you represent. But I wish to say on my own behalf and on behalf of my fellow monks and those who are like minded, that I never cease to face the truth which is symbolized in the names of Hiroshima, Nagasaki. Each day I pray humbly and with love for the victims of the atomic bombardments which took place there. All the holy spirits of those who lost their lives then, I regard as my dear and real friends."


I am the utter poverty of God

This came to me via the Facebook International Merton Society site, who got it from the "Spiritual ... But Not Religious" blog site.  

...The most influential contact Thomas Merton made was with the Buddhist teacher, Chatral Rinpoche, a monk who had spent more than thirty years in the solitary contemplation that was Merton's only real home in this world.

It was Chatral Rinpoche who identified Merton as a pratyekabhudda, and with whom Merton would take a variant of the Boddhisatva's vows, in which he dedicated himself to do all he could to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all beings, in this lifetime or the next.

Merton was already far along that path, as the following entry written in his journal several months before he set out to Asia demonstrates:

"I am the utter poverty of God," he wrote.

"I am His emptiness, littleness, nothingness, lostness.

"When this is understood, my life in His freedom,
the self-emptying God of me, is the fullness of grace.
Love for all, hatred of none, is the fruit and manifestation
of love of God, peace and satisfaction."

Chatral Rinpoche identified Merton as an independently enlightened being. In doing so, they highlight the Buddhist acceptance of ultimate teachings, irrespective of what religious or spiritual tradition in which they arise.

The Buddha consistently said that his path was not the only path to enlightenment, and that every being must find his own path. His teachings, he noted, were meant only to be guides, and he encouraged all to investigate for him or herself the truth of what he said, rather than merely taking his word for it."

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Jesus and Buddha as Brothers

 Map of Matter in the Universe

Full sky map from ESA Plank mission showing matter between the earth and the edge of the observable universe.

The bread that Jesus handed to you, to us, is real bread, and if you can eat real bread you have real life. But we are not able to eat real bread. We only try to eat the word bread or the notion of bread. Even when we are celebrating the Eucharist, we are still eating notions and ideas. “Take, my friends, this is my flesh, this is my blood.” Can there be any more drastic language in order to wake you up? What could Jesus have said that is better than that? You have been eating ideas and notions, and I want you to eat real bread so that you become alive. If you come back to the present moment, fully alive, you will realize this is real bread, this piece of bread is the body of the whole cosmos.

If Christ is the body of God, which he is, then the bread he offers is also the body of the cosmos. Look deeply and you notice the sunshine in the bread, the blue sky in the bread, the cloud and the great earth in the bread. Can you tell me what is not in a piece of bread? The whole cosmos has come together in order to bring to you this piece of bread. You eat it in such a way that you become alive, truly alive. . . . Eat in such a way that the Holy Spirit becomes an energy within you and then the piece of bread that Jesus gives to you will stop being an idea, a notion. 

- Thich Nhat Hanh, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers (New York: Riverhead Books, 1999), 106–107

HT: Richard Rohr OFM

Thursday, April 21, 2022

A dreadful hatred of life

cover of the Manifesto pamphlet

On this Earth Day, I post a Merton writing that was never published in America, indeed not much known about. It appeared in a small pamphlet published in England in the summer of 1966.

Since factory farming exerts a violent and unnatural force upon the living organisms of animals and birds, in order to increase production and profits, and since it involves callous and cruel exploitation of life, with implicit contempt for nature and for life, I must join the protest which is being uttered against it. It does not seem that these methods have any really justifiable purpose except to increase the quantity of production at the expense of quality: if that can be called a justifiable purpose. However, this is only one aspect of a more general phenomenon: the increasingly destructive and irrational behaviour of technological man. Our society seems to be more and more oriented to overproduction, to waste, and finally to production for destruction. Its orientation to global war is the culminating absurdity of its inner logic, or lack of logic. The mistreatment of animals in “intensive husbandry” is the part of this larger picture of insensitivity to genuine values and indeed to humanity and to life itself – a picture which more and more comes to display the ugly lineaments of what can only be called by its right name: barbarism.

Monica Weiss SSJ, unearths the origins and context of this writing in an article in The Merton Seasonal HERE. Monica is the author of the forthcoming book, The Environmental Vision of Thomas Merton.

"Here once again, Thomas Merton is in the forefront of eco-justice, encouraging us to develop an ecological consciousness. How is it that Merton, with his propensity for contemplation and the hermit life, can envision the negative ramifications of apparently salvific and cutting-edge human activity? If ever we doubted that Merton was ahead of his time or supposed that he was prophetic only on the dangers of nuclear war, this issue of factory farming should dispel any doubt." - Monica Weiss SSJ

Monday, April 18, 2022

still as trees in Spring

Line engraving by R. Strange, 1773, after himself, 1764, after G.F Barbieri, il Guercino, Guercino, 1591-1666, Date 1773

“Consolation of Mary with Christ Arisen” by Rainer Maria Rilke

What they felt then: is it not 

before all secrets sweet and yet still earthly: 

as he, a little pale still from the grave, 

relieved stepped up to her: 

at every point arisen.

O to her first. How were they then

Inexpressibly being healed.

Yes, they were healing, that was it. They had no need 

firmly to touch each other.

He laid for a second 

scarcely his soon to be 

eternal hand to her womanly shoulder.

And they began, 

still as trees in Spring, 

infinitely together, 

this season of their ultimate communing.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

the Lord of History


The tomb where Jesus's body is believed to have been laid, inside the Edicule in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem


    "He is risen . . . he is not here. He is going before you to Galilee." (Mark 16:6-7)

    Christ is risen. Christ lives. Christ is the Lord of the living and the dead. He is the Lord of history.

    Christ is the Lord of a history that moves. He not only holds the beginning and the end in his hands, but he is in history with us, walking ahead of us to wherever we are going. He is not always in the same place.

    The cult of the Holy Sepulchre is Christian only insofar as it is the cult of the place where Jesus is no longer found. But such a cult can be valid only on one condition: that we are willing to move on, to follow him to where we are not yet, to seek him where he goes before us -- "to Galilee".


Read the rest at the link below ...

Short booklet, "He is Risen", written by Merton in 1967 is HERE

He is Risen

the new person

This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region call...