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.
A STATEMENT ON FACTORY FARMING:

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



Sunday, April 10, 2022

conscious suffering

Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem, 1842-1848 - Jean-Hippolyte Flandrin

"There is a piece of suffering which is a river that flows through the human condition and is part and parcel of our arising itself. Eckhart Tolle talks about it as the 'collective pain body of humanity.' Conscious awakening does not put a final end to suffering, but rather, allows us to bear it in a way that is luminous, generous, and ultimately sacramental. Through our prayers and our presence, we take our part in bearing the cost of this precious divine finitude, in which and through which infinite love is revealed. 

"What we do know is that great injustice, cruelty, physical pain, or betrayal, when consciously accepted and generously borne, can give rise to a peculiarly luminous and healing quality of love, and that this love radiates out from the site of the pain as a source of healing and hope for the entire cosmos."

Palm Sunday, Cynthia Bourgeault from 'Conscious Suffering'

Friday, March 25, 2022

The Annunciation

 

Fra Angelico
Annunciation by Denise Levertov

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,

almost always a lectern, a book; always
the tall lily.
Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions
courage.
The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
God waited.

She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.

____________________________

Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?
Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
uncomprehending.
More often
those moments
when roads of light and storm
open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.
Ordinary lives continue.
God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.

______________________________

She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.
Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.

Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
only asked
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:

to bear in her womb
Infinite weight and lightness; to carry
in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.
Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.

This was the moment no one speaks of,
when she could still refuse.

A breath unbreathed,
                                Spirit,
                                          suspended,

                                                            waiting.

Merton with Wendall Berry & Denise Levertov, photo probably by Gene Meatyard

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Time of No Room

 


"The Time of the End is the Time of No Room"

from Raids on the Unspeakable

~Thomas Merton 


We live in the time of no room, which is the time of the end.  The time when everyone is obsessed with lack of time, lack of space, with saving time, conquering space, projecting into time and space the anguish produced within them by the technological furies of size, volume, quality, speed, number, price, power, and acceleration...


As the end approaches, there is no room for nature.  The cities crowd it off the face of the Earth.


As the end approaches, there is no room for quiet.  There is no room for solitude.  There is no room for thought.  There is no room for attention, for the awareness of our state.


In the time of the ultimate end, there is no room for man.


Into this world, this demented inn,

in which there is absolutely no room for Him at all,

Christ has come uninvited.

But because He cannot be at home in it,

because He is out of place in it,

His place is with those others for whom there is no room,

His place is with those who do not belong,

who are rejected by power because they are regarded as weak,

those who are discredited,

who are denied the status of persons,

who are tortured, bombed, and exterminated.

With those for whom there is no room,

Christ is present in the world.

He is mysteriously present

in those for whom there seems to be nothing

but the world at its worst. . . .

It is in these that He hides Himself,

for whom there is no room.

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...