Mystic sweet communion
Today is the feast day for St. John of the Cross – one of the great mystics of the Christian tradition. The mystical tradition has been of great help to me in my journey of faith. Even if you haven’t read much of John’s poetry, you may have heard the phrase, “dark night of the soul”. Thomas Merton writes of John: No one can become a saint without solving the problem of suffering. No one who has ever written anything, outside the pages of Scripture, has given us such a solut
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another. – Anatole France, French poet (1844-1924) The spiritual discipline of “letting go” is one of the most difficult to master. We like to hang on to our “stuff”. I have a recurring dream that I am climbing through an enormous obstacle course when I have the realization that I have left my suitcase behind. As I cl
We Americans are an extremely competitive gang. We love sports, we love cutthroat business, and we are deeply envious of one another. It is especially hard to keep our envy in check during the holiday season when Madison Avenue stokes the fires of “I want one like yours” in each of us. Indeed most advertising plays on our envy. The actor in the commercial is handsome, dashing, well-dressed, and everything we want to be. AND it’s all because he is drinking the right drink
The sounds of silence
The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenements halls and whispered in the sounds of silence. – Paul Simon, 20th century German theologian Dorothee Söelle, in her brilliant book, Suffering, describes silence as the surest sign of despair. Healing from such profound suffering begins with speech. When we are finally able to name the source of our suffering and despair, it begins to lose its’ power to paralyze and mute our lives. The culture that Jesus
We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? Then, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of God is begotten in us. Meister Eckhart, 14th century
Maybe one of the great unknown – unrecognized – truths of life is that light always dawns, eventually; that there is no such thing as a perpetual darkness of soul. I know that in my own case the darkness only existed because I refused the light. I simply did not want the light. I had been in the cocoon of darkness for so long I thought that it was light. – Joan Chittester, Called to Question Science has shown that the old “boiling frog” story is incorrect. The canard goes
Love made visible
Of God’s love we can say two things: it is poured out universally for everyone from the Pope to the loneliest wino on the planet; and secondly, God’s love doesn’t seek value, it creates value. It is not because we have value that we are loved, but because we are loved that we have value. Our value is a gift, not an achievement. – William Sloane Coffin in Credo A number of years ago I used to have office space at a church in San Francisco that had been built in the early
What gift shall we bring?
Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold (1900-1980), journalist, essayist, and writer As Christmas draws near, there are so many emotions and memories that begin to pop up. I remember loved ones who have died (especially those who passed during the holidays like my father, my uncle, and my great -and
Hear the songs the angels sing
I love to sing, but it also makes me bat crap crazy. In fact, every time I try to take my voice seriously, I usually wind-up flat on my back with some kind of illness. When I was a kid, it was completely predictable. If there was an all-state choir audition or a solo that was any sort of challenge for me, I developed an instant sore throat. It is a wonder that I was ever asked to sing in public, given that I was always singing over some kind of respiratory infection. Someho
What are you waiting for?
Like most Americans, I don’t really like to wait. Not in line, not in traffic, not really for anything. And waiting to get on the freeway, or into a movie, or for coffee in my favorite bistro really is sort of pointless. When the waiting is done, the payoff is pretty small. Unfortunately, my lack of being able to wait for small things makes me unable to wait comfortably for the big things such as insight and wisdom, courage and reason. Until I can let go of my desire for