Saturday, March 18, 2017

from Greek ‘kubernan’ -- ‘to steer.’

There was something in the reading at Saturday Morning Practice that took us by surprise. Two of us were touched emotionally by two letters -- one from Catherine de Hueck Doherty to Fr. Louis (Thomas Merton), and one from him to her. It was 1958. Something in the timbre.

The sun porch heats up to the high 70s these March days. Someone was out working on numbers in bare feet and short sleeve t-shirt. Outdoors in high 20s.

Friend visits from Belfast. He says it must have been a visitation to meditation practice this morning.

Visited another friend in Lisbon Falls yesterday after driving to three places for work. His new house. Subway sandwiches and filtered water. The good feeling he has settled in.

At Friday Evening Practice the conversation was about obstacles and the gnawing persistence of seeing “others.” And the need for a third to give the opposite-two a place to gain perspective. Another view of trinity.

It is discouraging to experience the deconstruction and dissolution of what we once thought was a pretty good system of governance. The United States seems to be inching toward rule by arrogance and disparagement.
Because, if I’m open and simple, and not afraid or ashamed to show my poverty, my nothingness, my wounds and scabs, then perforce all those who come in contact with me will be able to bypass my small self. I hope, with pity and compassion and a prayer for me, to see Christ in His fullness. For nothing will impede their sight. For nothingness cannot stand between another soul and its Creator, its Lover.
You see why I need your prayers, Fr, Louie. There is so little time left for me to learn to love the Beloved, to begin to probe the saying TO GOVERN IS TO LOVE. Will you beseech Him in your solitude that I in mine may be a better pupil in my old age than I was in my youth.     (p.49, Catherine to Thomas, 26Aug 58, in Compassionate Fire, The Letters of Thomas Merton & Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Edited by Robert A. Wind, c.2009)
“To govern is to love,” seems such a curious notion, so uncertain, these days.
In the end, though, the solution is Love -- you have said it. And love, it seems to me, implies the realization that perhaps already those subject to us know our failings very well, and accept them with love, and would not dream of holding them against us, because they know these things do not matter. This is the great consolation: in the joy of being known and forgiven, we find it so much easier to forgive everything, even before it happens. (p.50, 18Sept58, Thomas to Catherine, ibid)
We steer.

We are not the thing that moves through the water, the country, or the universe.

Only Love can govern.*
* Middle Englishfrom Old French governerfrom Latin gubernare  to steer, rule, from Greek kubernan  to steer.
Let us pray for hands on the helm!
In response to the deepening dilemmas of the Western world, Catherine offered the spirituality of her Russian past. She introduced the concept of poustinia, which was totally unknown in the West in the 1960’s, but has since become recognized in much of the world. Poustinia is the Russian word for “desert,” which in its spiritual context is a place where a person meets God through solitude, prayer and fasting. Catherine’s vision and practical way of living the Gospel in ordinary life became recognized as a remedy to the depersonalizing effects of modern technology. In response to the rampant individualism of our century, she called Madonna House to sobornost, a Russian word meaning deep unity of heart and mind in the Holy Trinity—a unity beyond purely human capacity. 
Let us pray for words from the heart!
During his last years, he became deeply interested in Asian religions, particularly Zen Buddhism, and in promoting East-West dialogue. After several meetings with Merton during the American monk's trip to the Far East in 1968, the Dalai Lama praised him as having a more profound understanding of Buddhism than any other Christian he had known. It was during this trip to a conference on East-West monastic dialogue that Merton died, in Bangkok on December 10, 1968, the victim of an accidental electrocution. The date marked the twenty-seventh anniversary of his entrance to Gethsemani.
For good navigation, with gratefulness to mystics and monastics! 

Friday, March 17, 2017

obstacle on trail

It's all about the refusal to accept reality.

All the suffering.

The lies.

The accusations.

The adversity.

There's a name for it.

out of the cold





Thursday, March 16, 2017


let’s look at the facts --

(what? no facts? what do you mean?)

history has ended

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

faith within emptiness, is, silence without explanation.

It was October 2001.

Less than a month after 9/11.

It was silence, was wanted.

I was wordy then. But had nothing to say.

Nor is nothing said well.

are you done

             (a morning haiku)

winter zips satchel, looks

at torn storm sheaves strewn piqued

tantrum done, shown door

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

response to student post on Bb: “[Together] making [our] way through contemporary coexistence.”

RE: Feminism and Unity
"...where we need to be--perfect equality--"(LC)
I like the word 'perfect' and I like the word 'equality.'
If 'perfect' (for me) means 'making way through'...
    • L. per = through
    • L. Facio, Facere, Feci, Factus Translation: To make, do, accomplish; to become (passive)
... then, it raises a question (for me) about what "perfect equality" means.
'Equal' -- (Latin: aequalis)
Translations of  aequalis
aequalis,  par,  aequus,  commensuratus,  compar,  conpar
aequalis,  contemporalis,  contemporaneus
planus,  aequus,  aequalis,  individuus,  indivisus,  aecus
of the same age
aequaevus,  aequalis
equal in age
coaevus,  aequalis,  coaequalis,  congenitus
And so, "perfect equality" (for me) can translate into: "[Together] making [our] way through contemporary coexistence." 
This definition attempts to avoid the comparative or calculative aspects of former definitions, and adds a new starting point for interrelationality.
(Footnote: Here endeth bill halpin's tortured translation trudge toward transcending 'what-once-we-thought-was-a known-definition.')

Monday, March 13, 2017

reading Peter Singer chapter introduction

Politics and ethics tonight in class.

Why bother?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

et maintenant

Au revoir, ma petite heure

Le froid vous prend

Je suis tout seul dans la nuit de l'hiver