Saturday, February 13, 2016

a sentence fragment worth pondering

"pretty sad, wouldn't you say?" he said

Getting wood from barn, bumping thermostat in winter zendo for morning practice, sitting with lighted candle near tower holder from India, I think about friend hurting stunned by surprise change of plans.

Temp. -1*F

Light snow.

I always say on Friday night -- "no practice tomorrow morning!"

Then Saturday morning comes.

Things change.

Friday, February 12, 2016

the house of being speaks us through its door

Sometimes someone says it well.  
        In Franciscan parlance, Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity; Jesus came to change the mind of humanity about God. This grounds Christianity in pure love and perfect freedom from the very beginning. It creates a very coherent and utterly positive spirituality, which draws people toward lives of inner depth, prayer, reconciliation, healing, and even universal "at-one-ment," instead of mere sacrificial atonement. Nothing changed on Calvary, but  everything was revealed as Gods suffering love--so that we could change!

Friday morning prison dharma combat was true to itself today.

If in the beginning was the word, was with God, and was God, thereupon word became flesh, then, there’s an integrity of word and silence (which is the nature of God) that announces itself with no duality or objectification.

That manner of speaking, that language -- looks out from us, longing for expression.

We’ve got to say something!  

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Something about Francis of Assisi

Cat telemarks stairway rubbing at each foot stepping slowly down.
Francis, seeing the beginnings of the propertied leisure class, told us to work for our pay; and if work was not available, we were to humbly beg, just as the Buddha advised his monks. Francis recognized that his society was becoming a structured system of protected and unequal social relationships. He knew the violence, mistrust, ambition, and pride which that worldview would engender. So he insisted on what he called equal power relationships in religious communities. He rejected all titles like Superior or Abbot. Francis did not want anyone to act as if he was higher than anyone else. Even those who led the community were to be called friars or brothers, and they only held the office for a short term and then returned to the equality of brotherhood. No one should stay at the top for very long; and when they were there, they were to be servant leaders or "guardians" of the mission and message of the friars. 
In Francis we see the emergence of a very different worldview, a worldview that is not based on climbing, achieving, possessing, performing, or any idealization of order, but a life that enjoys and finds deep satisfaction on the level of naked being itself--much more than doing or having. He learned this from Jesus. It seems to me the Franciscan worldview is now desperately important if the 7.4 billion of us are going to exist happily together on this one limited planet. Voluntary simplicity is now essential for social survival. Francis warned us where we were headed eight hundred years ago.
(--Richard Rohr)
Naked being-itself!

Wood from barn placed in woodstove  -- silence before dawn.

Then, this:
Francis understood the deep implications of the Incarnation and took Incarnation to its logical conclusions: Real Presence is everywhere--in the neighbor, in the other, in nature, in animals, in Brother Sun and Sister Moon, in sinner and enemies, in the collective Body of Christ, and yes, in distilled form in the bread and in the wine, just as it was distilled and focused in the person of Jesus. The principle is this: we must struggle with the truth in one concrete place--and then universalize from there. This has sometimes been called the first philosophical problem of "the one and the many."

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

no tellin’

Twelve years ago, so the newly found slip of paper indicates, on 20Jan04, someone named Virginia is quoted as saying, “I’m no longer exactly an atheist.”

It was in our bookshop/bakery. I was behind counter. A place from which to listen. 

Her husband, an artist, was delightfully grouchy. Then he died.

Twelve years later she is a sister in a religious order working with the poor.


vanished power

In the dream Ignacio, Bolivian Friar friend, secretly gives to and receives from thumb on forehead. Ignacio is in everyday clothes. The other man in uniform. I am by rubble near shipyard no longer familiar with surroundings, dogs sniffing, large ships at anchor.

It is Ash Wednesday. 

The poet's first stanza:
Because I do not hope to turn again 
Because I do not hope 
Because I do not hope to turn 
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope 
I no longer strive to strive towards such things 
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?) 
Why should I mourn 
The vanished power of the usual reign? 
                  (--from poem, Ash Wednesday, by T.S. Eliot)

I add wood to ember'd Irish woodstove resting from night's work.

Soft ash, faintly warm, falls out when door opens.

There's something sweet about dreams resembling ash. A secret interchange, a passed folded slip of paper with illegible blurred ink delivering no intelligible message.

This is that day.

I no longer strive to such things as explanation or understanding.

I look to see if smoke rises from chimney.

I wait watching for smoke from catch.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

hermit's response

Asked whether there's 
life after death, he said: 

"I don't know; 
I don't care; 
it doesn't matter." 

That says it. 
I suppose.

Monday, February 08, 2016

morning prayer

O Lord, open my lips --

And my mouth shall declare your praise.

(For all, the suffering, the alone, the joyous, those who long for what is just, true, and good. For everyone and everything in the infinite multidimensional eternal here and now.)

With gratitude and quiet trust, in unknowing attentiveness, we watch for dawn.


Sunday, February 07, 2016

Pray always means feel always

To pray is to feel with surrounding environment, people, and all sentient beings.

To truly feel.

It's why so many do not live a life of prayer.

And also why compassion is such a wrapped yet unopened gift.

and then, nothing

In her early years, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, the foundress of the Missionaries of Charity, enjoyed several mystical experiences of intense closeness with God. She also experienced that rarest of spiritual graces, a locution; she actually heard God’s voice. And then—nothing. For the last 50 or so years of her life, until her death, she felt a sense of emptiness in her prayer. At one point, she wrote to her confessor, “In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss—of God not wanting me—of God not being God—of God not really existing.”

When her journals and letters were published not long after her death in the book Come, Be My Light, some readers were shocked by these sentiments, finding it difficult to understand how she could continue as a believer and indeed flourish as a religious leader. But Mother Teresa was expressing some very human feelings of abandonment and speaking of what spiritual writers call the “dark night.” This state of emotion moves close to, but does not accept, despair. 

(-- James Martin sj)