of the absence
of prayer —
(Let us pray)
from now on
on own feel
no structures apply
each person, each animal
carries within the whole
monastery, mosque, zendo
There isn’t anything outside
equal to inner holy unfolding
awkward and sideways
kinhin around kitchen island
coffee beans to english muffin
cats waiting to be served
woman complaining about numbers
dog contemplating all the feet
joy of invitatory antiphonal
I don’t know what I used to think
or why it’s taken so long — this
procession into sacred presence
Do I know how to pray?
How is that?
When the word “to” collapsed, I forgot how to pray.
I do not know how to pray “to.”
What then do I do?
I flounder. I stutter. I contradict.
Yes, I go against what I am saying.
I am a contrarian of prayer.
Nothing seems to satisfy.
I am dissatisfied oration.
I don’t know how to pray.
Empty words, no destination,
Turned back on themselves.
A whirlpool of adumbration.
Hidden from anything other
Itself nowhere to be found,
Wordless, nameless, senseless
At center root
Absurd — (my life
Someone pointed out that the quote attributed to St. Augustine (354-430 CE) has been wrongly translated.
That instead of --
"Love and do what you will,"
It should read --
"Love do what you will."
What difference 'and'?
Such a change does shift things.
It is from his Sermon on Love, his commentary on 1 John 4:4-12
(Here from New International Version)
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God;but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
1 John 4:4-12Love, we might suggest, is in itself invisible -- only made visible by the action or activity of love.
Evelyn Underhill writes in her work Mysticism that "When St Paul saw God he saw nothing."
Vladimir Putin on 16june21 at a news conference said "In this life there is no happiness, there is only the specter of happiness."
Do we see happiness? Or do we look through the illusion of happiness?
Or is it the looking itself that is what we are looking at, from, with, for, and as?
The poet writes:
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng's clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
|- from Denise Levertov: Selected Poems, by Denise Levertov|
(photo by saskia)
Turtle holds up earth
and cosmos by each measured
step on its way here
I'd rather be alive because I am alive.
The Catholic Church no longer claims that opposition to abortion is scriptural. It is not a religious issue. It is called a matter of natural law, which should be discernible by natural reason. Yet as the Catholic judge John T. Noonan said, the most recognized experts on natural law, in universities, human rights organizations, medical and psychological bodies, do not generally oppose abortion. Nor, according to polls, do a majority of American citizens, even Catholic citizens. Some women of my own extended family have had abortions and still consider themselves Catholics. President Biden seems to be on their side, as is Pope Francis. This, of course, does not affect the American bishops. They hate this pope and this president anyway.
(--from, The Bishops Are Wrong About Biden — and Abortion, NYTimes, June 27, 2021, by Gary Wills)
And when time comes, I'd rather be dead because I will be dead.
Either way, no one need tell me what I ought to be or do.
Except that I ought to be what I am when I am just that.
There’s nothing left but compassion
No hope, no trust better angels will prevail
No optimism democracy is stronger than self promotion
No belief there’s a greater plan for a return to sanity
There is suffering and distress
Everybody hurts in their own way
No rhyme, reason, or justified wherewithal
Plain and simple
Kindness and empathy
The one thing remaining
When all is lost
When justice flees
Stupidity and mindlessness moves in
Forget about any plan to reconstruct civility
Or appeals to crossing aisles, or decency rhetoric —
Forget slogans, advertisements, or placard philosophy
There’s no diversity in singularity
There’s only compassion
What once was called
Action and attitude of authentic respect
There — As you are
As each is — alone with one another
After everything collapses
Nothing resembles what has been known
Just broken glass and fallen debris —
I look for you to see what I am