As The World Turns

 

purple flowers
Photo source unknown

 

Oh, my planet, I am so
in love with you. And you seem to
love me back. We are an item.
Daily, you swerve, slow-dancing
with the sun, seducing me with
new angles of interpretation
so that my peonies manifest themselves
in color swatches, shades shifting
from apricot to blood. And my lawn,
licking up necessary light, grows, greens
into a small hay field to swoon in.
Even the promiscuous dandelions
reflect the generosity of light.

Your seasons’ musical compositions,
themes and variations—apogee, perigee,
the lengthening of days, then nights.
Your planetary rhythms—the same
every year, and every year unique.

Waking, early morning ‘s heavy
shadows shorten and blanch, and then
there’s noon, and then again, a lengthening
to dusk until, complete with stars, dark
wraps me in fleece. By nightfall
in the companion dark, my desire
gives away to dreaming, the way lovers
ease into sleep after passion is spent.

~ A poem by Luci Shaw

 

 

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

The New Season

 

woman and the fountain of love by christian schloe
Art by Christian Schloe

 

Waiting is purification,
is patience quelling desire,
is God’s time permeating human haste.

The crystal droplet
gathers at the curled leaf’s tip
but does not fall.
The mighty wave bounds in
but does not break.

The heart’s new season
pauses on the threshold
of the walled, inviolate garden,
the spring of living waters at its center.

We wait till that authoritative voice
cries once more, “Come forth!
Begin to bud and bloom!
Toss in the breezes of my ardent love!
Be all renewed and filled with light!
Waiting is over—
the hour of fulfillment come!”

Beloved, this is our new season.
Together let us go to meet it.

 

~ A poem by Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.

God Is a Strange Lover

 

Jesus and Mary Magdalene2
Art by Anton Raphael Mengs (1769) at Palacio Real de Madrid, Spain

 

God is the strangest of all lovers; His ways are past explaining.
He sets His heart on a soul; He says to Himself, “Here will I rest My love.”

But He does not woo her with flowers or jewels or words that are set to music,
no names endearing, no kindled praise His heart’s direction prove.

His jealousy is an infinite thing. He stalks the soul with sorrows;
He tramples the bloom; He blots the sun that could make her vision dim.

He robs and breaks and destroys—there is nothing at last but her own shame, her own affliction, and then He comes and there is nothing in the vast world but Him and her love of Him.

Not till the great rebellions die and her will is safe in His hands forever does He open the door of light and His tenderness fall, and then for what is seen in the soul’s virgin places,
for what is heard in the heart, there is no speech at all.

God is a strange lover; the story of His love is most surprising.
There is no proud queen in her cloth of gold; over and over again there is only, deep in the soul, a poor disheveled woman weeping . . .

for us who have need of a picture and words: the Magdalen.

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

The Two Lines of the Cross

 

cross and prayers
Photo taken by me last night (Good Friday) Prayer and Meditation at the Cross, Taize style in my Parish.

 

God will receive everything in your life. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mt 22:37). Whatever you devote to society, your work, and your human relations are to be given in such a way that it is not taken from what you give to God. Is this possible? Yes! Through his own example, Jesus has shown it to be. He gave himself completely to us, but in handing himself over he did not in any way leave his Father. To the contrary, it was the Father’s will he lived in, when he turned toward us, and it was the Father’s love he communicated.

It was precisely because Jesus lived so fully in his Father that he was unable to forget the world and humankind. The Father is, after all, Father of us all and loves us all.

The cross shows us that there was no separation between the Father and us in Jesus’ life. It was not an either-or, but rather a both-and. When Jesus reached the culmination of his love for us, he also reached the culmination of his love for the Father.

The cross consists of two beams. The vertical beam expresses our relationship with God. The horizontal beam points to our earthly relations. These two meet each other and become one in the intersection of the lines, the center and locus of the heart of Christ. His heart burns with a singular love, and this love makes him stretch toward the Father and out toward the world to embrace us all.

~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

Christ Is My Utmost Need

 

Christ art by Kristin Miller
Art by Kristin Miller

 

Late, late the mind confessed:
wisdom has not sufficed.
I cannot take one step into the light
without the Christ.

Late , late the heart affirmed:
wild do my heart-beats run
when in the blood-stream sings one wish away
from the Incarnate Son.

Christ is my utmost need.
I lift each breath, each beat for Him to bless,
knowing our language cannot overspeak
our frightening helplessness.

Here where proud morning walks
and we hang wreaths on power and self-command,
I cling with all my strength unto a nail-investigated hand.

Christ is my only trust.
I am my fear since, down the lanes of ill,
my steps surprised a dark Iscariot
plotting in my own will.

Past nature called, I cry
who clutch at fingers and at tunic folds,
“Lay not on me, O Christ, this fastening.
Yours be the hand that holds.”

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

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With a heavy heart, thinking and praying for everyone in France and the whole world today . . .
Notre-Dame de Paris, pray for us!

 

 

 

Mary of Bethany

 

Mary of Bethanywashing of the feet art by gisele bauche
Art by Gisele Bauche

 

Mary brought in a pound of every costly ointment.
~ John 12:3

 

Here we are shown a woman who was truly a disciple, one with a listening ear. She was a woman for whom Jesus really mattered, more than anything else in the world, more than herself.

She saw life’s sole task as listening to the Lord, hearing the word of God’s, which always includes putting it into practice. We do not ‘hear’ in the biblical sense unless the hearing is translated into action. Like Martha, Mary too must have had many things to do but still only one sole purpose — to listen to the Lord.

The result was a deep knowledge of Jesus, of the hidden springs of his being, so to speak. As Jesus could say ‘Holy Father the world has not known you, but I have known you’ — because he lived on the Father’s will, so this woman could say, ‘Holy Jesus, the world has not known you, but I have known you.’

Thus she, of all others it seems, divined that he was to die and that this dying was his Father’s will. She did not raise an outcry, or plan a campaign to stop him going to Jerusalem. She had entered into his deepest inner movements, no matter how dimly. She came with her symbolic gesture of pure devotion, identification, anointing him for his burial.

There is nothing else a disciple can do — no heroics, no glib professions that we are ready to die with him, but rather deep humility, deep gratitude for what he is doing. He has to do it in order to destroy our sin, our alienation from the Father. Then we shall be able to follow him.

Mary of Bethany is the symbol of Christian discipleship. If we do not come to this deep knowledge what does it mean? Yes, there is a Mary in us all, a devoted woman, but each of us has also to recognize a potential Judas, the worldling whose values are completely opposite to those of Jesus. Judas scorns the folly of the cross, the way of lowliness, humiliation, unimportance. He scorns the gesture of dumb, simple devotion. He is opposed to the mind of Christ who humbled himself, became nothing . . .

Judas too is capable of conversion. Ask our Lord with great earnestness to convert him wholly. Then there will be nothing in any of us but pure devotion — and the house will be filled with sweetness, refreshing the world.

 

~ A Meditation by Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.

 

All for God

 

Jesus The Forest Meeting by Amy McCutcheon
Art by Amy McCutcheon

 

Happy are your eyes because they see, your ears because they hear!
~ Matthew 13:16

 

We must resolve to put the whole of our sense life at God’s service. We must refuse to use our senses except when their exercise is for the honour and glory of God.

We can so easily presume that the whole bent of our being is to God, and fail to recognize how we allow ourselves dangerous distractions; how we allow ourselves to notice and nose into other people’s business; how we yield to useless curiosity, indulge ourselves in countless ways.

Hold up! Fix your eyes on the perfect Son. Hold yourself in your hands so that your activities are controlled, that you know what you are doing, and are not drifting by carelessly occupied with trifles, occupied with yourself.

Our whole way of life should be helping us to this true recollection, this concentration on God. Sustained discipline is absolutely essential if we are to belong to God.

‘Many prophets and holy men longed to see what you see and never saw it, to hear what your hear, and never heard it.’ Let’s weigh these words.

How utterly privileged we are to know Christ Jesus our Lord. How privileged to have access to his words, his thoughts . . . Do we really see this as an unheard of privilege?  We shall answer that question truthfully by looking at what we do. Are we always most seriously, with everything we have in us, trying to get to know him and trying to live according to his teaching?

. . . The torch is sweeping slowly round our room. Do we want to see the cobwebs? Do we want to remove them? Or do we allow our eyes to rest on them for a brief moment only, and then go on just as before.

 

~ A Meditation by Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.

 

Jesus, holy and beloved
hold me always in your ‘yes’.
Let nothing matter to me from this moment
but the Father’s good pleasure,
the coming of his kingdom.
Let me not matter to myself.
I have only one short life in which to love
in difficulty and pain,
trusting in the dark and non-seeming.
Opportunities come and pass forever,
never to return.
Let me not miss one,
let my life be lived in total love:

There is no other way of living a truly human life.