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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.