Tuesday, September 26, 2017

When in the soul of the serene disciple

Photo by Thomas Merton

When in the soul of the serene disciple
With no more Fathers to imitate
Poverty is a success,
It is a small thing to say the roof is gone:
He has not even a house.

Stars, as well as friends,
Are angry with the noble ruin.
Saints depart in several directions.

Be still:
There is no longer any need of comment.
It was a lucky wind
That blew away his halo with his cares,
A lucky sea that drowned his reputation.

Here you will find
Neither a proverb nor a memorandum.
There are no ways,
No methods to admire
Where poverty is no achievement.
His God lives in his emptiness like an affliction.

What choice remains?
Well, to be ordinary is not a choice:
It is the usual freedom
Of men without visions.

~ Thomas Merton

Thursday, September 21, 2017

going nowhere

 
Leonard Cohen

“Going nowhere … isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.” Leonard Cohen

Untitled

Robert Lax

There are not many songs

There is only one song

The animals lope to it

The fish swim to it

The sun circles to it

The stars rise

The snow falls

The grass grows

There is no end to the song and no beginning

The singer may die

But the song is forever

Truth is the name of the song

And the song is truth

- Robert Lax poem, no title, no date, no source

Sunday, September 3, 2017

learning to use the word "we"

"And we live in a time of real urgency where we have to mine the insights of the past. I guess one way of saying it is, we have to learn to use the word “we” to include all of life on earth. We have to learn to experience that as a terrible and tender beauty. And shape everything we do to protect it."
  - Mary Catherine Bateson, in an interview with Krista Tippet, On Being, "Composing a Life"

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Gott wirt und Gott entwirt

“Gott wirt und Gott entwirt.” That means, “God becomes and God un-becomes,” or translated, it means that “God” is only our name for it, and the closer we get to it, the more it ceases to be God. So then you are on a real safari with the wildness and danger and otherness of God. And I think when you begin to get a sense of the depth that is there, then your whole heart wakens up. I mean I love Irenaeus’s thing from the second century, which said, “The glory of God is the human being fully alive.”

John O’Donahue, from an interview with Krista Tippett, On Being, “The Inner Landscape of Beauty

https://onbeing.org/programs/john-odonohue-the-inner-landscape-of-beauty-aug2017/

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Apocalyptic times

Charlottesville VA, August 2017
"There is no need to insist that in a world where another Hitler is very possible the mere existence of nuclear weapons constitutes the most tragic and serious problem that the human race has ever had to contend with. Indeed, the atmosphere of hatred, suspicion and tension in which we all live is precisely what is needed to produce Hitlers.

"It is not exaggeration to say that our times are Apocalyptic, in the sense that we seem to have come to a point at which all the hidden, mysterious dynamism of the "history of salvation" revealed in the Bible has flowered into final and decisive crisis.

"The term "end of the world" may or may not be one that we are capable of understanding. But at any rate we seem to be assisting in the unwrapping of the mysteriously vivid symbols of the last book of the New Testament. In their nakedness, they reveal to us our own selves as the men whose lot it is to live in the time of possible ultimate decision."

-Thomas Merton, "Nuclear War and Christian Responsibility", from "Passion for Peace", p. 39

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Acrobat's Song (Feast of the Assumption)


On this Feast of the Assumption of Mary

"Acrobat's Song" from Robert Lax’s The Circus of the Sun

Who is it for whom we now perform,
Cavorting on wire:
For whom does the boy
Climbing the ladder
Balance and whirl–
For whom,
Seen or unseen
In a shield of light?


Seen or unseen
In a shield of light,
At the tent top
Where rays stream in
Watching the pin-wheel
Turns of the players
Dancing
In light:

Lady,
We are Thy acrobats;
Jugglers;
Tumblers;
Walking on wire,
Dancing on air,
Swinging on the high trapeze:
We are Thy children,
Flying in the air
Of that smile:
Rejoicing in light.

Lady,
We perform before Thee,
Walking a joyous discipline,
A thin thread of courage,
A slim high wire of dependence
Over abysses.
What do we know
Of the way of our walking?
Only this step,
This movement,
Gone as we name it.

Here
At the thin
Rim of the world
We turn for Our Lady,
Who holds us lightly:
We leave the wire,
Leave the line,
Vanish
Into light."

When in the soul of the serene disciple

Photo by Thomas Merton When in the soul of the serene disciple With no more Fathers to imitate Poverty is a success, It is a small t...