Saturday, May 26, 2018
It was the feast of St. Bede the Venerable and the took time for a nice reading about him, and dedicated a hymn (sung) to him as well. They read well, with emotion.
Eucharist followed. We were all invited forward at the time of distribution. They had white wine, but real wine at least.
They have some brand new living spaces, that they are in the process of furnishing for their busy summer retreat schedule. The old guest house currently serves as their refectory, so one kitchen serves the whole monastery. I sat in on their chapter meeting and had coffee with them afterwards.
Comparison with St. Gregory's
Rather than monastery cats, they have a dog, who was away at the obedience school where he attends on Fridays.
Friday, May 25, 2018
translation, Chris Hooton
On a dark night
With anxieties and love inflamed
Oh happy chance!
I went out unobserved
My house being now at rest
Into the dark, secure
By the secret ladder, disguised
Oh happy chance!
Into the dark, vieled
My house being now at rest
In the happy night
In secret, in which no one could see me,
Nor did I see a thing
With no other light or guide
Aside from that which in the heart burns
There I was guided
More certain than in the light of midday
To where was waiting
The one who knows me best
In the place where no one perceives
Oh guiding night!
Oh night kinder than the dawn!
Oh night that unites my lover with his beloved
The beloved in her lover transformed.
On my blossomed breast
Which entirely only for himself he kept
There he stayed sleeping
And I him caressed
And the air gave up
the breeze of the cedars
The air over the ramparts
As I ran my fingers through his locks
With his peaceful hand
My neck he wounded
And all of my senses he suspended.
I stayed myself, and forgot myself
My face I reclined on my lover
Everything ceased, and I let go myself
Leaving my cares among the lilies
Monday, April 16, 2018
Borrowing some from Rolheiser, I would define Spirituality as what we do to sort out and express the divine madness in our souls. The restless longing of the dreamer, the quixotic refusing to accept the surface reality, the madness given by the gods by which we hunger for more, for meaning, for completion. Spirituality seeks to express these longings and fill them with something Divine.
At the beginning of the television series Heroes, Mohinder Suresh asks what it means to be in the image of God,
"Where does it come from? This quest? This need to solve life's mysteries though the simplest of questions can never be answered. Why are we here? What is the soul? Why do we dream?It is indeed maddening to seek transformation into the image of our creator. A Holy Madness is appropriate for all who lay themselves down on the operating for this intense surgery. To be conformed into the image of Christ is to be made into the Human of Design, to be the kind of person who looks out for others, the kind of person who is not only holy as his maker is holy, but is also to be the kind of citizen that would make a truly just world possible. It would be making a world the way God had intended it.
Perhaps we'd be better off not looking at all. [But] that's not human nature. Not the human heart. That is not why we are here."
This formation into the image of Christ is not an undertaking, but rather an in-working. In John 21 the disciples fished all night and caught nothing, but a word from Jesus and their own effort to cast the net and haul it in was met with the grace of 153 large fish (Thompson 8). We can work all night long and get nowhere, but how blest our work can be when we do just those actions Jesus has directed us. We clothe ourselves with him as we hear his voice. We put flesh on the word, we incarnate it, this is the way of spiritual formation.
I have heard the voice of Christ calling me to cast my net in the waters of certain disciplines. Those disciplines that I have loved and have fallen into disuse comprise a surprise longing which Calhoun unearthed for me. I went to her Spiritual Growth Planner sensing a longing for community, but found I was missing my Love. I have had wonderful experiences praying the hours, or walking in the fields at my Grandparents’ farm talking with Him. As I went through Calhoun’s assessment I felt that holy madness, that longing to be open to God, laid bare. Deep with in me there is some feeling that I have been holding back. As Foster points out (4-5) this will take replacing the habits of sin with new habits, those disciplines I love so much, and allowing God’s grace to move on me.
The other area of longing is that sense of community that I was aware of as I went into the assessment. I long for my worship to be met and underscored with the intimacy of those around me. I want to move my relationships past acquaintance to mentoring, discipleship, and spiritual friendship. I long to know people and be known. I want to share authentically what Webber’s dinner guest called “a good story!” (Webber 15). Not just with words but by participating in God’s story with the people around me.
The disciplines I find myself longing to repeat and those to be practiced corporately draw on the well of tradition. For people in Assembly of God circles, tradition means death. Tradition is what we threw out. It is the obstacle to saving and fresh experience. Tradition is religion and religion is no religion at all but rather something to isolate us from God. All the while we have our own tradition. Birthed out of beautiful and effervescent experience of our grandparents, quickly our tradition became a substitute for the reality and a check against anything new and creative. Truly this is the story oft repeated. The story has itself become tradition as one Church has given birth to gossamer denominations. Tradition gives form as a gift to people, some where along the way they drink the life from the form and nothing is left but an empty shell. The empty form of tradition goes along until someone give it back its soul, or moves on to a new form.
“In reappropriating the best of Christian tradition, we discover a feast for hungry hearts. Indeed, I might caution against a temptation to gluttony! The sources are rich and need to be taken in small bites” (Thompson 14).To discover God, true life, through the wonders and mysteries found in that richness, is indeed a fearful thing. That is not to say I’m particularly anxious about it, except for the loss of every moment I’m not immersed in his crushing depths, but I have this feeling down in the deep that persuades me that to truly find him means to die. I meet this feeling not with timidity, but with eye burning resolve. Come what may, I want your depths lord. My prayer echo’s that of John Donne:
Batter my heart, three person'd God; for, youIf it brings more glory to you that I burn in hell, put me there immediately. If my life can bring you more glory then may I live a shining life in your presence.
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow mee,'and bend
Your force, to breake, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to'another due,
Labour to'admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearley'I love you,'and would be loved faine,
But am betroth'd unto your enemie:
Divorce mee,'untie, or breake that knot againe,
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you'enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee.
My soul within me cries to you, my chin quivers and my eyes burn hot with tears! Oh to know you more dearly! Oh to give you more pleasure and glory, even if that were to mean my own death or separation from you! Thank you that it doesn’t, that you want to be near me. That final thought breaks the dam and my tears fall, weeping, washing away tradition's stone, filling her again with soul and life.
Ah, but you pulled out Kellemen on me and I didn't notice! You had me explaining where I was "recruited into that identity." Well, now that means that this identity of mine must not really be what God is saying. It's a facet of the enemies narrative for me not Gods, right? The enemy likes me feeling like I cant wake up to life - that the passion is gone - that God and I are growing tired of our romance.
So if that identity isn't so why am I slipping? I used to feel this way like clockwork every three months and I'd need to get away. Stress gets to me. Lately it is more like two months and I'm over the edge. With extra stress from classes and even less time for sabbath experiences I think its all just catching up with me.
In reality it is like God is there in the spiral wanting to embrace me - longing for me - and I am struggling to get to him against the wind of the spiral. The image of God as divine lover is apparently very central to my relationship with him. As I was reading the chapter on Eros, I was screaming inside, Yes, Yes Yes! It is the passion I cherish in my relationship with God, that he desires me, that I desire him and through him desire my wife, my children, my gerbils, my community and creation!
I realized this as I was thinking about what we are talking about here and trying also to understand the feelings I had last night. I was already irritated (because a website wasn't cooperating with me) when I went to write my post in the discussion board. I opened it up and saw that some classmates had written about the sexuality thing that had caught my attention. I became severely angry as I read posts that expressed difficulty seeing sexuality and god in the same sentence. Why didn't they agree with the author?! Why weren't they taken by this as I was!? I wanted to snap at them "You need to go back and read Rolheiser!" Then I remembered that my post about the spirituality of sexuality last year was met with silence. Was no one comfortable with this? I reacted strongly against Webber too, for his condemnation of the mystics use of sexual imagery.
I must feel threatened, like people are saying my relationship with God as divine lover is invalid and inappropriate - as is my need for intimacy in community that goes beyond a handshake and amiability.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
This is the gospel: Victory comes through defeat, life comes through death, power comes through powerlessness. It is in the midst of the betrayal that the psalmist can declare with confidence:
Thursday, September 03, 2015
In this poem, the soul by way of the “Dark Night” is brought to the Beloved before anyone in the house (including the soul) is aware of what is taking place. This is for the soul’s benefit, forming it in the path of a saint: "amada en el amado transformada!”En una noche oscura,con ansias en amores inflamada,(¡oh dichosa ventura!)salí sin ser notada,estando ya mi casa sosegada.
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Geography of Grace posits that grace like water flows downhill. The stories of finding God in the hardest, poorest, and most oppressed places gripped me. I am trying to process what this stirring in my soul means for me. Why has this book wrecked me?
Sacramental DiscernmentStreet Psalms members pray with their “eyes open,” learning to map the geography of God’s grace in a particular place. Our mapping process includes three basic exercises that pay attention to the hurt and the hope of a particular city/community as well as the heart of God. The three exercises include:
- Mapping the Hurt: e.g. “Moment of Blessing” – a public liturgy for victims of violent homicide.
- Mapping the Hope: e.g. “Signs of Hope Tours” – Identify, visit and encourage key ministries/business/organizations that are signs of hope serving high-risk youth and families.
- Mapping the Heart: e.g. “Prayer Table” – Our communities host and participate in an open and inclusive table for leaders to pray for the city.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
El aire del almena,
cuando yo sus cabellos esparcía,
con su mano serena
en mi cuello hería
y todos mis sentidos suspendía.
Quedéme y olvidéme,
el rostro recliné sobre el Amado;
cesó todo y dejéme,
dejando mi cuidado
entre las azucenas olvidado.
Campbell translates these stanzas: