Monday, January 5, 2015

 A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

–Hermann Hesse

Monday, December 22, 2014

The path to heaven lies through heaven,
and all the way to heaven is heaven.

–Catherine of Siena

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The "US vs. THEM" Advent of 2014

The Advent season has always been one of contemplation and reflection in anticipation of celebration of the Incarnation Mysteries. But looking around these days really makes me want to go to the desert wilderness and hide.
This year, “The Cry to Buy”, “The Retail Wail”, is even more desperate and screeching. Three weeks before Christmas is time for “last minute shopping.” The Business world made no attempt to hide its steamrolling over Thanksgiving, not even waiting til the post-dinner evening (“Black Friday” is just a slogan) the push starting a week before , with an avalanche of commercials written by admen who clearly understudied with carnival barkers and brothel pimps.
This shopping season has become open season on anyone with money or a credit card. It’s “US against THEM” and they’re after the kill.

 This evening I heard the words of Isaiah proclaiming a time of truth and justice, with divisions ceasing. As I write this, groups of peaceful, non-violent protesters are parading through downtown Chicago, as has happened in many other cities , decrying the non-action of two Grand Juries over police- black men deadly confrontations. These groups have been comprised of a wide variety of races, ages and religions bringing attention to this situation.
But, of course, there has been others – predominately White – who are using this to inflame the racial divide that has existed in this country since nearly its beginning, and keep getting worse as the tools of mass communication  expand their message of hatred and ignorance. (Some have blamed a man who was murdered because he was obese,) US against THEM.
This began right in the middle of retail’s open season on shopper’s money. When protests were announced, one media figure said “Not tonight, we have the Xmas Tree lighting ceremony!”  One poignant scene showed protesters laying down and blocking the aisles of Macy’s and other retail giants in Manhattan. Talk about ground-zero!
I can’t help but see these protesters as modern-day John the Baptist and his rabble-rousers. Like John, they are calling us on our bullshit righteousness. “Truth shall spring out of the earth, and Justice shall look down from heaven.”  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The house lights go off and the footlights come on. Even the chattiest stop chattering as they wait in darkness for the curtain to rise. In the orchestra pit, the violin bows are poised. The conductor has raised his baton.
In the silence of a midwinter dusk there is far off in the deeps of it somewhere a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen.
You walk up the steps to the front door. The empty windows at either side of it tell you nothing, or almost nothing. For a second you catch a whiff in the air of some fragrance that reminds you of a place you've never been and a time you have no words for. You are aware of the beating of your heart.
The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.
The Salvation Army Santa Claus clangs his bell. The sidewalks are so crowded you can hardly move. Exhaust fumes are the chief fragrance in the air, and everybody is as bundled up against any sense of what all the fuss is really about as they are bundled up against the windchill factor.
But if you concentrate just for an instant, far off in the deeps of yourself somewhere you can feel the beating of your heart. For all its madness and lostness, not to mention your own, you can hear the world itself holding its breath

=======Fredrick Buechner.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Waiting for Advent (Waiting Time)

God's blessed me with an empty church for the day, so I can pull body and soul together for the bittersweet season of Advent. Fr. Stan Ratai taught me the richness of "Quotidian Prayer" ---as you do the day-to-day mundane chores, especially if you are alone, it is easy through a little thought to turn them into prayers. Today with the Advent Wreath, and violet colors and  somewhat pensive music ready, I can pause, wish you a good Advent, with some quiet time away from retail and deafening commercials. God still comes with peace as his gift .
By the way, there's a lovely little book by Kathleen Norris , "The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and 'Women,'sWork" "[Paulist Press]. Men do more laundry and other chores than ever, so it applies to all of us..

Friday, November 28, 2014

Saturday, November 22, 2014

                        God sleeps in stone,                                                            

                        breathes in plants,

                        dreams in animals

                        and awakens in man.

                        –Vedic proverb