Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Change of Venue

After much soul searching, have decided to leave the novitiate of the Community of Solitude, Camaldolese. They are a phenomenal expression of the deep prayerful love of Christ and I love them dearly. Actually, I haven't "left," but merely become a Friend of the Community instead of a monk.

It's difficult to put into words, but it came clearly to me earlier that my spiritual rhythm and the cadence of Religious Life as such, were not fully in sync. Now, CoS does not want cookie-cutter Religious and neither do they form them. But even with their flexibility within stability, my call is to deeper hiddeness, meditation, and silence; the Offices and lectio not so much. The wisdom of the latter practices does not escape me, but, rather, pulls me beyond them. Words sometimes do get in the way; ironic that, since I am a writer!

My spiritual father, Hermit John, saw this long ago, but, nevertheless blessed me to explore my vocation with the Community of Solitude, for which I am blessed and grateful. My soul yearns to dance on the wind, while rooted in Jesus Christ. Hermit John has always said that this contemplative has a particular perception of things on this Journey; it seems this sinner needs to allow that to grow organically.

Those of us who are Christians have the same vocation: transformation in Christ, just different ways we're called to manifest it. So, I am simply "Yossi" as always, ever aware how often I miss the mark, yet letting go in the Beloved's embrace...

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hearing and Listening

We live surrounded by the daily cacophony, hearing way too much, from traffic to television. We hear what others say to us, but often it is part of the mixture of sound assaulting us so it gets filtered. But do we pay attention in its midst?

The first word of the Benedictine Rule is "Ausculta," (listen). This involves more than the ears, but the heart and mind as well. Attention and intention come into play here, centering and slowing down enough so that understanding may blossom, and transform.

Truly listening to another lets him or her know how much we value what he or she has to say. Being present to the other involves humility in that it's not our place to be thinking of what we're going to say in response. We simply need to let go and trust that the right words will be there when necessary. It's simply not about us.

How nice it would be if all practiced this more deeply, particularly our political leaders. All too often on Capital Hill it's about ideology and not service. (It's like that in much of the Church, too). When true listening takes a back seat, nothing gets done.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


We live in a deeply nihilistic age. Even religion in many places seems mere form without meaning or substance, lots of fluff, sometimes wrapped in a flag, other times so much social justice-without-contemplation pretense.  Lots of talk about God, but not so much living in and with God. Life without ultimate significance renders God a commodity.

Without meaning, all hell breaks loose! Things become inverted, turned upside down in an attempt to mimic a life of deep contemplation and faith, which also changes one. But the former reaps rotten fruit unlike the succulence of the latter's bounty. Nihilism mocks reality.

In its wake, personhood becomes a macabre joke, to use and abuse on another's way up the illusory ladder to the nonexistent 'top'. When no one counts and nothing matters, all bets are off. The chimera must be fed, and its appetite never ends.

Numbness sets and renders real emotion impotent, for narcissism rules the day. For when one focuses only on the self, he or she fails to notice the marionette strings attached, pulling this way and that, helter skelter. Evil puts him or her to sleep with eyes wide open, leaving him or her not wanting to see suffering right there, wishing to change this channel, pop the happy pill, having a lame orgasm at ever-perpetual violence.

A life in the Beloved's embrace, however, penetrates the falsehood, restoring dignity to the person in its ecstasy. It is sometimes unruly in childlike exuberance, but that's what Easter people do, knowing that the Incarnate God plunges into the Darkness bringing Light to even the dustiest, neglected corners. A love so full of fire that it burns the dross and raises the dead! Hallelujah!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How It Is be solitary is to be united:
alone in the eye of the storm, alone on the surface level
in order to be together in the swirling vortex of being.

The sun rises and sets, the moon shines, rain falls on the just and the not so just (Mt. 5:45), good and evil happens. Such is the mystery of Life.

Within this dance of Creation, stands the contemplative...the solitary...the hermit. He or she serves as a beacon of witness to the Gospel. With deep roots, he or she sways with the tempest, but doesn't break. This monastic sees the whole, holy, picture, standing wherever he or she finds himself in the moment. Or tries to do so.

Some days it is easier to do than others; hermits are simply humans seeking transformation. Looking at the world today, it is not difficult to give up and walk away. The solitary's call, however, compels him or her to become compassion and prayer for the world. It draws him or her deeper into the complexity.

Our Beloved God didn't cause the slaughter in Norway, or any of the myriad of evils besetting us presently. It is easy to over-rationalize and, with great hubris, assume God isn't doing anything. The point is: God is always doing something because incarnation, crucifixion, transfiguration and resurrection are really more verbs than nouns. In Christ, all has indeed been made new (2 Cor 5:17). It's a matter of perspective.

But don't mistake the hermit's silence for complicity or resignation. Quite the contrary. This is the silence of surrender to the Ancient of Days, offering the total self in reparation--the making of amends, to our loving God. This is not about appeasing a capricious angry deity, but rather offering love back to the Beloved. For in so doing, the Light transfigures all, allowing justice and peace to kiss...

That Which Is

That Which Is

I simply no longer know,  
first part of wisdom, so others say, 
stand in Silence Gate, let be,
definitions flow sewer's wake

Everything, yet nothing
united, balances,
creation's spiral,
dance now free

mindness distracting,
coquettish prankster...
wrapping sweet-nothings
of know's brambling embrace

look through Senses portal,
bingling, nature's hum, hearing,
Reality wakes dawn's hope,
praise now eternal,

own it, real it,
seven hills' dwellings,
indigos river free flow,
Beloved's sweet breath 

diamondine goldwhite whistles
sweet rapturous numinousence,
tranfigures Being's blessing,
totality flies sun's beckoning

castle Light
foundations earth deep,
others blind to see,
That Which Is

Yossi Lopez-Hineynu, Copyright 2011~All Rights Reserved

Friday, July 22, 2011

Great quote

“To see the world as it should be seen, and so to see the true glory of God reflected in it, requires the cultivation of charity, of an eye rendered limpid by love…. The Christian should see two realities at once, one world (as it were) within another: one the world as we all know it, in all its beauty and terror, grandeur and dreariness, delight and anguish; and the other the world in its first and ultimate truth, not simply “nature” but “creation,” an endless sea of glory, radiant with the beauty of God in every part, innocent of all violence. To see in this way is to rejoice and mourn at once, to regard the world as a mirror of infinite beauty, but as glimpsed through the veil of death; it is to see creation in chains, but beautiful as in the beginning of days.”

—David Bentley Hart, Eastern Orthodox theologian, philosopher, and cultural commentator. 

This is what I am striving to believe right now, but it's a struggle...


Deepest sympathies to the people of Norway over the bombing of government buildings in Oslo and the 80 youths killed at a Labor Party camp. We stand with you...

How sad that people, in this the 21st Century, still act like predatory animals, barbarously killing innocents. It seems to me that better ways exist for people who disagree to live together. Bad enough to kill ruthlessly those with whom you disagree, but their children? The killer apparently belongs to the extreme political right and claims to be a Christian. 

Is this kind of slaughter ever forgivable? It doesn't matter where it takes place, who commits it, or for what reason: it's evil. Where the hell is God in all this? To simply dismiss it as yet another expression of free will whilst wringing our hands, is not good enough. 

If God is That Which Is, then Divine intervention takes place through our hands and hearts, striving to make a more peaceful world, teaching our children to use critical thinking and, as my Daddy always said, learning to disagree without being disagreeble.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Musings of a Sometimes Reluctant Monk

As a monk, my place on the very edge of organized religion is, itself, one of stability. It gives one a broad view of things.

Buddha speaks of experiencing something rather than just accepting it, even if he, or any other enlightened being, tells you it's true. Jesus says that the Reign of God is within. In this hermit's life, it's as if the Beloved is turning him inside out these days, but not in a bad way.

It keeps coming back to letting go, not grasping, and simply being. Like Merton, he often has more in common with many socially-engaged Buddhist brothers and sisters, Sufis, Renewal Jews, etc. than many of his fellow Christians. All too often, the focus is on the institution rather than living the Way...

Scriptures are to be respected and with deep reading, reveal remarkable teachings not seen on surface, but when they become idolized, they become something to defend rather than something organic. When the figurative wagons get circled, people get hurt, kept out, and often killed.   

Perhaps our human notion that only one Truth exists is too involved, as it is derived from the Greek philosophical tradition. Or maybe Truth touches people in different ways. I don't know. But in the Divine, all seeming opposites are made whole, one.

God, to me at least, has to be both immanent and transcendent. God simply is That Which Is, not some Being somewhere apart from the creation. The Ancient of Days flows through all that is made, just as artist and painting and poet and poem transcend each other, though are not the same. 

Frankly, some times I wish I could get over this quest and let go of this God, monk, and religion thing, but that's too easy.Something, or Someone, won't let me go. So, this monk keeps plodding along, keenly aware of how often he misses the mark.

When the mind's monkey-chatter stills and the senses open, the Beloved and the lover dance...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Amazing to have an experience wherein all Creation comes even more into focus, simply by allowing the senses to bring one into the true present moment, as happened yesterday. While not as intense right now, the effects are progressive. It feels as if they are growing within. This contemplative's not the same as before it happened.

Standing in the present moment allows one to see what's really important, and what is no longer. Buddha always said to experience not simply take someone else's word for it. This isn't some flash-in-the-plan New Age fluff, but, rather, an awareness that's ancient. 

Nor is this a denial of anything in one's past, but, there comes a time, if what's there has been acknowledged and worked with, to let it all go: the good, the bad and the ugly. To cling to it is simply unhealthy attachment. One let's go of one's own self. In so doing, we become the void, only to be filled with the Love of God.

Creeds, rituals, and scriptures point beyond themselves to Truth that is far deeper. They become iconic, not ends in themselves. For beyond them, there stands our Beloved awaiting, beginning to run toward the returning prodigal, up to now so full of hubris wrapped in ragged words and theologies, whose heart yearns for the Fullness of that embrace...

Living (and Dancing) in the Present

If we live stuck in the past we cannot grow; same if we live in a future yet to be born. Amazing how many folks do either one, or even both. There's nothing wrong with memories, it's the getting stuck in them to the point that the time in which they were made becomes idyllic. The future is not-yet, so we need tend the present. Keeping our eyes on the prize (whatever it is) keeps us from looking around at the beauty that is Life now. We miss it.

How amazing when we allow our senses to flow and open. It's being fully aware. It takes practice, but living presently allows to dwell in the womb of God, Who is ever-present. Today, while taking my daily walk, I really felt each foot hit the sidewalk, the breeze caress my face, the sweat running down my back, the sounds of nature and living around me. It was Oneness, yet I did not lose my bearings.

While I didn't achieve that state permanently, I find it seems to be progressive. I am more aware now than before that walk. This grows if I simply allow it to be. It's difficult to put into words. I am not holy nor am I different than anyone else who works at this. I am just who I am...

Living in the present is like doing the Dances of Universal Peace which involve people in one, two or three large circles. As the beautiful Sufi chants and music begin, you look at your partner, take each other's hands, and dance around each other, never taking your eyes off each other. That's powerful enough, but as you circle, you both eventually become partners with the person next to you and the cycle repeats until you've gotten around the entire circle. It's fairly fast-paced, so as you switch partners, it seems as if but one person's standing in front of you, though it's many over the course of the dance: all colors, genders, shapes, sizes. Differences don't matter, because it is an experience of unconditional love. 

During the dances time stops. Only Life is real, and herein lived really. All of Life can actually be like that if we let it wherein we still get necessary things done, but time slows and we are more alive.
Shaykha Fariha and the 
NurAshki Jerrahi Sufisa wonderful welcoming community

Sunday, July 17, 2011

First Anniversary of my Mom's Death

This is a picture of my folks about twenty years ago at Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. Dad died in 1993 at the age of 78. Tomorrow is the first anniversary of my Mom's death at 94. It was my honor to be with her and help midwife her to life beyond this as she died. (I did the same with Dad, too). In fact, as she was dying, I mentioned her dancing in the Nutcracker Suite as a child, and that, once again, she should put on her ballet slippers and let go; she did.

After having eight children with my Dad, they adopted me, one of their numerous foster children at the time. They had to fight a judge for 18 months to make it legal. With five boys and three girls already, you'd think they would have adopted another girl, but they chose me. I am forever grateful for the incredible life they gave me, always challenging me to use my mind and discover new things. Faith was something you lived, not talked about a whole lot. What a blessing for which I am extremely grateful.

Death sucks. While I accept its inevitability for myself and others, which makes this life so worth cherishing and living to the fullest, I hate that death takes those we love away from us. It is necessary for Life's continuation, but this doesn't ease its sting. 

Many folks would rather simply ignore this topic, as if grief instantly disappears in three days or a few weeks. Everyone mourns differently and we need to respect that. Quite simply, I don't grieve on anyone's schedule, but the natural rhythm that is my own. This was my second parent to die and it's not easy; easier to some degree than a year ago, yet more difficult too. 

Yes, Mom lived a full 94 years, for which I am thankful every day, but she's still my Mom and she's still dead. It hurts. My life continues, with a great amount of joy, yes, but that doesn't stop me missing her (and Dad) a lot. It's just the way things are. Whatever form an afterlife might take, that doesn't make it any easier now...

But what I can do, is say "Thank you" to two amazing parents, who instilled so much knowledge and love in us, by their example. May my life be such a blessing to others...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Br Randy Horton, rest

My friend, Brother Randy Horton, lived a life of deep faith, without being somber all the time. Too much seriousness makes one a dull hermit, which he was in the Episcopal Diocese of New York until his sudden death at the end of this past April. His funeral liturgy and internment of his cremated remains was held earlier today. It's so fitting that the last profile picture he posted on Facebook was of the altar at Fessenden House, where he lived and served those in recovery, in its Easter array.

Brother's faith was strong, but he didn't grasp it so tightly as to choke the life out of it. He was more concerned about living it, not clanging his cymbal to gain attention for himself. A recovering alcoholic himself, he helped so many others on their journeys of recovery.

As a hermit, he helped still more on their paths, always reminding the importance of the vows made and to WHOM they were made. He helped this hermit through one of the darkest nights of the soul, when God seemed dead, but all without attempting to control what was going on or how I experienced it. He let me know what was happening, that I was not crazy, and then let go of the outcome. Pretty humble, that.

Some folks come along in a person's life wherein distance, time and space have no effect over their friendship. It may have been relatively brief, as it was when Brother Randy dropped dead from a heart attack. We had never met in person, but that doesn't make his death any less painful, yet filled with the hope of the Resurrection. He was my friend, pure and simple.

And he had a wonderfully wicked sense of humor! His penchant for hats and costumes was legendary, from what I gather. But he was real, which is what a monk should be. Wherever he found himself, he treated all as Christ. Thank you, Brother, for your guidance and love. May you be dancing and wearing your giant sombrero in the fields of the Lord...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Red Poppy

Red Poppy by Georgia O'Keefe
Georgia O'Keefe's work is deeply incarnational and sacramental to me. Now, if she were alive today, she might not choose those words for herself. She was raised with a nominal connection to the Episcopal Church, but was not religious in the classic sense of the term. Painting was her ritual, it seems.

Whether bleached skulls of bulls or vibrant flora, she sees beyond the surface, to the deeper beauty therein. Like most artists she has that broadness of vision. She captures movement, almost dancing it is, within what many call the mundane. Whether alive or dead, there is Life. It is from there that the Beloved speaks...

The poppy in this striking painting praises God by being exactly what it is in the moment. The painting captures this clearly, and it, itself, likewise is a prayer on canvas. Like an icon, praise passes to the Prototype, the Artist Who grounds all being. 

The real flower undoubtedly withered at some point after it was painted, surrendering to the natural process, but not devoid of God's presence as it lay on the ground, color faded and cracking, becoming one with it again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Sweet Yes

The author of Harry Potter was asked in an interview about her beliefs. J.K. Rowling replied that she realized them by reading what she wrote; they came through in her writing. If one writes in truth without attempting to control, the heart speaks.

It's interesting when I read over the postings from the beginning of this blog, how Benedictine it is. My heart dances as a solitary within community to a harmony of St Benedict, St Scholastica and St Romuald. Sometimes one has to step back, take a breath, and look with the eyes of faith.

Any one in formation as a Religious should experience doubts. This monk has struggled deeply with whether this is my call or not, or even if I should be a Religious. I was blessed to spend much of the last few days in total solitude and simply let go of the question, without expectations. It takes surrender to know the truth. It came to me clearly and without any doubt that this is who I am called to be.  

What I would call my completely natural self came to the fore during that time, as no distractions could claim me, thanks be to God. It took a bit of struggle, but once letting go, the answer made itself clear in a hot, former convent. Usually answers like this are so blasted simple we miss them--mine were there in my blog, and confirmed in the recesses of my heart. No angelic choirs announced it, no fireworks filled the skies, rather a sweet "Yes" permeates my being.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Saints Benedict and Scholastica

Though St Scholastica has her own feast day, I like to celebrate this brother and sister together. St Scholastica assisted her brother Benedict in writing the Rule followed by thousands of monks, nuns, and oblates of the various Benedictine expressions to this day. It is sadly typical of the Church to forget her, as they often do St Clare...

The world of these holy siblings was chaotic and violent, much like today. They responded to the promptings of the Holy Spirit to serve the People of God through a life of prayer and work. The Benedictine vocation is often misunderstood as fleeing the world, but it, in fact, draws one more deeply into it.

Vows of Obedience, Stability, and Conversion of Life serve as the foundation of Benedictine life. But these are not vows of mindless, cookie-cutter Religious, but, in fact, life giving and practical ways for the self to be emptied so as to be filled by the Beloved. The Rule frees those who embrace it and it to embrace them to live freely and fully wherever they find themselves at any given moment. Roots firm in the soil allow the flowers to bloom.

Mystical Prayer

Chapel of the

The advanced prayer of a contemplative "wherein the soul is united to God in its ground without the intervention of imagination or reason or of anything but a simple attention of the mind and a humble, self-forgetting action of the will" (Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology, F. C. Happold) has no form. The soul dances with the Beloved. It is almost impossible to describe this kind of prayer, though Happold does an excellent job of it. It has to be experienced.

In this state of prayer, the heart almost feels as if it will explode in joy and longing. This is deep love wanting to consummate with the Beloved. It mirrors the Trinity; it is grace. 

Within this grace, the contemplative in his or her yearning for union carries the intentions of others and the world, the hopes and hurts, and the desire for reparation for the evil in the world. All of these God can read in his or her being. Living in a monastery is not prerequisite...

F. C. Happold and Evelyn Underhill, both Anglicans, were neither monastics nor presbyters, but they were profound mystics, though certainly would never self-identify as such. The minute someone does, run like the hell the other way! Both lived ordinary lives in the world knowing that God speaks through what God creates. No need to clang cymbals and strike gongs about it.

It is in and through this yearning that one realizes how much he or she falls short of living life in God. It is only by giving EVERYTHING to the Beloved that it can be healed and the lover transfigured and transformed. But all this is quite hidden, often from the contemplative himself or herself. 

So, in faith, one keeps surrendering to the love of God. Nothing said here contradicts what was said in the previous post about liberation for the active person needs to be rooted deeply in the contemplative, always living in humility.

Friday, July 8, 2011


We live in scary times: the rich getting wealthier, the environment getting worse, some people wearing their blatant hatred of others not like them on their sleeves. Dom Helder Camara said many years ago that people call him a saint when he feeds the poor, but a Communist when he asks why the poor are not being fed. Well the questions need to be asked...NOW!

For those of us professing to walk with Jesus, all too often he's made out to be a Harvey Milquetoast, all nice, in our control so as not to challenge anyone or the systems of power. Not sure who that is, but it's not the Son of God, who was so outraged that money changers defiled his Father's house that he over turned their tables. Just because he didn't arm himself to overthrow the government, did not mean that he didn't believe in the liberation of all.

Jesus crossed religious and social boundaries all the time. He welcomed all to join the Beloved Community. We can do no less. When the evil that's being visited on our society goes unchecked, those of us who say nothing are responsible for it. No middle ground here, kids: we have to be compassion and stand for justice and mercy. We have to ask the questions in order to free all our brothers and sisters. But, unlike most revolutionaries: we can never forget who we are and Whose we are.

We must feed the hungry and shelter the homeless in order to give them strength for us to stand beside them and make for change. If we just do the former, nothing changes, and those causing this evil can continue to keep their heads up their backsides. We need to be love where hate is spewed. We need to look others in the face--oppressed and oppressor--and love them as the Imago Dei! And some days that ain't all that easy.

Will we be popular? Seriously doubt that. Jesus isn't about that. Look where he ended up. We can do no less because we know that story doesn't end there...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Buddha, Jesus and Letting Be

The Buddha's enigmatic smile has always spoken strongly to me. Intuitively, I have always thought that he refused to answer the questions about God and soul as he didn't want anyone getting trapped in concepts, which point toward, but do not define, Reality. This is not the same as denying God as so many orthodox Buddhists claim (and yes they exist).

I discovered the following quotes recently while reading F. C. Happold's Mysticism: A Study and An Anthology. It is from Anne Gage's The One Work, A Journey Towards the Self (1961). She's interviewing a Buddhist monk and asks him about the Buddha supposedly not believing in God or any permanent reality beyond death. The monk tells her
that is the interpretation given to Buddhism by men who have understood neither the teaching nor themselves...

He didn't speak of God, which is different.If a man realizes God and is among other men who do not, it is useless to speak about him, for they would not understand. It is better to indicate how they can come to know Him themselves (emphasis mine).
We can learn much from the Dharma, the teachings of the Buddha. They dovetail beautifully with the Way of Christ. 

The Dominican Meister Eckhart prays that "God rid me of God," and the Venerable Thich Naht Hanh, whom many say is a living Buddha, says that to him "the best theologian is the one who never speaks about God" in Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers. St. Francis of Assisi says to use words only when necessary to preach the Gospel; St Benedict begins his Rule with "ausculta," listen...We have two eyes and two ears as opposed to one mouth for a reason...

When we understand, for example, that a tree is made up of non-tree things, like water, minerals, sunshine--which is called dependent co-arising (which I used to call co-dependent arising when practicing the Dharma originally) and a human, likewise, is comprised on non-human things, which come together to make each what it is, then we can embrace our commonality, realizing what we call "God" is the ground of being. This in no way negates the teaching of the Incarnation or those of the Buddha, for the Beloved grounds and transcends all, even opposites!

Perhaps we need to walk the walk more and just hush up! Maybe with less noise around we can actually understand what the Still Small Voice says to us, rather than drowning it out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Where is God?

A candle burns in my prayer space for a little girl, tossed aside like so much garbage, left to rot. The jury says her mother didn't do it; I do not know. All I know is that a little girl didn't have a chance to grow up because of someone else's selfishness. That sickens me.

Is this free will run amok? Does God give us this gift only to stand back and allow us to do what we choose? Is God even capable of intervening? Perhaps, the intervention comes through us who call for justice, though it's too late for Caylee. I have to wonder.

In the story of Job, Job dares to question God why this calamity befalls him, for Job is righteous, even to the point of never speaking ill of God. In the story, God rails at this poor man, asking him if he was there when God created the heavens and the earth. Well, what does that have to do with it? Job wants to know why he suffers NOW. Nice, God, that you create all this stuff, but we're talkin' about suffering in the present moment. Sometimes I am with Job's wife: curse God, get it over with, move on with life!

But that's too easy. God is more than the sum of a rational argument and much more subtle than the fairy-tale image we have from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but no less Real. God grounds our being. Now, if we could only live like that, truly, then little girls like Caylee might yet walk the earth...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Neither Spiritual Nor Religious

Isn't it interesting how some terms get so overused that they become jargon, devoid of any real meaning? In our society we tend to have a variety of meanings for "religious" and "spiritual."

What, specifically, constitutes religiosity? How often must one pray or attend a house of worship to be so labelled? Can a person be religious without entering a church, mosque or temple? Don't we say a person who's fanatical about a particular sports team treats it like a religion? 

What about being spiritual? Can a person be so in a house of worship, or is that somehow impossible? Is spiritual simply about us as individuals and how we feel? Because a man or woman dons the monastic habit, is he or she now "spiritual"? Or can only those who are not monks and nuns be spiritual in any real sense?

Much of what passes for spirituality today seems so much light and fairy dust. Much of what passes for true religion focuses too much on rigid adherence to following the rules and political games rather than walking with the Beloved. I can't stomach either approach.

So, I am neither spiritual nor religious, I simply try to walk with Jesus and be Christ to all whom I meet, whether in church or not, treating them as Christ, though failing often. This is a Way, not something to be compartmentalized and labelled. 

Quite simply, it's why many Religious prefer silence rather than jamming the air with words so easily misconstrued. It's about using words only if necessary to preach the Good News, as St. Francis reminds us. But we haven't cornered the market on it; we humbly try to serve as witnesses for all to live thus.

It is a journey on which the Bread of Life sustains. A lot of struggle, and, yes, joy; going within also brings us without, serving our brothers and sisters. We are called to wash each other's feet.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sacred Heart

Blessings on the Feast of the Sacred Heart! Personally, I celebrate this day as the Feasts of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

This day is not about the physical organ. From antiquity, the heart is known as the seat of wisdom and it is that which I honor this day in Jesus whose compassion touches the down-trodden, the lost, the poor and the sick. His love leads to death on a cross and resurrection, God as human. We're told in scripture that Mary often holds things in her heart.

What amazing compassion and love it takes for Jesus to minister to all, but particularly those marginalized by the religious establishment and society. One can only imagine what his feisty Palestinian Jewish mother thought about this son of hers. While we hear little of her, one can envision her dignified, yet earthy, presence, with him, supporting him, yet fearful of repercussions. Moms are like that.

Mother Mary's heart undoubtedly broke knowing of her son's not unexpected arrest and subsequent execution. It seems to me that her ever expanding heart becomes emboldened at Pentecost, and, that she, too, proclaims the Reign of God!

Contemplation and prayer lead to transformation, which, in turn, opens a person's heart in love to others. It calls him or her beyond the self. This has nothing to do with Hallmark-card sentimentality, but, rather, a compassion that so overflows in blood, sweat and tears; no masochism here, just the Cross leading to Resurrection's joy!