Contemplatives and ascetics of every age and every religion have always sought God in the silence and solitude of deserts, forests and mountains. Jesus himself lived for forty days in complete solitude, spending long hours in intimate converse with the Father in the silence of the night.
Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice , vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding under-current of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to be something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, refusing our vulnerability we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity. Continue reading “Vulnerability Is Not Weakness …”
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
— Thomas Merton from No Man Is an Island
Without new ground rules, we will revert to the norms implicit in any culture that tell us how we are supposed to talk to each other. In our culture, these include politeness, a ban on inquiring into things that are “none of your business,” and a willingness to give the other the benefit of the doubt. In academic settings, these conventional rules are overlaid with another set that encourage competition: we should question each other’s claims, think oppositionally about what we are hearing, and be ready with a quick response. Continue reading “If We Are Willing To Sit Quietly And Wait For A While …”
In the spring, it is my job to envision fruitfulness
and commit to it. It is my task to breathe in the air
and perceive the earth and ripe, vulnerable seed,
to grasp the possibility. Continue reading “The Task of Spring …”
And I can feel it, how when a new week starts to run after me, the goodness and mercy of God isn’t just following after me placidly. The goodness and mercy of God pursues after me passionately. It’s what I keep thinking, picking up lost legos, errant books — like how my mama used to dash off the front porch and run down the lane after me, waving about whatever book I forgot for school — and who else is behind a forgetful, rat-race world but the chasing God? Continue reading “God Is So Bent On Blessing, He Chases …”
God I sit in the stillness
of this moment,
and surrender to the whisper
of your love.
In this place of quiet,
time is stilled,
and place gives fertile ground,
for seeds to sprout. Continue reading “Earth Day Meditation …”
What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what He Himself takes most seriously. At any rate the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance.
— Thomas Merton from New Seeds of Contemplation
Winter is black and beige down here
from drought. Suddenly in March
there’s a good rain and in a couple
of weeks we are enveloped in green.
Green everywhere in the mesquites, oaks,
cottonwoods, the bowers of thick
willow bushes the warblers love
for reasons of food or the branches,
the tiny aphids they eat with relish.
A New Moon teaches gradualness
and deliberation and how one gives birth
to oneself slowly. Patience with small details
makes perfect a large work, like the universe.
What nine months of attention does for an embryo
forty early mornings will do
for your gradually growing wholeness.
— Rumi from The Essential Rumi
Your life is an overflowing closet. You know it is. There are sweatshirts folded up in a corner of your mind where your children’s birthdays should be stored. That worry about the rust on the car is taking up the space that you had reserved for a slow cup of tea in the morning. I know how you feel. And guess what? There’s a way to get stuff back where it belongs: let go of some of it. Continue reading “Blessed by Less (Lenten Meditation) …”