Friday, May 22, 2015
Aren't these lilies of the valley lovely? Very delicate. One morning they showed up in a neighbor's yard where a tree had been cut down. In just a few days they were gone. They bring back wonderful memories of my childhood in spring. I picked lilies of the valley from our yard and put them on a May altar made of an orange crate and a statue of Mary.
In our yard there was a forsythia and what we called "fire bush." Then lilacs and irises (we called them flags.") We had daffodils and tulips. And we had a grove of apple trees that blossomed later.
What I notice now, but didn't notice then, is that these spring flowers pass quickly. It is our spring memories that last.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Our vocal cords are silent until we send breath over them to create sound. Flutes and trumpets are simply hollow tubes until someone's breath moves through them making music. All we have are dying embers until we blow on them creating fire. We are nothing without the Breath of God moving in us.
It is important for us not to think of God as like us, only greater, a supreme being. That's why I keep suggesting more formless ways of imagining God, but always Love or Beauty or Breath is personal, knowing us and loving us.
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
"Pneuma" is a Greek word that means "breath" as well as "spirit." It is the source of our English word "pneumonia." Reading it as "breath" when I meditated this morning gave me a new understanding of Acts 2:1-13. The whole event is aimed at speaking, using breath to talk.
Luke doesn't say that Pentecost involved wind and fire. He says there was a sound like a strong violent wind. Imagine the roaring sound that the Breath of God made in the room. He says that tongues like fire rested on each one of the disciples. Imagine their tongues being moved by the Breath of God. "They were all filled with the Holy Breath and began to speak in different tongues...."
The Breath of God fills us and moves us to talk about Jesus.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
"Then it pleased the king to raise a small feather from the ground and he commanded it to fly. The feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I a feather on the breath of God."
That is how Hildegard of Bingen describes herself. "A Feather on the Breath of God" is also the title of a CD of religious music that was composed by her. She was one of the most remarkably creative personalities of the Middle Ages. She lived in in the 12th century in what is now Germany. She was a visionary, naturalist, playwright, poetess, and composer. Her friendship and advice were sought by popes, emperors, kings, archbishops, abbots, and abbesses.
"Breath" and "Spirit" are the same word in Greek, "pneuma." It might help us to getter an expanded grasp of who the Holy Spirit is if we think "Holy Breath." "They were all filled with the Holy Breath and began to speak in different tongues as the Breath enabled them. (Acts 2:4)" The Risen Jesus "breathed on them and said 'Receive the Holy Breath. (John 20:22)"
We are feathers on the Breath of God.
Friday, May 15, 2015
One of the ways that we, as Church, witness to Jesus is by community. The members of a healthy community have a strong sense of belonging to one another, but they also welcome anybody. A healthy community is not a clique. There is one Body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Ephesians 4:5-6.)
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Saturday morning the trees finally began to go green, a new beginning.
The fullness of Christ is referred to in both options for second reading on the feast of the Ascension (1:23;4:13.) The Resurrection/Ascension has changed Jesus so that now his risen life flows out of him into every human being as well as into the entire universe. Christ fills the entire cosmos bringing about a new creation.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
The Ascension is not so much about Jesus' going to heaven as it is about our staying here to witness to Christ everywhere. As he disappears from them, Jesus tells his disciples, "You will be my witnesses, in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. (Acts 1:8)" A late addition to Mark's Gospel says, "They went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere. (16:20)"
We do our witnessing mainly as Church, as the entire community of those who believe in Jesus. Our Holy Father Francis has been showing us how to do this. He brings the mercy of Christ to all. I wonder what this witnessing asks of me.