Saturday, December 7, 2013
After saying that a tree praises God by being a tree, Thomas Merton says, "For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self."
God has created each of us with a unique set of skills and interests, a unique combination of personality and imagination. I please God by being the best possible me that I can be. It's no good finding a saint we like and trying to be just like him or her. God wants us to be ourselves. With God living within us we can become our unique self. That's our contribution to the Reign of God. That's how each of us prepares the way of Love.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
"The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as water covers the sea. (11:9)" Isaiah has been using an image of a return to Paradise where all things live in harmony and bliss. The knowledge of the Lord he is referring to is not intellectual knowledge but intimacy with our Lover. We can no more be separated from God than water can be separated from the sea.
(St. Bart's, one of the loveliest islands in the Caribbean Sea. 2006)
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Out of God's deepest mercy
a dawn will come from on high,
light for those shadowed by death,
a guide for our feet on the way to peace.
Next Sunday's Gospel is Matthew 3:1-12. As soon as Matthew finishes his stories of the infancy of Jesus, he jumps to the baptism of John. The first words we hear from the Baptist are "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." Throughout his Gospel Matthew has "kingdom of heaven" rather than "kingdom of God," which is used by Mark and Luke. He's not referring to heaven; he is using "heaven" as a substitute for "God." John is telling us that God's reign is at hand, so we have to change our way of thinking, do things differently. As individuals and as a community, we will allow God to rule us. This reign develops gradually.
Most of the people sincerely answer John's call. But when he sees the Pharisees and Sadducees coming he rebukes them harshly. Outward religious practices are worthless if they don't reflect an inward change. This is a warning to us as well to make sure that our preparation for the coming of Christ involves a genuine change of heart.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
An attempt to get a more complete picture of the iced trees on the mountain.
As Advent begins I find myself reflecting more and more on the present coming of Christ at every moment into our universe. Each moment is greater than the last. Letting our always coming Christ transform us gradually into himself promotes his evolution of the universe.
(I don't know how I got the larger duplicate picture. Enjoy!)
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The ice that froze on the trees Thursday has not melted. Yesterday about 3 PM the lowering sun made the top of the mountain a fairy land. I was so enthralled by it I got out of the car and spent about 15 minutes taking pictures. No one picture captures the all-encompassing experience.
I am reminded of how I could not get the Grand Canyon into my camera. As I was leaving I stopped at almost every overlook to take pictures from that angle.
God is too grand to be encompassed by our human minds and imaginations. Rather than live with Mystery and unspeakable Beauty, we can be tempted to settle for a god that we can squeeze into our heads. This silver freeze takes us out of ourselves and teaches us how to surrender to a God we cannot grasp.
(To see the glittering better enlarge the picture by clicking on it.)
Friday, November 29, 2013
Trees and bushes on the mountain were dressed in ice yesterday morning and the sun was making them shine in what we called when I was young a "silver freeze." (Clicking on picture enlarges it.)
I prayed this morning over Romans 13:11-14. St. Paul urges us to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires." By flesh Paul means the human person rooted in this world, seeing only this world, and blind to anything beyond it. By spirit Paul means the whole human person, body and well as soul, open to the universe and under the influence of the Spirit. Our growth toward spirit is a growth toward cosmic consciousness. We put on the mind of the Cosmic Christ and offer ourselves with him to the Father for the ongoing transformation of the world.
One way that we put on Christ is to share his desire for peace. Isaiah describes that transformed world in his famous poem (2:1-5), part of which is carved in a monument in the gardens around the United Nations Building in New York City: "They will hammer swords to plows and spears to pruning knives. Nations will not take up arms, will no longer train for war."
As a people we grow more and more toward the cosmic consciousness of Christ and as that happens we bring the whole universe closer to its goal. Once more Isaiah: "Come, let us walk in the light of the Lord."