Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Beauty Will Save The World

Such beauty gentles our hearts and draws us into the embrace of Absolute Beauty.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Hang in there!

We're still waiting, Love,
for that one transcendent
moment, waiting
for you to show us the magic, the secret, the reason
for hanging on.

I woke in the night and couldn't get back to sleep.  I sat in my chair and read some poetry from the large, fine anthology, The Poet's Quest for God, edited by Oliver Brennan and Tom Swift.  I fell asleep repeating the lines above from the end of Kim Goldberg's poem, "Possessed."

(The camera is facing the eastern sky made pink by the setting sun.  The gold in the window and    through the trees is from the setting sun in the western sky behind the camera.)

Friday, November 25, 2016


God will end conflict between nations
and settle disputes between peoples.
They will hammer swords to plows
and spears to pruning knives.
Nations will not take up arms,
will no longer train for war.
             Isaiah 2:4
Is it too much to hope for?  Is it only a dream?  If we can see clearly how to solve a predicament, there is no need for hope.  An impossible dream?  Then we need hope. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

First Thanksgiving

After a winter of terrible hardship, only 50 of the original 101 English had survived.  In the spring the Indians taught them what  to plant.  The harvest of 1621 was very good.  The following is part of a letter that Edward Winslow sent to a "loving and old friend" in England on December 11, 1621:
After we got in our harvest, our governor sent four men bird-hunting so that we might in a special way rejoice together after we had gathered in the fruit of our labors.  The four of them in one day killed enough birds to serve the company almost a week.  At that time we had a parade and other recreations. 
Many of the Indians joined us, including their greatest king, Massasoyt, and some ninety others.  For three days we feasted and entertained them.  They went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and gave to our governor and the captain and others.  And, although it is not always so plentiful as it was at this time for us, yet by the goodness of God we are so far from need, that we often wish that you could share our plenty.

Saturday, November 19, 2016


Shops aren't the only ones who can't wait for Christmas! 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Christ Is All

Before anything came to be, Christ was,
and the universe is held together by Christ.

Salvador Dali's large picture of the Last Supper has Jesus and the disciples in a more or less traditional pose around a long table.  Above them, however, is the Risen Christ, head, shoulders, and arms outstretched the length of the painting, as if embracing all.  I think of this all-embracing Christ when I read the hymn in the first chapter of St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians (1:12-20.)  Teilhard de Chardin found in this hymn his notion of Christ as the beginning and end of evolution, guiding its progress and enveloping the whole cosmos in the Divine.  

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Divine Glow

I was drawn to these grasses on one of my recent walks.  Risen sun low on the horizon lighting them from within.  Divinity shining through.  

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mercy Continues

Jesus doesn't want to stop showing mercy to the outsider and the marginal.  He lives in us and reaches out through us to love and care for those that our society pushes to the side, such as Blacks, Muslims, and Mexicans.
It helps to remember that Mexico used to include all the territory that is now Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado, and Utah.  So Mexicans have been living in this land for centuries.  The first Muslims in America were slaves imported from Africa, but there were also free Muslims living here before the American Revolution.  The Black struggle for equality that began in earnest in the 1960's is far from over. 
Jesus in us intends to show his special concern for the outsider.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gospel of Mercy

The Gospel according to Luke is sometimes called "The Gospel of Mercy," because Luke highlights the actions and words of Jesus that show love for the poor and the outsiders and the marginal.
It is only in Luke's Gospel that we see Mary and Joseph homeless and our Savior laid in the feeding trough of animals.  Only Luke has the first announcement of the Messiah's birth made to poor shepherds, a group who lived on the margins of their society.
It is only Luke who gives us Jesus' parable of the father whose unconditional love makes his prodigal son welcome home.  And  the parable of the Good Samaritan who showed mercy to an enemy.
It is only in Luke that we meet  the despised tax collector Zachaeus and see Jesus love him and stay in his home.
Luke is the only Gospel writer who tells us that, even while himself suffering on the cross, Jesus showed mercy to a criminal, crucified beside him.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Today in Paradise

"Today you will be with me in Paradise."

These are the words of mercy that Jesus speaks to the criminal on the Cross (Luke 23:43.)  It's a perfect passage with which to finish the Year of Mercy proclaimed a year ago by Pope Francis.
That doesn't mean that we can stop being merciful now!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Every Which Way

Heaven is under our feet
as well as over our heads.
  --Henry David Thoreau

Friday, November 11, 2016

Right Here, Right Now

The metaphor of the other world as woven into and through this world can color our everyday life.  At unexpected times and in surprising places the other world leaks through. Every once in a while a person or a group of people shine with it.  Prayer and liturgy become an entry into this other world, but it's also here when we are not at prayer and not in church. Some movies and music and works of art carry us into this other world.  When we are frightened or worried or upset we can intentionally move into its calming peace. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Fused Worlds

I've been toying with the metaphor of heaven as another dimension for many years.  I remember a good conversation about it with my mother, maybe 25 years ago.  Then more than ten years ago my thinking about the other world was much enriched by John O'Donohue in his valuable book, Anam Cara.  Here is an outstanding paragraph, minus the Irish words:
The eternal is not elsewhere; it is not distant.  There is nothing as near as the eternal.  This is captured in a lovely Celtic phrase, "The land of eternal youth is behind the house, a beautiful land fluent within itself."  The eternal world and the mortal world are not parallel, rather they are fused.  The beautiful Gaelic phrase, "woven into and through each other," captures this.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Today's the November I remember.  Not the sun filled colors of the last few days, but a dreary drizzle, lowering sky, whipping wind, only the bravest leaves clinging to the trees.
I prayed for the more than three million Muslims who make their home in this once welcoming nation.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Duty of Delight

The flowers are for Dorothy Day's birthday (1897-1980.)  This double begonia didn't bloom until late summer. Since I brought it in from outside it has continued to look fresh.  I took this picture just a few days ago.
I've been reading Day's diaries.  One of my favorite entries is on February 24, 1961.
"Spanish motto on Pecos priest's house (on one of his plates): 'It is good to do nothing and rest afterwards.'  Some days are like that with me.  Today I thought of a title for my book, 'The Duty of Delight,' as a sequel to 'The Long Loneliness.'  I  was thinking how, as one gets older we are tempted to sadness, knowing life as it is here on earth, the suffering, the Cross.  And how we must overcome it daily, growing in love, and the joy which goes with loving." 

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Other World

There are times when the other world seems to shine right through this world.  With dead leaves piling up along the roadways and others still hanging on for dear life and their rust color bright in the setting sun, I think of the other world woven into and through this world.  I thought today that I had one foot in that other dimension.  At other times I seem to cross over entirely.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Love Is All

You are Love coming, going, remaining.

You are Love with Whom I love You.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Re-membering the Dead

Dusk has fallen once again,
and we are in the evening of the year.
In the thinning of the forests, in the lengthening of shadows,
our life is seen as fleeting, our end as drawing near.
Trees no longer set a limit to our vision,
while through bare and nervous branches
our gaze is lifted to the clouds.
The sky seems incredibly higher
and we appear as we truly are,
less than our imaginings, more the creature.
In this season of falling leaves, of coldness and of want,
we think of death.
In this season of harvest,
of gathering into barns or bundles to be burned,
we think of life to come.
                                             --Laurence Brett