Saturday, July 18, 2020

Neighbors

Neighbors

Where I’m from, people still wave to each other, and if someone doesn’t,
you might say of her, She wouldn’t wave at you to save her life—
but you try anyway, give her a smile.
This is just one of the many ways we take care of one another, say: I see you, I feel you, I know you are real. I wave to Rick who picks up litter while walking his black labs, Olive and Basil—
hauling donut boxes, cigarettes and countless beer cans out of the brush
beside the road. And I say hello to Christy, who leaves almond croissants
in our mailbox and mason jars of fresh-pressed apple cider on our side porch.
I stop to check in on my mother-in-law—more like a second mother—who buys us toothpaste when it’s on sale, and calls
if an unfamiliar car is parked at our house.
We are going to have to return to this way of life, this giving without expectation,
this loving without conditions. We need
to stand eye to eye again, and keep asking—
no matter how busy—How are you, how’s your wife, how’s your knee?, making
this talk we insist on calling small, though kindness is what keeps us alive.
-James Crews

Friday, July 17, 2020

Coming Home at Twilight in Late Summer

My morning poem/prayer prompt:


We turned into the drive,
and gravel flew up from the tires
like sparks from a fire. So much
to be done—the unpacking, the mail
and papers … the grass needed mowing ….
We climbed stiffly out of the car.
The shut-off engine ticked as it cooled.

And then we noticed the pear tree,
the limbs so heavy with fruit
they nearly touched the ground.
We went out to the meadow; our steps
made black holes in the grass;
and we each took a pear,
and ate, and were grateful.

-Jane Kenyon

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Testimony

My Morning poem/prayer prompt:

I want to tell you that the world
is still beautiful.
I tell you that despite
children raped on city streets,
shot down in school rooms,
despite the slow poisons seeping
from old and hidden sins
into our air, soil, water,
despite the thinning film
that encloses our aching world.
Despite my own terror and despair.

I want you to know that spring
is no small thing, that
the tender grasses curling
like a baby's fine hairs around
your fingers are a recurring
miracle. I want to tell you
that the river rocks shine
like God, that the crisp
voices of the orange and gold
October leaves are laughing at death,

I want to remind you to look
beneath the grass, to note
the fragile hieroglyphs
of ant, snail, beetle. I want
you to understand that you
are no more and no less necessary
than the brown recluse, the ruby-
throated hummingbird, the humpback
whale, the profligate mimosa.
I want to say, like Neruda,
that I am waiting for
"a great and common tenderness",
that I still believe
we are capable of attention,
that anyone who notices the world
must want to save it.

Rebecca Baggett: Testimony

Friday, June 5, 2020

What the Heart Cannot Forget

My morning poem/ prayer prompt
“What the Heart Cannot Forget"

Everything remembers something.
The rock, its fiery bed,
cooling and fissuring into cracked pieces, the rub of watery fingers along its edge.

The cloud remembers being elephant, camel, giraffe,
remembers being a veil over the face of the sun, gathering itself together for the fall.

The turtle remembers the sea, sliding over and under its belly, remembers legs like wings, escaping down the sand under the beaks of savage birds.

The tree remembers the story of each ring, the years of drought, the floods, the way things came walking slowly towards it long ago.

And the skin remembers its scars, and the bone aches where it was broken. The feet remember the dance,
and the arms remember lifting up the child.

The heart remembers everything it loved and gave away,
everything it lost and found again, and everyone it loved, the heart cannot forget.

~ by Joyce Sutphen, Coming Back to the Body

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

How listen is the same
as silent,
and not one letter
separates stained
from sainted.

Monday, May 25, 2020

A Spiritual Journey

My morning poem/prayer prompt:
A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

~ Wendell Berry ~

Friday, May 15, 2020

Just Beneath the Surface

My morning poem/prayer prompt:
If I don’t watch it, this lake
is vodka and I won’t care I don’t
know how to swim. Getting sober
is like that. I go out into the world
and look you in the eyes and say
I’m fine. I’m having a good time
and you go on never knowing
I was half-underwater, that
there was a monster trying
to make its way to the surface
and I had to push him down.
- James Croal Jackson: Getting Sober

Prayers for some special someones in my life and all who struggle with addiction or a deep interior burden . ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ™❤️


Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Shield of Kindness

Safe in the love of one who’ll never part,
Of one whose kindness is itself a shield
Who understands the deep things of my heart

Better than I can ever do, I yield
Myself and my perplexities to him
And in his house of mercy I am healed

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Shelter of Gods love

Till troubles cease and only joys remain
Take refuge in the shelter of his love
Who hears your call and feels with you your pain

Who does not keep his distance, high above
But brings his light into your little room
Nestles and settles with you like the dove

In its familiar dovecote. From the womb
Of Mary, to her house in Nazareth,
From the upper chamber to the empty tomb

He comes to share with you your every breath
And to commune with you. To every heart,
That opens to him he will bring new birth,

For every ending offer a new start.
Lie down in peace and trust and take your rest
Safe in the love of one who’ll never part.
-M Guite

Monday, May 11, 2020

Invisible Work

My morning poem/prayer prompt:
Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only
but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while,
as the Chippewa poem says, I am being carried
by great winds across the sky,
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.

There are mothers
for everything, and the sea
is a mother too,
whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean
a moment, against the blue
shoulder of the air. The work
of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art.

~ Alison Luterman ~
(The Largest Possible Life)
Photo of my
mom ❤️

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Where Does the Temple Begin, Where Does It End?

My morning poem❤️prayer prompt:
Where Does the Temple Begin,
Where Does It End?

There are things you can’t reach.  But
you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away.
The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily, out of the water and back in;
the goldfinches sing
from the unreachable top of the tree.

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around,
but standing around
as though with your arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some shining coil of wind,
or a few leaves from any old tree –
they are all in this too.

And now I will tell you the truth.
Everything in the world
comes.

At least, closer.
And, cordially.

Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.
Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold
fluttering around the corner
of the sky of God, the blue air.

~ Mary Oliver ~

Saturday, May 2, 2020

May Day Memories

My garden is sown with sentiment;
Bearded Iris’ for my Grandma Effie, hydrangeas from Jessica that bloom wondrously every Mother’s Day, Sharon’s cyclamen, shamrocks for Pat, for mom, tulips every winter (and a new climbing rose) and dad, a little lemon tree.  When I was little mom and I made paper cones tied with ribbon, filled them with purple and yellow wildflowers from our field and hung it on the door of our elderly neighbors, Frank and Josie.
They had peach trees and when mom cut her hand washing a glass and we ran over there, her bleeding hand wrapped in a dishtowel, they jumped to the rescue. Frank drove her away. And Josie took us outside to pick peaches. I was so scared, but I remember feeling better outside with the peaches, the shelter of trees and the smell of fruit on my hands. It wasn’t long after that we made the paper cones and hung them secretly on their door. May day always makes me remember.  Happy May Day!


Friday, April 17, 2020

A Poem for a Pandemic

Pandemic
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.

And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.

Promise this world your love--
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

--Lynn Ungar 3/11/20


Thursday, April 16, 2020




















T H A N K ❤️ Y O U  to our healthcare heroes and all essential workers helping us through this pandemic!    Chalk art: Kara Hoblin NY
๐Ÿ™❤️ #alonetogether #healthheroes


Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Gardener

She thought he was the gardener, but then he called her name, and she recognized the Lord.
How often Christ, the gardener whom I do not recognize, breaks through my tears or confusion or obstinance, calling my name, redirecting my attention, teaching me.  Sometimes, even in the moment, I recognize his voice, and my heart too proclaims ‘I have seen the Lord’. The artwork?
Jesus in a gardeners hat. These always make me smile.
Jesus, the gardener of my soul.







Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Easter in the Year 2020

And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?
Not lost in our locked churches, anymore
Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.
The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,
And he is up and risen, long before,
Alive, at large, and making his strong way
Into the world he gave his life to save,
No need to seek him in his empty grave.

He might have been a wafer in the hands
Of priests this day, or music from the lips
Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
Away from church, shakes off our linen bands
To don his apron with a nurse: he grips
And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,
Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.

On Thursday we applauded, for he came
And served us in a thousand names and faces
Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces
Of that virus which was death to him:
Good Friday happened in a thousand places
Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them
That they might share his Easter in their need,
Now they are risen with him, risen indeed. 
- Malcolm Guite

A little guidance from Henri Nouwen

A waiting person is a patient person.
The word ‘patience’ means the willingness to stay where we are
and live the situation out to the full
in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.
Impatient people are always expecting the real thing to happen somewhere else
and therefore want to go elsewhere.
The moment is empty.
But patient people dare to stay where they are.
Patient living means to live actively in the present and wait there.
Waiting, then, is not passive.
It involves nurturing the moment,
as a mother nurtures the child that is growing in her womb.
 -Henri Nouwen


Friday, April 10, 2020

Sister Nina and Hard Boiled Eggs

This is a Good Friday like no other. We are all Sheltering at home to stop the spread of Covid19.
We have a tradition in our family to gather after Good Friday services and color Easter eggs at our house. Needless to say that is not happening this year in the midst of this pandemic, but I can share with you the inspiration for it.
When I was converting in my late teens, Sr. Nina, a young nun I first met on Search retreat, invited me to the convent on the Fridays of Lent to make communion hosts or prepare various outreach packages and then stay for lunch. What she actually did was to show me, by being herself, how the grace of God is at work in us. Every Friday was the same; in the kitchen all morning and then we would sit at the big table with a small plate consisting of one peeled hard boiled egg and a serving of cottage cheese. Plain and simple.
On good Friday there was no preparation of communion hosts but Sr. Nina invited me for lunch after the noon service. There on the table was one egg in its shell and the same spoonful of cottage cheese.
After grace she shared, with the other sisters smiling ever so slightly, that the sorrow of Good Friday could only be born in the gladness of Easter Sunday. The eggshell was left on as the reminder of Easter and Mary Magdalene finding the tomb open. And suddenly all the sisters began cracking open their eggs, giddy in the tapping and all I remember after that was the burst of my tears and the simultaneous fullness of joy!
It has been such an important insight for me during the various sorrows of life and I love her for it. When I had children, I combined Good Friday with that same joy of Easter through the coloring of eggs. And invited the cousins and close family friends to join us. I really treasure the days we have had together over the years. It is a place for me to put the fullness of my heart on this day as we remember Jesus in his agony and death, and join ours and the world’s suffering to his in prayer, but also see, once again, the assurance of the boundless love and compassion of God.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Those Who Carry Us

How mothers and fathers carry the weight of their children not only in their arms and how children once young carry the weight of their parents; spouses too, the mystery of love in the seasons of life...how someone once carried me and keenly aware of the gift I have received, I pray and hope and will to give in kind, the gift I have received. (My grandma Effie carrying me)


Monday, February 27, 2017

In the afternoons,
in the almost empty fields,
I hum the hymns
I used to sing

in church.
They could not tame me,
so they would not keep me,
alas,

and how that feels,
the weight of it,
I will not tell
any of you,

not ever.
Still, as they promised,
God, once he is in your heart,
is everywhere—
excerpt from Mary Oliver's The Beautiful, Striped Sparrow

Thursday, July 30, 2015

While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Luke 24:51

Just a couple of weeks ago, I stood in this place - the Chapel of the Ascension on the peak of the Mount of Olives - caught off guard with grief.
I'd always related the Ascension of Jesus to the Great Commission and the joy the disciples shared as they went out to spread the good news!
But as I entered this spare chapel and knelt at the stone I felt His going from them and their own loss profoundly.  This was their last time together, it was their goodbye.
Only later on reflection did I connect it with my own loss.  It was too visceral in the moment.  My saying goodbye to my Dad, knowing I would not see him again in this life.  It happened so fast.  We looked into each others eyes.  He spoke his last words to me and I to him.  We held on and had to let go.  He smiled that big grin of his at my tears.  There is a spare chapel in my heart that marks the place, hallowed too.  Sometimes I stand there, gazing at the heavens.  Caught off guard with grief... and gratitude.



Friday, July 17, 2015

Pilgrimage

I planned to keep a journal.  I thought I would write each day about the one thing that stood out, that shone brightest with beauty or insight, revealed most His face.  I thought I would write about the one thing each day. 
 
The thing with pilgrimage is that you do all the preparation, then (not unexpectedly) you have no idea the way it will lead you, the way God will lead you.  If you are lucky, you do know only this...God will lead you.
 
Decades ago under the good guidance of Fr Eugene LaVerdiere, I was encouraged to deepen my praying with the scriptures by not relating to one of the characters in the passage but by being myself in the passage.  Think of a common biblical story – the pilgrim disciples on the road to Emmaus - something like this painting by Josef von Fรผhrich, 1837 ...


then 'step into the picture' and let it unfold.
  
This is what I experienced on pilgrimage - I stepped in, entering the humanity of Christ, of God with us, in a new and deeply moving way.  Walking so closely at times I could feel the dust from his steps fall upon my own feet.  Terra Firma.  We stood together on the same stones, drank in with our eyes the same landscape, stepped into the same mud of the River Jordan.  There was a comingling, an incorporation that I had not experienced before, stirring a longing in me, an interior movement, a recognition.  Uncontrived and inexplicable, like love ripened in a long marriage.  As though I had been looking all my life at his feet, his cloak, watching his hand, accustom to his voice.  When I received communion in the cave at Bethlehem that first morning, it dawned upon me that I do not only receive Jesus by this wondrous sacrament, become the body of Christ, but in a very substantial way He receives me.  I was not going on pilgrimage, we were.   At Dominus Flevit (God’s tears) I wept with Him for all our resistances, on the way to Tiberius I laughed with Him in the sea spray of Galilee, on the Mount of Beatitudes I felt the winds of the spirit carry His words to me.  The same stones that absorbed his agony at the flagellation received my body and it's heartrending load. 
 
If there was a one thing, this is it.  It was not some shining moment among many, some singular point of clarity and conversion, a flash revelation of mercy and love; it took more than a moment.  It was the ongoing impact of each experience, each place, each word spoken grounding me and awakening my senses, eucharisteo, humbling and joyful, overwhelming at times and so very ordinary, extraordinarily human.  It is the sense that everything belongs, that the stones do sing, and it is the grace that has come home with me, small pilgrim that I am.  It is the keepsake in my soul.  Everything brings me to Jesus. 


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Calling Mom on my birthday

I called my mom on my birthday, asked her if she remembered just what she was doing 60 years ago today.  Oh we shared some good laughs, and that question opened a door of memory to her own youth.  You see, my mom was very young when she had me, a new teenage bride.  I was born early and very small.  It was a difficult time.  As she recounted the memory, her voice grew soft.  She was so green, she said, so young.  She had no idea.  She told me that when she finally held me she thought I was the most beautiful baby she'd ever seen. 
Of course, I was warmed by her words, savoring the moment, when she rolled on with this..."Once you had grown a bit and we knew everything was okay, that is when folks started telling me you had been the ugliest baby!"  Oh, it was hilarious - we were laughing so hard we both had tears running down our cheeks (I know this even though we are thousands of miles apart).  Ours is a special bond. 


Friday, May 15, 2015

The Apple Orchard

Come let us watch the sun go down
and walk in twilight through the orchard's green.
Does it not seem as if we had for long 
collected, saved and harbored within us
old memories? To find releases and seek new hopes, 
remembering half-forgotten joys,
mingled with darkness coming from within,
as we randomly voice our thoughts aloud
wandering beneath these harvest-laden trees
reminiscent of Durer woodcuts, 
branches which, bent under the fully ripened fruit,
wait patiently, trying to outlast, 
to serve another season's hundred days of toil,
straining, uncomplaining, by not breaking
but succeeding, even though the burden
should at times seem almost past endurance.
Not to falter! Not to be found wanting!
 
Thus must it be, when willingly you strive
throughout a long and uncomplaining life,
committed to one goal: to give yourself!
And silently to grow and to bear fruit.
 
 
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Invisible Work

Because no one could ever praise me enough,
because I don't mean these poems only

but the unseen
unbelievable effort it takes to live
the life that goes on between them,
I think all the time about invisible work.
About the young mother on Welfare
I interviewed years ago,
who said, "It's hard.
You bring him to the park,
run rings around yourself keeping him safe,
cut hot dogs into bite-sized pieces for dinner,
and there's no one
to say what a good job you're doing,
how you were patient and loving
for the thousandth time even though you had a headache."
And I, (who am used to feeling sorry for myself
because I am lonely,
when all the while, as the Chippewa poem says, 
I am being carried by great winds across the sky,)
thought of the invisible work that stitches up the world day and night,
the slow, unglamorous work of healing,
the way worms in the garden
tunnel ceaselessly so the earth can breathe
and bees ransack this world into being,
while owls and poets stalk shadows,
our loneliest labors under the moon.
There are mothers for everything, 
and the sea is a mother too,

whispering and whispering to us
long after we have stopped listening.
I stopped and let myself lean a moment 
against the blue shoulder of the air. 
The work of my heart
is the work of the world's heart.
There is no other art.

~ Alison Luterman ~

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to be a Poet (to remind myself)

Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill— more of each
than you have— inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your work,
doubt their judgment.

Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
There are only sacred places
And desecrated places.

Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
~ Wendell Berry

Pope Francis:  Let us too become like poets of prayer: let us develop a taste for finding our own words, let us once again grasp those which teach us the Word of God.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

So it ever is...so may it ever be



'Three Little Birds' is Back

and it feels like a homecoming...it feels like this...

When my nineteen-year-old son turns on the kitchen tap
and leans down over the sink and tilts his head sideways
to drink directly from the stream of cool water,
I think of my older brother, now almost ten years gone,
who used to do the same thing at that age;
and when he lifts his head back up and, satisfied,
wipes the water dripping from his cheek
with his shirtsleeve, it’s the same casual gesture
my brother used to make; and I don’t tell him
to use a glass, the way our father told my brother,
because I like remembering my brother
when he was young, decades before anything
went wrong, and I like the way my son
becomes a little more my brother for a moment
through this small habit born of a simple need,
which, natural and unprompted, ties them together
across the bounds of death, and across time …
as if the clear stream flowed between two worlds
and entered this one through the kitchen faucet,
my son and brother drinking the same water.

"A Drink of Water" by Jeffrey Harrison

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Just read:

The ordinary and proper response to our world is to turn on the radio, open the newspaper, go to another movie, talk to more people, or to look impatiently for new attractions and distractions. To listen patiently to the voice of the Spirit in prayer is radical displacement which at first creates unusual discomfort. We are so accustomed to our impatient way of life that we do not expect much from the moment. Every attempt to ‘live it through’ or to ‘stay with it’ is so contrary to our usual habits that all our impulses rise up in protest. But when discipline keeps us faithful, we slowly begin to sense that something so deep, so mysterious, and so creative is happening here and now that we are drawn toward it – not by our impulses but by the Holy Spirit.                        ~ Henri Nouwen, Compassion

How God Talks to Me


Coffee in one hand
leaning in to share, listen:
How I talk to God.
“Momma, you’re special.”
Three-year-old touches my cheek.
How God talks to me.
While driving I make
lists: done, do, hope, love, hate, try.
How I talk to God.
Above the highway
hawk: high, alone, free, focused.
How God talks to me.
Rash, impetuous
chatter, followed by silence:
How I talk to God.
First, second, third, fourth
chance to hear, then another:
How God talks to me.
Fetal position
under flannel sheets, weeping
How I talk to God.
Moonlight on pillow
tending to my open wounds
How God talks to me.
Pulling from my heap
of words, the ones that mean yes:
How I talk to God.
Infinite connects
with finite, without words:
How God talks to me.
~ Kelly Belmonte

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

O Sapientia - a sonnet by Malcolm Guite

I cannot think unless I have been thought,
Nor can I speak unless I have been spoken.
I cannot teach except as I am taught,
Or break the bread except as I am broken.
O Mind behind the mind through which I seek,
O Light within the light by which I see,
O Word beneath the words with which I speak,
O founding, unfound Wisdom, finding me,
O sounding Song whose depth is sounding me,
O Memory of time, reminding me,
My Ground of Being, always grounding me,
My Maker’s Bounding Line, defining me,
Come, hidden Wisdom, come with all you bring,
Come to me now, disguised as everything.

Monday, December 29, 2014

It Could Be...
















It could be as simple
as using a good paring knife
and singing, as you peel the apple

from top to bottom, then kissing
your grandson's nose as you drop
the unbroken peel on his head.

It could be checking the herbs
in the outdoor pots, noticing
the basil needs water.

It could be wrapping yourself
in a prayer shawl, fingering your beads,
studying the Bible -- all the better

to empty the space, prepare the ground
for the silence which offers answers
to questions which never cease.

It could be putting on your hat,
your boots and your gloves
and shoveling Mrs. Cohen's walkway

before you drive her to the doctor.
You wish she would talk less,
but you tuck your impatience

into the pocket of your coat,
and it escapes only once.
It could be as simple as blessing

the newspaper as you open it,
praying for the spoiled and lost ones
on all corners of the earth.

It could be as simple as knowing
that prayer is also love-in-action
or even hate in non-action,

that there is only one you
in the entire universe,
that your spark-raising cannot be done
by anyone else, not even by God.
~~Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann 


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CHRISTMAS EVE

So many memories of Christmas Eve...Roger proposed to me right before midnight mass 40 years ago, and then we went in to St Mary's where love incarnate took on new meaning for us both, so eager to center our life on the Way of Christ...and I am remembering years later when Jessica, Conor and Kate surprised us with their own tender and humorous telling of the birth of Jesus that so blessed us as parents...and tonight Kyla will read the Prophet Isaiah, ending with the line "The love of our God will make this happen" and I am again and still learning this Way of Christ...

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Blessed Are You Who Bear the Light

Blessed are you
who bear the light
in unbearable times,
who testify
to its endurance
amid the unendurable,
who bear witness
to its persistence
when everything seems
in shadow
and grief.

Blessed are you
in whom
the light lives,
in whom
the brightness blazes—
your heart
a chapel,
an altar where
in the deepest night
can be seen
the fire that
shines forth in you
in unaccountable faith
in stubborn hope
in love that illumines
every broken thing
it finds.

– Jan Richardson

Lessons in Light

So, it's been a rough six months (you may have noticed I have been mostly absent from these pages) with losses and heartache of all kinds that could only be held, accompanied.  We have clung to one another and to God, walked, as trusting as we could, helping each other over the rough spots, and carried our hope bundled with a bit of thread...
Now it is Christmas.  My favorite feast - my season of hope.
He surprised us with lights to welcome us home, the whole place a joyful welcome sign.
A week later it was our turn.
We wanted to surprise him with the tree, lit in the window.
But when I plugged it in, only half the branches lit.
In my heart I sighed "not this, not this year" and left the room for a Christmas box thinking we'd have to leave the tree and wait for his help.
As I returned Kyla, in child wonder, exclaimed "Mom, the lights are all on!"
My first thought was to the heavens - Thank you,
When she said to me "Sometimes the Light just moves a little slow!"
Now it is Christmas.  My favorite feast - my season of hope.

Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel




























Only after I'd written this did I realize 
it is Santa Lucia - the Feast of Lights!  I remember our girls wearing a crown of candles on their head with a mix of delight and terror!  
May you all be crowned with Light.  

Monday, November 24, 2014

Annunciation

This, my morning prayer poem 
(It will accompany me for some time, I suspect)

Annunciation
by Marie Howe


Even if I don’t see it again — nor ever feel it
I know it is — and that if once it hailed me
it ever does–

and so it is myself I want to turn in that direction
not as toward a place, but it was a tilting
within myself,

as one turns a mirror to flash the light to where
it isn’t — I was blinded like that — 

and swam in what shone at me,
only able to endure it by being no one and so
specifically myself I thought I’d die
from being loved like that.


Friday, October 31, 2014

On the eve of All Saints

This just read from St. Clare
The journey of prayer is the discovery of God at the center of our lives. We pray not to acquire a relationship with God as if acquiring something that did not previously exist. Rather, we pray to disclose the image of God in which we are created, the God within us, that is, the one in whom we are created and in whom lies the seed of our identity. We pray so as to discover what we already have—“the incomparable treasure hidden in the field of the world and of the human heart.


It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between. Diane Ackerman

Monday, August 4, 2014

What Gorgeous Thing

I do not know what gorgeous thing
       the bluebird keeps saying,
his voice easing out of his throat,
       beak, body into the pink air
of the early morning. I like it
       whatever it is. Sometimes
it seems the only thing in the world
       that is without dark thoughts.
Sometimes it seems the only thing
       in the world that is without
questions that can't and probably
       never will be answered, the
only thing that is entirely content
       with the pink, then clear white
morning and, gratefully, says so.
   ~Mary Oliver

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jesus [Go to your inner room]


I draw prayer round me like a dark protective wall, withdraw inside it as one might into a convent cell and then step outside again, calmer and stronger and more collected again.
        Etty Hillesum An Interrupted Life

Here’s what I want you to do:  Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.
       Matthew 6:6 The Message

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Our walls of division do not rise all the way to heaven. ~St. Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow

And here is his morning prayer:

O Lord, grant that I may meet the coming day in peace. 
Help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. 
In each hour of the day reveal your will to me. 
Bless my dealings with all who surround me. 
Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul, and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all.
In all my deeds and words guide my thoughts and feelings. 
In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. 
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. 
Give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. 
Direct my will. Teach me to pray. Pray within me.
Most Holy God, I pray and beseech you, give me a pure heart, a way of speaking that befits the faith I profess. Grant me uprightness of purpose, powers of reasoning unhindered by passions, conduct that becomes those who fear you, and perfect knowledge of your commandments. 
May I enjoy health in body and in spirit.
Grant me a life of peace, genuine faith and living hope, sincere charity and bountiful generosity, patience that knows no bounds and the light of Your truth to proclaim Your goodness to me, that for ever and in all things placing my trust only in You, I may abound in every good work, and that in Christ Your gifts may increase in every soul.