Sunday, July 28, 2019

Wandering Thoughts ended in Patient Hope

These words of an old song have been going around and around in my in my head for a number of days now.  Whether you are a Hollies fan or a Neil Diamond fan you will remember these words, "The road is long with many a winding turn that leads to where who knows where." life's road has been long, and thank God for that.  There has been "many a winding turn" on the way.  Winding turns, especially if you are going up a steep mountain road, with long winding turns there is a demand, forced on us to go slow.  As I drove in the Rockies, I have seen the speed limit at 10 miles an hour.  That is S…l…O…W.  In the slowing down there is a gift(s) offered.  The operative word is offered.  Like all things that are offered they can be ignored, brushed aside or just outright rejected.  Sad to say we do this all the time.  We are in such a hurry in the doing of things we miss out on what is hidden, shyly waiting, to be revealed.  The revelation of the gift comes with the slowing down or better still, being in stillness.  In the slowing down we get caught up in the wonder, and beauty of the vistas.

Something inside of us says "I want more of this" and so we stop, we gaze, and our spirit is both nourished and quieted.  Do we have the words to adequately describe this often recurring encounter? No we do not.  We have lost the ability to communicate the essence of our spiritual experiences.  So our conversations are mainly about the doings of the things of life.  This is a great safeguard against having to face and reveal what is really happening.  We are prevented from touching our deepest reality, and sharing it.  Unfortunately, that can last for just so long, but in the meantime there is so much loneliness and pain before the spiritual earthquake happens.  To paraphrase something I read, "so much wisdom is lost when the secrets of the hearts are not shared." I would like to add my two cents, "So much hope, which is essential for the strengthening of the human spirit is lost when we do not share honestly from our depths."  Our depths are our real truths so it's there, Truth has taken up residence.  A Resident that we must discover and welcome as our Companion for life's journey.  This Resident never leaves us.  There in our depths our God has created a confidence that She/He is with us even though we do not feel The Presence.(Merton) For Merton this is the supernatural virtue of hope.  We all have been gifted with this gift, and as we face the great challenges of today must rely on that strengthening gift. We must be a people of hope and patient hope does not disappoint.

Merton writes in "No man is an Island:" "Supernatural hope is the virtue that strips us of all things in order to give us possession of all things."  We do not hope for what we have.  Therefore, to live in hope is to live in poverty, having nothing.  (That does not sound so good, does it? Kind of scary!!! Please, don't stop now. The good stuff comes next.) And yet, if we abandon ourselves to economy of Divine Providence, we have everything we hope for.  By faith we know God without seeing Him. By hope we possess God without feeling His presence.  If we hope in God, by hope we already possess Him, since hope is a confidence which He creates in our souls as secret evidence that He has taken possession of us.  So the soul that hopes in God already belongs to Him, and to belong to Him is the same as to possess Him, since He gives Himself completely to those who give themselves to Him.  The only thing faith and hope does not give us is the clear vision of Him Whom we possess.  We are united to Him in darkness, because we have to hope. We are saved by patient hope.  Romans 8:24.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Beloved "Hope punkers" we must be!!! Part 4

Ideally we are to carry and bring our experience of our encounter in the outdoor cathedral to our place of religious celebration.  The challenge of an authentic celebration is  to make the connection between life and liturgy.  If that does not happen we have a lifeless liturgy, which is a turnoff for so many today.  Pope Francis implores his priests to connect all forms life to the liturgy.  As I travel I love when it is announced there will be mass in the cathedral of God’s creation. Whether it is in the woods, on a mountain, on the beach, beside a river the Presence of The Creator is given praise and thanksgiving, in creative liturgies.  Leading also to prayers of petition where the needs of all humanity are raised in confident prayer.  We must somehow reach out  and touch the awe-full-ness both hidden and revealed in all, and celebrate that in a manner which encourages further journeying beyond present horizons. The spiritual journey is about horizons, not boundaries. WOW!!! the words an old song of Mama Cass Elliot has come to mind, It  was a big hit single for Mama Cass way back, but the words are so necessary for right now "there is a new world coming, coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love" which is an apt description of the coming of The Kingdom of God !!!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Beloved "Hope punkers" we must be!!! Part 3

 So then you are pretty awe-full. Full of mystery, full of wonder and this leads to prayer.  How many claim the cathedral of the great outdoors to be there place of worship.  They experience The Above, The Beyond,  The Alone in their encounter with nature and are brought to the awareness of a reality they experience but cannot put into words. That is the way with all spiritual experiences.  We do not possess the words to adequately describe the encounter.  That is the place where artists come to our rescue, and become part of the solution.  All we have to do is read a poem about nature, or read a book which reveals where the secrets of nature are waiting to restore our souls to us.  Go to a museum and gaze, not look at a masterpiece of one of the great nature artists. It is too much for us and we go WOW. Here Wonder On Wonder is revealed and we are touched with a touch beyond description.  Elvis singing "How great Thou art" sure helps us here.  If you cannot get it on You Tube, Google the words and ever so slowly read and reflect on what you read, and your soul listens to.  You can also play  any one of the great symphonies and be transported to another state of being.

That is why nature is called the first bible.  We can thank the Irish monks who championed this reality, but then The Carpenter from Galilee was there ahead of them.  How many examples did The Prophet Jesus draw from nature to describe the unseen Kingdom He was sent to reveal.  Again in all reality is both hidden and revealed so much of what we need to know to be healthy spiritually.  Is there a conflict between the first and the second bible, only in those minds that are closed to the sacramentality of all of our Creator’s creation.  This is not about either/or, that is religiosity. It is however about both/and which is the spiritual way of looking at all of reality. WE come to the awareness that both the seen and the unseen have their origins in the loving creative mind of The Creator.  We are to "put on the mind" of The Creator so as to be an effective instrument in the continuing demanding ever so holy work of being co-creators of our universe.  If the workers do not have the mind of The Creator, what destruction awaits us. 

continued on July 22 Part 4

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Beloved "Hope punkers" we must be!!! Part 2

Human beings are drawn to seek, and to search for that which is unknown. Their search really is for The Unknown and the Unknowable.  Some journey to the horizons of the seen, others are drawn to journey within and discover, "new heavens and new earths." deep within the depths of the their souls.  As with the pioneers of the west, and the explorers of other lands, we see many have sacrificed  their lives for a newly discovered truths which demanded an expansion of thought leading into a new, more vivifying spiritual reality.  Today we call many of those saints, but in their day and age they were looked upon with anger, scorn, and hatred.  Imprisoned, flogged, and even burned at the stake. Where would America be if not for that restless spirit within those early pioneers who longed to journey far to see what was beyond the physical horizons of their vision.  As it was with our predecessors so it is with you and I today. We must venture way beyond the limits of our fears to the awe inspiring mysterious destiny that lies beyond our knowledge and the  limited vision of today.  To listen and read we are inclined to think we in 2019 have arrived.  This is it.  Thank God for the scientific researchers, and theologians who have responded to the call and embrace the risk to "Go beyond" and risk the journey that takes them deeper. When they report back their newfound dynamic vision they are not reverenced as the prophets of today. So, many are treated the same way as the prophets of old. Not as bloody but just as death dealing.  By our Confirmation we are all called to be prophets, as never before.  The Spirit that inflamed the prophets of salvation history, which is all history, is the same Spirit that awaits our response to go forth and give birth to a radical newness. Yes, we must all respond consciously or unconsciously to  that quiet Voice encouraging us to seek ways beyond the secure certainties  so as to seek and to search out what is beyond horizons and the securities of today.

Each one of us is a  pioneer.  Bushwacking our way through the great unknown we call the present moment. In each new moment is hidden a new reality waiting to be discovered and reverenced.  Have you heard of the hikers addiction?  Can't wait to see what is around the next bend, and the next bend…..That addiction has got me in trouble more times than I would care to admit here. We are to look at each moment as a bend on life’s trail which when journeyed round opens up a newness never before encountered.  There is danger here.  We can be so caught up in the what is beyond the next bend, we neglect to enjoy the present new reality.  Wherever we are at we are on holy ground ever and always. We do not have to go to The Holy Land so as to tread on holy ground.  It is right there where you plant your foot.  The God within you encounters the Creator God both hidden and revealed in all creation.  This being so it is the Imminent God meeting creator God.  What a sacred mysterious encounter this is? This dynamic encounter happens where your feet are planted.  Planted feet are so common they have lost their essential mystery.  Do not be in a hurry to move on. Be still and know not only the place but experience  yourself as the place of a mysterious encounter. 

continued on July 20 Part 3

Monday, July 15, 2019

Beloved "Hope punkers" we must be!!!

On one of my trips I went into a store to purchase an item.  I paid the cashier with cash.  As she was handing me the change she said "have a wonderful day." I said in reply "Thank you and  may you have an awe-full day as well."  She was really taken aback at my remark.  She looked puzzled, and looking not too pleased.  I went on to explain how to use the word "awe-full" in conversation.  I also use awe-full in my homilies.  I used to  get a great kick when at the end of a wedding ceremony I would wish the couple "An awe-full life,"  not an awesome life together.  Accepting the fact they will have an awe-full life they will be cognizant of the mysterious Presence that will always be directing them gently into the newness of the mystery each partner is in their depths.  That is why love is fruit-full, it loves the partner into the person God has created that person to be, their real true self, the secret known only to God alone.  When there is such creative love the child born of their intimacy is in reality the incarnation of their love.  In this incarnation The God Who was first incarnated so long ago is born anew.  Each birth continues the revelation of the mystery of The Incarnation.  Keeping that in mind addressing the couple as awesome is selling them so short.  The reality of their awe-full-ness hopefully will encourage them as individuals and as a couple to plunge the depths of the mystery of love, and The Lover.

I read where awe leads to respect, reverence, and veneration.  That is what I desire for every person I meet.  To see beyond the so-called ordinariness of what is seen, what is heard, what is tasted, what is smelled, and  is touched brings a new and a deeper vision to our ever evolving reality. We, with all of creation, are slowly evolving into a real wholeness, a holiness.  Since that is true, and quantum physics bears that out, we must have the lenses necessary to leave behind the certainties of the past so as to become aware of the miracle of what is before our eyes.  This is "hope punking" at it’s best.  Looking beyond what is seen etc. to be awakened to the miracle of becoming that is right there before our eyes." Lord would that I could see Your guiding "hand" at work every nanosecond we are in partnership in bringing a new creation.  We can see what we can do in the doing, but the mystery of  the ongoing secret workings of The Loving Creative Spirit awaits our discovery.  This journey of discovery is not for the  faint of heart."  It takes reckless courage to journey into the depths of who we really are. (Yeates).  We must have a soul mate for that journey.  In Gaelic the person is called The Anam Cara.  The Anam Cara journeys every step of the way to be a loving nonjudgmental cognizant presence as one journeys through dark valleys and on to mountains of transformation, and transfiguration. How awefull it is when I see someone announce they have married their soul mate. 

continued on July 17 part 2