A Party with Irma

Irma Thomas

This past weekend one of my oldest friends celebrated the Feast of Christ the King with a great party, featuring New Orlean’s own, Irma Thomas. What a great time it was!

Irma Thomas

(The friend happened to be be turning 50, which was actually the reason for the party.)

Enough of that for now! Lot’s of changes going on, which is why I have not been terribly forthcoming with blogging. Interior changes, inner growth, time for reflection… all a healthy part of the spiritual life.

Which leads me to wonder what John of the Cross would have done with a weblog and a camera. Probably lots if photos with flowers, open skies and random thoughts as he pondered upon God and wrote awesome poetry.

It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.” John of the Cross

19th Sunday In Ordinary Time

The Sea of Galilee
The Sea of Galilee

Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land. Looking for some of the photos from that trip I came across a PowerPoint presentation I had put together for some of our Parishioners (I was at Our Lady of the Lake at the time.)

You are welcome to download it if you like. Although, it is a large file.

Back in 2009 I wrote about the Calming of the Storm, which features prominently in today’s Scriptures. In meditating upon the readings, I was more struck by the thought of the prophet Elijah in the cave on Mount Carmel, waiting to hear God. Waiting amidst the wind, the rain, the storm, the earthquake, the fire… It reminded me of the call of Carmel, and of those who spend their lives listening for God in silence.

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
When he heard this,
Elijah hid his face in his cloak
and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.

The world today is so very loud and boisterous. It’s easy to think of the stormy sea of Galilee.

So many people run around constantly with little time for reflection. And very few are willing to sit in silence, meditating on the Word of God, or thoughts of the life of Christ, or the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The view from atop Mt. Carmel
View from Mt. Carmel

But as Christians, if we are going to truly thrive in these times of duress and unease then we simply have to carve out periods of time for prayer, and perhaps more importantly for calming our spirits and nourishing our souls.

God will always provide that, even if it is only in our heart, as was the case with St. Catherine for quite some time. Her family disapproved of her withdrawal from life, and so kept her very preoccupied. She could only find time in her heart, in her mind, until God led her into a better situation.

This is where I’m wont to start discussing the horrible state of the economy, the misery and struggle felt by so many people right now, the visceral and polemic political debates going on. But, being on a small vacation, I’m going to find something more relaxing to do.

As things worked out, after spending the week pondering upon Elijah listening for God in a cave, this morning I joined with a community of Carmelite Sisters for Mass. God is so great and so good. The pleasant, prayerful atmosphere was entirely conducive to meditating on God’s Word, and on the Eucharist. The chants led by the nuns (I had never heard them before, they were beautiful,) floated to heaven, and my spirit soared gently with them.

As simple an experience as it was, I’ll cherish it always.

Listening for God, often just a whisper in prayer before doing His will. Amen.

Doxology Revisited

This post first appeared in June, 2009. I hope you enjoy it. If you’re a part of my devoted readership that has already read it before, call me and let’s do lunch. It’s been awhile!

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Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen

When I think upon the doxology I think upon many things.

The Trinity is a mysterious revelation; Father, Son, Holy Spirit, a community of divine persons so richly complex and unfathomable that I’m humbled merely contemplating them.

Then too come the whole idea of a personal God, a God of three persons. I had lived my life after ‘growing up’, so often trying to transcend everything, trying to thinking of God as an abstract energy in the universe running through all things…. that God has a personal nature, and reaches out to me specifically in a broken world still humbles me. It’s hard to accept sometimes, and gives me pause.

Created in the image and likeness of God, we are called also to communion of persons. So I often find myself in this short prayer that I often say throughout the day, thinking of all the people that I know, that I have known.

I think about my parents who have gone before me, my grandparents. I think about my immediate family and our ongoing dramas. I think about my friends and loved ones and wonder about how they are doing. I think about my enemies, the ‘hands of all who hate us’ (because let’s face it, not everyone gets along in the world…)holy_trinity

I think upon all of those people, and of those who’ve gone before and of those who will come after and how we are all somehow interconnected as children of God, as unique and beautiful creations more marvelous than the lilies of the field, created little lower than the angels, whose nature now sits at the right hand of God himself. And that’s a very beautiful image of all of humanity, struggling as it were through darkness and through light.

I think of all those others during the last part of the prayer especially; “as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever, world without end.”

Looking around the world and seeing the sun rise and set, feeling the wind, noting how beautiful all things are, all of the problems of life fade away, even momentarily. All of this has existed for ages, it will exist for ages… God was the same then, God will be the same in the future, God is the same now.

And it boils down to ‘Now’. God is a communion of persons, and in all of the created glory of the universe every moment is created to be filled with His glory. All persons throughout history can share in the glory that is always present, always given in every moment, every day, throughout all of eternity.

God is reaching out in a personal way to me, calling me to forgiveness and to repentance, calling me to love, calling me to at least try to live for the glory of eternity. God is calling out to all of us in a manner filled with a deep and personal love beyond description.

Praying the Doxology I am rooted in time and in space, connected to past and to future, becoming an anchor of God’s love wherever I am, reaching out to my Creator for understanding, knowledge, wisdom, strength, joy…

No wonder it takes me so long to get through my prayers.

A Beam in My Eye

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, or throw your pearls before swine,
lest they trample them underfoot, and turn and tear you to pieces.

It’s amazing what images show up when you do a random google search for ‘beam in the eye’.

Gort.  Klaatu Barrada Nikto

What’s even more amazing is that I looked this up and saved several interesting images, and it has nothing to do with today’s Gospel.

It’s yesterday’s Gospel.

A Beam in the Eye

“Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
For as you judge, so will you be judged,
and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?

As much as I consider myself non-judgemental, it’s safer to say that I can make a thousand judgments just watching the news before leaving the house in the morning. It’s something I really have to give thought to, and bring to a prayerful place.

A Speck in the Eye

Because, it’s always more than just a speck in my eye.

Great Cartoon!

And, if one seeks to have one’s thoughts raised and transformed by a loving God, all of those specks will be gently illuminated.

It’s good to be reminded of that.

vulgata

“See, the eyes of the LORD are upon those who fear him,
upon those who hope for his kindness…”