Sunday, 20 June 2021

Meditation for Midsummer’s Eve

I post this for Midsummer’s Eve each year and each year it seems more true for all of us… the blessing is in the paradox!



The Paradox of Presence; 

a Meditation for Midsummer's Eve


Here I am Lord;

I am a passing shadow

I am a breath on the edge of being

I am a body of dust and ashes

I am a child of earth

I am from nothing

I am only ever almost

I am a ripple in the pool of life

I am a whisper in the silence

I am lost in time

I am unfulfilled yearning

I am a distorted reflection

I am delusion

I am desire

I am for now

And yet,

Here I am Lord;

I am made in your image

I am growing into your likeness

I am an idea in the Divine mind

I am called forth from nothingness

I am an exhalation of love

I am a child of God

I am an eternal soul

I am a word spoken by the Word

I am the temple of the Divine

I am from Being itself

I am called by name

I am held in being by Love

I am interpenetrated by light

I am sustained by pure attention

I am healed by Divine Compassion

I am redeemed by Mercy

I am for eternity

And so, I answer once again

caught in the pain of paradox,

on this point between the

shortest night

and the longest day:

Here I am Lord;

To be light in the shadows

To be your breath of love

To be the place where Being heals being

To be the moment where time touches Eternity

To be the voice who speaks the word into the silence

To be the torch aflame in the darkness

To be the temple of Divine encounter

To be the emptiness without absence

To be the call to compassion

To be the wound that heals

To be the child of heaven and the child of earth

To be in time and dwell in eternity

To live my I am in the I AM

To lose all so as to find all in you.

So,

Here I am Lord;

journeying from nothing to something

journeying from darkness to light

journeying from emptiness to fullness

by

journeying from something to no-thingness 

journeying from light to light so bright it blinds and darkens my still too earthly sight

journeying from fullness to emptiness of being...

Here I am Lord;

a pilgrim on this paradox path

lost and found 

and lost again

but with faith in the finding always...

and on this night of edges and shadows and barely there darkness 

I surrender to the 

silence of the Word

and simply say with open hands and 

broken heart,

Here 

I

am

Lord.

Saturday, 19 June 2021

Holding on to the beads

Saturday Thoughts: hold on to the beads.



These are Rosaries that were made by Catholic prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.

They made them from bread and thread from their clothes.

They made them from bread.

They were starving and they gave up their tiny rations of bread to make the beads.

They were freezing and they took threads from their clothes.

They made Rosaries knowing that to be found with them meant a beating, torture or even death.

But they held on to the beads.

They held on because they knew that to hold on to the beads is to hold on to the hand of the Mother.

They held on knowing that not even the power of hell can cut the cords of love between the Blessed Mother and her people.

They held on to the beads knowing she was with them in her pain and in her sorrow and that she would be with them always.

They held on to the beads when Mass was impossible and the Church looked like it would never live again.

They held on to the beads as a witness to the power of faith, of hope and of love to light the darkest of times.

They held on to the beads and their testimony speaks to us down the ages.

Whatever you are going through… hold on to the beads… 

Your Mother is holding on to you.

Thursday, 17 June 2021

Waking up. Beginning Again. Being in the Now

 Time to wake up... again… and again…



Now is always

the time

to wake up.

Do well and 

you 

will wake to 

discover 

that 

deep down,

past the chaos,

past the sin,

past the pain,

past the wounds,

past the brokenness,

at the deepest part there 

is,

at the very is-ness of it 

all,

all is beautiful,

all is ok,

all is well,

for

all is held in being

by Love...

and then,

waking up to 

this

marvellous and

terrible 

reality,

you will find 

to your

unfailing wonder 

and

astonishment

that,

all is 

transformed.

Chaos becomes peace,

sin is forgiven,

pain is relieved,

wounds are healed,

and the broken is

made whole again

in Divine Love's

embrace.

For there is 

nothing and 

no one

outside of that

holy

communion

of being

arising 

moment by moment

from Love’s

breathing.

If we live from that 

point,

from that 

whole and holy place,

then,

truly,

in stillness, 

we shall 

know,

that all is well

and 

all manner of things 

are

well.

So, 

wake up,

now.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Shadows: a reflection

                     Shadows?





You
say you
feel
your life
is
simply
a
shadow
cast upon 
the
wall of
time,
without meaning
or purpose,
a
random occurrence
without form,
just
function?
But ask yourself
are you seeing 
truly?
So,
look deeper brother,
look deeper sister,
what is a 
shadow 
but
a revelation
of where the 
light
is 
already 
resting?
Your body,
stardust,
forged in the heart
of a 
fire aeons
old.
Not one 
atom of 
your existence
lives 
now
that did 
not also
then
see
the vast 
distances 
of space,
did not
fall through
the long generations 
of
ancestors,
or pass 
through 
many shapes,
on its journey
to bestow 
the form
your senses
perceive as
solid,
a form 
called 
to dwell 
and 
dance 
with 
Divine breath 
in its 
making of 
your marvel 
and your
shadow
until its covenant,
dissolved by
death,
liberates 
love.
Look deeper brother.
Look deeper sister.
You see 
out of infinite 
possibility
you exist.
You.
Here.
Now.
For now 
would be
incomplete 
without
you;
your reason for 
being
passing beyond 
all causes
to the One 
who 
intended 
you
and made you
necessary,
whose love 
attends 
your being,
moment 
by 
moment,
in-breathing love
lest you fall 
away 
into
nothingness.
No 
shadow 
you,
but a 
place 
of 
graced luminosity
so bright
that dazzled by 
your own 
form
your inner eye 
sees, 
for now, 
only 
darkness
describing
a point
of light 
so bright
that Divine Love
dims vision
until 
you are 
ready
to turn
from 
shaped shadows
and face
fully
the brightness
of 
your own
blessed
being.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

St. Anthony of Padua


Reflection for the Feast of St. Anthony 





Anthony Ascends:

His long travelling days over,
there is now only one direction left;
up, or is it, perhaps, 
more truly, in?
The hilltop hermitage
was not high enough
to discourage those
who would still
seek his words,
disturb his deep prayer,
his long sought peace.
So now the boughs 
beckon him higher
to a cell, a nest woven
between the branches
by the brothers.
This is his place now;
held halfway between
Heaven and Earth
What matter?
His heart has lived this way
all his life;
now the rest of him does so too.
Here, finally, the weariness
of the world may be dropped,
as he, worn out from roads
and crowds, and even from miracles
climbs just a little nearer 
to the clouds.
His body, almost too frail now 
to hold Heaven’s fire. 
Still, there are glints
of golden flame along the edges,
in his flashing eyes, 
in his measured movements,
or on his tongue 
as it tells the hours
in psalming whispers.
He is now,
a prophet become a burning bush,
a priest become a burnt offering,
a brother following the seraph song
all the way to Heaven’s vestibule.
He leans his back 
against the trunk, 
sits still and slowly fades.
A brown robed, grey-friar,
a hooded crow, upon the branch 
as weather beaten as the wood 
on which he rests.
His chapel vault, 
an arching branch.
The greening sunshine 
through the leaves,
his stained glass window.
His choir, the birds.
And he who has learned 
at last, their song of innocence,
hears, understands, and smiles
at their skyborn summons.
From here he will ascend,
this sylvan stylite,
and will be ever after known,
and busied even in eternity as,
Finder of the lost things,
Friend of the poor ones,
Pilgrim preacher of peace,
Brother to the sisters 
in their needs.
But for now, at least, 
there is a moment’s rest,
here upon the hillside
under the passing sun 
and moon,
beneath the branches, 
and breeze played leaves,
above the earth,
alone, at last,
where all the words
are dropped
like leaves
upon the wind,
Anthony 
simply
is.

(At the end, St. Anthony retired to a hermitage but owing to the crowds who came the brothers built him a treehouse in in which to spend his days in uninterrupted prayer. Icon by Br. Robert Lentz)

Feast of our brother St. Anthony of Padua today! Known as the "Good Doctor" for his immense wisdom and learning he was an indefatigable preacher and teacher of the Gospel and the first teacher of theology to the Friars from amongst their own number. 
Known for the immense number of miracles worked during his life he was granted the title of Thaumaturge or Wonderworker. He also worked tirelessly on behalf of the poor and opposed corruption wherever he found it. His last years were spent living as a hermit (in a treehouse!) and teaching the brothers. He is the patron of the poor, of children and pregnant women and of preachers and teachers, and is invoked to find that which is lost and, above all, of miracles! 
He is one of our truly extraordinary brothers and one of my own special spiritual teachers and friends. We entrust ourselves to his prayers this day and always +





(Photos include wonderful moment I got to venerate the cross St. Anthony burned into the wall of the Cathedral in Lisbon with his finger when only 12 years old in order to repel a temptation of the devil to leave his studies to become a priest.)
.
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA - JUNE 13, 2018
.
Glorious St. Anthony, I salute thee as a good servant of Christ, and a special friend of God. You once were favored to hold the Christ Child in your arms as you cherished His Word in your heart.
Today I place all my cares, temptations, and anxieties in your hands. I resolve ever to honor you by imitating your example.
Powerful patron, model of Purity, please win for me, and for all devoted to thee, perfect purity of body, mind, and heart I promise by my example and counsel to help others to the knowledge, love, and service of God. Amen.

The creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this?" .
"The birds are the saints, who fly to heaven on the wings of contemplation, who are so removed from the world that they have no business on earth. They do not labour, but by contemplation alone they already live in heaven." ~ St Anthony of Padua

The relics of St. Anthony of Padua (of Lisbon originally) exposed for veneration. A detail of them that always makes my heart ache is that upon forensic examination of his bones it was found that his foot bones were worn almost away due to the countless miles he walked to preach the Gospel and serve the poor... Miraculously, his tongue and vocal chords have remained incorrupt to this day.

Saturday, 12 June 2021

Feast of the Immaculate Heart

Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary:




We may say the Incarnation first took place in Mary's heart, before it took place in her womb, for her heart, the centre of her being, was that place that had, from the first moment of her existence, been the tabernacle of the Most High and the place in which dwelt the Holy Spirit so fully that the Angel could name her full of Grace. It was from her heart that Mary assented to the request of the Angel and it was with the heart of a mother that she conceived and bore her Son, and it was her heart, united to her Son's sacred heart, that participated in His sacrifice on behalf of humankind. 


It is Mary who in her loving acceptance of the Angel's message gave Jesus the gift of our humanity... The Sacred Heart was formed in the Womb of His Mother out of the Loving "Yes" of her Immaculate Heart.


Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!


As Mother Teresa used to pray, 


"O Mary, give me your Heart: so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate; your Heart so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life and love Him as you love Him and serve Him in the distressing guise of the poor."

Friday, 11 June 2021

Sacred Heart

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus;



Today is the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: the Feast of Divine Love made manifest in time. In preparation for the Feast I've been using the following meditation by the great mystic and monk Thomas Merton which you may like to pray with...


Blessings to all +


O Great God, Father of all things, whose infinite light is darkness to me, whose immensity is to me as the void, You have called me forth out of yourself because You love me in yourself, and I am a transient expression of Your inexhaustible and eternal reality. I could not know You, I would be lost in this darkness, I would fall away from you into this void, if you did not hold me to yourself in the heart of Your only begotten Son.


Father, I love You whom I do not know, and I embrace You whom I do not see, and I abandon myself to You whom I have offended, because You love in me Your only begotten Son. You see Him in me, You embrace Him in me, because He has willed to identify Himself completely with me by that love which brought Him to death, for me, on the Cross.


I come to You like Jacob in the garments of Esau, that is in the merits and the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ. And You, Father, who have willed to be as though blind in the darkness of this great mystery which is the revelation of Your love, pass Your hands over my head and bless me as Your only Son. You have willed to see me only in Him, but in willing this You have willed to see me more really as I am. For the sinful self is not my real self, it is not the self You have wanted for me, only the self that I have wanted for myself. And I no longer want this false self. But now Father, I come to You in Your own Son’s self, for it His Sacred Heart that has taken possession of me and destroyed my sins and it is He who presents me to You. And where? In the sanctuary of His own Heart, which is your palace and the temple where the saints adore You in Heaven.


Amen.


From Thoughts in Solitude

Thomas Merton