What causes God pain, I believe, is not our sins as such (I don’t think God is easily offended), but the consequences of our sins that cause us so much pain: humiliation, frustration, guilt for harm done to others. In actual fact, the moment we accept negative feelings, sit with our despair, desolation, hopelessness or frustration, and the overwhelming sense of failure, God takes them all upon Himself, makes them His own, and joins us in our sufferings.

Fr. Thomas Keating

The Great You

All of us are much larger than the good or bad stories we tell about ourselves. Don’t get caught in “my” story, my hurts, my agenda. It’s too small. It’s not the whole you, not the Great You. It’s not the great river. It’s not where life is really going to happen. No wonder the Spirit is described as “flowing water” and as “a spring inside you” (John 4:10-14) or, as it states at the end of the Bible, as a “river of life” (Revelation 22:1-2). Your life is not really about “you.” It is part of a much larger stream called God. The separate self is finally an illusion for those who stay on the journey of prayer.

Richard Rohr

Here’s one for Galway Kinnell

Midnight Bucolic

Love the jacket.
Love the scarf,
red, isn’t it?

Is this Vermont?
The sheep nodding
in the valleys.

Put on your boots,
the ones like Dad’s.

The leaves just tinkle
as we walk by.

Hey friend
who taught me
nightmares,

is it me
or is it
the camera angle,

when you sit there,
jacket hung
on its Shaker
peg,

you look like Frost
in his barn
listening to the hens
gaggling all night.

Sooner or later the world must burn

In choir the less I worried about the singing, the more I was possessed by Love. There is a lesson in that about being poor. You have got to be all the time cooperating with Love in this house, and Love sets a fast pace even at the beginning and, if you don’t keep up, you’ll get dropped. And yet, any speed is too slow for Love – and no speed is too fast for you if you will only let Love drag you off your feet – after that you will have to sail the whole way. But our instinct is to get off and start walking…

I want to be poor. I want to be solitary. This business burns me. “My strength is dried up like a potsherd” (Psalm 21:16). I am all dried up with desire and I can only think of one thing – staying in the fire that burns me.

Sooner or later the world must burn, and all things in it – all the books, the cloister together with the brothel, Fra Angelico together with the Lucky Strike ads. Sooner or later it will all be consumed by fire and nobody will be left, for by that time the last man in the universe will have discovered the bomb capable of destroying the universe and will have been unable to resist the temptation to throw the thing and get it over with.

And here I sit writing in a diary.

But Love laughs at the end of the world because Love is the door to eternity, and he who loves is playing on the doorstep of eternity, and before anything can happen, Love will have drawn him over the sill and closed the door, and he won’t bother about the world burning because he will know nothing but Love.

Thomas Merton, journal entry – October 3 & 10, 1948

lighted candle

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