photo: Rome, January 2005
in recollection of 12.22.2016 and in grateful recovery 12.22.2019
Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?
Personal events will become interesting again.
Hair will become interesting.
Pain will become interesting.
Buds that open out of season will become lovely again.
Second-hand gloves will become lovely again,
their memories are what give them
the need for other hands. And the desolation
of lovers is the same: that enormous emptiness
carved out of such tiny beings as we are
asks to be filled; the need
for the new love is faithfulness to the old.
Don’t go too early.
You’re tired. But everyone’s tired.
But no one is tired enough.
Only wait a while and listen.
Music of hair,
Music of pain,
music of looms weaving all our loves again.
Be there to hear it, it will be the only time,
most of all to hear,
the flute of your whole existence,
rehearsed by the sorrows, play itself into total exhaustion.
For some reason, we tend to localize evil in our bodies more than in our mind, heart and spirit. We are terribly ashamed of our embodiment, and our shame is invariably located in addictive things like drinking, drugs, sex, overeating and body image. Maybe that is why God had to become a body in Jesus! God needed to tell us it was good to be a human body. That is central and pivotal to the Christmas message.
I’m surely for a proper sexual morality, but Jesus never once says this is the core issue. They tend to be sins of weakness or addiction, more than malice or power. In fact, Jesus says that the “prostitutes are getting into the kingdom of God” before some of us who have made easy bedfellows with power, prestige and possessions (Matthew 21:31). These are the attitudes that numb the heart, allow us to make very egocentric judgments and dull our general spiritual perception. For some reason, much of Christian history has chosen not to see this, and we have localized evil in other places than Jesus did. It is the sins of our mind and heart (see Matthew 5:20–48) that make the Big Picture almost impossible to see. This teaching is hidden in plain sight, but once we see it in text after text, we cannot any longer unsee it. Mary seems to have seen long, deep and lovely.
– Richard Rohr, ofm
So many hearts I find
broke like yours and mine
torn by what we’ve done
and can’t undo…
I just want to hold you
won’t you let me hold you…
and after this our exile…
Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:20-21
Lord, God, the whole world tonight seems to be made of paper. The most substantial things are ready to crumble or tear apart and blow away.
O God, my God, the night has values that day has never dreamed of. All things stir by night, waking or sleeping, conscious of the nearness of their ruin. Only [humans] make themselves illuminations they conceive to be solid and eternal. But while we ask our questions and come to our decisions, God blows our decisions out, the roofs of our houses cave in upon us, the towers are undermined by ants, the walls crack and cave in, and the holiest buildings burn to ashes while the watchman is composing a theory of duration. – Thomas Merton, from Journal entry – July 4, 1952 – The Fire Watch
O nata lux de lumine, Jesu redemptor saeculi,
Dignare clemens supplicum laudes precesque sumere.
Qui carne quondam contegi dignatus es pro perditis
Nos membra confer effici Tui beati corporis.
O Light born of Light, Jesus, redeemer of the world,
mercifully deign to accept the praises and prayers of your suppliants.
O you who once deigned to be hidden in flesh on behalf of the lost,
grant us to be made members of your blessed body.