What is serious to men is often very trivial in the sight of God. What in God might appear to us as “play” is perhaps what he Himself takes most seriously. At any rate, the Lord plays and diverts Himself in the garden of His creation, and if we could let go of our own obsession with what we think is the meaning of it all, we might be able to hear His call and follow Him in His mysterious, cosmic dance. We do not have to go very far to catch echoes of that game, and of that dancing. When we are alone on a starlit night; when by chance we see the migrating birds in autumn descending on a grove of junipers to rest and eat; when we see children in a moment when they are really children; when we know love in our own hearts; or when, like the Japanese poet Bashō we hear an old frog land in a quiet pond with a solitary splash–at such times the awakening, the turning inside out of all values, the “newness,” the emptiness and the purity of vision that make themselves evident, provide a glimpse of the cosmic dance.
For the world and time are the dance of the Lord in emptiness. The silence of the spheres is the music of a wedding feast. The more we persist in misunderstanding the phenomena of life, the more we analyze them out into strange finalities and complex purposes of our own, the more we involve ourselves in sadness, absurdity and despair. But it does not matter much, because no despair of ours can alter the reality of things; or stain the joy of the cosmic dance which is always there. Indeed, we are in the midst of it, and it is in the midst of us, for it beats in our very blood, whether we want it to or not.
Yet the fact remains that we are invited to forget ourselves on purpose, cast our awful solemnity to the winds and join in the general dance.
–Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.
Matthew 5:43 – 48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Perfection means not that we have not failed or won’t do so again but that we know what wholeness, integrity and completeness mean. Plato said that the perfect (teleios) person is one who sees and is turned toward what is Good. That’s half of perfection. What Jesus says here guides us to that point. The other half is keeping moving into that condition, that place of personal experience, through continual and dedicated effort.
– Laurence Freeman, Sensing God
I am not sure I know how to do this, God. But I pray for you to show me the way.
Although it is almost unbelievable to imagine this country being laid to waste, yet that is very probably what is going to happen
Without serious reason, without people wanting it, and without them being able to prevent it, because of their incapacity to use the power they have acquired, they must be used by it.
Hence the absolute necessity of taking this fact soberly into account and living in the perspectives that it establishes—an almost impossible task.
- Preeminence of meditation and prayer, of self-emptying, cleaning out, getting rid of the self that blocks the view of truth. The self that says it will be here and then that it will not be here.
- Preeminence of compassion for every living thing, for life, for the defenseless and simple beings, for the human race in its blindness. For Christ, crucified in His image. Eucharistic sacrifice, without justification
- Weariness of words, except in friendship, and in the simplest and most direct kind of communication, by word of mouth or letter
- Preeminence of the silent and inconclusive action-if any presents itself. And meaningful suffering, accepted in complete silence without justification.