What I read this morning

Brothers and sisters:

I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance.

In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

Still, it was kind of you to share in my distress.

2 Phil 4:12-14

a puddle in the pig lot

Brilliant and gorgeous day, bright sun, breeze making all the leaves and high brown grass shine. Singing of the wind in the cedars Exultant day, in which a puddle in the pig lot shines like precious silver.

Finally I am coming to the conclusion that my highest ambition is to be what I already am. That I will never fulfill my obliga tion to surpass myself unless I first accept myself—and, if I accept myself fully in the right way, I will already have surpassed myself. For it is the unaccepted self that stands in my way—and will con tinue to do so as long as it is not accepted. When it has been accepted, it is my own stepping-stone to what is above me. Because this is the way man was made by God—and original sin was the effort to surpass oneself by being “like God,” i.e., unlike oneself. But our Godlikeness begins at home. We must become like ourselves, and stop living “beside ourselves.”

Thomas Merton, journal entry 10.2.1958

Value the light

There is a blindness into which we are all led by our own stupidity, selfishness, or by just living out of our false self. I guess that is what most of us call “sin,” which is often an opening to grace and mercy. There is also a blindness through which God leads us for our own enlightenment and deepening. In either case, we have to walk through these obscure periods by simple honesty, apology of some sort, surrender, letting go, forgiveness, and often by some neces sary restitution or healing ritual. (I still hear of Vietnam-, Afghan-, or Iraq-War vets who feel they must go back and help some children in those countries for themselves to be healed.) Eastern religions might call it “karmic restitution.”

Others might call these deeds acts of repentance, making amends, doing penance, or stripping of the ego. By any account, it is often major surgery and surely feels like dying (although it feels like immense liberation too). We need help, companioning, and comfort during these times. We must let ourselves be led by God and also by others. How can we know and value the light if we’ve never walked through some blindness first? To hope, we first have to feel hopeless.

– Richard Rohr

Mr. or Mrs. Nobody – William Stafford

Some days when you look out, the land
is heavy, following its hills, dim
where the road bends. There are days when
having the world is a mistake.
But then you think, “Well, anyway, it wasn’t
my idea,” and it’s OK again.

Suppose that a person who knows you happens
to see you going by, and it’s one of those days –
for a minute you have to carry the load
for them, you’ve got to lift the whole
heavy world, even without knowing it,
being a hero, stumbling along.
Some days it’s like that. And maybe
today. And maybe all the time.

Pace e bene

From “The Life of St. Francis:” At the hour of the passing of the holy man, the larks – birds that love the light, and dread the shades of twilight – flocked in great numbers unto the roof of the house, albeit the shades of night were then falling, and wheeling around it for a long while with songs even gladder than their wont, offered their witness, alike gracious and manifest, unto the glory of the Saint, who had been wont to call them unto the divine praises.

Pace e bene to us all.

Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi

This evening, followers of St. Francis of Assisi will keep a memorial of his passing on October 3, 1226. I pray that his spirit of reconciliation and love for all creation bless each one of us.

Blessing of St. Francis –
May God bless you and keep you, smiling graciously on you, granting mercy and peace,
granting mercy and peace. May God bless you and keep you, May you see the face of
God, granting mercy and peace, granting mercy and peace. Amen. Amen. Amen

On Resurrection Day – Rumi

On Resurrection Day your body testifies against you.

Your hand says, “I stole money.” Your feet, “I went where I shouldn’t.” Your genitals, “Me too.”

Your lips, “I said meanness.”

They will make your praying sound hypocritical. Let the body’s doings speak openly now, without your saying a word, as a student’s walking behind a teacher says, “This one knows more clearly than I the way.”