Franciscan Feast of The Stigmata

FB_IMG_1568764509726.jpgToday Franciscans around the world celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata, remembering the wounds of Christ imprinted on the body of St. Francis. The event is symbolic of Francis’s life. He suffered greatly and was profoundly misunderstood but his unwavering commitment to a God of unconditional love marked his life. Saints are not made in stain-glass windows. They are forged in the fires of rejection, displacement, perseverance and darkness because God is being born within. To live in Christ is to bear the weight of the world in evolution.

– Ilia Delio

found drawing – 12.22.2016

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hours after
winter solstice

the day I wanted to die,
tried, and failed

I had failed at success
and succeeded in failure

today and every day
I am grateful for life

(… Some speak of the future
My love she speaks softly
She knows there’s no success like failure
And that failure’s no success at all…)
– 
Bob Dylan, Love Minus Zero/No Limit

holy people

The greatest gift of centered and surrendered people is that they know themselves as part of a larger history, a larger Self. Their life is not about them! They are just one lovely instance of a Much Larger and More Wonderful Life, the very life of God.

Holy people are in one sense profoundly conservative, knowing that they only stand on the shoulders of their ancestors and will be shoulders for the generations to come. They are only a part of the Eternal Mystery of God unfolding in time, and yet they are a part!

Yet these same people are often quite liberal and reforming because they have no private agendas or self-interest to protect. They are unattached to any superior self-image or inferior self-image or any career or promotion. Such freedom! It is all about God for them, and they are just along for the ride. Such seeming contradictions held inside of the same person usually make it into a very wild ride. Contemplatives are often the most daring and wonderful combination of radical traditionalists and go-for-broke progressives at the very same time.

– Richard Rohr

true solitude

Prayer should not only draw God down to us: it should lift us up to God. It should not only rest in God’s reflection (which the soul, still resting in the house of the body, finds within itself). It should rise out of the body and seek to leave this life in order to rest in God. This is true solitude, unimaginably different from any other solitude of body or of soul. But it is hard to find and the pressure of desires that make us heavy and anchor us to earth when we are immersed in the active life of a community.
– Thomas Merton, Journal entry – September 3, 1952

 

(Photo: Monastery of Christ in The Desert, Abiquiu, NM – September 2018)

 

bless your persecutors

Bless your persecutors; never curse them, bless them. … Never pay back evil with evil. … Never try to get revenge. … If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat; if thirsty, something to drink. … Do not be mastered by evil, but master evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21)

(Photo: Monastery of Christ in The Desert, Abiquiu, NM – September 2018)

choose life

God says, “I am offering you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

“Choose life.” That’s God’s call for us, and there is not a moment in which we do not have to make that choice. Life and death are always before us. In our imaginations, our thoughts, our words, our gestures, our actions … even in our nonactions. This choice for life starts in a deep interior place. Underneath very life-affirming behaviour I can still harbour death-thoughts and death-feelings. The most important question is not “Do I kill?” but “Do I carry a blessing in my heart or a curse?” The bullet that kills is only the final instrument of the hatred that began being nurtured in the heart long before the gun was picked up. – Henri Nouwen

(Photo: Portland, Maine – 8.30.19)

love laughs at the end of the world

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 a diary.
But Love laughs at the end of the world because Love is the door to eternity. 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. He won’t bother about the world burning because he will know nothing but Love.
– Thomas Merton, Journal, October 10, 1948

a sound of sheer silence

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(photo: New Smyrna Beach, Florida – April 2019)
Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.
– Kings 19:11-12