Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Advent

The Liturgical Season of Advent is pure gift for me and there is no where I would rather be during Advent than in my own monastery. For this reason I try not to take a lot of outside engagements. I prefer not to travel much but to STAY PUT. Everything points to the sacredness of this season. The focus is not on shopping or even decorating. It is a season of hope for a dear world that has known far too much darkness. We focus on the coming of the Light, the approaching feast of the birth of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I usually spend much time praying for peace during this season. Above you will see my Advent wreath with two little angels in waiting. Strange as it may seem to some people, we do not put up our Christmas tree until a few days before Christmas. Of course we leave the tree up during the 12 days of Christmas. That is when we begin (in earnest) to celebrate Christmas.

In my last post, using thoughts from the poet Dorothy Walters, I alluded to the truth that there is something in our hearts that constantly bleeds towards God. During Advent I am always drawn into this ancient yearning so difficult to describe. I ache for God.

You may remember that I gave you some messages that I would like to slip under your door. Now I am wondering if you might want to share a few messages you would like to slip under the doors of those you love in this holy season. As for me, I love finding hopeful messages under my door. Perhaps we can all take a little extra time for silence and hope.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bleeding Toward God





-dorothy walters

from "Marrow of Flame"

Here are some messages I would like to slip under your door:

  1. It's ok to wake up laughing...and it's ok to wake up weeping.
  2. Gratitude is medicinal but you will need to say "thank you" more than once a year to get full benefit of the medicine.
  3. Forgive and the whole landscape will change. -Kathleen Griffin
  4. There is a depth in you that you have not yet discovered.
  5. Today, put on joy. The world needs it so much. No matter how many sorrows try to crowd it out, joy is a permanent resident in your soul. Happiness is a bit fleeting but joy is more stable because joy, as novelist Eugenia Price tells us is "God in the marrow of our bones."
  6. "There is nothing in your life too terrible or too sad that will not be your friend if you find the right name to call it, and calling it by its own name, it will come upright to your side." Laurens van der Post
  7. Keep vigil with your life. Guard well your heart.
  8. You are a blessing; let the light of your life shine on others this day.
  9. Practice waiting with patience and you may be surprised with new revelations.
  10. You are a jewel of creation.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Grateful for the sun, moon and stars that shine upon us day and night

Grateful for the silent, mystical gospel of dawn and dusk

Grateful for the friends who sit at the table of my heart

Grateful for the many faces of God, revealed to me each day

Grateful for the honest ones in my life who call me to live awake

Grateful for my family whose roots are entwined with my heart

Grateful for the raindrops that bless the thirsty earth

Grateful for everything that grows and buds and blossoms

Grateful for my passionate yearning to remain rooted in Christ

Grateful for sorrows and joys that keep me loving and living

Grateful for the one lone leaf I’ve been watching—that finally let go

Grateful for the winds in my life that blow things out of place

Grateful for the fire of life that rekindles my enthusiasm

Grateful for mentors who support my many paths to God

Grateful for poets, artists, musicians and authors who feed my soul

Grateful for the medicine of God’s Word

Grateful for the ointment of beauty

Grateful for silence and solitude that restore my heart-vision

Grateful for St. Benedict’s encouragement to balance work and prayer

Grateful for the ability to be grateful and oh, yes, grateful for YOU!

Gratefully Yours,
©Macrina Wiederkehr

Friday, November 20, 2009

Seeing With Our Inside Eyes

everything has to be inscribed
across the heavens
so you can find the one line
already written inside you.

—David Whyte
Today let's try to connect
with the beauty inscribed across the skies,
or planted upon the earth
or falling from the trees
with the beauty that is truly
already written inside us.
O God, help us to see with our inside eyes.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Jubilant Dance Of Dying

With my feet caressed by sycamore leaves I am taking a moment to thank everyone who follows my blog and to say to those who comment, thank you also. There are times when you comment and try to publish your comment and it mysteriously disappears so please if your comment isn't posted it is not intentional. As for me, I'm a little sporadic at responding to comments. If I respond to one comment and not another it just says something about what is going on in my life at the time. Ordinarily I do not respond to comments. I do well to get an entry posted. As you can see this is turning out to be more of a MOSTLY WEEKLY blog than an ALMOST DAILY blog.

Rebecca over at Dazzling Darkness sent me some wonderful thoughts concerning the ALL ABOUT DYING post. She tends to look at autumn as a hibernation time rather than a dying because the leaves will return in a new form in the spring. She shared a poem with me that she has graciously given me permission to share on this blog. I love the poem and I, too, actually look at this kind of dying as a Happy Dying. Autumn is not a sad season for me.

One day when the air was supple and
full of hope
My life unfurled in a thousand, thousand
Shades of green.
Firmly held,
Tethered by my resilience,
I inhaled each moment.
Moving with currents of air
Or playful breeze
Holding my arms open to the rain
Turning in to survive the storms
Surrounded by murmuring voices
Crescendos in the wind.

I lived the long green-ness
With all the exuberance of
The innocent.
And then, gradually, the nights lengthened
The air cooled
and I plunged deep into myself
Erupting into a golden flame.
Until one day
I was strong enough
To choose to

I was witnessed by one who said,
Fall is far too graceless a word
For the jubilant dance
That carries you back
into the ground of your being
Where you will always dream
In a thousand, thousand shades of green.

--Rebecca Johnson
Let's all try to be part of the jubilant dance
that creation offers us every season--every day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

All About Dying

When I went to my Sycamore tree to journal Sunday afternoon, waiting for me on the swing was a leaf that looked like a magic carpet. I had forgotten how big the leaves of Sycamore trees are. I sat down and held it in my hand for a long time. The leaf took my breath away in its dying beauty and all I could do was sit and behold the season of autumn. I saved my journaling for later and simply entered the experience of being in and with this drama of life and death.

I have always loved this season best even if everything around me seems to be dying. When I sit ankle deep in leaves I feel like I am in a tomb that is also a womb. Sacred Compost! The other side of dying always seems like life to me even when I have to look through the dying with tears in my eyes. Autumn calls me to stop clinging, to loosen my grasp on what I think I know and embrace the beautiful unknown.
Autumn is the Season of Mystery.

Like trees stripped bare I cry out with autumn sadness,
“How can I give shade with so much gone? My question answers itself as I experience the great mystery rising up in the heart of me. With the trappings gone it is easier to see the truth of who I really am. All I have is my poverty and God’s grace and the mysterious truth is: That’s enough!
It is enough for me to be poor in God’s hands. The shade I give is God’s shade, not merely my own. This is the season of transformation. We are called into the prayer of centering. Let us return to the center. We let go of everything that is not God. In the words of Meister Eckhart I pray,




I put the sycamore leaf
down on the holy ground. I do not even carry it inside to my personal altar. I let the altar of the earth have it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Little Things That Serve You

There is a poem by Pat Schneider, The Patience of Ordinary Things, that has become part of my daily prayer. It is a reflection on the many little things that serve us each day—things we take for granted because they are so ordinary. The poem begins, “It is a kind of love is it not? How the cup holds the tea,… and I think: Yes, it is! Poetry, like scripture, can be both read and prayed. This happens to be a poem that I pray. So now, as I behold the cup loving me and serving me by holding my tea or coffee each morning, I start thinking: What else am I missing? What are the little things that serve me each day?

I have begun to practice noticing the little things that serve me and yes…
“It is a kind of love...

  • how the candle holds the wick and the wick holds the flame
  • how the tree holds the branches and the branch holds the leaf
  • how the earth receives the roots and the sky holds the stars
  • how the book holds the stories and the pages hold the words
  • how the plate holds the food and the table holds the plate
  • how the walls enthrone the pictures and the pictures, the images
  • how the face holds the freckles and the smiles and frowns
  • how the computer keys lovingly support the fingers
  • how the shoe supports the foot and the finger holds the ring
  • how the earth's turning, offer us hours of light and darkness.

I could go on forever but my heart is calling me to fill the kettle with water, turn on the heat so that the molecules can began the fast dance of love to make the water hot so that the loving cup can hold the tea as I sit before the blank page of my morning work and practice patience. But before I began I sing praises to all the little things that bless me unaware each day. A quote from Coleridge winds its way through my mind: "A stream of love crept through my heart and I blessed them unaware."

Well, it was something like that. Today I would like to serve others in little ways by blessing them in secret.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Save Us From Congealing

"Death is not the enemy. Age is not the enemy. These things are inevitable, they happen to everybody. But what we ought to fear is the kind of death that happens in life. It can happen at any time you're going along, and then, at some point, you congeal. You know like jelly. You're not fluid any more. You solidify at a certain point and from then on your life is doomed to be a repetition of what you have done before. That's the enemy. There are two kind of people walking around on this earth. One kind you can tell just by looking at them at what point they congeal into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keep moving, changing. With these people, you can never say X stops here, or now I know all there is to know about Y."

--Gail Godwin from The Finishing School.

O Ever Changing God

Protect us from congealing.

Plant deep in our hearts an intense desire

to be flexible, bendable

always open to your transforming breath,

ever flowing, flowing, flowing.

Until we flow into the sacred stream

of that Eternal Drink which is You.

Then pour us back into the world

and let the flowing begin

again and again and again.