Friday, May 28, 2010

Sun's Wordless Voice

Amazing how the sun
can speak through trees!
Telling thousands of stories
with one earthward glance!

Stand still today and see what must be seen
Let the shadows hold your heart
All this is the illuminating
face of God!
All this is prayer!
And you?
Whoever you are,
How are you spoken through?
This, too, is prayer!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Move into your House of Joy

Today is the feast of Pentecost and since the Spirit has most likely fallen upon us--oh, I hope that each of us will find some time to just sit quietly and take it all in: the awesome truth that we have been chosen to breathe the Holy Mystery into the world, that we have been called to let the fire of God burn into our fragile clay and teach us how to shine.

To say what I really want to say I will borrow some words from the mystical poet, Rumi:

If you knew yourself for even one moment
If you could just glimpse your beautiful soul,
maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply
in that house of clay.
Why not move into your house of joy
~~and shine into every crevice!
For you are a treasure and always have been.

--Rumi, slightly tampered with by Macrina

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Being Chosen

The cave pictured here is a shrine of St. Benedict on our monastery grounds. The season of spring gave the shrine a special charm this year as Benedict seemed to be walled in by Forsythia. If you are going to spend your life in a cave, that is a mighty nice door. I have been meditating on Benedict’s life in the cave of Subiaco, Italy for some time now, meaning that I am still trying to discern how to be who I say I am, a monastic, a Benedictine. My personal prayer, these days, has been almost entirely given over to praying the rule in light of my own faithfulness to it. Sometimes I find it helpful to remain with a specific theme for a long time.

The two themes that have chosen me recently are simplicity and silence. I had no intention of choosing either of these topics when I begin to listen to Benedict in the rule (and in the cave); but they chose me. Simplicity chose me first so I will dwell on that. Living a life of simplicity does not necessarily mean living a life of destitution. Recently simplicity has asked me to be obedient to the things, people, events that surround me rather than looking for my needs/wants in a thousand other places. And so I am trying to attend what is nearby. I am trying to be more aware. I am looking with the eyes of my soul; but it is still difficult especially when it comes to people: fellow monks, sister monks. Whatever! --meaning of course, my monastic community! A quote from a spiritual letter from the early 20th century nourished me today. I eat anything I can find these days, as long as it is nearby. I did not go out and buy this book. I didn’t even go to the city library. It just sort of fell on top of me. Ah, it chose me!

“I charge you to release yourselves from the last strain
of materialism for then only are you protected; I charge
you to be forgiving and patient with all persons whether
they be stupid, melancholy or evil and to keep your
face always uplifted to the highest intent, for this,
above all, releases your life from all violence;
I charge you to live in faith, for this will give you
a splendor, a light which will be manifest to all the
bewildered, the lonely, the harassed—a beacon in
the storm. Stand to your full stature, for I bear witness
that eternal love can be reached.”

-Letters of the Scattered Brotherhood

Well! For someone who lives in community that sounds like a sweet challenge. And so I will give it an honest try. I really do believe that we are found by grace each day. I intend to practice noticing being found. ...more later!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Benedictine Renewal

In the summer of 2008 I enjoyed the immense blessing of being able to attend a month-long Benedictine Renewal program in Rome. One of the highlights of my trip was the opportunity to visit the Benedictine shrines in the area.

While I was in the cave of St. Benedict in Subiaco I was drawn to write a prayer to Benedict and Scholastica. Because my last post addresses my desire to renew, in my life, all that it means to be a Benedictine I am drawn now to share with you the prayer I wrote in Benedict's cave in Italy.

Holy Father Benedict,
I, too, taste the emptiness
from which you turned aside.
I, too, feel drawn to deeper places.
Your ancient desire
to be anchored in God Alone
sings in the marrow of my bones.
Your holy discontent
led you to a sacred cave
where you could listen intensely
to the One who was listening to you.
Teach me the art of deep listening.
Lead me to my own sacred space.
Intensify my longing for silence.
Make me hungry for
the medicine of God’s Word.
Open the ears of my heart.
Transform me into a sacro speco.

Holy Mother Scholastica,
May the love that drew
tears from your eyes
prime the well of my own love.
Instill in me a great yearning
for frequent holy conversation
with members of my community.

Benedict and Scholastica,
twin lovers of Christ,
Enable us, your disciples,
to blossom with fidelity
to the monastic way of life.
Make our hearts overflow
with the unspeakable
sweetness of love
that we may prefer
nothing whatever to Christ.

—Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, June 12, 2008
Sacro Speco, Subiaco, Italy