Chiaroscuro

The world makes no sense, its shadows melting into greater darkness

Welcome the sun to the stage, pale in the morning when it rises

Crashing waves of light, expose what is hidden, pierced on bright hooks

The sun is just another player drawn-up from the dark, to dance the final act

The locus of light, magnified on the spot, like a brilliant deception

How can I express the certainty in my heart, as it catches fire

Every single nerve burning along its branches, the body electric

The heat of the spirit, freed through the long crawl over the horizon

Lifted to another plane, beyond banality and all dichotomy

A lucid Caravaggio at the canvass, in the dawn

Redemptrix

A young woman weeps
Celestial Madonna
The mother of faith

A mother’s tears fall
The young woman is pregnant
Madonna alone

Madonna crying
A mother grieves in darkness
Young woman with child

A young woman wails
The Madonna becoming
The mother of hope

Mother is moaning
A young woman hides her pain
Madonna of life

Madonna of groans
The mother’s dreams crash in waves
The young woman’s fate

Young woman rising
Madonna of dust and sand
The loving mother

Mother of the wind
A young woman praying, Ru’ha
The blind Madonna

Madonna breathing
Mother whispers to her child
The young woman speaks
She is the stranger
The girl is an alien
Her child illegal

She has no recourse
No standing before the law
They are refugees

The mother and child
Our salvation is with them
In being with them

A Homily – John 15:26-27,16:12-15 ©

The Gospel According to John – 2018.05.19

 

Truth and Advocacy

Read the Gospel for today and know this.

There is no deception on God, no falsehood, no fabrication, no prevarication.

The divine does not lie. Those who claim to speak for the divine must not lie or mislead, cover-up or hide.

Know this.

We are all human and we are prone to error, but there is no error in God.

When those who have ascended to positions of leadership in Christian communities lie to you, then you must reject them.

Some will commit errors because they are honestly confused, but many other commit error that are willful. They know they are lying to you and they do it anyway; they do it for wealth, they do it for power, they do it to hide from their shame.

These people have abandoned Jesus, maybe not in the whole of their lives, but in their lying they have, and every time they repeat their lies they do.

Know this, we have all forsaken God at one time or another, but God has never forsaken us. God never will.

This is the truth.

 

The Spirit of truth will lead you to the complete truth

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘When the Advocate comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who issues from the Father, he will be my witness.

And you too will be witnesses, because you have been with me from the outset.

‘I still have many things to say to you but they would be too much for you now.

But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come.

He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine.

Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said:

All he tells you will be taken from what is mine.’in my power to take it up again; and this is the command I have been given by my Father.’

 

Pentecost

Cycles

Have no anxiety about the future, it will always be there.

Seize the moment, and you will have it in your hand.

Reflect on your experience at every turn.

Put your feelings before the analysis.

Analyze, and adapt.

Listen.

Look.

Breath.

Prepare for change.

Change is inevitable, the only constant.

Foresight is a mirage, a vision of potentials.

Portents of probability churning in the trough.

Look into the crest, tension becomes meaningless.

The rolling foam and the spray, fly free from the main.

Loosed from the curling body of the rolling wave.

Launched into weightlessness, and empty space.

Born like the Atman, of the Universal Spirit.

Each ascending in its natural arch.

Each falling just the same.

The Body, its Emotions; The Mind and its Direction

Our bodies are not who we are, they inform who we are, they are our connection to the world, the medium by which we experience it, but our bodies are not us.

The body is the vessel by which we transport ourselves through time and space. Our bodies are the primary tools of engagement with the world around us, the care of them is of the greatest importance and its concerns reach every aspect of our lives.

Maintain the body, keep it in good order, our journey in the world depends on it.

Like all physical systems the body is subject to the laws of entropy. It is easy for the body to become disordered through neglect, disinterest, antipathy.

The body will run down all on its own; injuries and age will take their toll, telomerase shortening will unwind our genetic code.

We are, all of us, on a clock.

Stress, if unaddressed, will lead to disorder, and disorder will foster more of the same, spreading like a cancer throughout our lives; our bodies, our moods, our minds.

To be healthy, we must accept the responsibility to pour energy into our bodies, fuel them properly in consideration of the unique demands that each of us face, and to exercise if we desire to efforts to hold back the forces of entropy.

Physical discipline reaps its own reward. We find that the more energy we put into the care of our body the more ready our bodies are to carry us through the challenges of our lives.

The body, as with any instrument, if it is improperly tuned, will only produce discord.

We can heighten our senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, and compensate for any structural limitations we may face in one of them by super-charging another.

We must be aware of ourselves, be in constant dialogue with our bodies.

We must pour energy into our bodies, and then conserve it harmoniously. We must do this mindfully if our intention is to spend it wisely, wasting as little as we perform the various tasks that constitute our daily lives.

Strengthen the muscles to support the frame.
Sustain ourselves through proper nutrition.
Keep replenished, hydrated, not polluted with toxins.

These are of the keys to strength and health. They are of the greatest importance, they affect our whole selves.

The stronger our bodies are, the stronger we will be emotionally. The healthier we are emotionally, the stronger our minds will be; clear, unburdened, calm, undisturbed.

Strength and health, nutrition and flexibility these are the keys to personal freedom, they are the foundation of self-confidence, and the path to goal fulfillment.

Listen to your body intently, it will tell you what it needs.

Decipher its language, you will discover the path of least resistance.

Our consciousness is tri-fold: physical, emotional and intellectual. And yet we are all material creatures. This is not a discourse on dualism; we are mechanical, chemical, electrical beings; body, heart, and head.

Our emotional faculties are the intermediary between our sensory perceptions and our cognitive selves. Our emotional faculty conditions our understanding of our experience, interpreting the stimuli we receive from the world around us, it mediates, adding layers of meaning and shaping values, intervening between the direct stimuli of our physical environment and the operation of our will which categorizes and defines it.

To be self-awareness requires that we differentiate between these three modes of perception. This self-awareness is required if we are to extract from our experiences the full value contained within them.

If we are to live in harmony with ourselves, we must care for our whole person.

Each aspect of our lives must be allowed its own room for growth and development, one cannot be subordinated to the other, ignored or shut out.

It is the nature of the intellect to make sense of the world, to seek clarity and focus while assimilating the data presented to it from the sensory stimuli of the body, conditioned by the chemical drives of our emotions.

As intellectual beings we should strive to discern the data we receive objectively, in a manner that is unattached, mindful of the fact that our minds are always subject to the persuasion of the senses and the emotional investment of our desires.

Do not allow the mind to favor the senses over the feelings they produce, or the emotions of the body to the body itself.

When determining a course of action, all of our concerns must be balanced equitably or the intellectual process we engage in will not produce an accurate assessment of the actual value of the situation that has been presented for analyses.

It would be like putting a filter over a camera lens before we take the shot, an image is acquired but it has been altered. The altered image conveys some data, but it is skewed, out of focus, and of context. It will misrepresent the truth, it will not capture what really is.

When making choices that concern our future, it is crucial that we be as clear as possible regarding the exact nature of the circumstances we find ourselves in, to see clearly the place we wish to arrive at, and every step along the way.

We make value judgements and decisions within the blink of an eye.

If we desire, we can allow ourselves to be led by the decisions of others; if we desire it, but we should not allow ourselves to be bound to those choices by our unconscious desires, by desires we have not vetted, through a careful process of discernment.

Be disciplined at all times, practice mindfulness.

When there is harmony between the physical, intellectual and emotional aspects of our lives, nothing will phase us, nothing will fade us, we will never be subject of another’s will, nor even our own unconscious impulses.

We can pass beyond the bounds of social conditioning.

By our own power we can set our minds free.

We owe it to ourselves to develop a thorough understanding of who we are. The future we would claim for ourselves depends on it.

We must pass through it like the crucible, and beyond it. The stars and our highest hopes are waiting for us.

Our bodies must be strong, our emotions tempered with reason, our reason conditioned by the understanding of the heart, if we are to be whole.

What is at stake is not just the hopes we have for ourselves, our families and friends, the fate of the world, of humanity depends on it.

It will only be in the light of genuine understanding that we will be able to accept ourselves first, and others as they are, recognizing that our relationships with them are integral to our own identity, our being, and to move forward with them, in the spirit of mutuality and cooperation, freed from fear and doubt.

The Gift

We are the en-souled

Creatures rising in the dark

Reaching out, alone

 

We did not choose, life

To come to be, we awoke

A poor creation

 

Birth is concrescence

A continuum of fear

In the heat of love

 

The wheel of life turns

Not one of us asked for it

The imposition

 

Witness the divine

The sacred obligation

We tiny creatures

 

The week and condemned

A crown of fire on our heads

Burning hail and coal

 

My aching spirit

Lift me to another world

Weaving threads, and dreams

 

The wheel turns again

I could lift it like Atlas

As Hercules did

 

Hand me the lever

Archimedes will move it

The stars shift again

Halloween

I am getting old.

 

When I was young I imagined that Halloween was for children. It was costumes and candy and imaginary play. Halloween was an escape from reality, or it was a glance into another world.

 

We use to go block to block in our costumes, we called it Trick or Treating, we carried pillow cases with us, taking candies at nearly every door.

 

We scoffed at the people who lived in the houses where they handed out little bibles, or toothpaste, or home made goods.

 

I remember the drill of searching through our candy, looking for suspicious things, open packages. We heard that some people hated children and would slip needles, or razor blades into the candies.

 

Halloween was not all fun and games, it was not just for children either.

 

 

Halloween was a deeper holiday than we thought of as children, it was not just about ghosts and goblins and friendly witches. In the celebration of Halloween there was an ages old conflict, between the Christian Church, and the “Old Time Religion;” the customs of the pagans hiding just beneath the surface.

 

On the Christian Calendar; Halloween was known as the All Hallows Eve. It was a celebration of the honored dead, of all the saints who had passed before.

 

For the old pagans; whose traditions walk hand in hand with the church, it was a celebration of the dead. Plain and simple, Halloween was an acknowledgment of all the dead, whose spirits live among us still; good and bad, honored or not, and more often than not it celebrated the dangerous, the macabre, the frightening, and the weird.

 

I was fourteen the last year I went Trick or Treating, and really; I was only chaperoning my younger brother. I took some candy nevertheless.

 

In that same year I remember the Pastor at my church lamenting the popularity of the pagan festival. Believing that the Christian feast should be honored instead. There was no fun in that.

 

In the that have followed, the number of children who go out in costumes seeking candy has declined by 25%. It is no longer considered safe or wholesome.

 

At forty-seven I watch my pears obsess over this day still. A few of them earn an income through it, I understand that. Other have children, and for them it is a carrying forward of a tradition. Most look to Halloween or the weekend preceding it, as a cause to be drunken, to crawl through bars in costumes, to cling to their childhood and the freedom of they had as children, which they remember, or imagine.

 

For me it is just another day, Halloween, I do not believe that the dead walk with us. I have never seen a ghost, or found evidence of magic.

 

Given 1st – 2016.10.31

A Homily – The Gospel of John 14:23-29 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.05.01

 

Do Not Be Afraid

 

Jesus said to his disciples:

‘If anyone loves me he will keep my word,

and my Father will love him,

and we shall come to him and make our home with him.

Those who do not love me do not keep my words.

And my word is not my own:

it is the word of the one who sent me.

I have said these things to you while still with you;

but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit,

whom the Father will send in my name,

will teach you everything

and remind you of all I have said to you.

Peace I bequeath to you, my own peace I give you,

a peace the world cannot give,

this is my gift to you.

Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.

You heard me say: I am going away, and shall return.

If you loved me you would have been glad to know that I am going to the Father,

for the Father is greater than I.

I have told you this now before it happens,

so that when it does happen you may believe.’

(NJB)

We Are One

God, the creator of the universe, God is present in all of God’s children, and where God is present God is present fully.

There is no division in the divine. The divine is inclusive of all reality, of every living being that is it. No-one is excluded.

Every person who ever was, who is, who will ever be, everyone is present in the divine, as such they are present within each of us, for each of us carries the divine with ourselves.

Jesus was the son of God, as each of us is a child of God; a son or daughter.

Love one another, as God loves you.

Do not be afraid, life on Earth is merely a passage to another world, it is the unfolding a mystery, beyond which we will all see clearly.

Listen to your sister, to your brother, they have something important to say. Each one of us has the potential to speak for God, to be God’s prophet, to be the advocate of Christ, and be mindful for within that potential is also the potential to fail.

Everything, and everyone, returns to the creator, in so doing we come to the understanding that we never left.

6th Sunday of Easter