Archive for December, 2012

Advent 2012 12.10

“Perfect fullness is always to come we do not need to demand it now. This keeps the field wide open and especially open to grace and to a future created by God rather than ourselves.” [Richard Rohr “Preparing for Christmas”]

For those of us whose rational mind makes most of the decisions it is enough to know after exploring all these pathways choosing the one that connects us is the answer. It matters not which one. I believe that was the first question. Having chose Catholicism the next question is “now what?” I bring a healthy amount of learning with me – embracing the Catholic religion is no easy feat. There was no burning bush moment that brought me here, only a slow perseverance on a non-linear path.

I very much pleased with the St. Ignatius practice; so simple. Though I like the Benedictine Rule, I think it is something to aspire to. Similar to the Carmelite nuns we have a Benedictine Monastery here with a cloister of nuns. They have a plot of land to garden and a beautiful labyrinth to walk as well as a grotto with the Virgin Mary in which to sit and meditate. It is all very peaceful. Their day is scheduled, they work and give of them selves. Sometimes I believe if I am ever left widowed this is where I would go. They also have oblates – which is a less strict order for the laywoman to join and help.  This brings me to a book that one might enjoy. It is a favorite: “In This House of Brede” – a late 40’s woman leaves her prestigious job and her children, albeit grown, to join a cloister to become a nun. It is her story of adapting, the hours, the difficulty and the rewards.

Thomas Merton’s passage “You will travel in darkness in which you will no longer be concerned with yourself and no longer compare yourself with other men” gave me pause. I don’t think it means that blissful state when we are fine with ourselves. I think it refers to that dark time when a true disaster has struck and you are so blindsided, so grieving that what others say and do matter not, and your first instincts will not be to care for yourself but for those around you.

So, as I have chosen Catholicism, and I think its important to choose, but stay open. The term ‘cafeteria Catholic’ is one used to control and cause guilt about exploring. God has come to us in so many ways. There are words used, actions taken that are the things of man, not God.  But I am choosing so then I must accept I am coming to Jesus.  And of Jesus coming to me. But it is not the man or his deeds, they are manifestations of Gods love that show how to love. The bible shows us a story of the power of Gods love- It has survived over and over again. This power we the beloved are shown through parables and in a way so that a child might understand. The adult me is not so gullible – it is my innocence that allowed me to touch what I try to find now.

Yes, I can approach the bible historically, philosophically, anthropologically – I can learn about creation myths that tell similar stories. I can watch my science shows, but in the end bible and science explain our conception very little. So, then I am left with the small me – silently wanting something bigger than me to embrace me. To lift me up, remove my burdens, give me the gifts of  compassion for all men, to understand deeply, touch bliss, love for myself, encompassing all others. Free from my past shames and judgments – total oneness. This, I believe is what happens when we die. Whether its short lived neurons firing in the brain or something larger doesn’t matter.  The fact remains we have absolutely not control over the end of life and what happens next. None. Zip. Zilch. We can spend a lifetime and a myriad of different practices to attain this enlightenment, but it will not happen. The best we can find is a modicum of peace through serving others in what ever gifts and talents we’ve been given.

I think my “now what” question is answered by showing up – show up to life, show up to mass, show up to gatherings – help out.  I am determined to finish school as a Biology teacher. My gifts lie with my ability to reach children, to write and an analytical mind that bends towards creativeness and nature. This has to benefit someone besides myself. This one life is my opportunity – to squander or fill. I have had property and riches and have lost it all, but I know, absolutely know one thing: God is with me, through me when I write. It is the place I hear God talk to me.

Jesus. The Kingdom of Heaven. To come to Jesus. There are terms I have issues getting past (for whatever reasons). A bucket load of belief is not necessary to begin. I’ve been waiting a long time for that burning bush sign – at some point the “I” of me must persevere: Father, Jesus and the the Holy Spirit are with me always. The saints, the angels, the beings of light emanate through everything; we touch through ritual. All of our senses are engaged. When that happens it is easier for the left and right sides of the brain to interact and there is oneness. All of this is God telling me he is here right now. It is not the semantics of he/she/it. That love of the beloved – to be so loved . . .

Somehow after all this writing there is a quickening of spirit. Just enough to protect the  small fire. You ever notice metaphorically the wood must be dry to feed the fire as the vessel must be empty to fill?

I cannot speak of Advent without Mary. Her womb, the empty vessel that was filled. How this all came about, real or imagined the authors of this storyline were our ancestors. It duplication in its many forms started somewhere in a grain of truth. Our ancestors, the cave people experienced on a different level, they felt, depended on their intuition to survive – not everything they experienced is sheer mythology or propagation of the species. That would be hubris on my part to think so. They were closer to Gods spark physically. Their stories went through many transformations, but there are ribbons through each race of humans that are the same color and can be traced back to the same source. Different words but the same story. This how we know a Christ being was among us. This is how we know it it will come again. This is how I can celebrate the pregnancy of Mary, the miracle of birth – of two parents holding their child – and that child growing up with all the innocence and perfect love of a new born.

Through this miracle, this story we are reminded, sometimes even filled with Gods grace and Glory! Hallelujah! fill our lungs. This story is our innocence incarnate.


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