I have carried you since you were born;
I have taken care of you from your birth.
Even when you are old, I will be he same.
Even when your hair has turned gray,
I will take care of you.
I made you and will take care of you, says the Lord.
My strength and my weakness are in your hands; preserve the one and heal the other.
My knowledge and my ignorance are in your hands; where you have been closed to me, open my knocking. Let me remember you, understand you, love you. Increase these things in me, until you restore me wholly.
Time is too fast for those who fear,
Time is too long for those who mourn,
Time is too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love, time is eternity.
Times of sorrow seem interminable. There is the need to remember and rejoice- a great part of this is remembering of childhood memories. The care of my family.
Care- I felt cared for and that care translated into love for me. That love translated into the center of my vocation. But the sorrow of loss does not easily turn to joy. The eternal name of love- that same love- Jesus yesterday, today, forever. That love cannot be taken away. There is a deep consolation in knowing that love for all eternity.
Today God still speaks to us as he used to speak to our ancestors at a time when there were neither spiritual directors nor any systems of spirituality. To be faithful to the designs of God then comprised the whole of one’s spiritual life. Religious devotion had not become a science crammed with precepts and detailed instructions. Nowadays, no doubt, our special needs make this necessary, but in the old days people were less complex and more straightforward. Then they knew only that each moment brought a duty which much be faithfully fulfilled. Those spiritually inclined needed nothing more. They were like the hand of a clock which, minute by minute, crosses its appointed space, for, ceaselessly prompted by divine grace, they attended without thinking to each new task offered them by God at every hour of the day.
minute by minute
crosses its appointed space
faithful to the designs of God
each moment brought a duty which must be faithfully fulfilled
designs- a hand of a clock moment by moment
Find the sacred word, be in God’s presence
The less I do, the more God can do
This prayer is a vestibule, away into God’s presence
When a thought or felling attention, return to the sacred word. DOn’t take possession of it. Sink into a deep peace.
Don’t possess, let go.
Help us to remember that what we keep we lose, and only what we give remains our own.
There is crying. There are tears- and certainly regrets.
I hold onto something I heard once, that the past is a dream, the future is a vision. But he present well lived makes the past a dream of beauty and the future a vision of hope. We learn to live with our remembering- with this dream of beauty, this vision of hope.
Whenever I am tempted to worry about the future, I think of what a Jesuit wrote on that topic back in 18th century. The Jesuit- Jean Pierre de Caussade, the book- the classic Abandonment to Divine Providence. And the message- concerning the sacrament of the present moment. And when I get temped to leap to future I think of a Jesuit maxim “age quod agis” (do what you are doing).
Obedience is beter than sacrifice – the words from the first reading from the Book of Samuel- point out a similar truth. We all want to do the discipline we want to do. We choose penances- our sacrifices. But the ultimate penance, however, may be simply to learn from each moment- to live in the present and not to run away from the message of this present moment. The challenges we face in life right now are what will purify us and what is old and useless- those old wineskins.
And God alone knows what each of us needs to be spiritually whole- to receive new wine…whether it be to reconcile- to give our natural gifts for the sake of another- to learn from another- to live for something larger than ourselves- to live in the present without counting time, comparing our efforts.
What we have to do this year- this day- this hour is to accept what comes our way- as the raw material of our growth, our faith. To the yes of faith there is no such thing as a dull moment. When we let the spirit of Christ sharpen our senses and free us from useless anxieties and worries about tomorrow, we can begin a new to find true life in each present moment.
Slow Dancing, David Michalek’s video installation featuring larger-than-life, hyper-slow-motion video portraits of dancers and choreographers, offers insight into the physics of movement and the essence of creativity.
With these images, Michalek conjures a fluid stillness, creating a meditative time and space amidst the rush and crush of contemporary life. Slow Dancing engages the senses and the mind in an encompassing experience of awareness. The work also transforms Harvard Yard, calling forth its symbolic significance as a place for contemplation.
Michalek stresses the importance of incorporating different styles of dance as not simply pluralistic, but also as aesthetically interesting. A ballerina’s split-second pirouette drags out across an agonizing span of time, and each muscle’s contraction gets a starring role in its own few moments of screen time. Meanwhile, on a neighboring screen, a break-dancer’s gravity-defying movements change at a glacial, gorgeous step. Creative imagination, says Michalek, lives in that tension. And the work itself is driven by his desire to create “a little oasis of contemplation—a secular chapel—” in the midst of our daily bustle.
Such things as are hidden I learned, and such as are plain; for Wisdom,
the artificer of all, taught me. For in her is a spirit intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain, not baneful,
loving the good, keen, unhampered, beneficient, kindly, firm secure,
tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing, and pervading all spirits, though
they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
This time of year we are bringing some things to a close for the season – our academic institutions, for instance – and entering into the more relaxed season of summer. The men who have been studying for the priesthood for so many years are finishing their studies and we will soon celebrate their ordination. We take time to pause and celebrate the lives of our Jubilarians. The season of Easter is similarly drawing to a close with Pentecost. How do we name the Holy Spirit whose presence is felt in all these activities? How do we continue to be converted to God at the core of our being? How do we become persons of the Holy Spirit?
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion and she penetrates and
pervades all things by reason of her purity. For she is an aura of the
might of God and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty…For she
is the refulgence of eternal light, the spotless mirror of the power of
God, the image of his goodness.
Bernard of Clairvaux called the Holy Spirit the kiss of God. St. Hildegarde saw the Holy Spirit as the “breast-plate of life, girdle of beautiful energy.” The Nicene Creed refers to the Spirit as the Lord and Giver of Life. Other images are found in the Litany of the Holy Spirit: Consuming Fire, Burning Love, Author of All Good. The Curé of Ars saw the Spirit “Like a mother leading by the hand her child.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer considered the Spirit to be the “Pledge of the abiding presence of Jesus.”
And she, who is one, can do all things, and renews everything
while herself perduring; and passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets. For there is nought
God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom. For she is fairer
than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars. Compared
to light, she takes precedence; for that, indeed, night supplants, but
wickedness prevails not over Wisdom. Indeed, she reaches from end to
end mightily and governs all things well
Wisdom 7: 21-8:1
How do we name the Spirit? Are we willing to surrender ourselves to the Spirit, receiving the grace of encouragement to become utterly enthralled with God through Jesus? Do we allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit? Do we allow ourselves to live in God’s love and allow that love to live in us? When we do, we become something more. We become people conformed to the image of Christ. Ignatius understood this and provided us with the tools to stir up our love of God to the point of being enthralled through the Exercises.
Who was Jesus? A prophet? There have been many of those. A miracle-worker? A radical revolutionary? wise teacher? There have been many of these, too. In his latest book, renowned Scripture scholar erhard Lohfink asks, What is unique about Jesus of Nazareth, and what did he really want? Lohfink engages the perceptions of the first witnesses of his life and ministry and those who handed on their testimony. His approach is altogether historical and critical, but he agrees with Karl Barths statement that historical criticism has to be more critical.Lohfink takes seriously the fact that Jesus was a Jew and lived entirely in and out of Israels faith experiences but at the same time brought those experiences to their goal and fulfillment. The result is a convincing and profound picture of Jesus.