Thursday, August 4, 2011

Our Needs


"He comes to us breaking our expectations apart--just as he shattered the expectations of the Jews of his day; he even breaks our needs apart. If he only fulfills our needs, we remain our old selves."

--Arthur Vogel, The Jesus Prayer for Today


More Problematic


"If anything, life becomes more problematic, more mysterious, less under contorol, when interpreted by Christian hope."

Carol Zaleski, The Life of the World to Come


Monday, August 1, 2011

From "Listverse"--and like this root system, we are all connected beneath the surface


"'Pando' is Latin for 'I spread.' It is not one tree. It is about 47,000 quaking aspen trees, all growing from a single root system. That root system is spread over 106 acres, is about 80,000 years old, and experts have no idea when it will die. It weighs about 6,600 tons, making it the heaviest organism of any kind known to exist in the Universe. The experts are fairly certain that it has not flowered for the last 10,000 years, thus the end of the last Ice Age. Every time a wildfire has burned down all its trees, the root system has survived underground and started anew.

Each tree lives for about 130 years, dies, and is reconstituted through the roots and becomes a new tree elsewhere nearby. The trees reproduce by means of suckers, which are lateral roots sent out from each trunk until they sprout out of the dirt. These trees don’t look identical, but they have an identical genetic makeup, all spreading from one root system to form a single genetic individual, called a clonal colony. In fall, the leaves change to the color of gold brick and seem to glow in the sunlight."


Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Suppose you didn't know what a door is"



Suppose you didnt know what a door is. That it opens, for
instance. It would seem a different part of the wall, thinner,
more resonant. A decorative rectangle set in the wall, an
embodiment of some geometrical mystery like the Golden
Section. It would seem tantalizing to someone trapped in the
room--a perverse, mean tease: the wall is thin here, soft, but
still unpassable. How little it would take to get through the
wall, yet you cant.

Suppose you didnt know what a door is, that it can open, that
its resistance defines the zone of least resistance, but that zone
requires a deft use of something learned, a knack, a skill:
twisting the knob and pulling. Or pushing. Even if you got as
far as turning and pulling, if the door were the kind that
opened outward, you'd still never guess, never get through.

Suppose all round us there are things like doors in things like
walls and we never knew.

--Robert Kelly


Monday, July 4, 2011

from Jack Gilbert's "Beyond Beginnings"


Is there a happiness
later on that is neither fierce nor reasonable?
A time when the heart is fresh again, and a time
after that when the heart is ripe? The Aegean
was blue just then at the end of the valley,
and is blue now differently.


Friday, June 17, 2011



An 'impersonal God'-well and good.

A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness,
inside our own heads-better still.

A formless life-force surging through us,
a vast power which we can tap-best of all.

But God himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord,

perhaps approaching at an infinite speed...

that is quite another matter...

Supposing we really found Him?

We never meant it to come to that!

Worst still, supposing He had found us?

--C.S. Lewis, Miracles


— C.S. Lewis (Miracles)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More Bly Poems



What is sorrow for? It is a storehouse
Where we store wheat, barleey, corn and tears.
We step to the door on a round stone,
And the storehouse feeds all the birds of sorrow.
And I say to myself: Will you have
Sorrow at last? Go on, be cheerful in autumn,
Be stoic, yes, be tranquil, calm;
Or in the valley of sorrows spread your wings.


It's all right if Cezanne goes on painting the same picture.
It's all right if juice tastes bitter in our mouths.
It's all right if the old man drags one useless foot.

The apple on the Tree of Paradise hangs there for months.
We wait for years and years on the lip of the falls;
The blue-gray mountain keeps rising behind the black trees.

It's all right if I feel this same pain until I die.
A pain that we have earned gives more nourishment
Than the joy we won at the lottery last night.

It's all right if the partridge's nest fills with snow.
Why should the hunter complain if his bag is empty
At dusk? It only means the bird will live another night.

It's all right if we turn in all our keys tonight.
It's all right if we give up our longing for the spiral.
It's all right if the boat I love never reaches shore.

If we're already so close to death, why should we complain?
Robert, you've climbed so many trees to reach the nests.
It's all right if you grow your wings on the way down.


We are poor students who stay after school to study joy.
We are like those birds in the India mountains.
I am a widow whose child is her only joy.

The only thing I hold in my ant-like head
Is the builder's plan of the castle of sugar.
Just to steal one grain of sugar is a joy!

Like a bird, we fly out of darkness into the hall,
Which is lit with singing, then fly out again.
Being shut out of the warm hall is also a joy.

I am a laggard, a loafer, and an idiot. But I love
To read about those who caught one glimpse
Of the Face, and died twenty years later in joy.

I don't mind your saying I will die soon.
Even in the sound of the word soon, I hear
The word you which begins every sentence of joy.

"You're a thief!" the judge said. "Let's see
Your hands!" I showed my callused hands in court.
My sentence was a thousand years of joy.


Camels Kneeling Down


So many camels kneel to take their burdens on.
What choice do we have but to go down? How
Can I be close to you if I'm not sad?

From "The Camels" by Robert Bly (in his book Talking into the Ear of a Donkey)


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dream Praying


Last night I had a murky, scarcely rememberable dream--the one thing I can recall is praying, in the dream, (instead of "Lord, have mercy") "Lord, have mystery"!

But maybe there's really no difference between those two prayers!


Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Size of the Kingdom


It was on the twenty-third day of Adar that God bade Moses..."Gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the Tabernacle."

At these last words Moses exclaimed: "O Lord of the world! How shall I be able to assemble before the door of the Tabernacle, a space that measures only two seah, sixty myriads of adult men and as many youths?"

But God answered: "Dost thou marvel at this? Greater miracles than this have I accomplished. The heaven was originally as thin and as small as the retina of the eye, still I caused it to stretch over all the world from one end to the other. In the future world, too, when all men from Adam to the time of the Resurrection will be assembled in Zion, and the multitude will be so great that one shall call to the other, 'The place is too strait for me, give place to me that I may dwell,' on that day will I so extend the holy city that all will conveniently find room there."

from Louis Ginzberg's LEGENDS OF THE BIBLE


Thursday, April 7, 2011


"He is closer to us than we are to ourselves, although we do not see Him.

...If He should teach us how to follow Him into the wilderness of His own freedom, we will no longer know where we are, because we are with Him who is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.


God approaches our minds by receding from them.

We can never fully know Him if we think of Him as an object of capture, to be fenced in by the enclosure of our own ideas.

We know Him better after our minds have let Him go.

The Lord travels in all directions at once.

The Lord arrives from all directions at once.

Wherever we are, we find that He has just departed.

Wherever we go, we discover that He has just arrived before us.

Our rest can be neither in the beginning of this pursuit, nor in the pursuit itself, nor in its apparent end. For the true end, which is Heaven, is an end without end. It is a totally new dimension, in which we come to rest in the secret that He must arrive at the moment of His departure; His arrival is at every moment and His departure is not fixed in time."

-Thomas Merton


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hearing Silence


"He who possesses the word of Jesus is truly able to hear even His very silence, that he may be perfect, and may both act as he speaks, and be recognised by his silence. There is nothing which is hid from God, but our very secrets are near to Him. Let us therefore do all things as those who have Him dwelling in us, that we may be His temples,and He may be in us as our God, which indeed He is, and will manifest Himself before our faces. Wherefore we justly love Him."

-Ignatius of Antioch

"The relationship between Christ and His people is a substantial union--a union of our human nature with His resurrected and glorified human nature. This is not merely a moral union, a kind of pleasant fellowship with Christ. Baptism into Christ produces a dynamic union of substance with Him."

-OSB note p. 144


Thursday, January 27, 2011


“It is a fearful thing to hate whom God hath loved. To look upon another – his weaknesses, his sins, his faults, his defects – is to look upon one who is suffering. He is suffering from negative passions, from the same sinful human corruption from which you yourself suffer...Do not look upon him with judgmental eyes of comparison, noting the sins you assume you’d never commit. Rather, see him as a fellow sufferer, a fellow human being who is in need of the very healing of which you are in need. Help him, love him, pray for him – do unto him as you would have him do unto you.”

St. Tikhon of Zadonsk