Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Love doesn't die (Merrit Malloy)

  When I die 
Give what’s left of me away 
To children 
And old men that wait to die. 
And if you need to cry, 
Cry for your brother 
Walking the street beside you. 
And when you need me,   
Put your arms   
Around anyone 
And give them   
What you need to give me. 
I want to leave you something, 
Something better   
Than words   
Or sounds. 
Look for me  
In the people I’ve known 
Or loved, 
And if you cannot give me away, 
At least let me live in your eyes   
And not on your mind. 
You can love me most   
By letting  
Hands touch hands, 
By letting 
Bodies touch bodies 
And by letting go 
Of children   
That need to be free. 
Love doesn’t die, 
People do. 
So, when all that’s left of me 
Is love, 
Give me away. 
--Merrit Malloy                                      

Monday, November 28, 2016

The coming of something new (Henri Nouwen)

   In the silence of prayer you can spread out your hands to embrace nature, God, and your fellow human beings.  This acceptance means not only that you are ready to look at your own limitations, but that you expect the coming of something new.  For this reason, every prayer is an expression of hope.  If you expect nothing from the future, you cannot pray.  Then you say with Bertolt Brecht, As it is, it will stay.  What we want will never come.

   If you think this way, life stands still.  Spiritually, you are dead.  There can be life and movement only when you no longer accept things as they are now but look ahead toward that which has not yet occurred.

--Henri Nouwen, With Open Hands

Image source:  Figure in the orans (or prayer) position, symbolic of the human soul, in a fresco from the Catacomb Via Anopo, 3rd c. Rome

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christ comes to us (Fr. James Martin)

   Christ comes to us every day.  He comes to us in so many ways – in our interior lives: in our emotions, our desires, our feelings, our experiences during prayer.  In our active lives: in our relationships with our family and friends, in our work, through nature, through music, through art.  And especially in the sacraments, and most of all in the Eucharist.

   Christ comes in a variety of different ways, which vary from person to persom, but which are all signs of Christ’s entrance, the Advent of Christ, into our life.

--Fr. James Martin
Image source:  On the Road to Emmaus, Janet Brooks-Gerloff

Friday, November 25, 2016

Sunday Gospel Reflection, November 27, 2016: So it will be at the coming of the Son of Man...

Can we carry on as usual when Jesus is about to enter our lives? 

   If Jesus walked into your home and woke you from a deep sleep, do you suppose life would suddenly be different?  And are you prepared for that?  In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tries to convince his disciples always to look to the future, to be awake and aware of all of the ways in which upcoming changes in their day-to-day existence are about to radically transform how they understand themselves, their lives, their very identity.  Therefore, stay awake, he tells them, for you do not know on which day your Lord will come… and when he does, look out!

   Advent invites us to contemplate not only the imminent Incarnation of Jesus at Christmas, but also the age to come, a new age that also promises radical change and transformation.  As Paul tells the Roman community, the night is advanced, the day is at hand; to be properly prepared, we must put on Christ.  We who have come to faith now know who Christ is, and what he came to reveal; we can therefore no longer dwell in darkness of a past age, but must, by baptism, enter into new age with our eyes open.  Like the people in Isaiah’s time, we must pay attention to the Word of God, for from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Remaining open to radical transformation, we will be able to walk in the light of the Lord, awake, aware, prepared for Jesus’ coming, joy-filled at the imminent possibility of standing in the presence of the Lord, inviting all with the words of Psalm 122: Let us go rejoicing…

   For life with Christ is radically different, transformative; once we have let him enter in, we can no longer carry on as usual.  The new age to come offers us a new encounter with God, an invitation to be open, and to enter into relationship more fully than ever before; Advent is an opportunity to ponder this mystery.  How will it be for you at the coming of the Son of Man?

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture Class.
Image source:  Wordle

Thursday, November 24, 2016

A grateful heart (George Herbert)

  Thou that hast given so much to me, 
Give one thing more, – a grateful heart. 
See how Thy beggar works on Thee 
                                                                        By art: 
He makes Thy gifts occasion more, 
And says – If he in this be crost, 
All Thou has given him heretofore 
                                                                        Is lost. 
But Thou didst reckon, when at first 
Thy Word our hearts and hands did crave, 
What it would come to at the worst 
                                                                        To save. 
Perpetual knockings at Thy door, 
Tears sullying Thy transparent rooms, 
Gift upon gift, much would have more, 
                                                                        And comes. 
This notwithstanding, thou went’st on, 
And didst allow us all our noise; 
Nay, Thou hast made a sigh and groan, 
                                                                        Thy joys. 

Not that Thou hast not still above 
Much better tunes than groans can make, 
But that these country airs Thy love 
                                                                        Did take. 

Wherefore I cry, and cry again; 
And in no quiet canst Thou be, 
Till I a thankful heart obtain 
                                                                        Of Thee. 

Not thankful when it pleaseth me, – 
As if Thy blessings had spare days, – 
But such a heart, whose pulse may be 
                                                                        Thy praise. 

–George Herbert (1593-1633)

Happy Thanksgiving from 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mill Valley!
May our grateful hearts pulse 
always with God's praise!

Image source:  Flower Guild of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Mill Valley