Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Servant-Girl at Emmaus (Levertov & Velázquez)

   She listens, listens, holding
her breath.  Surely that voice
is his – the one who had looked at her, once, across the crowd,
as no one had ever looked?
Had seen her?  Had spoken as if to her?

Surely those hands were his,
taking the platter of bread from hers just now?
Hands he’d laid on the dying and made them well?

Surely that face – ?

The man they’d crucified for sedition and blasphemy.
The man whose body disappeared from its tomb.
The man it was rumored now some women had seen this morning, alive?

Those who had brought this stranger home to their table
don’t recognize yet with whom they sit.
But she in the kitchen, absently touching the wine jug she’s to take in,
a young Black servant intently listening,

swings round and sees
the light around him
and is sure.

-- Denise Levertov, 
The Servant-Girl at Emmaus 
(A Painting by Velázquez)

Image source:  Diego Velázquez, Kitchen Maid with the Supper at Emmaus (c. 1616-1617)

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Life is a banquet, even with a crust (Dorothy Day)

   We cannot love God unless we love each other, and to love we must know each other.  We know Him in the breaking of bread, and we know each other in the breaking of bread, and we are not alone anymore.  Heaven is a banquet and life is a banquet, too, even with a crust, where there is companionship. 

 --Dorothy Day,  
The Long Loneliness:   
The Autobiography of the Legendary Catholic  School Activist (Harper, 1952), 285. 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Tanti auguri, Father Pat!

   Your life lived in the Lord touches so many lives and inspires us all.  May the love and concern with which you minister to all those entrusted to your care be showered in turn upon you on this special day, and may God bless you with peace and joy as you celebrate your birthday and another year of faithful service in Christ.  
You are such a gift... 

Happy Birthday, Fr. Pat! 

 Photo credit:  Parishioner Tim Shore 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, April 30, 2017: They recognized him...

How do we recognize Christ? 

   In Luke's Gospel, the disciples on the road to Emmaus don’t recognize Jesus right away, but they have an inkling that the man who joins them on their journey is significant:  Stay with us, they urge him, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.  They will recognize him, eventually, in the breaking of the bread at table – With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him – and will realize that their inkling had been prescient:  Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?  They recognize Jesus, that is, in Word and Eucharist, in the grace of the sacramental moment he shares with them.

   When the apostles journey out to give witness to their life with Christ, in Acts, Peter also offers a way to recognize Jesus, first by citing the words of David in Psalm 16, which point to a heart open in love:  I saw the Lord ever before me, he says. Yet notice that Peter’s vision is not restricted to the past, but opens to the future, as he continues to quote the psalm: You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.  Peter is calling his fellow Israelites to conversion, inviting them to see things differently, signaling to them that something extraordinary is happening in their very midst.  In 1 Peter, the message is similar:  Jesus Christ has been revealed in the final time for you; you have access through Jesus to God now, today, day or night, if your heart is open to recognize him, recognize his presence, recognize his love:  even in the night my heart exhorts me, said the psalmist.  Once again, being mindful is the key.

   We are all on the road to Emmaus; Emmaus is a part of the life of every Christian who sojourns on this earth, waiting for perfect union with God.  We all seek to recognize Jesus in our daily lives.  How do we recognize Christ?  Perhaps by being ever mindful, precisely, of those opportunities that present themselves daily -- in God’s Word, in Eucharist, in our fellow pilgrims on this journey of life -- and by opening our hearts to his presence, allowing his love to burn within us, at our very core, and to inspire us to give witness in turn.

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

All we know of God (Hope, by Lisel Mueller)

   It hovers in dark corners
before the lights are turned on,
it shakes sleep from its eyes
and drops from mushroom gills,
it explodes in the starry heads
of dandelions turned sages,
it sticks to the wings of green angels
that sail from the tops of maples.
It sprouts in each occluded eye
of the many-eyed potato,
it lives in each earthworm segment
surviving cruelty,
it is the motion that runs the tail of a dog,
it is the mouth that inflates the lungs
of the child that has just been born.
It is the singular gift  
we cannot destroy in ourselves,
the argument that refutes death,
the genius that invents the future,
all we know of God.
It is the serum which makes us swear
not to betray one another;
it is in this poem, trying to speak.

--Lisel Mueller, Hope

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Random Acts of Catholics

  What could we possibly use more of in this land of beauty & abundance?  
   (How about faith?) 

     There’s no doubt we live in a bubble. Sure, it’s a stunningly beautiful bubble, with great food and impressive schools.
     But have you ever felt that residing in this rather enjoyable modern secular society makes it difficult to truly live your faith?
     Well, we have too. So we started something called Random Acts of Catholics — a fun, community-building way to activate and share our faith. And what a blessing it has been.
     Random Acts of Catholics is an apostolate of Faith, Works & Fun. We meet once a month, share faith, pray and plan an Act — something we do for others. The result so far in our first chapter in San Francisco is true Christian Community, and it is beautiful.
     If you’re interested in being a part of a chapter of RAOC at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, come to an informational meeting April 26th at 7pm in O’Brien Hall. You can also email us at or hit our website,  Saint Francis of Assisi said “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.”                   
So let’s be candles, people. Right here in beautiful, abundant Marin.

Image source:  Georgia O’Keeffe, Black Cross with Stars and Blue
Text source:  Parishioner Paul Venables

Unraveling the mystery (Marjorie Dobson)

It’s easy now for us to say 
we would have known that Easter Day 
that all was well, 
but those who saw his cruel cross 
found, in their devastating loss 
a living hell. 
It’s easy in that garden tomb 
to know that light pierced through the gloom 
and brought relief, 
but we have years of history 
unraveling the mystery 
to bring belief. 
It’s easy for us to forget 
disciples, feeling under threat, 
locking the door, 
but they were still then unaware 
that Christ would come to offer there, 
peace evermore. 

It’s easy for us to condemn 
Thomas, who had not been with them, 
so full of doubt, 
but if we’d missed that meeting, too, 
Thomas, we may have been with you 
and felt left out. 
It’s easy now with hindsight’s eye 
to let emotion pass us by 
because we know, 
but thank those folk, faced with Christ’s death, 
who then saw life take on new breath, 
so faith could grow. 

--Marjorie Dobson 
Image source:  Carl Bloch, The Doubting Thomas (1881)

Monday, April 24, 2017

Questioning and struggle (Thomas Merton)

   We too often forget that Christian faith is a principle of questioning and struggle before it becomes a principle of certitude and peace.  One has to doubt and reject everything else in order to believe firmly in Christ, and after one has begun to believe, one’s faith itself must be tested and purified.  Christianity is not merely a set of foregone conclusions. 

 --Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (1966)