Friday, November 30, 2018

The Almanac of Last Things (Linda Pastan)

From the almanac of last things
I choose the spider lily
for the grace of its brief
blossom, though I myself
fear brevity,
but I choose The Song of Songs
because the flesh
of those pomegranates
has survived
all the frost of dogma.
I choose January with its chill
lessons of patience and despair – and
August, too sun-struck for lessons.
I choose a thimbleful of red wine
to make my heartrace,
then another to help me
sleep.  From the almanac
of last things I choose you,
as I have done before.
And I choose evening

because the light clinging
to the window
is at its most reflective
just as it is ready
to go out.

--Linda Pastan,                                  
The Almanac of Last Things      
In November, we remember all souls...

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sunday Gospel Reflection, December 2, 2018: Teach me your paths...

How do we know which way to go?

  We begin the season of Advent with readings that focus on the end times in order to arrive a few weeks later at the birth of Jesus, In a sense, the entire season of Advent is about reaching the goal of our lives:  God’s love made perfect in us.  But we must not lose sight of that goal!  How do we manage this? How do we know which way to go, which direction to turn, especially when the unknown threatens us on all sides?  

  The Book of Jeremiah promises the people of Israel a messiah, who will be sent to bring salvation to the world:  I will raise up for David a just shoot, God tells the house of Israel and Judah.  The author of Psalm 25 asks the Lord for guidance:  Your ways, o Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, guide me in your truth.  Both texts recognize that to embrace and then reveal the perfect love of God in us is not something we can achieve on our own; it is something only God can achieve in us.  And our guide is none other than Jesus, our ‘true north’ who offers us direction, a viable path to that perfect love.

  Shortly before the Last Supper in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus warns his disciples that trials and tribulations are coming:  People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world.  But so long as the disciples remain vigilant, there is no need for them to fear:  they are to focus on Jesus himself, so that they are ready when the time comes.  Paul tells the Thessalonians that they must not be content with what they are currently doing, though it is good – they must do more, increasing and abounding in love for one another and for all.  To do so is to live a life in Christ, so that, when the Son of Man comes in a cloud with power and great glory, we can look up and see the face of God who loves us, and be the face of that love for our world.

  How do we know which way to go?  Hearts strengthened, we must be focused on Jesus, our guide, our true north, so that we may be ready when the time comes, ready to make decisions that are just and live-giving because we are following our compass.  Eucharist, Christ-within-us, offers us that compass; to open our hearts to God is to remember where true north is, that we might remain on track, on the path Christ sets before us, the path to perfect love, embraced and shared with our world.

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s first homily during Advent 2015.
Image source:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

What is lost (Joan Didion)

Pass into nothingness:  the Keats line that frightened her.
Fade as the blue nights fade, go as the brightness goes.
Go back into the blue.
I myself placed her ashes in the wall.
I myself saw the cathedral doors locked at six.
I know what it is I am now experiencing.
I know what the frailty is, I know what the fear is.
The fear is not for what is lost.
What is lost is already in the wall.
What is lost is already behind the locked doors.
The fear is for what is still to be lost.
You may see nothing still to be lost.
Yet there is no day in her life on which I do not see her.

--Joan Didion, 
Blue Nights, 
a memoir about the death of her daughter

In November we remember all souls...

Image source 1:
Image source 2:  Albert György, Emptiness, Geneva,