Holy Week and Passover - Sacred Journeys Intersect

We have begun our journey into Holy Week with its sacred themes of surrender and unconditional love among so many others - and the commemoration of another sacred journey - that of Passover, which begins this evening...

Spiritual traditions converge once again, dancing into each other, as they have for centuries, offering us an opportunity to reflect on all that unites us - rather than that which may separate us...

I surround myself with meditations and reflections from various sources, and have spent Lent reviewing and immersing myself in entries posted during this sacred season in recent years, finding gems and kernels of wisdom interspersed here and there, that once more touch my heart profoundly and manage to speak again so deeply... Perhaps nothing is truly ever new under the sun... The same struggles surface again and again in my own seemingly small and insignificant life. But once more I re-learn and am reminded - that there is nothing truly small and insignificant in any life... And the poem "Limitless" by Danna Faulds comes to mind:

"Sun says, 'Be your own
illumination,' Wren says,
'Sing your heart out,
all day long.' Stream says,
'Do not stop for any obstacle...
When the wind blows,
bend easily, and trust 
your roots to hold.'
Stars say, 'What you see
is one small slice of a 
single modest galaxy.
Remember that vastness
cannot be grasped by mind.'
Ant says, 'Small does not
mean powerless.' Silence
says nothing. In the quiet,
everything comes clear.
I say 'Limitless.' I say,
'Yes.'" 

In this season inviting introspection and reflection and sacred remembrance, the tendency and the danger is to think ourselves insignificant - instead of realizing that every action and every word we utter has meaning: They are vested with the ability to change a life profoundly, sometimes even without our knowledge...

As we begin two sacred journeys, commemorated by two faiths - one which sprung from the heart and soul of the other - often acting as a recalcitrant child - I think of other news capturing the headlines today: For the first time, the Supreme Court considers the case for marriage equality, and the new pope decides not to reside in the papal apartments, but in a guest house instead... Both of these news items are so indicative of how actions that perhaps began with a small gesture, may lead to significant changes...


"We cannot always do great things,
but we can always do small things
will great love."
~ Mother Teresa of Calcutta

In times of great turmoil there is again the tendency and danger to despair. Often we take one step forward, and maybe two steps back. But in the end, over time - small, even incremental changes in our attitudes, and actions, and lives may be noted - as a dear one did in yoga class yesterday...

"The most important signs of spiritual progress
 are revealed in our character, 
our ability to maintain equanimity, 
our power to keep the mind clear and still, 
our compassion and kindness, our clarity, 
and our capacity to hold our center."
~ Sally Kempton
(Meditation for the Love of It)

I cannot begin to articulate what this season has meant to me; what I am feeling deep inside defies articulation, but everything I read today comes to me so impregnated with meaning...

On this day when my Jewish sisters and brothers begin Passover, I revisit these words written by Etty Hillesum, who died at Auschwitz at the age of 29. I read this passage the first time when I was about the age she penned them, astonished by her ability to see the Presence of the Divine all around her when others could only perceive the mantle of evil:

"It is sometimes hard to take in and comprehend, oh God, 
what those created in Your likeness do to each other... 
I try to look things straight in the face, even the worst crimes, 
and to discover the small, naked human being 
amid the monstrous wreckage 
caused by man's senseless deeds...

I am ready for everything, for anywhere on this earth, 
wherever God may send me, and I am ready to bear witness 
in any situation and unto death that life is beautiful 
and meaningful and that it is not God's fault 
that things are as they are at present but our own..."

Yes, things are as they are because of what we do - or do not - because of what we think - or cannot envision...

I am filled with hope and peace, and share with you this beautiful rendition and interpretation of the well known prayer by St. Teresa of Avila, shared by a beloved soul companion some years ago. May it bring you peace and sustenance as well...

"Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
Everything passes away except God.
God alone is sufficient."

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