Showing posts from March, 2013

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega... The First and the Last - God is the beginning and the end... These are symbols etched into the Paschal candle as it is dedicated and as we begin the Easter Season... A singing Cardinal awakens me, perched on a bare branch on the Crape Myrtle outside my bedroom window, while I am flooded with dreams and reveries of a moving Easter Vigil spent in the Jesuit parish of Holy Trinity Church, founded in 1794, a stone's throw from Georgetown University... In the darkness, amidst a sea of flickering candles, the Proclamation of Easter, the Exsultet, is chanted, as it has been for centuries, and it touches me as deeply as it always has... "Rejoice heavenly powers! Sing choirs of angels! Exult, all creation around God's throne...!" This liturgy is a veritable feast for the senses...darkness and light, incense rising to the heavens, a community sprinkled with holy water, the holy chrism oil with which new members are confirmed, a full choir of re

Into Your Hands

A magnificent Holy Saturday begins with a Cardinal singing on my dogwood tree, even though it is still bare and without any buds yet. Cardinals remind us of our lives' true purpose... Then, I meet the morning with a brace of rich images dancing within the kaleidoscope of my mind; they are simply beautiful memories from yesterday... Where to begin? And where to end? Different scenes from the tableaux of my own spiritual journey, gently come into focus, and so, I share them in a stream of consciousness... My spirit is touched profoundly in ways I can hardly describe... I am blessed to spend the day in silence, and am called to prayer, meditation, and contemplation... I reach out for my oldest rosary, blessed by Padre Pio, the Franciscan priest bearing the stigmata, who died in the late sixties and was sainted about a decade ago. I think of his faith, his simplicity, and how there was a time I prayed this rosary often, choosing to do so today, to commemorate the Passion of the

To Love and To Serve

Last night I attended Holy Thursday services, often referred to as the Celebration of the Lord's Supper, at St John Neumann, in Reston, Virginia. The Sacred Triduum, constitute the "High Holy Days" of Christians, and it begins at sundown on Thursday, and continues through the wee hours of Sunday morning, ushering in Easter. It was a long service, which included washing of the feet and a final procession of the Blessed Sacrament out of the Church to its resting place in the chapel until Easter. This was followed by adoration for those who wished to remain until midnight, in a quiet and breathtakingly beautiful candle lit chapel. There was plenty of incense and ritual and traditional Latin chants, but with a more post Vatican II flavor. I marveled at the woman next to me, gifted with a beautiful voice whose pronunciation of Latin put mine to shame. But it was the sermon that was most moving for me, and I believe I was led here, to this church that is not one to which I

Tenebrae, Holy Triduum, and a Mandate to Love

Yesterday, on the day of the first full moon in spring, that was also Wednesday of Holy Week, and is often referred to as Tenebrae - on the eve of the Triduum, and the culmination of a personal year of penitence and reflection - I am moved and led to seek the sacrament of Reconciliation, and absolution - not so much for the reasons others might seek it or expect - but because it is fitting and just, and in the natural order of things for my spirit... There can be no other worthy or acceptable conclusion for an Examen of Conscience that has spanned more than a year, validating the lonely journey towards atonement in which my soul has sought refuge, within the context of years of Loving-Kindness practice... I think of this, as I go down to the river after my morning meditation, on a windy and blustery day that is overcast, and seems more reminiscent of winter than of spring. The river is bursting with activity, waves following closely behind other waves in tight formation, and I instin

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 li

Robins Dancing in Late Winter/Early Spring

My Reiki teacher writes, "When we practice meditation, we dance with the Universe..." I say to my own students - when we do spiritual practice - Reiki, healing energy, yoga, meditation and/or prayer - we dance with the Divine... My Reiki teacher reminds us, that when we are in that state of "Mu" - a Japanese word meaning emptiness, and of the void, we can dance freely... I say - that when in that state of emptiness, also known as kenosis - Greek for the "self emptying" that Jesus did on the cross in the Letter of Paul to the Philippians, we can only be filled, and thus can only dance... After a silent yoga practice of timed poses with the few souls that braved the weather, I go for a walk in the little more than an inch of snow that covered the bridges and pathways on my walk. Several times I see robins with their blood orange bellies, dancing here and there on the ground on a morning is that is barely two days before the Vernal Equinox, heralding

A Man Named Francis and My Theological Journey

Yesterday, on March 13th (3-13-13), a new Pope was elected to shepherd and lead the more than one billion Catholics on this planet - no small feat indeed! This pope is the 7th one of my lifetime, beginning with Pius XII, a very controversial figure, beatified, even though widely and I believe rightfully criticized for failing to save our Jewish brothers and sisters in Rome during World War II. My favorite pope is the first one I can remember, John XXIII, who was elected as a compromise and "caretaker" choice. He was not expected to live long - which he didn't - but in the few years he was pope, he threw open the windows of the Church (aggiornamento) and ushered in the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, known as Vatican II, which instituted the first major changes in the Church since the Reformation and the Council of Trent. I was just in grade school at the time that John XXIII lived, and he endeared himself to many. As a child I read his personal journal, Jour

What I Learned on My Walk Today

What I Learned on My Walk Today What works for me Is not right for you   What works for you Is not right for her   Each and every one of us Has a unique path Toward wellness, and Eventual enlightenment   That path is different For every living soul   For some, it may be a practice: Yoga, or meditation, A certain spiritual tradition Philosophical system, or Alternative therapy   For others it might be A lifestyle choice Or a dietary one— A decision to go gluten free Go raw or vegan   Most likely, Several choices And decisions Contributes to our health, And our well-being   Each one of us mirrors All that we have been At many times And in many places   What works for one— Does not work for another And no one has the right To impose their spirituality Or philosophical proclivities Or political persuasions On any other   We must find our own path— We must discover it within And follow it p

A Tear in Your Eye

Every once in a while, I write a poem, based on the tweets of a very gifted woman, by the name of Becky Bills. You can follow her on Twitter @Planethealer. This morning I was inspired to write this one: A Tear in Your Eye   “There’s a tear in your eye that I will swim inside of,”   for I would gladly embrace your pain, as if it were mine…   the only way out is through it, letting yourself be carried by the currents of this lifetime   “You can dance around it, or with it, either way the music will move you…”   within you is all the power and all the strength you need to soldier on, for you are never alone!   Surrender! to God’s luminous breath, as Hafiz commanded   Shams of Tabriz, beloved soul commanion to the poet Rumi wisely instructed:   “!nstead of resisting changes, surrender! Let life be with you, not against you. If you think, ‘My life will be upside down,’ don’t worry! How do you know do