POETRY: The Edges Of Time, by Kay Ryan

February 17, 2017

It is at the edges that time thins. Time which had been dense and viscous as amber suspending intentions like bees unseizes them. A humming begins, apparently coming from stacks of put-off things or just in back. A racket of claims now, as time flattens. A glittering fan of things competing to happen, brilliant and urgent as fish when seas [...]

POETRY: The Dry Salvages, by T. S. Eliot

November 9, 2016

No. 3 of “Four Quartets” (The Dry Salvages—presumably les trois sauvages—is a small group of rocks, with a beacon, off the N.E. coast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. Salvages is pronounced to rhyme with assuages. Groaner: a whistling buoy.) I I do not know much about gods; but I think that the river Is a strong brown god—sullen, untamed and intractable, Patient to some degree, at first recognised as a frontier; Useful, untrustworthy, as a conveyor of commerce; Then only a problem confronting the builder of bridges. The problem once solved, the brown god is almost forgotten By the dwellers in cities—ever, however, implacable. Keeping his seasons and rages, destroyer, reminder Of what men choose to forget. Unhonoured, [...]

WISDOM: Time, by Joan Chittister

December 18, 2015

From Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light A brother came to see Abba Theodore and started to talk and inquire about things which  he himself had not tried yet.  The old man said to him: “You have not found a boat or put your gear into it,, and you haven’t even sailed, but you seem to have arrived in the city already.  Well, do your work first; then you will come to the point you are talking about now.” One of the obsessive concerns of contemporary society is speed.  Everything we produce we produce to go faster than the ones before it.  Planes go faster than the speed of sound, though no one cares.  Cars are sold for their capacity to go from zero to sixty miles an hour in seconds, as if anyone [...]

LENT: Time And Eternity, by Evelyn Underhill

March 7, 2015

From The House of the Soul Next, what type of house does the soul live in?  It is a two-story house.  The psychologist too often assumes that it is a one-roomed cottage with a mud floor; and never even attempts to go upstairs.  The extreme transcendentalist sometimes talks as though it were perched in the air, like the lake dwellings of our primitive ancestors, and had no ground floor at all.  A more humble attention to facts suggests that neither of these simplifications is true.  We know that we have a ground floor, a natural life biologically conditioned, with animal instincts and affinities; and that this life is very important, for it is the product of the divine creativity – its builder and maker is God.  But we know too [...]

LENT: God And The Temporal, by Evelyn Underhill

March 2, 2015

From Man and the Supernatural Saint John of the Cross, at the end of one of his great mystical poems, exclaims suddenly, “How delicately Thou teachest love to me!”  Perhaps if we realized more fully all that is implied in this utterance of one of the greatest of the contemplative saints, so wide and deep in his experience of the realities of the spiritual world, we should not be quite so hurried and full of assurance in constructing our clumsy diagrams of the delicate and subtle processes of God; so rigid in our exclusions, so horribly crude in our conceptions and demands.  Perhaps this saying might even give us the beginning of a vision of God, as a Presence of unchanging Love and Beauty; teaching the race through history, [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: The Elements Of An Answered Prayer

July 17, 2014

Perhaps I haven’t covered this before.  I can’t remember.  And while having the intention to thumb through past writings, I tend to get distracted by other concerns. (This is known in the English major circle as foreshadowing.) But even if I’ve covered it, I’m fairly sure I haven’t written this. (If I have, then here you have it again.) One of the most incomprehensible things about God, I have found, is his simplicity.  We imagine that the “rules” of God are so complex and vast that just witnessing one would overwhelm us.  Perhaps even to death. We equate God with infinity.  And with all those “omni’s.” But the more I have studied God, the more I have come to understand that [...]

THE MECHANICS OF PRAYER: A Matter Of Time, and other elements

May 27, 2013

I don’t know if it’s my age.  Or whether over time, having been exposed (as it were) to God for so many decades that the knowing that I’ve gained has formed grooves of its own in my brain and in my consciousness, so that I’ve somehow, over the years, physically and mentally merged with this knowledge, so that it has become, literally, a part of me. But it has definitely formed the way that I look at things. It used to be that I looked at life through the eyes of an editor.  I edited everything I looked at.  Until it felt more like an obsession than a way-of-life.  And so I stopped editing.  And eventually I stopped editing the life around me. But I’ve never stopped shaping, perhaps even reshaping, that [...]