Friday, December 2, 2016

Advent II 2016


Advent II, 2016
(for JTB and other unkempt prophets)
A match is enough
to distinguish nighttime from hopelessness;
so I listen for the strike against stone,
the orienting  words of the seemingly unkempt prophet,
when the woods close round and the sun is eclipsed
by purveyors of maps going nowhere.

Let there be light. Let me bear light.
Let me turn toward you always:
My grounding, what calls to me,
my origin and All.

Kimberly M. King RSCJ



Saturday, November 26, 2016

Advent I 2016

Advent 1 2016

Now
that the world has broken open
and sparks can reach the bedrock,
now Love
arcs across the Earth;

The fire of hope,
caught up in galaxies and mystery,
is loosed, is born; the fire of hope
has come.

What hearth do I give,
what tinder do I offer,
that this fire
may feed, may flare, may save?

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Nothing Less is Asked


Oh Glory, has it ever been a Week. 

A week in which one of my more popular turns of phrase was simply, “SERIOUSLY??” and in which the answer was a bleak and blanching “Yes.”

And then I read Toni Morrison:

~This is precisely the time when artists go to work.  There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear.  We speak, we write, we do language.  That is how civilization heals.~

So, here it goes.

In July, I wrote that ~Though it is the only way I know how to Live, how to have/feel/know a sense of Home, Meaning, Call, or Freedom, I sometimes find it strange and inexplicable that I continue to believe so strongly in a God of Love, Mercy, Compassion, and Inclusion, when the world is filled with such hatred, violence…And yet, I do. I believe that there is a light no darkness can overcome. I must, if there is any sense to be made at all. Or, I must, if I am to welcome and to be welcomed by this Mystery and live within it.

I wrote that in response to the attacks in Nice, France that were followed by an attempted coup in Turkey. In November, I re-read this in full knowledge that it applies as well to the current state of politics in the US.

As the repercussions of the Electoral College choice for president play themselves out, I cling to those few things I can control.  One of them is my hope. No matter who sits in the Oval Office, no matter which party controls the House and the Senate both, no matter what I read about which established policies will be rescinded, reframed,  or removed, I control my hope.  What I believe in is up to me.  And I believe in a God of Love.  I believe in Jesus, union of humanity and divinity, Word made flesh, who dwelled among the scrappiest sorts and called them friends.  I believe in the Spirit, living and moving and having being in God’s people. 

And this hope, these beliefs, have implications.  I need only look to Jesus to understand that.
To believe as I do means I am called forth to stand for justice, to act for justice.  I am called to acts of compassion.  I am called to include, welcome, forgive, challenge, and seek to understand.  I am called to speak sometimes and to be silent sometimes.  I am called to discomfort and deep joy, I am called to Life in abundance and to helping bring that about for neighbor, friend, enemy, and unknown.  I am called to Love.  Nothing less is asked of me.

 Love, lived fully, is astounding, confusing, redemptive, and frustrating.  Nothing less is asked of me than to live those emotions in vulnerability and passion.

Love, lived in fullness, is spacious, generative, and a personal commitment lived out in a beautifully nuanced, diverse, community that is not always easy to be with.  Nothing less is asked of me.

 And Love, lived fully, leads to the cross.  Nothing less is asked of me.

 This does not depend on who is in the White House or which party dominates the House or Senate.

It depends on my response to God’s invitation to “Come, follow...”  It depends on my response to God’s people who cry out.

It depends on whether I give up or continue to believe that there is a light that no darkness can overcome even when it might be but a match or the spark that arcs in sudden freedom when two opposing forces strike.

And I depend on God.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

All Saints


"All Saints" by Wassily Kandinsky
The Feast of All Saints is one of my favorites.  Each year I welcome the reminder that there are those who already know the way Home and who surround us, who accompany us, as we make our way.

These last days we have had several conversations in community about Saints, about Spirits, about the presence of those who have gone before.  It is not surprising that we have spoken about this among ourselves more this year than I remember doing in the past—two of our sisters in this city have died within the last several months and their deaths have been keenly felt by the community.

It is interesting to me that when I think about what makes a Saint…or the image I have of Saints…the first thing I think of is a person’s humanity.  Somehow, living the fullness of their humanity IS the divinity that radiates. 

The saints I know have dirt beneath their fingernails and sometimes raggy hems on their pants.  They’ve touched down and pounded upon this earth…sometimes dancing, sometimes mosey-ing, sometimes thumping, tripping, falling, sometimes simply walking as they are called to walk—with a limp, a hitch, a strident stomp, a list to one side, a swimmingly graceful light step…with each step, however taken, moving them onward in this adventure.

They have lived and shown to others the edges and quirks of their full humanity—The pointy bits and the softer ones.  They have lived as Who They Are because anything less would be too confining, too “other” a shape.

They are those people who by their own freedom invite others to live that way too…in fullness.  Including mistakes, fragility, upset…including the fullness of knowing that when this strength and vulnerability, this passionate and cantankerous humanity comes together through different lives and sets of experiences, Things Happen.

Things that are challenging, sometimes.  Things that are hard, messy, needing forgiveness, pardon, reconciliation…

And, things that Change Lives. Things that not only speak of God, they Unabashedly Proclaim God.  These saints are people who make Love manifest in all of its fullness and nuance and who invite others to do likewise.

They are people who sometimes frustrate, sometimes challenge, sometimes console, sometimes confuse, and people who radiate a love of God that cannot be held in check, cannot be suppressed, denied, or left aside if they are to Be.

I have known some of these people over my life and I am grateful.








Saturday, October 29, 2016

La Mirada... The Gaze...


La mirada de compasión...
La mirada de sabiduría humilde...
La mirada de haber tocado los y las intocables...
La mirada de entender...
La mirada de "Ven...descansa..."
La mirada de trabajo duro...
La mirada de "hasta el fin..."
La mirada de amor en toda su plenitud ...

The gaze of compassion...
The gaze of humble wisdom...
The gaze of having touched the untouchables
The gaze of understanding...
The gaze of "come...rest..."
The gaze of hard work...
The gaze of "until the end..."
The gaze of love in all of its fullness...

Friday, October 21, 2016

Covenant

Covenant

Mine are the originals,

the poets, the wanderers,

those who don't fit in.

Terrifically flawed and

full of glory, I made you Human.

Those who walk, exposed to the journey,

heart open and loose in the joints:

yours is a fullness of living.

Do not be afraid.

I made you—you are mine.

With every verse, every thought,

every act, every wail and shimmy of your soul,

Draw near. Bring others.

Lift your faces to the galaxy;

Count the stars if you are able.

You are not alone.

Nothing can separate you

from me—ever.

So, go forth. Be broken open.

Again, again, and again.

And see how my love

claims its own.

 

Kimberly M. King, RSCJ

 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Assisi


13 October, 2016

11:50 AM Basilica de San Francisco de Asís I would love the chance to be alone here. The ceiling and the walls are astounding. It is like being inside his story. All of the shapes, the art, the life! in story... Like a gold-edged family album from centuries ago. The Colors...the Blue! The longer I look the more I see. Trees and suns and heads...full scenes too--baptism, receiving the stigmata...it is one big fluid story that enfolds and incorporates those who sit in these pews and try to take it in. (I have moved so as not to be overtaken by a buzzing swarm of tourists). I love looking at all of these different things coming together. La confluencia de las texturas... the confluence of textures...artistic, temporal...all of it...

---

Reading Neruda in San Damiano has forever changed or at least enriched how I will understand his Versos. Somehow, reading That poetry in San Damiano...it became More. The passion and the justice, the struggle, the connection he makes with who he is writing for or to... it became divine. The passion was for God. The sensuality was about God. Francis knew that sort of love...and God has that love for creation as well. It was as though the Who of the poetry became even more beautiful in the union of real and mystical. The poems are full of memory and longing...it was a gift to read it in this environment and have it open before me, invite me inside in a new way.

And then, the humble deep peace of praying before the same crucifix that spoke to Francis in prayer. And to take time and bring to mind and heart those times when I have felt that level of intimacy with Jesus..when hearing becomes an act of the heart that blooms, flows, and sometimes trembles. It was a time to give great thanks.

14 October, 2016

The Carceri

...sometime after the singing of Office and now seated on the wall with my face to the sun...loving the sound of the wind and the fact that you can hear it before you feel it. It is so incredibly peaceful here, And it is a gift to share the silence with D, L, and Y...as well as with a man who also opted for this stillness when the rest of his group went onward into the woods. When the wind doesn't blow, the silence is...primeval. As though it is the same silence that welcomed Francis and his companions. It is an old silence...the silence of God. And not so far removed, perhaps, from the Word of God. What a thing to consider...Que este silencio tan ruidoso sea la Palabra en su esencia... If silence is the fullness of sound so that we may listen--like light is the fullness of color so that we may see...then AUGH, what that says about the Word! The Word and all that is within it...AUGH...astounding.

15 October, 2016

8:45 AM

Now seated in the town center...here with a large group of gum-cracking, mostly disinterested, German boys and their chaperones. The chaperones who seem to be organizing an espresso run among themselves, as one has broken away and is headed into a cafe. I was able to dry off enough of the bench to sit without feeling too damp. An older man with his seriously jowly dog just made use of my proffered soggy napkins and now occupying the other half of this bench. The bench is across from Santa Maria Supra Minerva-- the church built upon an early temple to the goddess Minerva. The columns are original to the temple...And there is a large carillon as well...it just pealed on the quarter hour. Today the air is warm and moist...Hm, Caffe-Mok is delivering supplies to the shop next to the bench and Carlsberg Italia is bringing beer to the place across the square. Preparing the day's bookends... A tourist group has set upon the more jowly of my companions...He seems rather used to it, actually, sitting for selfies. He looks like a bloodhound, a basset, and a lab rolled into one galumphing bit of canine. He is following the flow of traffic with his head, baaack and fooorrrth...and he is sitting on the feet of the older gentleman holding his leash. The man has just kept his quiet...staring off into a place he alone can see...I am glad they chose to sit here. I love the way the sun is coming into the piazza. Like the spread of a fresh clean sheet on the bed...and the smells...the light waft of sugar mixed with a tinge of cigarette and an underscore of earthy rain... it's a great combination, oddly enough, when it all comes together. And, it was a gift to share this with the man and his dog, without saying much--or really, anything--beyond "grazie" for the napkins and looking at one another in the eye when he said "bouna giornata" when he and the four-legged got up to leave. Somehow, there was an understanding between us that we would each allow the other to be while "be-ing" together. Again, there is something to be said for intentionally created quiet intentionally shared.

---

Have just had the best 1 Euro macchiato and am now standing by the stone wall opposite Casa Papa Giovanni, watching the birds fly over this landscape; this mystical, holy, landscape. This is like no other place I have ever been in my life. It is saturated with peace. I could have spent these last hours here inside of a church I have not seen this trip or returning to pray before the crucifix in Santa Chiara, but I can't bring myself to go inside when all of this glory is out here, laid out by a passionately imaginative God...a God of Love who delights in beauty...God for whom creation IS beauty, in all of its textures, patterns, colors, that come together in a free-hand harmony that draws me in to my center and at the same time calls me forth in a great gasp of awe. The breeze has turned cool, the earth is a dark, beautiful, brown; the roof tiles present a muted patchwork of earth-toned half-pots. The leaves and pine boughs are shot through with threads of spun birdsong and sunlight. The stone building sides have become canvases for shadows that duck and soar on currents of unseen mystery. Thank you for this time. Thank you for this place. Thank you for the passion and vision of Francis, for his Yes. And thank you for calling me. You have my Yes, forever and always. You are my light, my strength, and my salvation.