Tuesday, November 21, 2017

217 Years of Yes

Happy 217th Birthday to the Society of the Sacred Heart!

Sitting here in my room, praying...I close my eyes and cruise around the world...to different political/humanitarian situations... to sisters I know...to provinces I have not yet seen...and spiral back in time and place to France...in 1800...and a small group in an attic...who dared to say Yes to God for the sake of a world in need of transformation. 

Sitting here in my room, praying... I travel.  To Zimbabwe...to the streets of Chicago and Saint Louis...to Syria, to Myanmar, to First Nations communities...to the homes that look perfect, and yet...to the heart of the quiet child who bears too much...to the side of the keening woman who has lost her family...to the simple beauty of vegetable stalls at a market and the heaps of spices in open-air barrels...to the notebooks of journalists who dare to speak out...to the telescopes of astrophysicists who gaze at the ocean of cosmic wonder...

And as I travel, sitting here in my room praying... I whisper Yes for those who are oppressed; Yes for the children who are bullied; Yes for those who live with fear, with war, with threat against them for being who they are called to be by God; Yes for the poets, the scientists, the writers, artists, visionaries, prophets, who lift us, challenge us, console and motivate us; Yes for the continents and all life upon them; yes for the waters surrounding them, flowing through them, that must be protected; yes for all people who seek shelter, food, justice, recognition of dignity; yes for people who have had that stripped away and are losing hope; yes for justice-seekers, peace makers, educators; Yes for today; yes for tomorrow; Yes for Love, Yes for God.

May our yeses now echo on into the future as have the yeses of Sophie and her companions.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thank you, Happy Feast

7:13 AM. 
It is fitting that I should be at a harbour on the morning of your feast, Philippine.  I can imagine you would find your place here at the farmers' market--the vegetables and fruit would be familiar touchstones for you--and good coffee to warm the mind, hands, and soul.  Staring at the water, though-- I wonder if that would be hard for you?  Would the salt air remind you of things that ache in your heart?
Thank you for dreaming...for believing in the call God had for you.  Thank you for living elation and despair both with as much courage and grace as you did.  Without that, I would not be here now, living this journey of love's fullness within the Society...I would not be living this journey, trusting in the FOGLOMS(*) that nourish my own efforts at discovery and revelation/manifestation so that this world in such great need might know more love, more wonder and curiosity, more hope and justice, mercy, compassion, and awe.
Thank you, Rose Philippine Duchesne.  Please continue to pray for this little Society and for our world.   Amen.

(*) FOGLOMS...Fidelity of God, Love of my Sisters

Thursday, November 16, 2017


This reading was one of the pieces that made me fall in love with the music and poetry of God.  It caught me listen-staring and danced the first time I encountered it and it has reminded me of my awe upon every encounter since, including this morning. To proclaim it aloud is the only fitting response I have…I think it would otherwise be more than I could contain within me.

Wisdom 7:22-8:1

…for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.
There is in her a spirit that is intelligent, holy,
unique, manifold, subtle,
mobile, clear, unpolluted,
distinct, invulnerable, loving the good, keen,
beneficent, humane,
steadfast, sure, free from anxiety,
all-powerful, overseeing all,
and penetrating through all spirits
that are intelligent, pure, and altogether subtle.
For wisdom is more mobile than any motion;
because of her pureness she pervades and penetrates all things.
For she is a breath of the power of God,
and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.
For she is a reflection of eternal light,
a spotless mirror of the working of God,
and an image of his goodness.
 Although she is but one, she can do all things,
and while remaining in herself, she renews all things;
in every generation she passes into holy souls
and makes them friends of God, and prophets;
for God loves nothing so much as the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful than the sun,
and excels every constellation of the stars.
Compared with the light she is found to be superior,
for it is succeeded by the night,
but against wisdom evil does not prevail.
She reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other,
and she orders all things well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Sound Bytes

I have been to All Saints Anglican cathedral before to hear the University of King’s College choirs perform.  Their music is so…augh…so big, so encompassing, so exquisite…that I have wanted to write about that sound in its midst. A little while ago, I had that chance.  At some point, the man next to me said “Annnd you are working on your book, huh?”  “No…” “What are you writing, then?” What did I have to lose…I told him in broad strokes what I share with you here: A snapshot written by a poet-writer from within Great Sound.

2 November, 2017
Oh, Evensong last night at All Saints… the sound.  To be lifted by sound, taken in by sound.  It was like being in a “convergence spot” in the universe…those places where certain elements come together in “the right way” and more happens.  In this case, it is about a coming together of note-swells.  The clear, pure tones find one another and begin the in-breaking…or the opening and breaking through…I don’t know which...and this builds and builds as more voices, more notes, are added.  And the space…augh.  Acoustic nirvana.  The space is designed for these convergences, designed for the blooming of sound.  And I can’t help but believe that each time, a little bit is left behind to call forth sound, voice, note, the next time.  What a beautiful harmony of space and humanity.

5 November, 2017
Perhaps a choir concert at 4 PM—don’t yet know about that.  Kings’ is singing again. It is always An Experience to hear them.  Ethereal, cosmic, revelatory.  Their sound becomes the veil and we all join them in the crossing-over space.  It is a time of both-and when they sing.  Both-and; here-there…and within the sound, the notes, the music as well.  4:10 PM The choir has begun to sing here at All Saints. Oh, wonder…trumpet and organ together…would not have imagined it, but, oh yes, it works beautifully together. Funny, as I hear them playing together, I hear bits and pieces from other songs. Makes me think about language and phrases authors like to use or the structures they adopt that begin to be characteristic.  Now Paul Halley is conducting…weaving, more like.  OH…he just waited for the sound to dissipate before they hit the next note…reminds me of the last lines of Hopkins’ ‘God’s Grandeur’ –And with-Ah!/ Bright wings. I love those two lines.  That pause.  There is the same or a similar effect with waiting for the sound.  And within a song or ‘piece’ is does seem a deliberate choice—rather than when it happens after a piece when it makes sense—and it is all the more effective because it doesn’t happen every time.  The overlap or enjambment is effective in a wholly other way. 

Yes, the idea of weaving seems a fitting metaphor…single threads of voices, some thicker and thinner, weaving silver, copper, and gold through the whole cloth of the large group. -—Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,/enwrought with golden and silver light,/the blue and the dim and the dark cloths/of night and lights, and the half-light…—Yes, a little Yeats is here too… And with these voices threading through are jewel toned colors too…mulberry and jade and royal blue and forest…as well as textures…velvet and linen, gauze, silk…all woven together into a tapestry that tells an eternal story… note by note by note.