Ode to my Beloved

Caged Bird with a Key.

Ode to Psyche

O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung

By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,

And pardon that thy secrets should be sung

Even into thine own soft-conched ear:

Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see

The winged Psyche with awaken’d eyes?

I wander’d in a forest thoughtlessly,

And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,

Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side

In deepest grass, beneath the whisp’ring roof

Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran

A brooklet, scarce espied:

Mid hush’d, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,

Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,

They lay calm-breathing, on the bedded grass;

Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;

Their lips touch’d not, but had not bade adieu,

As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,

And ready still past kisses to outnumber

At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:

The winged boy I knew;

But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?

His Psyche true!

O latest born and loveliest vision far

Of all Olympus’ faded hierarchy!

Fairer than Phoebe’s sapphire-region’d star,

Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;

Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,

Nor altar heap’d with flowers;

Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan

Upon the midnight hours;

No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet

From chain-swung censer teeming;

No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat

Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.

O brightest! though too late for antique vows,

Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,

When holy were the haunted forest boughs,

Holy the air, the water, and the fire;

Yet even in these days so far retir’d

From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,

Fluttering among the faint Olympians,

I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir’d.

So let me be thy choir, and make a moan

Upon the midnight hours;

Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet

From swinged censer teeming;

Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat

Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane

In some untrodden region of my mind,

Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,

Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:

Far, far around shall those dark-cluster’d trees

Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;

And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,

The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;

And in the midst of this wide quietness

A rosy sanctuary will I dress

With the wreath’d trellis of a working brain,

With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,

With all the gardener Fancy e’er could feign,

Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:

And there shall be for thee all soft delight

That shadowy thought can win,

A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,

To let the warm Love in!

-by John Keats

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LOVE.

One of the most persistent, challenging, and perfecting lessons, is learning to be LOVE.

Regarding.

    †

Behold,

the Kingdom of God

is within you.

~Jesus Christ

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Epiphany 2013

This blog post is dedicated to 3 very special angels Carl, Kerry-Anne and Sam.

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It is Epiphany.

I took down the prayer tree from our beautiful Holy little church, there were 153 beautiful prayers.  I saved the prayers to read through them (not that any were my business) but seeing as I am doing a Pastoral Mission degree with the Catholic Church, I though I may be able to write a reflection about them.  There was something quite difficult about the thought of throwing the prayers in the bin, even though they were so beautifully offered up at Mass several times throughout Christmas.  I will check first with my parish priest what should be the correct thing to do with the prayers, and if they are done with, then the children and I will send them up to God via the chimney.

Just for now I have cut off all the little ties and placed them in a little clear box in front of my illuminated Jesus picture.  This is the picture which miraculously lit up one night after I returned from my Rome pilgrimage, where I had placed it in front of an old computer screen which randomly fired up.  Now I have this picture resting against a touch lamp and the shape of the light pouring through the picture gives Christ His halo.

But before we send them up to God once and for all, I should like to share with you how the prayers were so beautifully understated, so very full of humility, and so so simple. Each one was such an unselfish request.  The different beautiful handwriting on each little card sharing its own character, its own faith, its own hope.   The different pressures of the pen, the different level of education, the different age of the writers, the different words chosen, the different stories and prayer.  All contained Love . . . Love beyond measure.

This is not a me blog, this is a short blog of gratitude for the many beautiful, very special people who dared to bless our prayer tree with their reverent words this Christmas.

May God answer all of your prayers, and may He bless you all in your kindness.

Here are just a few that deeply touched me . . .

“T0 3 very special angels Carl, Kerry-Anne and Sam, Miss you, Think of you!”

“ples give mony for por cids !!!”

“For unity between our churches”

“Please pray for Susan’s family as they mourn, she died on the 2nd December in the Arlesford crash”

“We pray for all the people in need at this time”

“For people never to grow hungry”

“God Bless us every one”

“Lord Jesuse we pray for thos ho are sik”

“Give me courage Lord – please”

“Thank you dear Lord for all your love and help in the years, Bless lonely and sad people, shine your love on them, Amen.  I Love and adore you.”

and this is the last one that I would like to share with you all . . .

“May everyone and everything be held in your Love Lord our God, and may your Holy Will be done.  Amen.  Thank you for loving us all.”

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2013

“May be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height. To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; and you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” -Eph.3:18-19



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“As the father hath Loved me, so have I Loved you: continue ye in my Love.” – John 15:9

 †
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The Kiss of Life .3

Again and again He kisses us on the mouth
He reverently breathes life into us
He teaches us how to breathe
He lovingly imparts the word
The word made flesh
He spirits us Holy.

Blessed Consummation.

Our response is intrinsic
Our body arcs towards Him
Our tender soul surrenders
His Spirit is upon us
Again and again He kisses us on the mouth
Trinity.

Loved more than any other.

We are a vessel overflowing with His promise
We will pour the wine for many
Our vocation is to Love.

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The Kiss of Life .2

Again and again I kiss you on the mouth
I reverently breathe life into you
I teach you how to breathe
I lovingly impart the word
The word made flesh
I spirit you Holy.

Blessed invocations.

Your response is intrinsic
Your body arcs towards me
Your tender soul surrenders
My spirit is upon you
Again and again I kiss you on the mouth
Rabonni.

Loved more than any other.

You are a vessel overflowing with my promise
You will pour the wine for many
Your vocation is to Love.

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The Kiss of Life .1

Again and again you kiss me on the mouth
You reverently breathe life into me
You teach me how to breathe
You lovingly impart the word
The word made flesh
You spirit me Holy.

Blessed invocations.

My response is intrinsic
My body arcs towards you
My tender soul surrenders
Your spirit is upon me
Again and again you kiss me on the mouth
Disciple.

Loved more than any other.

I am a vessel overflowing with your promise
I will pour the wine for many
My vocation is to Love.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The gospel plan of salvation is pictured figuritevely as a kiss

“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth,”  (Song of Solomon 1:2; cf. 8:1).

 

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a Miracle, a Baby, a Miracle

Luke 2:12-16

And this shall be a signe vnto you; yee shall find the babe wrapped in swadling clothes lying in a manger.

– 1611 King James Bible

My last-born

miracle

I often think of Mary and her feelings of absolute pure virgin Love for her special baby, Love that only a mother whom having nurtured and carried her child in her womb for many months may know.  A mother whose body bears one heart beat through Him becoming two.  A miracle.

Love is the closest to God I have ever been.

Love

So precious
A warmth of the most perfect temperature
Unimaginable unless experienced
Life’s treasure
The ultimate pleasure
Perfection
So knowingly
Deeper more surer than instinct
A blessing-your first night
One now two, but still one
To hold your new baby
The silent sharing secret time together
For eternity I am now your mother
So sacred, so real
I thank you for my completeness
So peaceful, so true, so deep
I thank you.

I Love you.

 Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

 †

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Bleak Mid-Winter Solstice

-a la Mr Christopher Frye & Ms Christina Rossetti –

The darkest time in the year,

The poorest place in the town,

Cold, and a taste of fear,

Man and woman alone,

What can we hope for here?

 

More light than we can learn,

More wealth than we can treasure,

More love than we can earn,

More peace than we can measure.

Because One Child is born.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him:

Give my heart.

Amen

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. . . . Divine Office

Today I went to Jacintha Saldanha’s Latin Memorial Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

Today I bought a breviary.  Its my breatheary.

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And So . . . The Beat Goes On

The Jazz musician Dave Brubeck died this week and the radio has been endlessly playing Take Five which I Love.  Take Five also reminds me of another piece of music which I just adore by Buddy Rich.

The music takes me right back to my days of Acting Technique classes with Dick Williams at Greenleaf Road and Orford Road in Walthamstow village,  where I lived for my Levi 501 red tabs, and the Flip American Vintage Clothing Store in Covent Garden. The Holloway Road Market, The Town and Country Club at Tufnell Park, and Camden Lock’s Dingwalls, the vintage Rockabilly night was where it was at.

As a 16/17  year-old, I hung around with a beautiful complex guy who loved Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando, he looked just like Jimmy Dean and was as moody and as beautiful.  We were just good buddies who hung out.

This is the track we endlessly played over and over again.

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A Prayer Tree


This weekend I was committed by my priest to creating a Christmas tree on behalf of the parish, it was for the 2 day magical All Saints Christmas Tree festival.  There are over 150 trees exhibited, all unique creative master pieces and some of them are amazing.  People travel from all over to see the beautiful trees, in years before now there have been up to 2000 visitors, and with a few pounds entry fee it is a great way of raising much needed funds.  I was not relishing the idea, in fact I was dreading it.  My creativity has run out.  I am uninspired. My real tree each year at home is beautiful, it is adorned by 5 children’s artwork, with a mash of not matching garish school made decorations, which hang until they are only worthy for dressing the bin.  I constantly try to pull off a slightly more pretentious look, it always fails.  This year our tree at home has just glass and silver dec’s, the children tell me its boring . . . they are bright kids . . . It is, but I needed simplicity.

I felt burdened by the hassle of having to be creative which requires inspiration, Love and enthusiasm, at a time when I just feel like being a hermit away in solace on my own. Attending the festival instead meant I would have to venture out into a very public place and engage.  For the forseeable future I have cancelled all commitments, and have made my excuses at all groups, and avoided most social gatherings.  I have a smiley happy personality, I don’t feel like being inauthentically smiley and happy at present, I don’t feel like being anything.  I’m tired.

I don’t want to play ball.  I almost copped out completely, but it was rather too late, so I came up with the easy idea of a prayer tree.  I brought a beautiful fresh lush green tree and as a base, hung some of my dear friends antique angels, golden festive baubles and a little golden tinsel on it, easy!  My dearest friend realising my need, helped print up some praying hands on little cards, and we simply invited people to write a prayer and hang it upon the tree.

By way of a little evangelisation I printed up some little Christmas business cards with the Catholic parish church addresses on, and Christmas Mass times, and we left a little A4 poster saying ‘All the prayers hung upon our tree will be offered up at the Midnight Mass, you are welcome to join us’.   The tree looked bare, sad in fact, all the other trees were all creatively complete, and looked wonderful.  I left sharpish, head hung low, worried about the parishioners disappointment.  To be quite honest, although of course deep down inside I care, at that moment I couldn’t care a less.

It was my last day of term at uni yesterday, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to drop out.  I’ve completed one year and I have Loved it immensely, especially setting up morning prayer and Mass with the sisters on a Saturday morning, but this year it has all changed.  It is now the turn of the new first year students to do the sacristans role and I am missing it immensely.  I watched them setting up late on Saturday and it just doesn’t feel quite so beautifully sacred and reverent anymore.  It has been a good year for discerning what inspires me, and a good year for being honest to myself about what doesn’t.

My finances are in constant deficit.  It cost’s me over £100.00 in travel expenses alone each month.  The train lines have for weeks on end been closed and the journey at times horrendous.  I also found out after beginning the course that although I qualified for a grant, the course doesn’t qualify with student finance London because it is subsidised by Westminster, (I was originally told it did) however by that time I was several weeks in and I Loved it.  So I got my first ever credit card at the age of 41 to pay for it myself. All rather frustrating financial/administrative problems.

However I Love my class, it is a little church family in its own right, we all care for each other dearly.  I Love Mass in the beautiful chapel, I Love the lectures beginning and ending in prayer.  I Love it when the lectures go deeper and get me thinking beyond the lecture.  I Love the journey there and the journey home.  I Love popping into the Carmelite Church on Kensington Church Street on the way home and lighting a candle.  I Love browsing in the charity shop windows.  I Love the mix of prayer and study, of community and solace, of contemporary and ancient, of wealth and poverty, of secular and religious.  I Love the atmosphere and the streets and the parks, and the lights and I Love to talk to the homeless people and offer them a little something to eat.

It has been a most special year of my life, momentous in fact in many ways, a year blessed with little miracles and so much Love.  A year I didn’t want to change.  But things do change.  As well as the miraculous transcendent highs, my personal journey has also been too difficult, fraught with pain, and I’ve had enough.  Each assignment has collided with a desperate low on my personal journey, making it almost impossible to feel motivated. I have different circumstances to operate under than everyone else I know, I have a future that can never be fully realised.  I am tired of hurting.  I am tired of being nailed, nail by painful nail to the cross, when it could all be so very different, I am discerning that maybe I am only to be resurrected in Him elsewhere.  Beyond.

It’s ironic that on Saturday evening when I returned home from uni, I had a message letting me know that more prayer cards were needed, as the prayer tree was so so successful, the prayer cards had all been used up.  It’s Ironic because the ultimate prayer carved upon the ultimate tree, made into a sacrificial cross, is that of our Lord’s body crying out in agony to His Father, a Prayer, at the time seemingly ignored.  And yet here is our tree having captured the prayers, hopes and faith of so many of our secular and faithful brothers and sisters.  Friends who have nowhere else to turn with their messages of Love and prayers for mercy, other than to God.

They will be blessed, because I don’t believe I have ever witnessed anybody praying Mass quite so reverently as the Catholic Church do.  I believe that the miracle of transubstantiation (the transforming of the bread and wine into the body and blood of our Lord) is a miracle transformation, not only in the host, but by our very presence in the image and likeness of God, a transformation in us too.

This evening after two days in All Saints Church, I went and dismantled the tree and redressed it back in the Sanctuary of our beautiful little holy Catholic Church.  I counted over 140 prayers to be offered up.

God willing on Christmas Eve I will venture out to pray a very sacred and special midnight Mass with Christ, for All my brothers and sisters, without separation or exclusion . . .  and I will pray it in deepest Love.

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The Art of Abuse & Forgiveness

What makes one kind of abuse worse than another?  What separates one violation from another?  After all, all souls violated are violated souls whatever the violation.  What difference does stranger, friend or loved one make, male or female make, innocence, age or faculty make, physical violation or emotional violation, violent abuse or psychological abuse, after all, all violation is violation and all abuse is abuse, isn’t it?  No violation or abuse is acceptable or appropriate, is it?  Does man’s confusion and pain excuse his behaviour?  All people have different pain thresholds, is one pain threshold more acceptably violated than another pain threshold? I think not.

Time is irrelevant to the healing of a soul, where in violation all the world is crushed into the present cell, the violated one dragged through each and every millisecond . . . magnified. Magnified moments spilled over into days spent grieving, in which tiredness reigns relentless, and innocence is betrayed supreme.  All pains endured, diluted only within their own time frame, future shocks and abuses shocking-as-ever are and aren’t desensitized.

Shame filled man in his fallen humanity may be desperate to restore his dignity, often on the back of his already grieving victims good name, whereby his first or else last form of defence is attack.  But there is a counter weapon to attack, revealed to us all by our sacrificed Lord in all His violated graceful majesty.  Attack is to be diffused and rendered powerless with the grace of forgiveness and faith as in Luke 23:34 when Jesus pleads ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do’.

Only searching for understanding in the brokenness of humanity forges a clearer way to forgiveness in which forgiveness forges a way to understanding more clearly, in time, when time allows.  Forgiveness does not say that the behaviour was acceptable, forgiveness says I forgive your failure to act with Love.  For when it comes to the mammoth grace of forgiveness, no such measured distinctions as is befitting in justice to the acuteness of violation, will be made. Forgiveness can not be in part, only in fullness, regardless.   One learns that in order to not become a prisoner of fallen man, one has to bear the hurt, search for understanding, grieve, and then somehow God transforms the sorrow into forgiveness, the forgiveness into compassion, and the compassion into Love ever enduring.

And so it is hopefully with fully repentant man, having travelled his own journey of acknowledgment and repentance for his sins forgiven, and with God’s mercy and grace bestowed upon both sinner and those sinned against, only then may one consciously else unconsciously lift themselves up, and in return help lift up the fallen other to higher than he ever were before he fell.  And where man falls short, I am absolutely sure in His own eternal time, God will prevail.

As will Love . . .

. . . † . . .

. . . Thank God.

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.”  ~ Alexander Pope 

 
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The Litany of St Mary Magdalene

 

Lord, have mercy on us,
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us,
Christ, graciously hear us.

Holy Mary Mother of God,  Pray for us.

St Mary Magdalene, Pray for us.

Sister of Martha and Lazarus, Pray for us.

St Mary of Bethany, Pray for us.

Thou who didst enter the Pharisee’s house to anoint the feet of Jesus, Pray for us.

Who didst wash His feet with thy tears, Pray for us.

Who didst dry them with thy hair,  Pray for us.

Who didst cover them with kisses, Pray for us.

Thou who wast anointed by the foot of the temple, Pray for us.

Who wast vindicated by Jesus before the proud Pharisee, Pray for us.

Who from Jesus received the pardon of thy sins, Pray for us.

Who before darkness wast restored to light, Pray for us.

Who sat at our Lords feet in one to one formation, Pray for us.

Who didst choose the “better part,” Pray for us.

Disciple of Our Lord, Pray for us.

Most dear to the Heart of Jesus, Pray for us.

Beloved Companion, Pray for us.

Who ministered to Him of her substance, Pray for us.

Who was graced with 7 virtues, Pray for us.

Constant woman, Pray for us.

Who anointed His head in prophesy, Pray for us.

Last at the Cross of Jesus, first at His tomb, Pray for us.

Thou who wast the first to see Jesus risen, Pray for us.

Whose forehead was sanctified by the touch of thy risen Master, Pray for us.

Woman of the Resurrection, Pray for us.

Apostle of apostles, Pray for us.

Sweet advocate of sinners, Pray for us.

Sweetest advocate of Beloveds, Pray for us.

Daughter of The Father, Pray for us.

Beloved of His Son, Pray for us.

Spouse of the King of Glory, Pray for us.

Saint Mary Magdalene, earnestly intercede for us with thy Divine Master, That we may share thy happiness in Heaven.

Let us Pray.

May the glorious merits of blessed Mary Magdalene, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
 make our offerings acceptable to Thee, for Thine only-begotten Son vouchsafed 
graciously to accept the humble service she rendered. We ask this through Him
Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever.   Amen.

May the prayers of blessed Mary Magdalene help us, O Lord, for it was in answer to them 
that Thou didst call her brother Lazarus, four days after death, back from the grave to life,
Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God forever and ever,
world without end.

Amen.

St Mary Magdalene dearly beloved friend and sister  . . . Pray for me.

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I Owe

love

I owe everyone I meet Loving kindness;  nothing more . . . nothing less †

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Beautiful Suffering

On Saturday evening I took myself off to see the acclaimed film Amour.  It was beautiful and devastating.  It was heartbreaking.  It would have been a difficult film for anyone to watch alongside ones partner, understanding the potential of what the future could hold, but so much more unbearable to watch alone.  I imagined being alone with no-one to Love or be Loved by, in the same deeply selfless way, as the two characters who lived together and cared so deeply for each other. (They alone were in almost every frame). Such a dignified and eloquently loving relationship magnified and upheld by the indignities they endured.

I think of the priests I know, often living alone or maybe in brotherhoods which chop and change, and I think of the utter sadness of them not being able to commit in agape Love to permanent deepest friendship, in which life’s interior and exterior sufferings can be shared in human Love.  The highest Love, intimate sole friendship with another soul, which heightens us to the fullness of our humanity, allowing us to transcend in prayer and beyond, to God.

Celibacy still calls for the intimacy of deepest celibate relationships fulfilled.

This film was full of dignity for the utter indignity of human suffering.  One could clearly question where is God in such cruel senseless pain?  One could question how such a God could have created His beings with such flaws including physical/health flaws?  One could question how God could allow anyone He Loved so deeply, so much indignity, suffering and pain? One wonders that only a masochistic God could make a people’s in the image and likeness of Himself and then inflict such barbaric sentences of grief and pain upon them?

One could wonder and get nowhere with these wonderings.

But understanding and knowing that God is Love, is to know that all of our questions and wonderings, and all of our suffering, and all of the flaws of our humanity can be exceeded and transcended by Love.  All suffering and even death (hellishly painful as it may be) is in grace transformed and transcendently met, when supported endured and faced in the compassion comfort and expression of Love. We are strengthened in weakness by Love. Any poverty, tragedy trauma or pain (however devastatingly heartbreaking) may be upheld closer than close, in dignity, by such selfless expressions of Love.  A Love that supersedes life (even death) Love that supersedes All pain.  Death and suffering has a putrid stench that Love alone can overpower.

The film was suddenly severed.  Leaving the deathly severed film alone in the black silence was absolutely awful.  To see people openly crying and wiping away tears and to feel them flinching with such heart-breaking suffering, made me proud of the often hidden side of our humanity.  People touched, moved and broken at other people’s tragedy makes such profound compassion visible.  A compassion that provokes a response of Love and selfless giving at least to those we Love, and for some, beyond even their own loved ones.

A makeup check before the journey home was compulsory.

I had spent my day before the film at Tyburn convent, where Martyr’s (long forgotten by some) are prayed for at the Tyburn shrine day in day out.  People including children who gave their life rather than renouncing their faith.  That any person could bear such selfless witness is beyond any earthly power I could ever presume to know.  Only the God part of us (I am sure) could supernaturally endure such witness.

The nuns at Tyburn live permanently behind a grill, from which they never leave.  They are silent for most of their day.  They live in perpetual adoration before the Blessed Sacrament each living their lives in prayer kneeling before our Lord in turn, twenty-four hours a day, every day.  Their days are spent working, cleaning and praying with a very small amount of recreation.  I observed the gentle, praying, softly moving beings like creatures of another realm, floating from one prayer into another.  It was all a little surreal.  Quite beautiful and so very pure that it became almost artificial.  No trace of any individual personality was visible in the young sisters voice that read the daily reading.  I found it immensely beautiful but was shocked by how incredibly sad I felt to witness such witness.  The contradictory strength both feelings invoked in me – impossible to place, all held in tension one against the other, neither relenting from their stance.

I wonder if we could ever have perpetual adoration in our Cathedrals.

On the tube on the way home I looked at all the beautiful people.  Each and every one of them so very beautiful, and they didn’t even presume to know how beautiful they were. Each person having a beauty both similar to, and different from their fellow beings.  A burnt face with its fragile skin and beautiful life imbued eyes.  A radiant personality shining out from a less radiant body.  A healed hare lip with its beautiful fulness and telling scar set within perfect olive skin.  A painfully thin hurting body barely supporting such a beautiful face.  A beautiful average being beautifully humbly average, seemingly content just to be.  The deepest darkest most beautiful eyes holding all the pain within. Not one person didn’t have something of beauty reaching out from them.  I sat quietly observing them all, contemplating such suffering and beauty, smiling warmly when eyes dared to meet and hold my own.

If only they all knew how beautiful they were.

If only they all knew how somebody prayed for each and every one of them.

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The Glass Tabernacle

A beautiful glass house effortlessly presented
With its complex simplicity
So perfectly minimal.
A contradiction in texture
From soft granular sand
To a refined strength so desperately fragile.

Prayer.
Like happiness
So exhibitly significant.

I see into and out of The Glass Tabernacle
So apparently transparent.
Through the transparency
My vision is refracted
Your reflection is only my reflection
I don’t reach out quite far enough
My reflection doesn’t quite reach back to me.
I try and touch you but you are not there.

Just a strong fragile glass house
Protecting . . .  a beautiful prism.

Reflecting and radiating Light.

Casting rainbows as promises.

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Holy Holistics

Before I began my degree at Heythrop College, I spent 2 days at a poetry conference being held in the college, I stayed overnight in the Halls.  I did this in order to get a feel of the place, to get a sense of whether I would enjoy studying here.  I did this to gain a deeper insight, to see if I could cope with being in an academic setting (not being an academic).  I am fully aware that my questioning, and my immediate perception and enthusiasm to learn is more than adequate.  In fact at times it is deeply intuitive, but being of a different (poetic) nature, I was (and still am) aware of my only average ability (else desire) to translate my understanding into academic results.

I find it difficult meeting someone elses strict criteria for formatting reflections etc.  I want a blank page, I want the freedom to express with descriptive words (not acceptable in academia) which gives birth to, and sheds light on my understanding of all things.  Just like in the bible, and not like in our essays, where a clinical factual study with objective reasoning and arguments cross-examined, are to be presented and referenced (where descriptive words and personal experience are to be avoided) .

At the poetry conference which was in June 2011, I was absolutely captured.  You may read about my experience here Continue reading →.

One of the speakers (Professor Wilcox) especially captured me, Her presentation was so passionate, inspirational, alive, engaging and transcendent.  She talked about ‘the highest matter, faith in the noblest form, poetry’. A beautiful and deeply intuitive sentence which has stayed with me.  As the first evening of the conference came to a close, in a heightened holistic state I took myself off in wonder to the darkened chapel, and what I experienced drew me through a portal from which I could never return.

This happened only because of One vital factor.

A similarly heightened way of being, engulfed me whilst on my Rome pilgrimage, a week of intense holistic prayer.  Not just the formal prayer times (which were in every way perfect for me), but Mass prayed in the deepest way, and then there was the waking sleeping and waking of the whole pilgrimage.  My whole being, every fibre of my body, mind, heart and soul in a constant state of contemplation and prayer, alive with heightened wonder.

The same One vital factor present.

Saturday past I experienced a very special Mass at uni.  It was not a particularly memorable homily, else a particularly memorable Mass in any other way, other than the fact that in deepest prayer I was engulfed (in fact blinded) by the most radiantly fiercely peaceful warmest whitest light, (the same radiant in-pouring of white light which I have experienced before).  It was so powerfully upon me and before me, that I could barely see the priest.  It was like a blinding intense white sunshine everywhere, all-encompassing. One wonders how it wasn’t mentioned to me, as I could not imagine that others could not have seen it, and I could not imagine that such a narrow window could let in so much light, in such a way.

It wasn’t mentioned though.

Last week I giggled to myself as there is a new, seemingly regular face at morning prayer, a lady who has been taking morning prayer with the Sisters for the past few weeks.  Later when I was setting up Mass alone, she offered to trim else repair the candles (which actually I think are far more beautiful in their untrimmed fully natural softly melted form).   She is a very silent lady, but a confident presence.  I spoke to her, I asked in my normal friendly chatty way if she were a novice, and she informed me in direct precise no messing terms that she was a lecturer of religious psychology, my “how interesting” met with another severe silence.  :O)

This week at Uni the word holistic was used much.  The word holistic has become of late more fashionable, from my N.H.S ‘Health Trainer’ training days, to uni and beyond.  It used to be a word (which in my other lifetime of ‘owning a whole food’ shop) only I seemed to know amongst my peers.  Holistic, wholesomeness, a full understanding relating to the All, considering all components to arrive at the fuller picture, and nothing less.  At uni today they used the phrase ‘holding everything in tension’.

And this leads me back to All my deepest, heightened experiences of prayer, contemplation and living, which I witness and experience in All its intensity (only as a result of passing through the portal) which is possible only because of this One vital factor.

Every living moment of my life is lived holistically . . . heightened because of Love.  A Love which was born from its first moments through the Holy Spirit.  A Love bestowed, where there was a locking together of eyes and souls.  And since that first moment of awakening there is known to be no beginning and no end.  Love Eternal in Triune.   Because that Love is God bestowed Eternal in Him, it lives beyond its crucified state, resurrected in a spiritual union of the highest order, penetrating All things, making everything holistic and heightened in experience . . . thus the portal is opened.

Theres One vital thing professor Wilcox overlooked in her sentence  ‘the highest matter, faith in the noblest form, poetry’. . .  The most transcendent experience of All . . . Love.

God.

God who is Love and Spirit.

Posted in communication, female discipleship, Love, My poetry, prayer | Tagged | 2 Comments

She May Be Weary

wear·y

adjective /ˈwi(ə)rē/
wearier, comparative; weariest, superlative

  • Feeling or showing tiredness, esp. as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep
    • – he gave a long, weary sigh
  • Reluctant to see or experience any more of; tired of
    • – she was weary of their constant arguments
    • – war-weary
  • Calling for a great amount of energy or endurance; tiring and tedious
    • – the weary journey began again
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A Weak Under a Rainbow

Last week we were fortunate enough to have a family holiday in Cornwall, our first and much-needed holiday in six years.  I was in my element and delighted with wonder, as completely by chance (when exploring) I discovered we were staying on an ancient route called ‘The Saints way’.  To think of the pilgrim people of old passing along the 27 mile stretch of countryside right past our farm-house filled me with awe, especially as I were to celebrate All Saint Eve here.  Numinous.

On Halloween we ate dinner in a 12th century olde worlde inn, and then the four smallest children begged me alone, to walk them home in the dark.  A spooky halloween walk.  It was dark.   Very dark.  No light pollution here.  Protected under the prayers of the saints we made our way home (3 Cornish lanes) with nothing more than a childs torch.  When the torch was turned out you could see nothing other than blackness.  We scared each other with spooky stories, and the noise of the wild creatures (and the noise of the silence) scared us silly.  We giggled with good fear.  Me and my little saints who started off slowly, by midway were marching almost as fast as our hearts were beating, and by the time we reached the little lane to the farm we were running towards the lit cottage nothing short of a sprint.   Exhilorating.

It was good to spend time with my loved ones without the paraphernalia of life clogging our arteries.  Never has one family witnessed so many rainbows in one week.  Never have I witnessed so many rainbows is one week.  God sending me messages of our covenant several times each day.  So much hope.  It heaved down for 6 of the seven days, and in between the heaves of rain the sun attempted almost in vain to forge its enticing light upon me.  It’s funny that the words heave and Heaven are but one letter different.  If Heaven heaved down upon me ‘all would be well, all would be well, and all manner of things would be well’.  We have now travelled from the dryest most parched part of the land to the wettest, a transition which, I hadn’t realised I hadn’t entirely planned for (else adequately prepared for).  Thankfully God stepped in, and although the elements caught us out once, the tides ultimately controlled by the rhythm of the moon, meant we were safe.   Thank God.

And then when we returned home, having been lashed so severely all week I now feel cold to the bone.  The older I get, the more I feel the loneliness and the cold.  I need reaching with eternal enduring warmth.  In fact I am absolutely craving the sunshine.  I desperately need to feel held and encompassed in the tender arms of the suns rays.  In fact I desperately need to feel held and encompassed in the tender arms of the Sons rays. I need His warmth to deeply penetrate me, I need my internal furnace regulating with His perfect warmth.  I need radiating because the bleak tearful rain has followed me back home, the rain which is intent on drowning me in layers.  The rain is washing away the vibrant dry artistic vivacious autumn.  The winter ahead looks bleak and there is no sign of any reprieve.  I pray to be warmed from within.  I pray to be rescued from such stormy tumult.   I Pray.

I think of Christ being lashed with whips, my lashes invisible.

I don’t only pray for myself.  I pray for the priests in Bodmin (home of the monks).  In the bleak mid winter (when the grimness of all-weather can’t possibly get any grimmer) when you and I are wrapped up warm, tucked in our snugs and the safety of our beds, he is awoken by the saddest death-call, to go and give final comfort to a dying person.  He goes with his stole and his oils into the midst of the bleak night, and in the dark coldness he tries desperately to find the home of the dying.  This week I noticed many of the Cornish lanes have no road signs, lane upon lane nameless to the naked eye.  There is no light pollution in the depth of the Cornish lanes or upon the bleak moor, only black.  I ask him how he manages, he says he finds his way by G.P.S, but often the person making the sad last-minute midnight phone call has no idea of the postcode.   I pray for those dear men, I pray that by God speed they reach their flock by night and lead them holy to their destination, and I pray for their safe return.

I think of the ‘Bodmin priests’ homily it wasn’t about wildflowers, it was about seeds being nurtured by the earth, by the elements, growing into beautiful sunflowers which are constantly turning towards the light.  He said we are all to be like sunflowers, else like the little satellite dishes on the sides of houses, capturing the signal and radiating it out. I think of the Saints.  I think of us radiating Love.  I think of Gods Love.  I know that God is gentle, I know that God works organically, He works in wonders.  Elemental eternal wonders.  Man could learn much if he observed Gods tender, gentle, natural way of doing things.

A deeper sadness fills me today as I reflect upon the lives of the beautiful calves which the children and I fell so madly in Love with.  For us there were no distinction between the two, the calves were all beautiful.  All made by Him.  There was no distinction in our Love between the two, it was all Love.  Amazing gentle creatures.   But all ready the week old babies were segregated from their mothers Love.  The male calves segregated from the female. The heffers await a life of over-grazing, over-birthing, and over-milking until they are redundant.  The male calves await their lonely slaughter, already decided by man redundant.  Sacrificed for nothing.  What is wrong with this world.  What is so wrong that we as humans see fit to over rule God.   To segregate Love from Love.  To spoil it.  To take something so natural and beautiful and to kill it in murder before its natural death. What is wrong with you all that you are so blind.

I turn towards my marvelous satellite dish, and seek a little comfort from scripture on rainbows.

Genesis 9:8-16

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations:

Isaiah 9:1-21

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.

Ezra 9:6:-15

Saying: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you, my God, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens. From the days of our fathers to this day we have been in great guilt. And for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, to plundering, and to utter shame, as it is today. But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery. For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem. “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this?

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

I Pray.

All Saints on earth and in Heaven . . .  Pray for us All.

Posted in Loss, Nature, prayer | Leave a comment

Response ability to Love

This week we are having our first proper family holiday in approximately 6 years.  We have been away for the odd weekend to family weddings and we have stayed with friends in Aberdeen for 5 days, a few years back.  But this week we holiday’d as a family together in a tiny little rural setting in deepest Cornwall. We are staying in a beautiful bright home nestled in the wonderful hilly lands of a surrounding farm.  On arrival the first thing that caught my attention was the beautiful Magdalene Blue hydrangea’s blessing our little enclosed garden.  The beautiful burnished reds, greens and yellows are only just beginning to create fireworks on the tips of the leaves of the green trees, another few weeks and everything will be aflame.

Just across the garden, beyond the old wooden farmhouse gate is a cattle stall, and for the first time yesterday we went to explore.  Abundant fresh hay lay on the ground making it look cosy and warm, and although it was covered above from the elements the sides of course were open.  The beautiful baby calves were only weeks old, their eyelashes curling around their beautiful expressive black eyes, so full of God, no wonder in some countries they are looked upon with such reverence.

My thoughts take me back to two thousand years ago, to a kindly man and his blessed but exhausted wife, having no choice but to pass through the ‘one way no turning back’ physical endurance of a cold winter labour, met with no midwives, no hospital reassurance and none of the creature comforts of a home-birth.  It is a timely reminder in the face of hurricane Sandy that we need for nothing in the way of security, other than to be safe and still in God, our desperately needed shelter.  I breast-fed all of my babies and where ever we went, we went together.  Nothing else was required, nothing else mattered at all, we needed nothing other than each other, a breast, a baby, and each other.  That is exactly how it is for us, we are all just like the vulnerable and dearly cherished newborn, God is like the gentle mother, suckling us at the breast, caressing us with radiating warmth, protecting us from all harm, and intimately loving us without condition.

The tiny calves in the cattle stall were very wary of us, rightly so.  It took at least a couple of visits of us just gently cooing and talking and looking into their shy eyes with a mixture of compassion, sorrow and Love before they were even able to trust us enough to approach the grill that separated animal from human.  The slightest tic of a movement (we learnt) set everything back and we had a bigger job to regain their trust than we had to begin with, but with perseverance we made good.  We eventually were able to calmly stroke and rub the heads of the braver ones between the ears, contact which the shyest calves may never know.   Contact (which their eyes told us) they seemed to yearn for with their whole bodies, but having been separated so young from any source of female nurturing Love, in their almost heart-broken, confused, hesitant, insecure state, it was contact almost easier to forego.  And yet the ones that came for contact looked somehow happier and more content.

Yesterday I rescued a stunned young common sparrow from the window sill.  There is a beautiful old gnarled tree only just on the outside of  the conservatory.  Its many overreaching arms almost enter the glass room, but for the glass. The magic when we first arrived here of the many little birds and tits flitting through the branches boughs and leaves, with a busy chirpy happiness, from feeder to feeder was totally enchanting. Yesterday one lost its bearings and flew in through the open door straight into a pane of glass and sat stunned on the window ledge.  It didn’t even flinch when I lay my hand over his back and enclosed him in my palm.  The children were able (with a tip of a finger) to stroke his soft feathery head and admire his beautiful markings, before I returned him to the tree to recover.  Its funny how we go through life naming the hims and hers, when really there are at times no distinction between the two.  The only real distinction is between us and God, and maybe even then there is no real distinction to be made if Truth be told, as the essence of us all is in Him.  The only distinctions are the ones we maybe put their ourselves.  It is so easy to see God when we look at innocent animals, it is so much harder to see God when we look at man.

I come from a family of four children, my mother is the youngest of eleven children (many now dead)  I have five children of my own.  I observe and watch and pay attention to their pattens and behaviours, and the ways of their being.  I think of my own childhood and that of my siblings and peers, and I remember the behaviours that used to seem so very complex.  I look at the people around me now and it all suddenly seems so simple, the complex behaviours people do because of their need for Love.  We all want Love, we want to feel Loved and cherished, nothing more, and in return we want to Love and cherish, and live out our lives and the remainder of our days in the ‘fall out’ of that Love.

The complex behaviours come about as a result of the falsities we place in the way of that Love, we are competitive and make false rivals where there are none, and feel frustrations at our inability to communicate effectively, we swing between the pangs of low self-esteem or egotism instead of just allowing ourselves to be Loved when Love Loves.  We feel sold short when we aren’t being reached by pure Love, a little is apparently not enough.  The obvious (though false) alternative is to believe that there is a security by needing to be Loved by nothing, and we kid ourselves that by that we gain Love in everything, else we only concern ourselves with giving Love and in the giving we try to convince ourselves that we feel Loved.  I think there may be a little something we are all missing.  It’s all about response.  It’s all about OUR response.  If we could only all respond to everything with Love.  Only there, in God who is Love and spirit, does our Heaven await.  For what in ‘mirror fashion’ is our response is in part your response.  The our is in the your.  The your is in the our.

My husband lately has been a little bit like Joseph.  All enduring of the things life has placed upon us.  He hurt me more than once, on many levels, unintentionally but selfishly and carelessly, painfully in fact.  I of course forgive him, but my response back was not one filled with immediate Grace, but one concerned with my dignity and self-preservation.  It was a heart-breaking, difficult and excruciating lesson for us both.  Our situation meant that healing seemed impossible.  But God is God and He alone transcends all obstacles, and Love has other means and ways of healing.  My husbands kindness and not just willingness but happiness to serve because of Love has been honorable, full of fortitude and really quite humbling.  God has somehow written a unique script for my life, I am in a very privileged place, He has blessed my life with faith and grace, he has given me a family, a community and autonomy, and it is there within my unique life, that I try to separate the wheat from the chaff and pray within my very deepest prayers that I am inspired to live my life and one day return to my heavenly home by responding to the specks of Love, with Love.

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Seeing the Wood for the Trees

Seeking a little peace from a little hell one day, I pulled over to a random country lay by in my car. And God reached me right there in the moment.  Miracle.

Thank God for my iPhone camera.

Cameras which so often can’t capture what it is that the soul sees.  You can just make out my rosary dangling from my rearview mirror, almost in line with the treasure I spied from my car.  Me and Him in a moment captured in time.

~~~~~~

In my last post I described the young Sisters in the new religious community of Our Lady of Walsingham as the Eve’s who are ‘transformed in Him’.  I should have said transforming in Him.  The process is ongoing, it’s a pilgrimage of moving closer toward Him as each moment in time passes.  Even Christ (although Himself complete) had not completed for us the way of the pilgrimage until Him and His Father were fully re-united to each other,  One in Heaven.  The beauty of the community I imagine is that they have fewer distractions than most.  Now that I have seen the setting of Abbotswick house of prayer I have a vision in my mind of a long wide green country lane with very few side turnings, leading directly into the perspective light.

The intensity of nature has blessed me ever since I was a young child.  I Love it.  Ever since I was a small child I have felt the wonder and peace and freedom of just being beside nature safely in her fold.   As a child I was in friendship with two horses who lived in a field near the river Ching (the river was more like a babbling brook) and had sticklebacks and slippery shiny wet pebbles, and I would make little damn’s and watch the leaves and twigs work their way along the current, bobbing and twisting past all obstacles, and then for a while at least gently gliding, untill the bend in the Ching took them beyond the limits of my vision.  The woods was where the freedom of the imagination filled my days.

I thought when I was about 10, that I would mount one of the horses bare back, jump the barrier and spend a day on the common with my equestrian soul mate in peaceful friendship, just me and him.  In my imagination I did just that.  I spent my childhood over Highams Park Lake and Chingford Common (which stretched from Chingford Hatch to Woodford) it was the magical land that connected my childhood home with the land where I first entered this world, Woodford Green.  The woods were deeply beautiful and once were undivided from Epping Forest.  I would spend what felt like hours hanging out with Rex my dog (who I was convinced would protect me from all danger) whilst I climbed trees and made dens in my gypsy head scarf.  Only occasionally would I initiate others into my secret life, by anointing them with a pebble kept in a little cardboard jewelery box lined with grass.

When I was older (about 18)  and lived in Islington, me and a dear friend (who is now a God parent to one of my children) spent a quiet evening walking around the rich leafy canopy of Canonbury with a bottle of wine.  When all alcohol was consumed we stopped for what felt like forever on a little wall underneath a beautiful vast ancient lush green tree.  We were sharing deeper than usual conversation whilst looking up inebriated through the leaves to the sky beyond.  The night was closing in, and in the depths of our communion the blue jagged shapes of sky created by the thick canopy of leaves became instead the leaves on the tree, and the green leaves became the sky beyond, and I saw the metamorphosis of one transform into the other and I shared it with my dearest, and only then could she see it too.  It was a magical liminal moment that seemed to have stepped outside the bounds of time.

She later sent me a beautiful card which I still have today somewhere, which said something along the lines of  ‘don’t try too hard to make others see the beauty of what it is you see, else you might lessen the beauty of the vision within yourself.’  Her words had reflected her thoughts on a conversations we had shared that magical night.  Even back then I had expressed my absolute frustration at the lack of like-minded people around to share the fulfilling intense wonder of a life which was lived liminal rather than practical. This renders a life so very much more intensely beautiful because it is felt and seen with the heart else the mind else the soul, which holds it all very real, rather than seeing with just the eyes or practical means alone.   It also renders it a very alone place, which is different from lonely, although sometimes more often loneliness has featured.  My other family members never had those eyes apart from my Dad, and I only realised this consciously as I grew older.

I always thought that one day I would live in a country cottage within a town, where there would be (else I would have) a world within a world.  The country setting caught within the city. My Cannonbury experience led me to believe that one day it might be there, for there was a beautiful old country thatched cottage humble amongst the Georgian Towns wealth.  A portal . . . .  one way leading into and beyond another way.  Which is I think why St Francis of Assisi’s church attracts my attention, you enter inside a church which takes you inside his church to take you outside, (if my mind understood the description correctly). Maybe my vision imagined is the better vision to cherish rather than the reality?

Ever since I were a little child I have ‘played a game’ just with myself.  I felt that if I were to choose my way around a post or a tree, or take one path over another, or go one way around the pond as opposed to the other way around, that I (although ending up in the same apparent location) would actually end up in a different place, choosing quite a different mini destination over the destination which the other way around would have led to.  I still do this frequently today, most noticeably whilst out on my 6 mile walk.  You can almost feel yourself subliminally choosing one way over another, and not always necessarily the stronger current.  One way generally feels more peaceful than the other, and yet with the human eye they look identical, all one world.  It’s just a feeling of different paths, subtler than the movement between shadow and light, but very much there.  Some days the choice between the two is so subtle and on other days the distinction is quite strong.  Both ways look the same but are quite different, and the feeling is clear, though no path ever reveals its destination. The choosing is just like feeling our way in prayer.  Lines which thread one way, then gently cross, then maybe all at once change, but forever drawing us in the inspired direction.

Funny ole world.

But one where (for me) which ever way we choose . . .  Love is essential. . .  because as John Paul II rightly understood

‘Love alone is the way of the human person’.

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Waiting to Receive

I have had both a wonderful and a dreadful week.  One steeped in not so much coincidence but I am told providence.  A week of beautiful communication mixed with complex and confusing communication, topped with awful life choking communication.

I spent a wonderful evening in the company of the Catholic performance poet/bard Sarah de Nordwall.  She were a great rich voice, with lingering middle-class tones of healing Manuka honey and mead.  Her biblical knowledge made her words ring in a poetic liturgy which extended her poems and tales from the realms of messy life to transcendent wonder. A kind of heavenly angel provocateur, enticing all goodness from our humanity to reach in extension towards God. Her musings were embellished with her warm energy, the glint in her eye resonating beyond all personality.  Such an inspiring Eve.  And a thread which I would love to reel in a little closer. . . . I connected. . . . and smiled to myself with knowing.

In fact all my female Eve’s have been inspiring this week.

Yesterday I spent a beautiful day in Abbotswick house of Prayer.  It was indeed a house of peace, imbued with natures spirit pouring in from the season beyond.  Such a breathtaking setting giving the house a character and ‘ambience gentle’ of its own.  And coincidentally almost in location backing on to my brother in-laws business ‘Essex Lift services’ which is on the Coxtie Green road, which also is in a beautiful setting with a cottage, business barns and a real well (which I have a deeply feminine intimate fondness for.)   The well . . . is where in spirit and contemplation I meet my Lord again and again and again.  In today’s contemplation I see within my heart the same family of deer visiting both properties. Silent hoofs treading upon the grassy dew fall, delivering by their meditative natures a unitive peace to both lands.  God so evident, reaching in restoration both the faithful and the faithless.

Replenished.

The souls within Abbotswick were warm and welcoming and easy and kind.  A space to Be . . .  to breathe, without provocation or expectation or demand or retribution.  Gentle thoughtful open intuitive conversation that leaves peace upon my peace, and peace upon my not so peace.  A kindly light.  I indulged myself in their rather special little attic library and completed reading about the spanish mystics, mystics mystically having also been brought into the poetry eve the eve before.  And then there were the coincidental outlines of a hermitage in both spheres too, just slightly beyond my vision, but no less there, just yonder the mind’s eye.

The ‘transformed in Him’ Eve’s of this world bless me with their honest communication and gentle understanding of the humanity of man.  Open to the bigger picture in a breathe easy way, and a footstep closer to the perfection of communicating female wisdom, a reaching beyond their gender alone to commune in ease with man, just as Christ showed us the way.  Contemplation fares well for such kindred spirits.  But being a wild flower I am unsure of being captured by someone elses vision.  I loved their Charism, though my saints would be of another choosing.  Alas distance and lack of finance makes for impoverished decision-making when it comes to reaching out to such a regular and beautiful retreat. Relocation would be my favoured option but I sit and wait to receive.

Sarah talked about the sacred quality of waiting and being open and able to receive, us a temple in time, something we are apparently not good at.  I am open to receiving, I love to receive, I am good at receiving, however that does occasionally get muddled with my good at giving.  Else my wanting to receive instead of just being and waiting, and then there’s the fear of maybe receiving nothing.  And then in my despair my mind is silenced! hushed by the ‘Be still and know that I am God.’  The temple eternal.

Sometimes the pull to be in total aloneness, and silence, and the waiting to see what emerges is something I can only snatch from a costly day away (I live in financial rather than spiritual deficit) else awake alone in the middle of the night.  The solitary hours spent never quite long enough.  I need that 13th hour.

There have been other communication Eve’s this week as well, all female in nature, all full of clarity and accurate perception and gentle wisdom.  My husband and I have been to four ‘relate’ sessions, where it is impossible to restore what is broken, because the frustration and lack of intimate communication is caused by a now celibate marriage, a marriage considered adulterous sealed in a covenant of sin, and now morally sealed celibate against a husbands will, enforced by the requirements of my reception into the Catholic Church.

That brings me to the communication skills of the Adams of this world.   This week complex, confusing, inconsistent, unclear, not perceptive,  not open and neither full of honest clarity.  Adam at home hurting and hearing only what he could hear, as we both discovered at relate.  How did we ever get to be a world of God’s children when the love we have lived so intrinsically feels lived out under such disfigured deception.

Else our authentic Love is denied so cuttingly, and our beloved ones can not express themselves freely.   In order for anyone of us to transcend beyond our humanity, we have to first be able to fully embrace our humanity, and this means our sexuality too.  It is so very important to be able to share in beloved intimate friendship with our soul mate, in a celibate way that is treasured and respected and safe.  In Soul friendship where on an equivalent scale from 1 to 100 . . . . 1 to 97 can be embraced in Love without fear, and on the same scale where 97 to 100 remains for God alone (so says Sr Camilla).   I look back to the present, If you can not Love true deep authentic and meaningful Love without sexual intercourse, then maybe true deep authentic and meaningful Love wasn’t there in the first place, my husband sees through different eyes.

A week of Adam’s and Eve’s, of highs and lows, of solace and communion, of peace and frustration.

I sit and wait in prayer and contemplation.

open to receiving all that He brings.

In Love.

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Friendship & St Vincent de Paul

Recently our parish has started up an S.V.P group.  My teenage daughter and I are members, she is considering doing a Duke of Edinburgh award and would use her visits as hours spent volunteering as a service to her community.  I have come to Love all things beginning and ending in prayer, from uni lectures, to S.V.P meetings, to quite days spent with the Canonesses, my waking and my turning in.

On the way to last nights meeting, I suddenly had a cynical wobble. Do I really want to be a part of something that has such a formal structure, that it drives the natural pleasure, the natural timing, and the ease out of my random visits to the elderly parishioners which I call on when I feel the Love or the need to do so.  Do I want my natural visits to have to be arranged in pairs and recorded.  I am not so sure I do.  I am not so sure that is good for my soul.

But then I quickly come around.  It’s not about me.  It’s about them.

I know what it feels like to spend long weeks alone, my friends now work, I live outside of the children’s school community, my family live far away, and my church family are aging. Knowing that I have to be around for school holidays makes employment more difficult. And actually I like it being just me and Him in contemplation at times.  Yes I like the odd cuppa at a friend’s house, but I don’t appear to want to spend endless hours with friends who are still doing coffee over baby talk.  I want to be with Him more and more and more.  In church, at home, in nature, in my daily dalliances.  I want to share Him within my relationships but that is not possible in some, my mother, brother and sisters, and the man I am married to don’t do God, in fact he would rather I did less church, less God and more outside of.

And thats a problem for me, nothing in this world holds the same sheen for me any more since coming to faith.   I want to immerse myself in my new world.

I have a dearest friend who has joined S.V.P with me, she is 13 months younger than me, we laugh a lot.  She is very wise and continental and has a down to earth, farmhousey spirituality, I Love her very much.  She has incurable bone cancer and I am unsure how long I will have her for.  She has 3 children the same age as mine, and a husband of faith who is worried sick.  We laugh much, she is tonic for my soul.  We share wisdom and frustration and enthusiasm and turn our frustrations into more wisdom, and I Love her and we laugh muchly.  She is full of Sophia wisdom and yet is the most grace filled and Mary like person I know.  She is all faith no fluff and I Love her to bits.

She rescues me frequently with her patient practical creativity, from christmas tree fayres to minor crisis’ and family foibles, we laugh about the hellish things and blow them in to the ether with our laughter.  I cry, she laughs.  If she cries, I cry and we laugh and hug each other better.  I am scared when it comes to the time that we both cry and can not repair it with laughter.  The thought of that makes me feel lonely as hell.  I am scared of loosing such a dear friend.

What makes this friendship so special is that we share it in Him.  He makes it Golden. And yet there are other friendships in my parish where we have God in common but which feel only ever polite, and not friendships of deep honesty, revelation or openness, or of any great depth.  They are stunted by politeness and fall short of sharing the fullness of God in each other. They are smoothed over with no knocks or chaffs or blemishes to sculpt them to a homely God blessed perfection.  It is in sharing and in baring our soul and dying to our ego, before our physical death, that unites us and resurrects us in Love. Love that lives on long after we all depart this world.

I am now looking forward to my first S.V.P visit.  I trust in Him that any sorrow in our St Vincent de Paul visits may be diminished with Love and kindness and maybe even filled with a little laughter.  I think it is wonderful that there are a team of dedicated people who will call upon the poorly regardless of their beliefs, and I pray that those poorly in spirit may be lifted up in Love.

St Vincent de Paul, Pray for us †

(The SVP is an international Christian voluntary organisation dedicated to tackling poverty and disadvantage by providing direct practical assistance to anyone in need.)

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An Obligation to Love

ob·li·ga·tion/ˌäbliˈgāSHən/ noun

1. An act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment.

2. The condition of being morally or legally bound to do something.

~~~~~~~~~

Because of love’s obligation, and because of the darling heart of an accountable Catholic professional, this week I had a pastoral phone call from somewhere on up high.

The next morning I awoke to this daily reading.

Galatians 3:22-29

Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus. Merely by belonging to Christ you are the posterity of Abraham, the heirs he was promised.

And now that I have done everything under Catholic Canon law humanly possible to rectify my situation, beyond what most others would have endured or deemed acceptable, I am to understand pastoraly that God would surely take mercy on me in my situation.   And therefore bearing that in mind, I should now choose to live my life according to my conscience, in the face of the demands being imposed upon me, especially if it were to mean that those immediately around me are to suffer because of those impositions no more.   And therein lies my problem.

One could not have travelled down such an arduous road in the first place, without having been changed in conscience along the way.  One can not pass through the garden of Eden and out the other side without their eyes having been opened, without having been awakened by authentic Love.

Bugger.

Above the chapel balcony in the English College in Rome,  there are a series of rather gruesome paintings depicting the final days and moments of the lives of the Martyr’s.  I hopefully will never know what it is to actually be hung drawn and quartered, but metaphorically I do.  Emotionally I do.  Spiritually I do.  In a different kind of physical way I do.  And most of all in Love I do.

And there in all my essence, I seep into the bark of the wood of the sacrificial cross.  Iron, flesh and amber sap.  One.

The martyrdom of St Ralph Sherwin

This morning I woke from a bizarre dream, I could not remember much beyond it, only the intensity of the vision imprinted upon my soul.   At the very core centre of the cross, where the two lines meet, where the horizontal and the vertical intersect, therein lies All power.  I know this.  I have known this only since I have known authentic All awakening Love.

If I die I want a simple wooden cross with the words God and Love intersecting at the O.

 

.   L

G O D

.   V

.   E

 

As in the very heart and soul of my being, this intersection is where that ever secret, All-powerful place is, the place where God and Love intercede within me.  This is the place where me and my beloved will forever reside in Him, and it is from here where all other Love is discharged.

A passage from Hugo Victors Notre-Dame de Paris.

‘It is eternally developed upon the soil according to the same law. There are, invariably, two naves, which intersect in a cross, and whose upper portion, rounded into an apse, forms the choir; there are always the side aisles, for interior processions, for chapels,–a sort of lateral walks or promenades where the principal nave discharges itself through the spaces between the pillars.

That settled, the number of chapels, doors, bell towers, and pinnacles are modified to infinity, according to the fancy of the century, the people, and art. The service of religion once assured and provided for, architecture does what she pleases. Statues, stained glass, rose windows, arabesques, denticulations, capitals, bas-reliefs,–she combines all these imaginings according to the arrangement which best suits her. Hence, the prodigious exterior variety of these edifices, at whose foundation dwells so much order and unity. The trunk of a tree is immovable; the foliage is capricious.

We have just attempted to restore, for the reader’s benefit, that admirable church of Notre-Dame de Paris. We have briefly pointed out the greater part of the beauties which it possessed in the fifteenth century, and which it lacks to-day; but we have omitted the principal thing,–the view of Paris which was then to be obtained from the summits of its towers.’

In another ridiculous coincidental moment of pale blue contemplation I stumble across St Therese of Lisieux.

“May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, (bones which appear to be accompanying me) and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

Is it really possible to be so inspired in such tiredness, when all I really want is Love ?

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