Saturday, 30 September 2006

Eremos

Barefoot
across the desert sand.
Such is man
and his life.

The night will come
and with it understanding.

Thereafter,

Dawn... .

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Complacency

Sin is dull. The grinding, repetitive mill of iniquity runs on and on ... but if you step out of the motion for a moment: how crude the machinery, and how dreadfully boring!

The silent recesses of contemplation are far more exciting. Too exciting, in fact, because I hide from them. Sin asks too little from us, prayer seems to ask too much. How does one explain the thrill of silence?

Utter. Stupidity.


"Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats..."
- Emperor Manuel II Paleologus,
also quoted by the Holy Father in the over-polemicized lecture.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Fomes Peccati

I am disturbed by my irritation at a colleague. I will leave this office in a few days, so it is not objectively problematic. All her slights and comments can be explained as a matter of temperament, and yet I draw the conclusion that she detests me. How we work ourselves into cosy illusions!

A new employee started. His cultural upbringing has little personal space, so he tends to stand uncomfortably close. He also takes a while to catch an instruction. I know all this. Why do I still let it bother me? Or do I find in my heart the seeds of that sin of racism?

Saturday, 9 September 2006

Memento Mori

Driving home for this weekend, I was delayed for some time by a passing funeral procession. How easily our generation skirts death. When we meet it, it is for us an interruption that we must avoid at all costs. Forestall! Delay! And when the day comes, we pass by it quickly and fearfully. How little we pray for the dead. Perhaps it is a great sign of the selfishness of our times. Let him who has ears to hear, hear.

Accidental Light on the Angelus

Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix, ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
"Pray for us, o Holy Mother of God, that we be may be made worthy of the promises of Christ."

I have recited this hundreds of time during the Angelus the past year. Yet, the words glimmered as if in afternoon sun as I spoke them yesterday. Ora pro nobis ... because we are brethren, you and I, pauper and Queen ... Sancta Dei Genitrix ... because in you heaven and earth met, and the Word dwelt among us ... ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi ... because I wish to live a life worthy of the calling in my heart.

The temptation is close at hand to see this as a petition to be moulded into a state which Christ can work with; then (and only from then on) can he have anything to do with you. My Protestant friends would probably see it so. Yet in the firm and resolute light, containing that terrible fearlessness which the Virgin possesses, one can see the heart of this petition: Help us live the life we are called to. Let these promises take flame in us.

Friday, 8 September 2006

Fr Louis of Gethsemani

I recently started reading Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander by the exquisite and perilous Thomas Merton. I say exquisite since the formulation of his thought is delightful. Yet perilous, because I find in him the fearless spirituality that burns me as I approach it. His voice is that of the desert ... calling, calling ... at the moment I hear it saying:

Who are you?
What is that makes you, you?
Where are you headed? Why?

I have no answers.

I think that is how it should be for now.

Father Louis of Gethsemani, when you have passed into the fulness of the Flame, pray for me.