A walk along the river

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday: from the archives

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

Yesterday I was talking a walk around Gallup Park along the Huron River.  When I turned one corner, I was struck by the brightness of the sun being reflected off a portion of the river.  I started thinking about how that brightness was the result of the sun being reflected of many individual drops of water.  We are like those drops of water.  Many days we can wonder whether our life counts for anything.  We’re just living our ordinary daily lives, trying to love God and love His people.  Who even knows about us?  Yet, we are part of a people, the people of God. And when His light shines on us, we do reflect it.

In order for light to reflect off of something, the object must be pure, and that requires purification –the purification that happens right there in the ordinariness of our lives. This reminds me of…

View original 213 more words

Journeys through dark places

I just discovered Stephen Winter’s blog, Adventures in Living, where he writes about The Lord of the Rings.  Just starting to delve, but here is a treasure:

Journeying in the Dark Places

Anyone who has read The Lord of the Rings will know that journeys through dark places play an important part in the story. In order to become king Aragorn must journey the Paths of the Dead and lead a fell army in order to overcome the Corsairs of Umbar at Pelargir. Frodo and Sam must journey through the utter dark of Shelob’s Lair in order to enter Mordor and carry the Ring to the fires of Orodruin. And the Fellowship journey through the mines of Moria in order to find a way from the west to the east of The Misty Mountains, the greatest mountain range of Middle earth.

I did not use the word, “must” when speaking of this last journey because it is debated vigorously by the company. Boromir is entirely set against taking this way through the ancient kingdom of the Dwarves, now long abandoned, and argues his case with vigour. “I will not go…not unless the vote of the whole company is against me.” Legolas does not wish to go either and the hobbits are simply afraid of this journey in the dark. Gandalf is sure that it is the only way but Aragorn warns him, “It is not of the Ring, nor of us others that I am thinking now, but of you, Gandalf. And I say to you: if you pass the doors of Moria, beware!”

But in the end there is another, “must” that determines their course of action. Their camp is attacked by wargs, the wolves, the “hounds of Sauron”, and in order to escape them they make for the doors of Moria. And when they get to the doors there is one more “must”. The company is attacked by a foul creature in the waters that guard the gate and are only able to escape it by entering the mine with the doors shattered behind them. They now have only one way out. They must journey some days through the darkness and all the perils that might be concealed there.

None of us willingly choose such dark journeys but the great spiritual traditions teach their necessity if we are to find our true selves. In the Christian tradition is the dark journey of Holy Week that must be taken if we are to come, fully alive, to Easter Sunday. The intention of this week is to remind us of this reality at one point in each year; the reality being that it is a journey that none of us can ultimately avoid, there is a “must” about it. Our fear when we begin such a journey is that there is no certainty that we will come safely to the other side. The words inscribed over the gates of hell in Dante’s Infernocome to mind here, “Abandon all hope all you that enter here.” The temptation that assails us in all dark journeys is the temptation to despair. Dante shows that there is a way through and that is to go boldly if fearfully into its very heart. And as he journeys through hell he sees signs everywhere that it has been harrowed by Christ who entered the dark in order to defeat it and set its prisoners free if they wished to come with him.

The Fellowship “must” take this journey if they are to some safely to the other side of the mountains and for one member it will be a very dark journey indeed. For him above all this journey will be both terrible and yet also a wonderfultransformation. If when we “must” make our journeys we can take them with the same bold faith it will lead to our transformation too. We too will become “fully alive” and our true selves.

And That Will Be Heaven

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

A Sunday-poem for you:

And That Will Be Heaven

and that will be heaven

and that will be heaven
at last      the first unclouded
seeing

to stand like the sunflower
turned full face to the sun    drenched
in light    in the still centre
held    while the circling planets
hum with an utter joy
seeing and knowing
at last     in every particle
seen and known     and not turning
away
never turning away
again

~Evangeline Patterson

View original

And I did not know it.

Sr. Dorcee:

Friday from the archives

Originally posted on Witnesses to Hope:

In Genesis 28, Jacob, after his dream of the ladder, says a very profound thing: “Surely the Lord is in this place; and I did not know it.”  How many of us do not recognize that the Lord is in the very places of our lives.  We wonder: “Where are You?”  Or we shout: “Where are You?”  And like Jacob, we fail to see that He is surely in this place.

In a marvelous little book, Into Your Hands, Father, Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen writes:

“There is not a single moment when God is not communicating himself to us.  Most of what occurs in our lives seems to happen accidentally and at random.  Now and then God reveals his presence. At times we see the thread and we thank him, but he is always there; everything speaks of him.” There is an unbroken continuity in God’s action.  ‘He who keeps…

View original 50 more words

Go ahead and cry

“People have said, ‘Don’t cry’ to other people for years and years, and all it has ever meant is, ‘I’m too uncomfortable when you show your feelings.  Don’t cry.’  I’d rather have them say, ‘Go ahead and cry.  I’m here to be with you.'”  (Mister Rogers)

Seeing with the eyes of your heart

At our Witnesses to Hope meeting this week, Sr. Dorcee spoke about the importance of seeing goodness and beauty in the other and gives tips about how to do that.  If you would like to see or hear the talk, you can go here.  A number of people asked her for this quote, so here it is:

To see that someone is good and to say so is a creative act–one of the great creative acts.  There may be some few individuals who are inescapably evil, but they are few.  Within almost all of us is something positive and unique, but which is all too easily injured, and which only grows when exposed to the sunlight of someone else’s recognition and praise.  To see the good in others and let them see themselves in the mirror of our regard is to help someone grow to become the best they can be.  ‘Greater,’ says the Talmud, ‘is one who causes others to do good than one who does good himself.’  To help others become what they can be is to give birth to creativity in someone else’s soul.  This is done not by criticism or negativity but by searching out the good in others, and helping them to see it, recognize it, own it, and live it.

‘And God saw that it was good’–this too is part of the work of creation, the subtlest and most beautiful of all.  When we recognize the goodness in someone, we do more than create it, we help it to become creative.  This is what God does for us, and what He calls us to do for others.    (Rabbi Jonathan Sacks)

I reach for Mother Mary

“I Shall Not Walk Alone”

Battered and torn
still I can see the light
tattered and worn
but I must kneel to fightFriend of mine
what can’t you spare
I know some times
it gets cold in there

When my legs no longer carry
and the warm wind chills my bones
I reach for Mother Mary
and I shall not walk alone

Hope is alive
while we’re apart
only tears
speak from my heart
break the chains
that hold us down
and we shall be
forever bound

When I’m tired and weary
and a long way from home
I reach for Mother Mary
and I shall not walk alone
I shall not walk alone

Beauty that
we left behind
how shall we
tomorrow find

Set aside
our weight in sin
so that we
can live again

When my legs no longer carry
and the warm wind chills my bones
I reach for Mother Mary
and I shall not walk alone
I shall not walk alone

 

In the Midst of Joy: Everything Sad Becomes Untrue

Sr. Dorcee:

Awake, thou wintry earth!

Originally posted on Barnstorming:

cherrybaker

Just after the climax of the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, Sam Gamgee discovers that his friend Gandalf was not dead (as he thought) but alive.
He cries, “I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?”
The answer of Christianity to that question is – yes.

Everything sad is going to come untrue and it will somehow be greater for having once been broken and lost.

Embracing the Christian doctrines of the incarnation and Cross brings profound consolation in the face of suffering.
The doctrine of the resurrection can instill us with a powerful hope.
It promises that we will get the life we most longed for,
but it will be an infinitely more glorious world
than if there had never been the need for bravery, endurance, sacrifice, or salvation.
~Pastor Tim Keller in Reason for…

View original 205 more words