Saturday, March 21, 2009

Life passing by in a blur

"It is so easy to come to believe that what we do is so much more important that what we are. It is so easy to simply get too busy to grow." Joan Chittister OSB

I began reading Chittister's Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today last week. Friday morning this quote hit me hard. This school year has felt so very much like the life that this describes. I understand that 50-60 hour weeks are in the nature of teaching, but it also seems to be the way that so many people live in general. I can no longer live at this pace, and am stepping down from full time teaching at the end of the school year.

So many things that God has given me delight in doing for Him had to be set aside this year. Even worse, so much that I wanted to learn from God has been also put off for the last four years in the busy-ness of my life, and that saddens me. I expect to find something to do to help pay the bills, but am hoping, praying that the Lord will help me to keep focused on Him, and what He is interested in making me to be.

Susan Price

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another Poem, Mary Oliver

Of course I have always known you
are present in the clouds, and the
black oaks I especially adore, and the
wings of birds. But you are present
too in the body, listening to the body,
teaching it to live, instead of all
that touching, with disembodied joy.
We do not do this easily. We have
lived so long in the heaven of touch,
and we maintain our mutability, our
physicality, even as we begin to
apprehend the other world. Slowly we
make our appreciative response.
Slowly appreciation swells to
astonishment. And we enter the dialogue
Of our lives that is beyond all under-
standing or conclusion. It is mystery.
It is the love of God. It is obedience.

--Mary Oliver, "Six Recognitions of the Lord"

Erica posted some poetry of Oliver's a while back, and so I thought it would be alright if I post some more. The tension that Oliver seems to be exploring in this section of one of her longer poems is that tension between the apophatic and the kataphatic--or between, as Oliver puts it elsewhere, God's "body" and God's "mind" (all metaphors of course). For a poet like Oliver who has explored the "touching" side of spirituality through a mysticism of nature for forty years, this discussion seems like a deep realization. We "listen" for "the other world" and aim for a "dismebodied joy" even as we maintain our "physicality."

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