In Memoriam

A number of years ago Easter fell on April 8th, the anniversary of the day my father lost his life in WWII. He was 23 years old, as was my mother. I was 3 months. Periodically, I re-post this and since today is Memorial Day in the USA, I thought I would share it here.

p1020550

April Eighth

An article in the Smithsonian
alluded to the Holy
Shroud of Turin.
The image of Christ
seared radiologically
into a burial cloth.
A violent burst of energy.
A life-seed
in a closed space
blowing out boundaries.
Stories of an empty tomb.

Easter comes early
this year.
Daffodils explode in
the front garden,
sheltered by a warm wall.

April eighth,
nineteen forty-four.
A seed plummets to earth,
wrapped in a metal
death-womb.
Ejaculated from heaven,
it burrows into dank soil.
Buried.
Fragmented.
Combusted in another
surge of energy.

Months go by:
a year to the day.
Someone in the
War Department
types the letter on
a piece of onion-skin paper.
Words smudged by an
over-used ribbon tell
the woman to move on with her life.
The child will never call him
daddy.

Prayer Journaling

follow the light

a-prayer-journal

I’ve been keeping a prayer journal for several years now. This daily ritual helps me remain focused so my mind does not wander. It’s also a record of my requests. I can go back and look at how God has worked in my life. This is part of what I wrote this morning:

Dear Heavenly Father,

It is the dawn of a New Year and I look forward to all the possibilities it holds. But I will need Your perfect guidance in my life. Please be there to silence the lies of the enemy and remind me of whom I am in You. Help me rest in Your truth. Grant me clarity of purpose and the courage to carry out Your will in every aspect of my life.

As I was praying this morning, I was prompted to turn to the prayer I wrote January 1, 2015. Reading that prayer…

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Touch the Dawn

Photo: yala-lala via Deviant Art Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Photo: yala-lala via Deviant Art
Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

In the tender compassion of our God,
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
and to guide our feet into the day of peace.

Luke 1, 78-79

Photo: touch the flame Deviant Art Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Photo: touch the flame
Deviant Art
Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

May the light and peace we need so much be with you, your loved ones and our troubled world. Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

Victoria

God, Are You the One Who is Living Life?

My friend and fellow blogger, Jamie Dedes, posted this Rilke poem today in honor of the feast of Pentecost Sunday–my favorite day in the liturgical cycle. Blessings to you as we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

And yet, though we strain
against the deadening grip
of daily necessity,
I sense there is this mystery:

All life is being lived.

Who is living it, then?
Is it the things themselves,
or something waiting inside them,
like an unplayed melody in a flute?

Is it the winds blowing over the waters?
Is it the branches that signal to each other?

Is it flowers
interweaving their fragrances,
or streets, as they wind through time?

Is it animals, warmly moving,
or the birds, that suddenly rise up?

Who lives it, then? God, are you the one
who is living life?

– Rainer Marie Rilke (1874-1927), Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist, from The Book of Hours, Book 2, Poem 12

Would you share (in comments) the ways in which the Holy Spirit influences your spiritual journey?

April Eighth

 

Art: Karin Kuhlman All Rights Reserved

Art: Karin Kuhlman
All Rights Reserved

April Eighth

An article in the Smithsonian
alluded to the Holy
Shroud of Turin.
The image of Christ
seared radiologically
into a burial cloth.
A violent burst of energy.
A life-seed
in a closed space
blowing out boundaries.
Stories of an empty tomb.

Easter comes early
this year.
Daffodils explode in
the front garden,
sheltered by a warm wall.

April eighth,
nineteen forty-four.
A seed plummets to earth,
wrapped in a metal
death-womb.
Ejaculated from heaven,
it burrows into dank soil.
Buried.
Fragmented.
Combusted in another
surge of energy.

Months go by:
a year to the day.
Someone in the
War Department
types the letter on
a piece of onion-skin paper.
Words smudged by an
over-used ribbon tell
the woman to move on with her life.
The child will never call him
daddy.

This is a poem that I’ve posted before on my poetry blog. I wrote it in a year in which Easter coincided with the anniversary of my father’s death. He was a B-24 pilot in WWII. I never knew him as I was only 3 months old at the time he was lost.

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Bread

Photo: ldsliving.com

Photo: ldsliving.com

Bread

i.
taste buds awaken
to the aroma enveloping our neighborhood
mrs. curry is baking
this morning

ii.
staple of generations
cultures
peoples
“staff of life”
a common denominator
across civilizations

iii.
some people
are like bread
a hard outer crust
protecting
a soft, warm core

iv.
other people
like bread
get stale
if not attended to

v.
sometimes
dough is sweet
sometimes sour
like people

vi.
bread as sacrament
food for the soul
manna
communion
transforming the mundane
into divinity

vii.
bread as dough
show me the money
divine
become
mundane

viii.
some people are like
unleavened bread
a bit dense

ix.
other people
are like yeast
just a lot of hot air
and they know how
to get a rise
out of you

x.
the beauty of bread
is in its texture
and color
rough
smooth
scarred
seedy
black
brown
golden
ruddy
white
like people

xi.
bread is a vehicle
butter
jam
sandwiches

xii.
bread fills
our emptiness
(for a while, anyway)

xiii.
eventually
people learn
bread alone
is not enough.

God–a Lovelorn Teen? God and the Prophets

Photo: dreamstime.com

Photo: dreamstime.com

Most of us, I bet, as teenagers, or even as adults, have had the experience of a lost love. Someone in whom we’ve invested an overdraft of our emotional reserve, of whom  we just couldn’t let go. We imagined the rekindling of that romance, the fulfillment of our deepest wants. And so it is with God.

In June, I made up my mind to study the Bible again with a beginner’s mind. (Beginner’s mind is a Buddhist concept that leaves one open to learning new things, perhaps things we think we already know. It’s one of the more helpful things I learned in my spiritual wanderings. It’s a healthy mindset.)

And so, I decided to read a Psalm a day, a Chapter or so from the prophets, beginning with Isaiah, a short section from the Gospels and the Epistles. The experience, along with the compelling power of the Holy Spirit, brought me “Home” again.

Today, I want to focus on the prophets. I’ve made it up to Hosea but it hasn’t been too easy. Poor God! His chosen people were (are) so stubborn and dense.

Over and over, I read of God’s warnings, threats of gloom and doom, exile, destruction–really grim things–but his people just didn’t get it. It was dreary at times, but then, all of a sudden, God, the passionate Lover, breaks through with his proclamation of crazy love, forgiveness, pity, pleading for his people to come back to him. God never gave up. He just waited and hoped.

His chosen ones  vacillated. When things got really tough, they came grovelling back. They left their idols, their “harlotry” behind and returned to the Lord. But then, when they felt satiated and secure, off they would go in search of whatever it was that attracted them to false gods. So then God would go back into a waiting, threatening, chastising mode. But, bottom line, God never quit trying, never gave up on his beloved.

This has helped me to realize that God’s love for me, for all of us, is just like his love for his chosen people of old. He is always there waiting, forgiving, welcoming–inviting us to celebrate his unending, unfaltering love.

In their affliction, they  shall look for me;

“Come, let us return to the LOrd,

For it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;

He has struck us, but he will bind our wounds…

He will come to us like the rain,

like spring rain that waters the earth.

Hosea 6: 1, 3

Image: Luke15.org

Image: Luke15.org