A Sacramental

It is Advent
and I am cleaning out the desk.
I find expired coupons,
obsolete proofs of purchase,
useless how-to manuals.

Beneath unopened instructional cd’s
and old, unframed photos
a gem is gleaming and I open it:

May Christ and all the angels linger long
in September’s slanting light;
gathering around your nebulous charity
that once again said ‘yes’
to becoming
the vessel for life
and loving those who become; 

May the days that seem impossible
be few and fleeting.
May the forgiving be creative!
The Beauty Immense.

These verses fall
out of the cardstock
and into my lap,
a precious gift,
a visible sign of invisible grace
carrying me through
another birth,
another recovery,
another disorienting,
treacherous leap into
motherhood,
God getting to me
through the careful crafting of words
and friendship,
his presence made manifest in love
shared and received
like the sacramentals of daily living,
the bread and wine, the coffee and cake, the letters and poems,
the words that feed and give, restore and reawaken.

I find jealousy, greed, and vanity,
envy, pride, and selfishness
stacked and piled high on this old soul.
It is Advent
and I am uncovering a gleaming gem.

 

About the Poem:

The letter in this poem is five years old.  It inspires me each time I uncover it.  My dear friend, Cynthia, sent it to me after the birth of my third child.  If you’ve never received a letter like this, write one, and send it out into the world.  If you’ve ever received a letter like this, write and send at least ten of them!

Cynthia blogs at The Mad-Eyed Monk.  Visit and be inspired!

Thomas Merton

Hi, Friends,

I’ve been slowing down and practicing aparigraha to the best of my ability.  Every moment can be challenging!  I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes.  Let’s use it as food for the Advent journey.

Image result for contentment
via google images

 

“One who is content with what he has and who accepts the fact that he inevitably misses very much in life is far better off than the one who has much more but who worries about all he might be missing.  For we cannot make the best of what we are if our heart are always divided between what we are and what we are not. 

We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity.  Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.  Let us therefore learn to pass from one imperfect activity to another without worrying too much about what we are missing.”

~ Thomas Merton

 

Of Food and Grace

I love that Jesus is fearful.

He climbs the mountain and sits down.
The needy crowd follows him and sits at his feet waiting
and he heals them, speaks of their suffering,
tells his disciples his heart is sick.

He fears they will collapse for lack of food.

Could he assuage their hunger
as he heals their ills?  He doesn’t.
He uses real food.
I use real food.

This must be the oneness of divinity and humanity.

What about when you swirl the hot pan with oil,
when you peel, slice, and chop the sweet onion,
when you sauté everything you have prepared and marinated,
is it not real food?

This is sacramental.

We are hungry children, a needy crowd.
How fearful we are when everyone is waiting
for us to provide and heal.  And yet we feed
and heal and love through this sacrament of bread and fish

of food and grace.