On the way home

I’ll be on my way in an hour to the ordination at Garden City.  Five men and women, each of whom I have worked with to a greater or lesser extent on their way toward ordained ministry, will kneel before the bishop today and begin that good work.  Their personalities are different.  Their backgrounds are quite diverse.   I suspect that their understandings of what might lie ahead differ as well.
But all of them have met Jesus Christ and have been attracted at depth level to him, to his mission.  In there they see something of what their life can mean, where their lives can find and transmit meaning.  It has to do with service.  It has to do with availability.  It has to do with love.
That last is spectacularly important.  It is the central means and mystery.  Is there life at all without love?  Is there such a thing as a real human life that is not touched and embraced and colored and enhanced and energized by love?  Even those lives that seem the most bereft of that blessing, who seem most alone, find their origin – or if not even their original, at least their goal – in love.
What was his name, the young Philadelphia Jesuit who taught at the Gregorian when I was a student there.  Phil was his first name.  Ah yes!  Phil Rosato I am reliably told! He was one of the young faculty then.  I found out last year that he has died.  How silently the years and our lives pass on from us.  But Phil presented to us a marvelous vision, perhaps not devised by him, but passed on by him to us effectively, of the great circle of life.  I suppose it later was set to music in the Lion King!  We come from God.  Our lives are at their best when they are a learning of our origin and a yearning to return to that beginning point and to arrive at last (thank you TS Elliot) where we had begun.
Just yesterday I was reading Frederick Buechner’s book on midlife that he wrote in his early 60’s.  It opens with a beautiful reflection on what ‘home’ is, where in our memories our first home was, and how the greatest depth of home is at the last not found here at all.  The ultimate home is in the presence of that One whom – receiving all our tradition and doctrine and attempts at elucidation – we cannot see or name or domesticate in our presence.
This morning these five at the cathedral will take a big step toward home.  Both for themselves, and for all who will look to them in effect to say, “Can you point the way home?”
The best response of all to that deep human question is something like, “I cannot point it out as well as I would like, but I will walk there with you.”

A shared consideration of friendship as prayer

” … friendship is, at its best, a prayer.

“It is, after all, an act of faith.  It is sacred.  It is an epistle, delivered from one person to another.  In its best moments, friendship is a canticle that celebrates, a parable that teaches.  In the close proximity of a friend, you find a cathedral where promises are kept, and a chapel where tears are shed.  Friendship is a responsorial psalm: one heart speaks, another responds, and in the silences in between we hear something of God.”

~ Greg Kandra,

“Friendship Is a Prayer,” America March 17, 2003

When I read this, the faces and voices of so many friends come to mind. Thank you for helping me to pray.

A Sonnet for Nicholas Ferrar of Little Gidding, on his feast day

Malcolm Guite

Little Gidding and Nicholas Ferrar's monument Little Gidding and Nicholas Ferrar’s monument

Nicholas Ferrar Nicholas Ferrar

The Church of England keeps December 4th as the feast day of Nicholas Ferrar, the devout Anglican who founded the Community of Little Gidding in the early seventeenth century. Ferrar was trying to find a fruitful via media between protestant and catholic understandings of what it is to be Christian. As a member of a reformed church he and his community were devoted to reading the scriptures in their own language, to sharing their faith, and to worshipping together in the beautiful services of the Book of Common Prayer. But he was also keen to preserve and explore the Catholic heritage of community life, the daily offices of prayer, and praise, the pattern of Benedictine work and prayer, rooted in the psalms and the gospels. in holding these together he was recovering and preserving what he called. ‘The right good old way’…

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After the Election

A meditation on the worth of meditation in a big-world moment like the US election – offered by an English (I believe) Benedictine priest and worth a few moments of your time.

The immediate post-election comments by the President, the President-elect and the defeated candidate were more gracious and civilised than anything during the campaign over the past eighteen month…

Source: After the Election