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Nuclear Nun

Weapons of Mass destruction are intrinsically evil. An 82 year old Holy Child Jesus Sister, Megan RIce, violated the inner sanctum, supposedly inviolable, of a nuclear weapons facility to make that point by spilling blood inside.  She exposed the wasteful, sinful existence of a weapons system that we have forgotten about and exposed how vulnerable that system is to terrorists. Her community and she and her companions, should be congratulated.

Write Down the Vision

After complaining the usual complaint, why do the wicked prosper? Habbakuk TODAY concludes with this MOST helpful bit of scripture that I know…the vision is delayed and gets further and further away below the horizon when all the time we thought it was coming over the horizon. So today I am reminded:
I will stand at my guard post,
  and station myself upon the rampart,
And keep watch to see what he will say to me,
  and what answer he will give to my complaint.
Then the Lord answered me and said:
  Write down the vision
Clearly upon the tablets,
  so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
  presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
If it delays, wait for it,
  it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash man has no integrity;
  but the just man, because of his faith, shall live.

1984 Sally Fields made what seemed like one of the “save the farm” movies prevailing then. But it was about the Eucharist, John 6 especially. Highly recommended and I say no more. Spoilers. But you must wait to the last few minutes. I had people stop me and the nuns I was with after the movie. They wanted to know what was going on.

Edith Stein

About this day in 1942 Edith Stein and her sister Rosa were murdered in Auschwitz. They were both Catholics, Edith a Carmelite nun. She would have been a philosopher (as chief assistant to Husserl) but being a woman blocker her career. She was a superb teacher at a convent school in Speyer but Jews were barred from teaching so she was left free to  join the convent. She was an advocate for women, wrote a letter on the persecution of the Jews that was smuggled to Pius XI. She begged him to speak out and said that silence would be a scandal.

When the Dutch bishops did speak out, the Nazis retaliated by rounding up all the converts from Judaism and Edith now in a Dutch convent was among those arrested. Etty Hillesum notes their arrival in the camp she worked in at the time.

I was  chaplain to the secular…at home Carmelites…in Hawaii…three Sundays I had back to back Masses…so many signed up…at Halawa Medium Security prison and one Sunday Mass and conferences for the lay Carmelites. After two or three parishes Masses and as tired as I was, it was my joy. Someone on the scene when I got back to the parish after Carmel said I looked “radiant” every time. I may have because it was a brilliant way of grace after a hard weekend.

I highly recommend the secular branch of the Carmelites. Edith Stein pray for us!

Resistance

There is a no fly zone for our egos. Pain comes from the ego. It is nevertheless something to be dealt with though some spiritual directors are content to point this out…(Tony Demello???) and then walk away, problem solved!!!??? On the other hand, even the most tender invitation to consider something that the ego does not want out into the light despite the pain will be turned down. So an issue gets raised and raised but despite the constant circling of the problem, a kind of amnesia sets in and the problem is dropped. *JUST*LIKE*THAT*
*Indeed*
This ego thing is the major forum for dialogue. Priests and other “helper” types think that the helping they do registers. It does not because of the source of the pain. The ego, being the ego expects to be helped, so the helper is only doing the logical and just thing. Overcoming this would mean that the helped would become grateful. Very rare, this. That is why thanksgiving, gratitude, “Eucharist” (which means thanks in Greek), is a real virtue.
St Paul was very good at giving thanks. Jesus takes the bread, gives thanks, and gives the bread away. More giving of the bread would happen if there were more thanksgiving. I suppose.
I had students in religion class write down three things they were glad that had happened the day before…they had hundreds of things on their list before a few months were up. I saw someone …not in my class…had actually published their list. They made money from their gratitude.

  1. THE EDUCATION OF HENRY ADAMS by Henry Adams how to share a life with an original thinker. His book on Chartres etc well worn. This one less so.
  2. THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE by William James I wondered how so many American writers knew John of the Cross (Hemingway AND TS Eliot) and this book is the answer. If only Catholics were as well informed, attracted. 
  3. UP FROM SLAVERY by Booker T. Washington In fourth grade, our public school was integrated. We had a very progressive principal who in practice started  Black History courses for us…the media room was next door to our classroom and Booker T Washington was one of the great stories we got.
  4. A ROOM OF ONE’S OWN by Virginia Woolf   Me and Ms Woolf have been looking for this forever.
  5. SILENT SPRING by Rachel Carson My Mom in pest control I caught reading this book, her enemy who eventually converted her. The Sea Around us was MY book and I still reread it.
  6. SELECTED ESSAYS, 1917-1932 by T. S. EliotWhat a great read. Over and over again.
  7. THE DOUBLE HELIX by James D. Watson What a story about very human non cartesian scientists.
  8. SPEAK, MEMORY by Vladimir Nabokov How did VN survive the destruction of this incredible world.
  9. THE AMERICAN LANGUAGE by H. L. Mencken Pure joy.
  10. THE GENERAL THEORY OF EMPLOYMENT, INTEREST, AND MONEY by John Maynard Keynes I thought I had wasted time on Keynes so passe’ during the Bushky era but Lo! Paul Krugman and the the disaster of 2008+++ makes JMK relevant again.
  11. THE LIVES OF A CELL by Lewis Thomas I thought only I knew about Thomas…fantastic writer…and part time…busy research doctor.
  12. THE FRONTIER IN AMERICAN HISTORY by Frederick Jackson Turner Know nothing of this.
  13. BLACK BOY by Richard Wright Sorry nothing about this either.
  14. ASPECTS OF THE NOVEL by E. M. Forster Modest title by a genius.
  15. THE CIVIL WAR by Shelby Foote Spent a couple of summers dragging David Valtierra around battle fields until we got to Appomatox and DV surrendered.
  16. THE GUNS OF AUGUST by Barbara Tuchman she is the epitome of the so-called amateur. We need more. I love this book about sheer ugly stupidity and immorality….World War I is not over yet….The Middle East you know.
  17. THE PROPER STUDY OF MANKIND by Isaiah Berlin Humble genius I think
  18. THE NATURE AND DESTINY OF MAN by Reinhold Niebuhr Just used RN for the blessing at Wesleyan Commencement.

The book of the Bible used the most in worship is the book of Psalms.

I could never “sell” a workshop on the psalms so I disguised the topic by saying the workshop was about praying with the whole self.  Here is today’s psalm.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 69:15-16, 30-31, 33-34
R. (14c) Lord, in your great love, answer me.
Rescue me out of the mire; may I not sink!
may I be rescued from my foes,
and from the watery depths.
Let not the flood-waters overwhelm me,
nor the abyss swallow me up,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
But I am afflicted and in pain;
let your saving help, O God, protect me.
I will praise the name of God in song,
and I will glorify him with thanksgiving.
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.”
R. Lord, in your great love, answer me.

Sarah Dylan Breuer

This is a homily on the raising of Lazarus preached by Sarah who is an Episcopalian. I believe she lost a child and this homily comes from that experience and her faith. And there is something more than that, even, something more fundamental to the order of the universe: that God is redeeming the universe God made and loves. When we cry out from the depths, God hears. When Jesus seems slow in coming, he is coming nonetheless. And if we worry that it is too late, Jesus shows that it is never too late. After we have become convinced that all is lost, when we are ready to concede to death and are seeking only to contain the damage or bury it, Jesus demonstrates that there is no loss, no death, no tragedy, no depth, no power in heaven or on earth on under the earth that can place a person, a situation, or a world beyond God’s redemption, beyond the reach of infinite love and abundant life.

Open every dark place to light and air; this is the time to uncover and unbind!

the green of jesus
is breaking the ground
and the sweet
smell of delicious jesus
is opening the house and
the dance of jesus music
has hold of the air and
the world is turning
in the body of jesus and
the future is possible

— lucille clifton, “spring song,” good woman:
poems and a memoir 1969 – 1980

The class of 2015 will be the class that celebrates the 1000 th anniversary of the Magna Charta. I posted my regrets some year s ago about the demise of the Great Charter the foundation of our Bill of Rights, especially due process, trial by jury. Drones are now the executor of the law as judge, jury, and prosecutor. We are protecting ourselves by ditching our way of life. The bad guys win.

Hitler did this in World War ii. The Blitz was a horrific crime against civilians. And we imitated Hitler by retaliating the same way. Superconservative theologians were appalled at the destruction of our just war theology which was the basis for Christians NOT to turn the other cheek but to return good for evil. Now it is evil for evil.

It will be a long three years between now and 2015.

Our Lady of Mt Carmel

Besides a great summer festival in Italian neighborhoods, this is a great day to mark in the history of the desert spirituality for Christians. The Carmelites have tons of saints, classic books, and an appeal to both men and women. There are secular Carmelites…at home, married or single. I was chaplain for them for many years and though the meetings were on Sunday afternoons and I was shot, I always came home joyful. So of course I miss them.
You might want to know that the Carmelites consider Elijah their founder. He is also an Old Testament saint. In the East you did not need to be a Christian to be a saint. The Chariots of Fire movie took its name from the Elijah story. And the cycle of stories shape the Gospels also. Great day…

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