Thursday, October 30, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Milosz Monday

I have never found Plotinus' definition of spirituality as "the flight of the alone to the alone" to be especially appealing.  Here is Milosz on prayer, as usual doubting and faithful, with the insight that we are all in this together.


You ask me how to pray to someone who is not.
All I know is that prayer constructs a velvet bridge
And walking it we are aloft, as on a springboard,
Above landscapes the color of ripe gold
Transformed by a magic stopping of the sun.
That bridge leads to the shore of Reversal
Where everything is just the opposite and the word is
Unveils a meaning we hardly envisioned.
Notice:  I say we; there, every one, separately,
Feels compassion for others entangled in the flesh
And knows that if there is no other shore
We will walk that aerial bridge all the same.

Monday morning

Friday, October 17, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Milosz Monday

The Church tells us that we are surrounded by angels; at our prayers, at the Eucharist, as we wake and as we sleep.  It is hard to believe in the angels of the liturgy and the Bible; creatures both wonderful and terrible, messengers, guardians and heralds of the Apocalypse.  Pop culture domesticates them into objects of sentiment or sells them to the credulous but spiritually inclined as a kind of personal life coach sent to show you that, in spite of all the available evidence, you really are as special as you always hoped.  I think Milosz in today's poem does a better job than TV or the New Age shelf in your local bookstore telling us where we might find angels today:


All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe you,

There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seams.

Short is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at the close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.

They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for humans invented themselves as well.

The voice---no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with the lightning.

I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:

day draws near
another one
do what you can.

Monday morning

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Milosz Monday (a day late)

Having given up, mostly, on signs and wonders, I read the lives of saints, I read theologians, I read Church Fathers, I look at people hoping that one will have that light, that connection with something that will suddenly make the world a larger and more wonderful place.  Here is a poem by Milosz that says it better:


Come, Holy Spirit,
bending or not bending the grasses,
appearing or not above our heads in a tongue of flame,
at hay harvest or when they plough in the orchards or when snow
covers crippled firs in the Sierra Nevada.
I am only a man:  I need visible signs.
I tire easily, building the stairway of abstraction.
Many a time I asked, you know it well, that the statue in church
lift its hand, only once, just once, for me.
But I understand that signs must be human,
therefore call one man, anywhere on earth,
not me--after all I have some decency--
and allow me, when I look at him, to marvel at you.

Tuesday Morning