Christ our PEACE

Twin Brothers in Nicaragua

Twin Brothers in Nicaragua

When I was reading the scriptures in preparation for Eucharist, this passage from Micah jumped out at me:

He shall take his place as shepherd
by the strength of the Lord,
by the majestic name of the Lord, his God;
And they shall dwell securely, for now his greatness
shall reach to the ends of the earth:
he shall be peace. (Micah 5:4)

Eight centuries before the birth of Jesus the Christ, Micah proclaimed peace. The Hebrew word shalom has a richness of meaning that is hard to capture in English—health, wholeness, well-being, Micah is promising us total peace when the Christ reigns. Continue reading

Mockingjay and Advent

Palace at Knossos, Crete Lair of the Minotaur c. J.P. Mahon

Palace at Knossos, Crete
Lair of the Minotaur

Because it had been raining for four consecutive days, we decided to go to the theater and see The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 2. More about that in just a bit.

Ours seem like apocalyptic times—Paris, Mali, San Bernardino, more bombings in Syria by more nations and all that is part and parcel of perpetual war. Prior to going, I had read a blurb on the internet. Donald Sutherland, the notorious President Snow, said that the movie was about war and how we are manipulated into war. We know that perpetual war is a reality for us. It is good for the economy—for a few fat cats without consciences who reap the benefits of war. We know that our leaders, in the pockets of the benefactors of war, play the old Roman game of bread and games. We cheer on the men and women who have been duped into the war game at golf tournaments, baseball games, football games and at airport welcomes. We and they are led to believe that they are fighting for our freedom. Then, in turn we are asked to give up our freedoms in exchange for security. Actually our freedom to manipulate other nations and their national resources is the root cause of war. The Middle East is all about oil and securing and controlling the rights to that oil. Continue reading

Reflection First Sunday Advent

winterplatAdvent has arrived. A new church liturgical year begins. We are on the threshold of a Year of Mercy as proclaimed by Pope Francis.

Advent, like the seasons of the natural year, has its own texture. It takes its texture from the season of winter. In the darkness of dreary wintry days, the sun shines fewer hours and does not provide enough heat to ward off wintry chills.

Winter represents a season when we, like many folk s/heroes, plunge into the dark abyss sometimes called hades or hell. Odysseus had to go into the nether world on his return home. Enter the myth of Persephone. Persephone, the daughter of Demeter and Zeus is abducted by Hades, god of the Underworld. She then reigns as the Queen of the Underworld. Hermes rescues her but she must return each year to Hades: Continue reading

Matthew Fox Confessions

Matthew Fox has edited and updated his Confessions (http://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Revised-Updated-Making-Postdenominational/dp/1583949356/). I appreciate the new book because it brings a lot of things together. Matt reflects his beliefs in original blessing and mysticism.
I have read this and all of Matt’s books over time. I have attended seminars and sessions with Matt where I danced even when I did not want to dance. He introduced me to the concept of original blessings which has prepared me so well for understanding the new cosmology which sees no fall from original grace in the evolutionary cycle. Two years ago Matt was the lead presenter at The Gladdening Light Conference in Winter Park, FL. The final session was the cosmic mass and we did a circle dance at the end. It was a powerful experience. Matt has used the cosmic dance as a vehicle for renewing the liturgy for younger people.
The other important part of confessions Matt dealing with the church. He delineates his struggles which finally led him to becoming a persona non grata in the Roman Church. He became a priest in the Episcopal tradition. I too left the Catholic Church. Having been deeply involved in church renewal efforts, I had an epiphany of sorts. I one day realized that the church was not going to change in my lifetime. There would still be homophobia, patriarchy which denies priesthood to women, and decrees such as the New Missal handed down from on high.
In conclusion, Matt has been one of my mentors along with Thomas Merton, John Dear, and Daniel Berrigan. Matt, keep on keeping on.

The Cosmic Christ Rules

Light in Darkness--Moonrise c. J. Patrick Mahon, 2015

Light in Darkness–Moonrise
c. J. Patrick Mahon, 2015

The liturgical calendar is bringing us to the end of one season and is preparing us for the next season—Advent. Today we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King which is a rather modern feast (Pius XI in 1925) designed to combat atheistic materialism.

We are not much into kings these days; however, there is a deeper significance to the symbolism of Christ the King. Christ the King armors us with hope for the dark days of Advent-Winter. Continue reading

The Rainbow

RainbowNovember 18 ushered in a very stormy day with high winds, tornados, and torrential rains. We were spared the harshest effects of this weather in Young Harris; however, it was a stormy, dreary day with occasional visits from the sun. I was headed east out of downtown Young Harris when I spotted the largest, most pronounced rainbow I have ever seen. All the colors of the spectrum surrounded by dark black storm clouds. Being a photographer, I said, “I wish I could get a picture of that.” I had forgotten that the camera that you have with you is the best camera. I then pulled off the road to a safe place and took photographs of the rainbow with my IPhone 6s. Later in the day I edited the photo and posted it on Facebook. Continue reading

Hope amid Darkness

 

STS_119 Launch March 15

STS_119 Launch March 15

As we approach Advent where we delve deep into darkness. The liturgical calendar focuses our attention on the end times. The horrific attack on humanity in Paris last week immerses us in evil, darkness that abounds. We sense that we are living in “end times.”

How we react to end times and dark evil is up to us. The Bible tells us that we have choices–life and death–and enjoins us to choose life. Continue reading

Merton New Seeds of Contemplation

BB1Merton’s Chapter 10, “A Body of Broken Bones,” in New Seeds of Contemplation is very poignant. Here are a few excerpts:

As long as we are not purified by the love of God and transformed into Him in the union of pure sanctity, we will remain apart from one another, opposed to one another, and union among us will be a precarious and painful thing, full of labor and sorrow and without lasting cohesion.
All over the face of the earth the avarice and lust of men breed unceasing divisions among them, and the wounds that tear men from union with one another widen and open out into huge wars. Murder, massacres, revolution, hatred, the slaughter and torture of the bodies and souls of men, the destruction of cities by fire, the starvation of millions, the annihilation of populations and finally the cosmic inhumanity of atomic war: Christ is massacred in His members, torn limb from limb; God is murdered in men.

As long as we are on earth, the love that unites us will bring us suffering by our very contact with one another, because this love is the resetting of a Body of broken bones. Even saints cannot live with saints on this earth without some anguish, without some pain at the differences that come between them. There are two things which men can do about the pain of disunion with other men. They can love or they can hate.

The root of Christian love is not the will to love, but the faith that one is loved. The faith that one is loved by God. That faith that one is loved by God although unworthy—or, rather, irrespective of one’s worth! In the true Christian vision of God’s love, the idea of worthiness loses its significance. Revelation of the mercy of God* makes the whole problem of worthiness something almost laughable: the discovery that worthiness is of no special consequence (since no one could ever, by himself, be strictly worthy to be loved with such a love) is a true liberation of the spirit . And until this discovery is made, until this liberation has been brought about by the divine mercy, man is imprisoned in hate.
IF you want to know what is meant by “God’s will” in man’s life, this is one way to get a good idea of it. “God’s will” is certainly found in anything that is required of us in order that we may be united with one another in love.
For Christianity is not merely a doctrine or a system of beliefs, it is Christ living in us and uniting men to one another in His own Life and unity. “I in them, and Thou, Father , in Me, that they may be made perfect in One…. And the glory which Thou hast given me I have given them, that they may be One as we also are One.” In hoc cognoscent omnes quia mei estis discipuli, si dilectionem habueritis ad invicem. “In this shall all men know that you are my disciples— if you have love one for another.”

  • In the bible, hesed refers to the loving action of God in us as God brings us to new life. Hesed has been translated as mercy, loving kindness and steady love. I like to think of hesed as a verb—God heseds us into life. I believe Merton’s concept of mercy, about which he often writes, captures the full meaning of God’s action in us.

 

Wild Goose 2

Geese on Parade c. J. Patrick Mahon

Geese on Parade
c. J. Patrick Mahon

A week ago this morning we were still in Hot Springs, NC for the conclusion of the Wild Goose Festival (WGF). All week my mind has been going back to Hot Springs. I flew back like a wild goose this morning when I read the readings for Good Shepherd Sunday.

In Jeremiah 23 the prophet laments the fact that the shepherds have deserted and betrayed the sheep. Wild Goose was a reminder about how the shepherds have often deserted the sheep. I shared my previous reflection and one person picked up on the theme of how institutional religion has deserted the people. What should be a refuge, a banquet amid trials and turmoil according to Psalm 23, has morphed into an exclusive club where only the best of the kowtowing (sheeptowing?) are welcome. Religion has become creeds, codes, rules, and regulations. Follow the rules or you are out. Continue reading