The Pope at Lampedusa

My suffering is in God. My suffering is God.

Meister Eckhart

Wow! This mind-blowing koan worth is wrestling with. I will probably wind up wounded like Jacob before the koan turns me loose.

The first thing that comes to mind is something I think I first heard from Richard Rohr—God comes to us disguised as our life. Then, I think of the Buddha and his teaching that suffering, which is part of life, comes from attachment. This squares quite nicely with Eckhart’s teaching in The Book of Consolation. Eckhart says that when we focus on something other than God, we open the door to suffering. He goes on to say that God suffers but to God suffering is not suffering. It is joy. Finally, my mind flits back to the inscription over the gate to the monastic enclosure at the Abbey of gethsemane in Kentucky—God Alone!  When we focus on God Alone our suffering turns to compassion and mercy is the very being and life of God. This is as far as I have come with “understanding” Eckhart’s koan. Continue reading

Hildegard–Justice and Compassion

I am reading Matthew Fox’s new book, Hildegard of Bingen: A Saint for Our Times and I highly recommend it.  Hildegard (b. 1098) now joins Catherine of Siena, Teresa of Avila, and Therese of Lisieux as a doctor in the church. I agree with Matt Fox. If the pope and his curia really understood Hildegard, they never would have elevated her to sainthood—maybe this is why it took eight centuries!

Hildegard wrote, drew mandalas, composed beautiful music (Listen to her Spiritus Sanctus, and spoke truth to power, both secular and ecclesiastical leaders. Her writings indicate that she is indeed a saint for our time, truly a saint for our nation in 2012 amid the turmoil of a hotly contested election. Continue reading

Mercy within Mercy within Mercy

Daniel 9:4b-10 is a profound acknowledgement of sinfulness. God is just, merciful and compassionate and we have rebelled. What sin? We usually think of sin as an individual, private matter. Sin also has communal or corporate aspects. In spite of what we may have retained from our catechism training, there is more to sin than the Sixth Commandment. Daniel has a profound concept of sin:

We have sinned, been wicked and done evil;
we have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws.
We have not obeyed your servants the prophets,
who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes,
our fathers, and all the people of the land.
Justice, O Lord, is on your side;
we are shamefaced even to this day: Continue reading