Rainbow of Hope
c. J., Patrick Mahon, 2013
Often we experience angst—alienation, fear, and dread because of what life throws at us. Eckhart said, “God is in my suffering. God is my suffering.” God is my suffering. This is where we find God, or rather, where God finds us. Our suffering brings us face to face with our own futility and nothingness.
Recently, as I have continued to learn about prayer, I have rediscovered Karl Rahner, the influential German theologian from the 20th century. Rahner is the person who charted the course for religion and spirituality in the 21st century, “The Christian of the 21st century will be a mystic or not be at all.” Rahner the mystic is still somewhat like Rahner the theologian with long sentences translated from German. He has to be read slowly because he writes with poetic metaphoric beauty about the indescribable—our union with God. Thomas Merton, by contrast, seems to have been more reluctant to write about the indescribable. Yes, he does explore prayer but the only prayer he recommends is the Jesus Prayer—the prayer of the heart. “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner.” Prayer is not to get what we want but to be what God wants. Continue reading
It is really a shame that the washing of the feet from John’s Gospel did not become a sacrament in the church. This act epitomizes what Jesus then and the Risen Christ now is all about. Christianity and indeed all religion should be about service. It should be about alleviating human misery. The Eucharist we eat and during this day demands that we bring the unction of healing to a suffering world. The Good Friday Ecumenical Walk in Melbourne, Florida will do just this. We will find the Risen Christ in the veterans, the homeless, the hungry, the immigrants, and those who serve as government officials. Our walk will take us to the fringes where people struggle daily just to survive. We hope our visit, our singing, and our praying will be a ray of hope amid the darkness of suffering and poverty.
I sense that the Holy Spirit is alive and well and is bringing a new focus to catholic Christianity which in reality affects all Christianity. Pope benedict XVI canonized the trouble making mystic Hildegard of Bingen and Matt Fox wonders whether he really understood what Hildegard was all about. I am beginning to wonder whether the Cardinals knew what Francis I would be all about.
I am going to stop writing and simply insert Francis I’s Holy Thursday homily. He is speaking to priests but, then again, we all share in the priesthood of Christ. His homily will help us grow in our experience of the Risen Christ (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/francesco/homilies/2013/documents/papa-francesco_20130328_messa-crismale_en.html)
Seated Buddha at White Sands Buddhist Center, Mims, FL
Today’s readings from the Book of Wisdom and John describe rejection and frustration. Wisdom speaks eloquently about the plight of every prophet. Prophets and poets feed our souls. They challenge us to be more than what we are. They beckon us to live up to the image of the Living god within our hearts. What do we do? We close our ears. We refuse to listen. If they really venture deep into our comfort zones, we plot ways to be rid of them. As the Southern churchgoer once yelled at the country preacher, “Reverend, you’ve gone from preaching to meddling.” We do not want poets and prophets to mess with our lives, our ways of thinking, our ways of doing things. We want to tiptoe through life feeling comfortable. We want to avoid angst. We eschew suffering. Continue reading