A Generous Light

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There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it” Edith Wharton

Candlemas is the final celebration of the forty days of the Christmas Season. It is an occasion to recollect the presentation of the baby at the temple – the light entrusted to Mary and Joseph publically and generously enters the world. This is a ‘feast of mission’. Doubtless, a joyful time for the parents whose journey is only just beginning as the child’s life unfolds. And all are welcome to consider the beauty of this light and the transformational Love that is the heartbeat of this life story, this mystery of life.

It is a rich moment, ripe with meaning and profound foreshadowing. The image of Mary holding her son as a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes calls forward a similar image of her holding him as a man when his body comes down from the cross. The light of Candlemas links the gifts of the womb to the gifts of the tomb. It connects the co-creative promise of birth to the human experience of loss and the hope of renewal. ‘…simple but not easy, this waiting without hunger in the near dark for what you may be about to receive.’ Esther Morgan

May you open your heart and move into the mystery of life through your encounters- your personal experiences with birth, loss and renewal. And, may you find an infilling of presence and inner life flowing in you, with you and through you.

I tell you,
this is how the stars get in your bones.

This is how the brightness
 makes a home in you, as you open to the hope that burnishes
 every fractured thing it finds
 and sets it shimmering,
a generous light that will not cease,
no matter how deep the darkness grows,
no matter how long the night becomes. 

Still, still, still
 the secret of secrets
 keeps turning in you,
becoming beautiful,
becoming blessed,
kindling the luminous way
 by which you will emerge,
carrying your shattered heart
 like a constellation within you,
singing to the day
 that will not fail to come. 

Jan Richardson

 

 

A Time For Remembering

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October 2nd is my father’s birthday. Perhaps I should say was as he died eight years ago. And yet, for me it is his birthday now and forever. It so happens that it has only been since his death that I have become aware that his birthday is in fact the Feast of the Guardian Angel. And along the way, I read that devotion to the angels is, at heart, an expression of faith in G*d’s enduring love and providential care extended to each of us day in and day out. This is of course a beautiful thought and movingly, the same love that anchors my father’s heart in his children.

My dad, like me, was fully human, and so, complex and imperfect. It is amazing to me that as I grow in my ability to welcome my own imperfection, I am able to see him more clearly and love him more dearly. Thus, as I perceive that the interplay of light and shadow is what gives us depth, I am able to see the divine at work in dad and in me. And so, I see that like dad, the light makes its way into the world through my many cracks. I also understand that in being fully human, I wrestle with my imperfections, my demons. Dad’s spirit is intertwined with mine always and the gift of his spirit thrives as everlasting love.

When I think of my dad’s soul light I see clearly what I will call his authentic spiritual literacy; Justness, kindness, love, devotion, nurturing, compassion, and imagination. These are among the qualities that offered meaning to his life and that shined through his life struggles and personal imperfections. In naming his spiritual gifts, I deepen my connection to his spirit as a force ever entwined with my own desire to attend to suffering in my ordinary lived experience. Seen in its purity, this desire asks that I protect the dignity of all beings and challenges me to authentically offer my being as a channel of divine compassion.

Thus, my father’s ordinary life experience full of light and dark; beauty and challenge; love and suffering; presence and distraction, continues to evolve in an eternal way. It mirrors the true, sincere and indissoluble intimacy of a heart seeking to connect and unite itself with the divine heart.

As is customary with feast days, there is a devotion to the Guardian Angel that resonates with my heart’s way of knowing my father. He is ever present in me in deep time – everlasting life. The Devotion reads: “O Angel of God, to whose holy care I am committed by the supernal clemency, enlighten, protect, defend, and govern me. Amen”

 

The Heart of the Empty Tomb

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The heart of the empty tomb is an open circle; entered and exited by him transforming it into a living, moving, spiraling circle. A spiraling circle whose movement is guided forth in, through, and with Love. This sacred process is the ‘revolutionary truth’ of the empty tomb; this divine spiral is ‘a turning around’, ‘a turning from’, ‘a turning toward ‘and ‘a turning on’ – a revolutionary truth revolving in creation through the savior who loves life.

And so this truth – this restoration of creation through incarnation – becomes the fullness of the creator’s intentional closeness to all creation. At the heart of the empty tomb is Love – the eternal heart of the Creator the unending gift of Christ.

The same Love present in my be-ing’s innermost True Self yearning to flow forth. As I accept that life is lived at its fullest and most compassionate, giving itself for the sake of others, I offer my authentic presence to the spiraling circle of the whole (unitive)human story. “This gift, this mercy has been lavished upon us as a result of God in this world and in the world to come.” Thomas Merton

May I learn to know more closely in my heart my divine purpose in life and live this Eastertide more deeply united to love’s authentic presence.

“The great fifty days of Pentecost are an invitation to explore more deeply “the weather of the heart,” to awaken our memory of G*d’s presence and power in our lives, to look more closely at all the rich and varied textures of creation.” Nathan Mitchell