Friday, October 9, 2015

It's So Simple

I hope that all of you who are reading this post are well.  You might wonder why I am writing in this frank style.  I'll just come right out and say it: I am leaving New Camaldoli Hermitage.  My postulancy has already ended.  I will not be continuing on into the novitiate.  However, I am still here at this Camaldolese hermitage, and I do not have plans to leave here right away.  

Some of you likely are wondering at this point about my status here at the hermitage.  Therefore, I will take a few moments to clarify my current standing here; then I'll move on to explaining when and why I'm leaving, and why this lovely place and these remarkable people here are so important to me.  


Since I'm no longer a postulant, I'm no longer in formation here.  Postulants and monks in simple vows, that is, temporary vows, are being formed, shaped and guided in adjusting to living this monastic life.  Given that I'm not in formation anymore, I won't be attending formation classes.  Nor will I be attending the roughly monthly formation dinner, which is attended by the monks who run the formation program, and by the men who are still in formation, when they're here at the hermitage.  Nor will I be attending a formation collatio, that is, communal lectio divina, for men in formation.  

Since I'm no longer a postulant, I am no longer wearing the light cream-colored smock which had been my signature piece of monastic clothing during Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.  Thus I will no longer be fielding questions from retreatants, that is, our overnight guests, and other visitors to the hermitage about the smock!  People have often asked me why I had been the only one amongst the monks who was wearing a smock which only came down to my hips, while all of the monks were wearing habits which ended at their ankles.  One playful monk here, when in a mischevious mood, liked to answer that question for me by claiming that I had to wear the smock as a punishment!  I would then sometimes add that I had gone too far with my bad jokes and the monks were punishing me for my horrible sense of humor!  

To continue with what has just changed for me here at the hermitage, I am no longer sitting with the monks during Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours.  In the church, there are two sets of seats which face each other in rows.  In the innermost row on each side sit the monks.  When I was a postulant, I sat in one of those innermost rows right next to the monks.  Now I sit in one of the rows behind them, where the retreatants and our other visitors sit.  

I'm still on the work schedule.  So I'll still be working in the bookstore.  I still might be assigned to wash pots and pans and dishes.  I might still be assigned to clean the library or the monks' recreation room.  I could still be assigned to drive up and down our two-mile long driveway either bringing down our outgoing mail, retrieving our incoming mail, or carting our trash and recyclables to the dumpsters down there.  

I'll still continue driving one of the monks to his doctors' appointments, as I have been doing periodically for the last couple of months.  Incidentally, it is rather unusual for a postulant to be leaving the hermitage as often as I was doing.  If I had continued as a postulant, I would have started making fewer of those trips.  However, given that I am no longer going to be a postulant, I will continue driving him to his appointments as long as he needs me to do so, while I am still here at the hermitage, as one of my work assignments.  

At the hermitage there is a program called "Ora et Labora," which is Latin for "Prayer and Work."  Men who don't necessarily feel called to become monks, but who are interested in coming and living the monastic life here, may come here and work as volunteers and pray with the monks.  Essentially I'm in the status of a participant in the Ora et Labora program at this point.  It looks like at some point before the end of the year, I'll leave the hermitage.  I imagine that at least some of you are wondering what will be next for me.  


I have been feeling drawn to return to active ministry serving poor people.  Thinking back all the way to when I was a PCT (Peace Corps Trainee), during my first couple of months in Morocco, before I even became a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer), I remember saying to one of my fellow PCTs, Tory, that I was enthusiastic at the idea of volunteering over and over.  I've thought too of the time period soon after I had returned to the states from Morocco, as I was applying to volunteer programs in which I could serve poor folks here in the states.  I was excited to repeatedly volunteer.  After I had been accepted into the Lasallian Volunteers program and had started teaching 7th graders at a Catholic middle school in a neighborhood prone to gang activity on the south side of Chicago, I had a conversation with my sister which has been recently echoing in my mind.  She asked me what I had most enjoyed doing.  I knew that serving the poorest people, while living as simply as possible, was where I had felt most alive.  As I finished my year volunteering as a teacher in Chicago, I said to one of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, with whom I had been living in spiritual community, with a sigh of relief and relaxation, that I could just keep volunteering.  And then at numerous points during my observership and my postulancy, I often thought of volunteering again.  

I have enjoyed volunteering for many reasons.  I have served others.  In particular, I have served poor persons.  I've felt more and more satisfaction as I've served those who are more and more impoverished.  While volunteering, I have lived simply.  In volunteering, I've tried to humble myself.  As a PCV, I enjoyed much solitude, and, consequently, much silence and stillness.  I capitalized on that solitary, still, silent life to read the entire Bible and many other books, and more and moreso, spiritual writings, particularly Christian writings, given that I'm Christian, and, more specifically, Catholic.  I further plumbed the depths of my spirit by studying The Word of God and meditating upon it.   Thus I lived in conditions in which I was practicing spiritual disciplines which I not only greatly enjoyed, but which positioned me well to be able to listen to God with fewer distractions.  Thus as a PCV I enjoyed elements of my life which were essentially monastic.  

Thus I began considering whether God had been calling me to become a monk.  I began visiting monasteries.  Eventually I entered an observership here at the hermitage, in which I was observing this monastic life more closely, over a period of slightly more than two months.  I requested, and was granted, a postulancy, being able to live here as a postulant, that is, as someone who figuratively knocks and asks if he or she is indeed called to become a member of a specific religious community; in my particular case, I have been living here at this hermitage, and during my postulancy, I was inquiring if I was called to become a monk here.  

I have certainly enjoyed many aspects of the monastic life here.  The monks and I all live in our own separate cells, which are basically separate cottages.  Thus we live in solitude.  Consequently we live in silence.  Here one can sit in stillness for significant periods of time, in which one can be more attentive to God's presence and what God is trying to communicate.  While we live in solitude here, we also enjoy spiritual community here.  We celebrate daily Mass together and we chant and otherwise recite the Liturgy of the Hours together here.  We share lunch together everyday, which is a silent meal only twice a week.  We go on recreational outings together at least once a month.  I have greatly enjoyed all of these facets of this monastic life here.  

Yet I've been missing ministering to impoverished people.  Indeed, not only do I miss serving poor folks, I have come to acknowledge recently that a large degree of my passion rests in serving poor persons.  


You might be wondering why I don't look into joining a religious order which serves impoverished people.  I have.  

I contacted four orders which minister to poor persons overseas.  All four inquiries ended up with doors closed to me.  

I also looked into religious orders here in the states which serve very poor people.  In the religious orders serving impoverished persons where the monks, friars and brothers live the most simply, they also have age limits which I've already passed.  

Given that I'm no longer going to be in a religious order, which means that I'll no longer be taking a vow of chastity, I imagine that some of you might wonder if I'll get married.  I certainly won't rule it out as a possibility; I can see myself potentially married.  However, while I do desire connection involving intimacy, romance, commitment, mutual support, understanding through shared values, and affection, I am conscious that I don't want those desires to rule me.  A much deeper, and much more profound, desire burns in me to live simply while serving poor persons.  


I've often wondered how to communicate the intensity of the energy and love I sometimes feel for various endeavors and people, including my love of impoverished persons.  I've also often wondered, after occasionally feeling bursts of such energetic and dynamic love, if I would ever harness that tremendous energy, if I would ever focus it, channel it, direct it and apply it.  Due to common misconceptions, I hesitate, and thus gingerly introduce the term "eros" here.  The word "eros" applies much more broadly than many people think.  Many people conceive of eros as applying solely to sexual energy.  Certainly eros encompasses sexual energy.  However, it also includes within its scope our creative energy.  It is in this sense of a powerful life-giving force which supplies us with our creative energy, that I will use the term "eros" here.  It is in this sense that I analogize to the eros in me when I think of the one horse with all of the energy, in the team of four horses working together, in the film "Ben-Hur."  I think of that one energetic horse as a symbol for my eros.  

Some people might wonder why I came here to this hermitage.  I definitely think that in coming here to the hermitage as an observer, and also returning here to the hermitage as a postulant, I did not make mistakes.  I was seeking monastic elements of life which I had enjoyed in Morocco.  Very recently I have come to see stillness and silence as counterweights to my eros, in effect moderating my eros, the passionate excitement and unbridled energy I have to serve poor people.  If we don't control, that is, focus and channel, and thus properly express our passions, they can undo us.  In my reading of the third-century and fourth-century and fifth-century spiritual teachers Origen, Evagrius, John Cassian and the Desert Fathers, for the classes I've taken as a postulant here at the hermitage, I've learned about the dangers of disordered passions, how to conceptualize them, and practical strategies for managing them.  Saint Romuald, the founder of the Camaldolese Congregation of monks, a half millenium later, wisely counseled, "Sit in your cell as in paradise."  Sit in stillness.  Be silent.  Listen.  Calm yourself.  Exercise discipline.  Moderate yourself so as to make wise, prudent decisions.  Over the last few years, I've increasingly come to focus more intensely on such interiority.  I've come to conclude that interiority is part of the proper foundation for doing anything.  Attend to the inner life, and the outer life will be properly ordered.  

Thus, I feel that in deciding to leave here with the fruits of this contemplative life, is, in a way, reflective of the approach which is often advocated by contemplatives.  Sometimes contemplatives encourage others to go into solitude, silence and stillness as they themselves do.  Then, out of their contemplative treasure trove, they bring the gems and treasures they have realized there, to be shared and applied and invested in a life of more actively ministering to others.  Thus I've come to analogize and see contemplative practices as analogous to the calmer, more steady horse of the four horses in the team in "Ben-Hur."  The contemplative tendencies in me moderate the unbridled eros which is being expressed in my excitement and eagerness to pour out myself in serving impoverished people.  

I've also thought recently of the Prophet Elijah journeying into the wilderness.  He lay down and, it seemed, was being not only counseled, but advised, even perhaps urged, by an angel of God, "Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you!"  He got up, ate, and drank; then, strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God.  1 Kings 19:7-8.  I am again speaking symbolically.  Get up and eat.  Drink, absorb the silence, solitude and stillness as nourishment.  Inhale, take in, learn from the silence and solitude and stillness as tools you can use on the journey.  I feel as if God has told me, you need these tools, or else the journey will be too much for you.  

In the film "Ben-Hur," the main character, named Judah Ben-Hur, tells the horse with so much energy, "It is nine times around the circus," meaning there are nine laps to complete.  I've imagined that chariot race in which Judah guides the horses as an analogy to me repeatedly volunteering.  Each time the charioteers completed a lap, a large golden fish sculpture was turned over, signifying the completion of that lap.  I've imagined that as I complete a term of volunteer service, one of those fish is turned over.  I've considered how to properly channel the eros in me, the creative energy and excitement and ambition in me, so that I can complete all of the times around the circus, so I can finish all of the laps.  

I am not literally racing, against myself or anyone else.  However, St. Paul presents another excellent analogy.  He writes that in one's spiritual journey, one should run so that one may obtain the prize.  He further writes that athletes must exercise self-control.  1 Corinthians 9:24-25.  So too must we exercise control over ourselves so as to achieve the spiritual goals we wish to realize.  Thus, as St. Paul described of himself, I press on toward the goal.  Philippians 3:14.  

Sitting in contemplation, attending to my inner being, I am calmed.  In practicing the spiritual disciplines, I am led to properly control and effectively channel my passion for service.  I don't want to exhaust myself with overexcitement before I've delivered the service I wish to donate.  


Don't you see?  So much makes so much sense now.  It is true that many parts of me have been fed here.  I have been enjoying worshipping God and celebrating His many blessings here.  I've enjoyed the spiritual community here with the monks, workers and our guests.  My personality has suited me to being here.  I'm an introvert, in the sense that I recharge by spending time alone.  There's plenty of time alone here!  Yet I've also been drawn to spend time in solitude because I ardently desire to feel God's presence.  I seek God's face.  A monk desires nothing more than to see the face of God.  

I do indeed fervently wish to see the face of God.  It is in this vein that I feel that one of these wise Camaldolese monks framed a vocational question well for me. He asked me if I have an inner monk inside me the volunteer, or if I have a passion for service inside me the monk.  I have an inner monk, who needs to have his say at the table where all the different parts of me sit down and help determine how I am going to live my life.

Who else is also at this decision-making table?  Honestly, there's also my inner child sitting at the table.  There's my thirst for adventure.  There's my desire to serve poor folks and live amongst them.  There's my anima, that is, the feminine side of me, who is my muse, my inspiration.  All of these parts of me, and others as well, must have their say in what I do next, or I will be miserable, and will make others miserable, whether I am living in a community of monks, or back out there in the world again ministering to poor folks.  

In coming here to this hermitage and while living there, I have been feeding my inner monk.  Thus, in living this monastic life, I did not make a mistake.  I've imagined if I forced myself to become a monk here, and stay as a monk for my whole life, that once I passed away, God would very well say to me, "I put a thirst for living simply, and a love of living amongst poor people, and a love of serving them, into your heart, into your soul, into your spirit, into the very core of your being.  It brought you so much joy to live simply and live amongst, and to serve, poor persons.  Why didn't you use those gifts more?  It wasn't a task for you to live that way and serve them; it was just the opposite; you reveled in it; it made you feel alive.  I made it so easy for you to do so.  Why did you make it so hard for yourself?"  My mind hearkens back more than a couple of decades to one of my high school teachers.  I asked him to write a note to me in my senior year yearbook: amongst other scribblings, he succinctly advised me, "Never stop thinking.  Stop thinking so much."  

I recently concluded that I had been wondering and thinking too much about what my vocation is, rather than just realizing what my vocation is through how I feel.  I would have done poorly to stay here for a much longer time due to overthinking my vocation.  In contrast, I have felt that thus far I have well spent my time here.  In being here at this hermitage, I have been learning in a school of the service of the Lord our God.  I have had important lessons to learn here.  Having received the necessary instruction, then tarry not.  Leave in a timely manner.  Leave when it is appropriate.  


I do wish to stay here at the hermitage for roughly the amount of time to which I had committed.  Typically a postulancy here lasts from about 10 to 12 months.  I started the postulancy in February.  Thus I would like to stay here until December.  

Some of you might be wondering why my postulancy ended before eight months had elapsed, if a postulancy here is usually 10 to 12 months long.  I had said to my postulant-master, that is, the monk primarily responsible for mentoring me here, that although I supposed it was theoretically possible that my longing, to return to serving poor persons, could wane, and that I could shift to desiring to stay here, I thought that such a shift was very unlikely.  After my postulant-master shared this sentiment of mine with the other monks on the formation team, I heard that they explained that once a man reaches such a conclusion, usually the postulancy ends.  The postulant has discerned that he does not feel called to become a monk here, so the purpose of the postulancy has been achieved, and thus the postulancy ends.  Although the aim of the postulancy has been reached, still I wish to remain here for the approximate amount of time I had planned when I began the postulancy.  

In addition to wishing to stay here to fulfill my commitment to be here for the amount of time I had originally planned, I also want to leave in an emotionally and socially appropriate manner.  These monks, and the workers here and I have grown close to each other.  We have established emotional bonds with each other.  We're fond of each other.  So I don't want to leave abruptly.  As my mom is still in touch with the Discalced Carmelite nuns with whom she was a nun 50 years ago before she got married, I too see myself being in touch with these monks for decades to come.  Hence I have been emotionally processing my experience here.  I have felt that leaving here has a bittersweet taste.  I am excited to again minister to poor people, yet I have been sad that I am going to leave these wonderful people with whom I have lived, prayed and worked.  I have found my wistfulness to be moderated by knowing that I will be in touch with these magnificent people.  Also, hopefully, I will be able to come back to visit in between my terms of service to impoverished people, whom I so love to serve.  


So I am leaving here not to do a task.  I am departing here not to carry a burden.  Rather I enjoy living simply and serving impoverished people.  I recall once again the words of Frederich Buechner, who advises, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."  

Also I recall the film "In America," even though I haven't seen it since it was released in theatres around a decade ago.  In it a married man asks another man, "Are you in love with my wife?"  

The other man replies, "Yes."  An uncertain pause ensues.  Then he continues, "And I'm in love with you."  He goes on to say how he is in love with this other person, and that other person, and so on.

In our culture, people who express themselves in such a way might be seen as not only unusual but also bizarre.  However, God does indeed call us to love everyone.  We are to love God and love our neighbor.  How?  Be yourself.  Do what God has called YOU in particular to do.  It's so simple.  Love is simple.  Amen.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

All For Good

I have been remembering how earlier this year, this summer, one guest in particular stayed here at the hermitage.  He is a gentle, soft-spoken man.  During his stay of multiple nights, he came into the bookstore multiple times while I was working.  One time he came up to the counter and shared with me how he had been musing on unfortunate things which happen in our lives.  He said that it seems that horrible events are parts of God's plans.  I explained that God doesn't want us to undergo tragic circumstances.  However, God gives all of us free will.  Therefore, people, utilizing their free will, intervene in our lives and, through their choices, sometimes cause us to suffer.  God can even use such suffering to bring us closer to Him, just as He can draw us closer to Him through pleasant blessings.  For those who love God, all things work together for good.  Romans 8:28.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Not Too Seriously

Perhaps you remember the television commercial from years ago where the Dunkin' Donuts employee tiredly says, in the wee hours of the morning, that it is time for him to make the donuts.  Recently one of the monks at the hermitage confided to me that on some mornings when he gets out of bed, when it is still dark outside, he says, "Time to make the donuts."  Soon after this monk shared with me that he sometimes says this to himself soon after rising, in my head echoed the words that another monk at the hermitage had spoken to me months ago.  This other monk had told me, "We don't take ourselves too seriously here."  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Little Flower

Last night it rained.  Thus today the air has been crisp and clean.  The atmosphere has just been cleansed of what had been sullying it.  The weather, and the effects it has had, I feel, are analogous to what has been happening in my soul.  Spirits are at work in my soul, shifting and sifting what is in me.  If we earnestly ask God for clarity in discernment, He gives it to us.

Such symbolism through meteorological movements, I feel, is apropos given that today is the feast day of Saint Therese of Lisieux.  Saint Therese often felt that the weather mirrored the state of her soul.  

This morning for our ecclesial reading at Vigils, we heard an excerpt from her autobiography which is entitled "The Story of a Soul," which I read last Autumn amidst my visits here to the hermitage.  I very much enjoyed reading it, so I was glad to hear some of it early this morning.  In the particular passage we heard this morning, Saint Therese related how she had wondered why some saints were towering ones, while others were quite understated.  She related how, to help her understand this variety amongst the saints, she turned to 1 Corinthians 12 and 1 Corinthians 13.  In those letters, Saint Paul describes how, just as our physical bodies have their various constituent parts, so too the church is comprised of its many members, each of which has its own particular role to play.  No one can take the part of someone else.  

Similarly, Saint Therese described the myriad of saints, some towering, others less prominent, as being like a field of flowers.  In this meadow, there are roses and lilies.  There one also finds daffodils.  God loves the vibrantly colored flowers, and He also loves the seemingly plain ones too.  

In this array of souls akin to a variety of flowers, Saint Therese considered herself a little flower.  She followed what she called her "little way," taking little steps each day to simply and humbly live her life as a Discalced Carmelite nun by meekly loving her fellow nuns.  

I've often felt drawn to the writing of Saint Therese.  In her little way, I feel that she describes an approach to life which I have long tried to follow.  Though I think that I accomplish so little, and am so simple, that I think that I would be accurately described as a little sprout.  I feel like a little blade of grass barely peeking up through the dirt.  

Yet I feel more than a wee confident in her way.  She felt that in how we treat others, through ordinary actions, we can make simple yet profound spiritual statements.  People who live in this little way probably seem unremarkable to others.  Yet her little way is sure.  It has to be.  It can't just be that we can only get to Heaven by performing prominent heroic deeds.  Otherwise all of the little people out there couldn't get into Heaven.  

Besides, her way is sure because "the greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."  Matthew 23:11-12.  Saint Therese provides a good example for us because, in her little way of humble service to others, she lived the teachings of Jesus.  

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Silent Still Presence

This morning 
the bell rings for Lauds 

The only postulant in this hermitage 
had just finished his Lectio Divina 

In his lectio, 
his meditatio, 

his oratio 
and his contemplatio 

He felt like he kept saying "yes" to Jesus 
almost as if he is there with Him in today's Gospel reading 

The postulant heads to the door of his cell 
his own private abode 

in which he feebly attempts to open himself to Jesus 
already dressed in his smock 

which he kept on since Vigils 
as he usually does 

He steps out the door of his cell 
foolishly expecting ordinariness 

A feast is set before his eyes 
Delightfully surprising this young boy masquerading as a grown man 

Between the cross atop the church and its bell tower 
A soft, warm gentle rainbow silently announces its still presence 

As he walks in wonder toward the church 
he sees this rainbow extend across the sky and onto the horizon 

Complementing itself with the mountain faithfully waiting for it 
Two lovers passionately embracing 

Completely un-self-conscious of all those below them 
Gawking up at them in wonder 

This magnificent sight 
Presented to this postulant at no cost 

Much like the gentle guidance 
Provided to the postulant during his visit with the Word 

Confirmed by the prior 
standing under this majestic rainbow reveling in it 

who in greeting the postulant
informs this young man, "this is for you."  

After chanting the Psalms during Lauds 
there in the assembly of the faithful 

during the prayers of petition and thanksgiving 
an elderly monk thanks God for the rainbow 

for the symbol 
of God's covenant with us 

and a postulant with much to learn 
thanks God for the gentle guidance of the Holy Spirit.  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

One's True Identity

As I've described before, in consecrated religious life, the postulancy, the last stage before becoming a monk, is the stage during which one "knocks" to see if one is indeed called to this life.  The words "postulancy" and the word "postulant," for a person in the stage of postulancy, derive from the Latin verb "postulare," which means "to ask."  Over the centuries, men and women showed up at monasteries, convents and hermitages knocking, asking if they would be granted entry into the religious community.  In current times, the terms "postulant" and "postulancy" are used in more figurative senses, to describe the process of asking the religious community, and God, if it seems that God is indeed calling a person to enter that particular religious community. 

In the postulancy, one can be traversing turbulent waters, as one sifts through one's desires and longings.  In such an inquiry, one attempts to plumb the deepest depths of one's heart and soul.  At this point in this life, one is supposed to listen to one's heart.  What is echoing from the deepest recesses of my being?  

Who am I?  In this complex kaleidoscope of my identity, or if it is described as the tapestry of my identity, there are many threads of various colors, widths and textures which are woven together, which make me unique.  To describe my own specific being, I consider especially precious how my soul feels.  I long to feed my soul through loving others, and by listening to God's Holy Spirit.  A person is also made unique by his or her psychological makeup.  We live in physical bodies, so we grapple too with the physical needs and desires we have.  We are also differentiated by the experiences we have had, and by how we have chosen to respond to those experiences.  Thus our choices also come to define us.  

Accordingly, in the postulancy, one weighs all sorts of possibilities which arise.  As one considers joining a particular religious community, other possibilities come to mind.  As a postulant, one weighs the life in the specific religious community in which one is living, along with other vocational possibilities, in light of who one is.  

Some people might say, "You shouldn't be thinking about X or Y or Z.  Those other ways of living have nothing to do with this life.  You're just allowing yourself to be distracted from the monastic life by thinking about those other possibilities."  

However, during the postulancy, as part of the process of knocking to discern if one really is supposed to entire consecrated religious life, one sifts one's desires.  Thus it is entirely appropriate for someone to be considering whether one's vocation truly rests elsewhere, or if one is indeed called to be a monk, brother, sister or nun. 

As one investigates one's true identity, one comes more consciously in touch with powerful energy, which can be channeled toward bringing one closer to God.  At the same time, when becoming more aware of this energy, one can undergo tumultuous times.  Indeed, during the postulancy, sometimes I've felt like I've been on a boat which was being tossed about on stormy waters, and then has been sailing on relatively calm, placid waters amidst crisp, clear blue skies.  And then another internal spiritual storm will arise and challenge the serenity in which I had been living.  Thus as a postulant, it's a repeated experience of being confronted with various possibilities, including one's own desires and needs, in ways which spur one to ponder one's true identity.  

It is important throughout this whole process to be true to oneself.  Some people might think that they should choose a certain vocational option because it's "the right thing" to do.  In fact, the right thing to do is to be yourself.  As you are being yourself, then give as much as you can.  As Frederich Buechner noted, "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."  Do what brings you true and lasting joy.  Thus profoundly and deeply feed yourself.  As you're finding deep joy, feed others, and address the deep hunger in the world.  In the process, you and others become one.  Amen. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Brushstrokes Of God

Delicate slender strands of cirrus clouds 
Against a canvas of brilliant blue  
God's brushstrokes