Dear DiscipleChurch Friends and Family:
This Sunday, I will continue with the second of three sermons on Franciscan spirituality. The sermon will draw heavily upon the writings of Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating and Eckhart Tolle. I want you to hear about some things which they have written and said, and I don’t think I could improve upon them.
(I apologize for the brevity of this blog, but I have too much I must get done in the Justice Ministry today and tomorrow, and, I fear, too little time to do it. I hope you will forgive me at this brevity.)
It has been written that most of Christianity begins with consideration of human sin, while Francis of Assisi and the Franciscan movement begin with consideration of human suffering.
And yet, Francis found so much joy in his life and peace in his life, even as he flung himself every single day into the lives of the sick and the poor and the hungry, and even as he himself battled painful illness. And if you have ever met a Franciscan brother or sister, it is quite likely that you have been moved by their joy in the midst of their poverty.
And for those of us who are not in active ministry to the suffering, but who have experienced, or will most certainly experience, a great tragedy in life, how to carry on in the face of it? And how to carry on with joy and peace and zest for living?
We will be dealing with this this Sunday and the next.
In advance, let me leave you: a quote from Father Rohr; a poem by Mary Oliver, which Father Rohr uses in many of his sermons and presentations; a riff on a line from Psalm 46; and an observation and question:
The quote: “The greatest enemy of ordinary daily goodness and joy is not imperfection, but the demand for some supposed perfection or order.”
The poem: “Mindful” by Mary Oliver
Every day I see or hear something that more or less
kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle
in the haystack of light. It was what I was born for – to look, to listen,
to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over
in joy, and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help
but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light
of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?
“Be still and know that I am God.”
“Be still and know that I AM.”
“Be still and know.”
The observation and the question: Most of us have spent much, MUCH more time reading about contemplative (still, silent, listening) prayer, than in contemplative prayer. (And why is that?)
Hope to see your beautiful faces Sunday.