Tag Archives: Charleston 9

Pray Always Without Becoming Weary

17 Nov

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“And when we had invented death

had severed every soul from life

we made of these, our bodies, sepulchers

and as we wandered dying, dim among the dying multitudes

He acquiesced to be interred in us

and when He had descended thus

into our persons and the grave

He broke the limits, opening the grip

He shaped of every sepulcher

a womb

 

….Everything holds together, everything,

 

in whom all things hold together

 

…….He comes, a little child, to bless my sight,

That I might come to him for life and light.

 

in whom all things hold together

 

………………….Have you ever seen God on the ground?

Palms pressed to the floor

Sweat dripping on the dirt

The cut and stretch of being human

A sacred shelter of presence

The fullness of He

creator of kingdoms and galaxies

of principalities

and every moment crafted

through time the Divine

placed wholly in human flesh

the infinite squashed down into finite

like fitting ten thousand angels on the top of a pin

like the entire ocean is poured into a pool

like the wine is running over

like it’s bursting at the seams

The Christ

He was bursting at the seams

 

in whom all things hold together

 

While I re-arranged the lyrics for purposes of this post, this song has accompanied my personal mourning observance since Paris once again received world-wide attention.

And for me, it’s not just Paris…but my continuing compromised body with Beirut, Sinai, Hebron, Turkey, Raqqa, Alison and Adam, Charleston 9, Oregon, Sandra Bland….what a brutal recent “news cycle” for all of us indeed.

But be not afraid.  Advent approaches.  Joy to the World….?

“Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  Therefore put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and having done everything, to hold your ground.  So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:11-15).

Incredibly, that passage was the selected reading for the evening of Friday, November 13th (by way of Give Us This Day, Daily Prayer for Today’s Catholic, one of my daily devotional aids).  Would any of us have been able to keep this in mind, while forced to lie deathly still on the floor, palms pressed to the floor, within the Bataclan Theater?  I ask myself: could I stand fast with hell yet again unleashing its cruel fury around me, with the bodies and sepulchers of human whimpering flesh around me, bursting at the seams?

Courtesy Richard Rohr, “in Paul’s letter to the Romans (14:7) he says quite clearly “the life and death of each of us has its influence on others.” The Apostles’ Creed states that we believe in “the communion of saints.” There is apparently a positive inner connectedness that we can draw upon if we wish.”  Science and religion are finally intersecting.  Rohr continues: “in the world of quantum physics, it appears that one particle of any entangled pair “knows” what is happening to another paired particle–even though there is no known means for such information to be communicated between the particles, which are separated by sometimes very large distances. Could this be what is happening when we “pray” for somebody?”

“In whom, all things hold…..together……”

#PrayforParis erupted across social media.

Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.  He said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.  And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, ‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’  For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, ‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.”  The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.  Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?  Will he be slow to answer them?  I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.  But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”  (Luke 18:1-8, Gospel selection, Daily Mass, Saturday, November 14th, Give Us This Day).

“Our prayers are with the people of France tonight, but that is not enough,” said Hillary Clinton at the Democratic debate, held barely 24 hours after the attacks.  I saw another tweet, from a young woman purportedly from Germany, that read, “Don’t pray. Think.”  Even the Dalai Lama apparently has told us to stop praying.  So prayer is now taboo, as is peace and love?

Well, to be fair, the Dalai Lama, as Secretary Clinton, emphasized that prayers alone are simply inadequate to solve the overwhelming dilemma facing all of humanity right now.  Human action is required.  And I do agree with that.  Anyone who actually knows me, is well aware of the life I actively lead prior to recent physical infirmities.  Even with all of my many flaws and inadequacies, I try to embody James’s cry for faith and works (See James 2: 14-26).  However, while active at several barricades, police lines, protests, and campaigns, I utterly failed at times with adhering to basic faith necessities:

Prayer.

Being still.

Breathing.

Even with the anger, sadness and confusion within the heart.

“Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.  No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account” (Hebrews 4:12-13, evening reading, Give Us This Day, Saturday, November 14th).

And because of the recent physical infirmities and perceived loss of control over what I actually never had control of, prayer and grounding in the silence of the thin veil that separates me from the Divine, is the main ingredient of my life right now.  The hardest to learn is truly the least complicated. 

“Everything holds together.  Everything….and coheres. Unfolding from the center whence it came.  And now that hidden heart of things appears, the first born of creation takes a name.”

As I write, so many hearts are breaking.  Devastated.  Angry.  Confused.  Numb.  Squashed to finite.  Tears are bursting at the seams.  From Paris. To Beirut.  To Raqqa.  To Hebron.  Charleston.  Russia.  Virginia.  Oregon.  And even in spite of anonymity, and for those broken hearts that do not have a hashtag, there is never nothing.

With that, at least for those of us engaged on social media, and aware of the countless hashtags, let the breaking hearts know you are praying without ceasing (see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  “Let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10: 24-25, NRSV).

Since I am no longer physically able to be at the barricades, I cannot emphasize how many posts I have seen within the past year, as I have watched the world seemingly fall apart, thanking, liking or ‘favoriting’ the various expressions of compassion.

And our compassion can extend far beyond the social media echochamber.

“…… Required to obey gravity,

we occupy open space with substance,

all of us on the skin of the planet created

to lift against the earth’s pull yet sustained entirely.

We live out our singularity along with olive and

almond trees, oleanders, tarmac, huge trucks, until

size becomes irrelevant: smoke blue coastal range,

stem of dry grass, brittle eucalyptus leaf,

pebble ground into the ground—each bears love’s print,

is held particular within the universe.

Even the small, soft moth on the window of

the rest area’s dingy washroom, unaware of our scrutiny,

its russet wings traced with intricacies of gray,

owns an intrinsic excellence..

….Everything holds together…everything.

In whom…all things hold…together.”

…ah, yes, the hardest to learn was the least complicated.  Joy to the world!