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In Daniel 2:1-19, King Nebuchadnezzar calls his astrologers and counselors together and demands that they interpret a troubling dream. Seemingly quite irrationally, he demands they interpret it without the benefit of knowing what it was. He asks three times and then orders their execution, along with all the other wise men in the community, for their insolent refusal to fulfill his seemingly bizarre demand.

On hearing what the King ordered, Daniel seeks a meeting with the King and them brings the situation to prayer. With his faith in God so grounded and deep, Daniel himself takes the matter into sleep and the answer is given him ” in a vision”.

In so many ways, Alice in Wonderland has something of the quality of this scriptural passage from Daniel. Alice could only unravel the mysteries of Wonderland by believing in impossible things. Impossibility is our arrogant judgement and the carbon monoxide of imagination and great discovery. Christ after all admonishes us to ” be again as little children”.

So, I am asking myself this morning: How many impossible things have I considered already before breakfast? Our poets of sight (insight, foresight and hindsight) can only be enhanced by such a mindset.

How about you?

© The Harried Mystic, 2019 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Speaking with Songs

News of enmity and hatred, bitter division and vitriol, seems to define our times. Paul admonishes us to be careful about what we take in and how it affects us. Angry sentiment is a slow poison and it numbs the soul.

The cure is song: ” making music in our hearts”. The Psalms are a cornerstone of living life with the sacred in mind. Daily recitation of the Psalms matters especially when storm clouds gather. If we sing of Joy and revelation, we can break through the fog of fear and anxiety. We can recenter ourselves in love.

What songs will I sing in my heart today? How can I share that song as a medicine for disaffection and malaise.

Peace.

© The Harried Mystic, 2019 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Vigilance

There is much in this Psalm but verses 19-20 especially grab my attention.

To know ” the Law” ( His statutes and judgments) is to be mindful of His movement in and among us. Keeping watch is at heart an act of devotion. Yet the distractions are legion and we miss what we are not looking for. We can go days, weeks, months and even years blind to the miraculous Presence unfolding right before our eyes.

Lisa Randall, elementary particle physicist at MIT, has spoken of the essential human quality of not seeing and so assuming that what isn’t seen just isn’t there.

We struggle to believe in what we cannot discern with our five senses. “Dark matter,” so called, comes to mind. It is passing through us and is all around us constantly but, as it is ” transparent matter,” as Randall puts it, it eludes detection. Yet, visible matter is only 5% of the stuff of the universe!

Scientists must train to see the invisible by creative means including mathematical constructs. The musings of theoretical physics have conjured up multiple dimensions well beyond the observable three, and multiple universes ( infinities within infinities) and the maths involved have revealed possibilities that go well beyond what we would ever be able to directly perceive. What does not seem obvious is, simply “not obvious to us, ” says Randall.

The same applies to the way theology works to extend our reach into Mystery. Our speculations and scholarship give us eyes to see with our imaginations. We excavate meaning and attend to nuances and in doing so live our Faith ever more richly and deeply.

And so, I pray:

Spirit of Love, Matrix of all Being, you give me eyes to see and ears to hear. With so many distractions, I surely miss much. Bless me with the grace to keep watch.

Let us keep vigil for the divine movements that ebb and flow in perpetual currents all around us and within us.

© The Harried Mystic, 2019 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The iconic story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears has long been a children’s favorite. It has been interpreted from many points of view including psychoanalytically. These esoteric interpretations seem to me to be way too fussy.

What is most striking about the tale is the law of three: three bears, three chairs, three bowls of porridge, etc. I have long been advised and have so advised others to never have more than three clear points in mind when giving a talk, a sermon, or telling a story. But, this advice has deeper import than that.

In life, isn’t it true that so often the middle path is the best one. It is wise to test the limits either side of a position and then find the fulcrum or balance point that feels “ just right”: not so much this way or the other.

In Christianity, the Law of Three rises to central significance: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is interesting that the first and the last Persons of the Trinity are more theologically abstract. It is in the person of Jesus that the defining attributes of the divine are enfleshed, made manifest, and profoundly personal.

The “ Imago dei” refers to the first calling of God to humanity- the emanation of Love from which we are fashioned. It is the Incarnate Word, the Word made flesh, that is the essence of who we are and what we are in God’s time.

The Lord said, “ it was Good” or, as Goldilocks herself expressed it, “just right”!

© The Harried Mystic, 2019 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Oneness is the heart of the message. The world has endless ways to divide us. The illusion of separateness is strong. Too many are walled off from Brothers and Sisters and become sickened by the anxieties that accompany the lonely heart of self-protection.

The voice of Love cries out in pain at the erection of yet more walls. Before they learn to fear, little children reach out to embrace what they encounter. Let us remember the wisdom of their innocence and do the same.

© The Harried Mystic, 2019 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Colossians 2:6-12

6. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. 9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; 12when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.

The Word of the Lord.

The lectionary New Testament reading for morning prayer January 1, 2019, is St. Paul’s warning to us about the seductions of the “human tradition” and ” elemental spirits of the universe” as expressed in the philosophies that lead us away from the Light.

Our times are replete with such philosophies: materialism, nihilism, cynicism, and capitalism that place the focus on aggrandizing self. These philosophies preach fear and hopelessness, glorify narcissism and hold up the fruits of greed as artifacts of success.

We are charged with the hard work of discipleship – to put first things first and realize that the truth requires flipping the conventional logic on its head. We are instead to be artists of joy, hope, possibilities, and the pursuit of grand ideals of living more perfectly. We are called upon to be minstrels of inspiring song and to inspire our children to dream, to wonder, and make the world ever more reflective of God’s presence.

May it be so.

© The Harried Mystic, 2019 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Light of the World

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A New Years Day Prayer:

Beloved Spirit of Joy, Light of the World, bless and power my intentions for this new year according to your Will:

+ to live my rule of life with loving attention;

+ to more fully embody radical hospitality;

+ to be deliberate each day in being a child of Light – a blessing to my sisters and brothers;

+ to simplify and make more space for You to speak in me;

+ to uncover your Word within through reflection and contemplation.

Inspire me, dear Mother-Father, to travel ever deeper to be the one you call me to be!

Incarnatio:

1. Set aside more time daily to enter sacred silence.

2. Deepen community in the holy circles  in which I find myself.

3. Increase the gift of being present for those I meet.

© The Harried Mystic, 2019 and Br. Anton, TSSF. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.