Saturday, August 27, 2011

Labor Day : Sencillos Meditaciones

Dorothy Day
Faded hand scripted notes flew around the room as a bad moon storm of memories began to deluge the wandering spirit. It was almost a forever ago that a retreat on the theme of Spirituality and Work found it’s way from inspiration to implementation. A voice kept whispering,  “It’s never been about the money!” 

The pilgrim teacher didn’t listen as the whirlwind almost brought down the house. His heart was a beat from being seized up from all the desire and pressures to fill the siloes. A nephew of Richard Cory whose heroic last attempt at salvation was to rescue the pilgrim eventually suffered the same fate as his infamous uncle. Meanwhile Dickens’ spirits continued to work overtime on the pilgrim.

Waking to a morning of the Second Chance Dance the pilgrim teacher could be heard singing,  “ I don’t know anything, never did know anything…” and asked, “What day is this?” He recalled how Ebenezer’s first acts on his day of redemption sought forgiveness from family and friends as he commenced the practice of Ignatian generosity. The pilgrim has been a little slower to respond to the illumination and amazing grace.

One portrayal of the “Carol” classic has Fessiwig proclaiming that labor is “… an opportunity to use one’s gifts to provide for one’s family.” Then there is Thomas A‘Kempis depressing the pilgrim teacher with the proclamation, “At the Day of Judgment we shall not be asked what we have read, but what we have done."  

“But I have read so many books!” The pilgrim teacher protested.

Sociologists and economists can’t shoot straight and constantly miss the point .The movement of weights or the execution of activities have very little to do with the nature of work. It’s been said one’s labor is the expression of authenticity. Albert Camus’ observation then becomes even more haunting…“Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” The pilgrim frets, “ Is Freud right that ‘love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness?’ ”

Off in the tall distance a retired Jersey Johnny breaks out the blues harp attempting a new song in a new key. He mutters in between breaths “This is work!”


"As the rain and the snow
 come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
 without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
 so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
 It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
 and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
 and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
 will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
 will clap their hands. 

Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,

This will be for the Lord’s renown,
 for an everlasting sign,
 that will endure forever.”


                    Isaiah 55:10-13


“A tree gives glory to God by being a tree. For in being what God means it to be it is obeying Him….
 The more a tree is like itself, the more it is like Him….
 This particular tree will give glory to God by spreading out its roots in the earth and raising its branches into the air and the light in a way that no other tree before or after it ever did or will do….
 The special clumsy beauty of this particular colt on this April day in this field under these clouds is a holiness consecrated to God by His own creative wisdom and it declares the glory of God.
    The pale flowers of the dogwood outside this window are saints. The little yellow flowers that nobody notices on the edge of that road are saints looking up into the face of God.
    This leaf has it own texture and its own pattern of veins and its own holy shape, and their beauty and their strength canonize the bass and trout hiding in the deep pools of the river.
    The lakes hidden among the hills are saints, and the sea too is a saint who praises God without interruption in her majestic dance.
    The great, gashed, Half-naked Mountain is another of God's saints. There is no other like him. He is alone in his own character; nothing else in the world ever did or ever will imitate God in quite the same way. That is his sanctity….
 for me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self.
    Trees and animals have no problem. God makes them what they are without consulting them, and they are perfectly satisfied.
    With us it is different. God leaves us free to be whatever we like. We can be ourselves or not, as we please. We are at liberty to be real, or to be unreal. We may be true or false, the choice is ours. We may wear now one mask and now another, and never, if we so desire, appear with our own true face. But we cannot make these choices with impunity. Causes have effects, and if we lie to ourselves and to others, then we cannot expect to find truth and reality whenever we happen to want them. If we have chosen the way of falsity we must not be surprised that truth eludes us when we finally come to need it!
    Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny….
 The seeds that are planted in my liberty at every moment, by God's will, are the seeds of my own identity, my own reality, my own happiness, my own sanctity….”

       Thomas Merton, The Seeds of Contemplation


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