Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saturday in Lent 2 - 2017

Here is another prayer from the dot matrix days, the first of two with this theme.
For those with whom we are bound in prayer (1)

Gracious God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical Body of Christ our Savior: Accept our thanks for all who remember us before you in prayer and grant that with your saints in every place and time we may praise your Name, uphold one another in love, intercede for the world, and faithfully await your renewal of all creation, though Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate.  Amen.

It would be difficult to overstate the comfort I take and strength I gain from an awareness that other people think of me (kindly) and hold me before God in prayer, whatever form that prayer may take.  In times of great physical or emotional distress I have, nonetheless, sometimes felt myself lifted on a buoyant golden cloud of prayer. That awareness shaped this prayer written during our earlier years in the Bay Area.

This is the prayer as originally composed.  I do not believe in passively expecting God to fix everything when we are the agents God appoints to work the divine will, which is why the adverb "faithfully" modifies our method of waiting.  It is not only having faith in a vision of the reign of God but being faithful in our role, doing our part.

It should also be understood that when I use the traditional phrase "our only Mediator and Advocate," I view Christ as the universal and eternal Word by whom all things are made and held in being.  I am not asserting a "Jesus or fry" theology.  In my theological vision nothing and no one exists outside the speaking of the Word, so all are included, none are excluded, and I believe there are many paths up one mountain.

--the BB

Sunday in Lent 3 - 2017

Daily Invocation of the Most Holy Trinity

O Source of all Being, Fountain of Life, and Wellspring of the Godhead: You are the very Ground and Energy of Love; the overflowing of your Joy created the worlds and we are held in existence by your Good Pleasure; mercifully grant that I may this day draw water with rejoicing from the spring of salvation, giving thanks to you and calling upon your Name.

O Savior and Sustainer of all, Bread of Life and True Vine, Light of the world and mighty Word by whom we are named; You give yourself for the life of the world; reveal unto me my own self and the Heart of your boundless Love; deliver me this day from every bond of evil and death that, forsaking all, I may follow you and, by your Passion and Death, come unto Life everlasting.

O Sanctifier and Life-giving Wind, Bringer of Wholeness, Unction and Healing; You bind all things together and renew all creation, cleansing your children and leading them into Truth; pattern my life this day in your graces and strengthen me for obedient service; lift my heart unto the Divine Presence where I may be one with the Fire of your Love.

Most Holy Trinity, you formed me in your image, raising me from the dust to give you glory; I bow my heart before the radiant splendor of your gracious goodness, committing myself wholly to your merciful compassion; draw me unto yourself and conform me unto your will as I proclaim with angels: Holy, holy, holy are you, O God; to you be glory for ever and ever.  Amen.

This is another of the prayers I composed in the 80s.  Some underlying factors were a desire not to use gendered language referring to God; a practical application of faith by repetition of "this day"; and, of course, an affective piety that is intrinsic to me.

Three decades later, I might have phrased things differently but I have no difficulty praying this prayer now.

--the BB

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday in Lent 2 - 2017

This is one of several prayers that I wrote for a personal Book of Hours back when my Macintosh computer was primitive and everything was printed on a dot-matrix printer.  I find that the prayers hold up well for my own piety.  I plan to share some of them over the next few days.  This one seems apt for a Friday.

For those who suffer and die alone

Merciful Father, whose all-seeing glance and loving concern embrace even the sparrows and yet whose well-beloved Son had nowhere to lay his head and was forsaken by all his friends: Hear our prayer for those whose suffering and death are unnoticed by human eyes or ears and unministered to by mortal voice or touch; in your compassion grant them strength, consolation, and the ineffable grace of your loving presence; deliver them from despair and suffer not your Image to fade in their anguish; may your holy angels guard them from the evil one and lead them at last into that holy city where there is neither sorrow nor crying, but the fullness of you with all the saints; through Jesus Christ our Savior.  Amen.

--the BB

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Thursday in Lent 2 - 2017

An altered look about the hills
A Tyrian light the village fills
A wider sunrise in the morn
A deeper twilight on the lawn
A print of a vermilion foot
A purple finger on the slope
A flippant fly upon the pane
A spider at his trade again
An added strut in Chanticleer
A flower expected everywhere
An axe shrill singing in the woods
Fern odors on untraveled roads
All this and more I cannot tell
A furtive look you know as well
And Nicodemus' Mystery
Receives its annual reply!
--Miss Dickinson
Commentary seems superfluous.
--the BB

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wednesday in Lent 2 - 2017

All truths wait in all things,
They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,
They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon,
The insignificant is as big to me as any,
(What is less or more than a touch?)

Logic and sermons never convince,
The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.
--Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"
Matthew 6.25 
At some times and for some things I can wait patiently.  Most of the time I want what i want when I want it, and I usually want it right now. Nonetheless, wanting and fretting, pouting or griping--these do nothing to hasten the ripening of anything.

Whitman reminds us truth is always there.  It will come in its time.

Jesus has some things to say about fretting.

Deep breath.  Hold.  Exhale. Repeat.

--the BB

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday in Lent 2 -2017

Today's posting is very tardy. Простите!

Gott spricht zu jedem nur, eh, er ihn macht

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

--Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours,
       trans. by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy

I rather like the idea of embodying God by going to the limits of our being.

--the BB

Friday, March 10, 2017

Saturday in Lent 1 - 2017

Beside Each Other

Remember that second night?
We were too tired for lovemaking,
both of us exhausted
(so many nights of unfulfilled yearning).
We kissed, cuddled, and crashed.
That night I did not hold you in my arms;
we lay beside each other—
free, happy, unafraid, content—
and slept
nine long delicious hours.

This morning, recalling
that night of utter peace
I unclasped my arms
from the beloved pillow,
lay beside it, my cheek touching,
and smiled.
Better not to control
the uncontrollable—
none can—
so I rested
imagining you resting
and I breathed the morning air
grateful for the time
our hearts made love
as we slept.
Lovemaking is associated with sabbath, so for this Saturday I thought I would toss one in.  It's my own (© me).  And I think I shall refrain from commentary.

--the BB

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Friday in Lent 1 - 2017


Hay una linea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar,
Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
Hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
Hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo.
Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
Hay alguno que ya nunca abriré.
Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años:
La muerte me desgasta, incesamente.
--Jorge Luis Borges


There's a line of Verlaine's
       that I'm not going to remember again.
There's a nearby street that's forbidden to my footsteps.
There's a mirror that has seen me for the last time.
There's a door I've closed until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I'm looking at them)
There are some I'll never open again.
This summer I'll be fifty years old:
Death invades me, constantly.
We in the West begin Lent with the sign of ashes to remind us we are mortal.  And then, the next day, do we resume our ordinary round of activities, having nodded in the direction of such an ineluctable fact?

By merest chance, an accident when I was fifteen made me aware of my mortality far earlier than happens with most people.  From that moment on, I knew that the next day was never guaranteed.

Mind you, I am not someone who accepts limits gracefully.  While I may not always want everything right now, I do want it all. As an incarnate being, I am given reminders by my body that I have limits. Today is one of those days when I ache in my many spots. Each shoulder in its own way, the span of my back between my shoulders, my lower back, my right leg (the one with sciatica).  Oh, and a headache from late afternoon onward. The skin on my forearms bruises more easily and I now have what I recognize as old man skin.  Although I have long legs and friends used to urge me to slow down my pace, I now find students at the university passing me by briskly as I amble along at a sedate pace more appropriate for septuagenarians.   I have saved money for two years for a trip to Europe this summer and I am acutely aware that, funds being limited, it may be the last trip to Europe.  I want to think otherwise but, realistically, I do not see serious travel funding without raiding my IRA.  You know what these are? First world problems.  I have a home, clothing, transportation, reasonable health, and no food insecurity. I enjoy more comforts and opportunities than most people will ever see.  And, even so, I chafe at limits.

Well, I might was well accept them.  They are not going away.

And I am blessed beyond all telling.


--the BB