“Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
Main Street House of Prayer:
When you pray ( or practice Meditation)
Your soul sings its most beautiful song
The eternal melody that is hidden in the clay of your heart
Rises out of the silence to bless your life and your presence ...
And to mind and shelter those that are close to you
In the seen and in the unseen world
- John O'Donohue
God is available through many sources besides the religious quest. I don’t mean to imply that psychology replaces the work of religion, but it seems to me that it greatly supports religion and brings a certain clarity to areas of the human condition, especially the discovery of the unconscious.- Thomas Keating
From Franciscan Richard Rohr :
You are more divine
Prayer is the incredible intimacy
And forgiving tenderness of God around our lives
You don’t have to go on a 55 step spiritual path
to learn how to say a proper prayer.
And you don’t have to get therapy backwards, forwards and sideways in order to be able to pray.
And you don’t need to get into the fundamentalist trip
And do a heavy weight hammer job on the most interesting parts of your own contradictions and complexities in order to pray.
You can pray wherever you are now in exactly the way that you are.
That’s the most real prayer of all is the prayer that emerges from the honesty of your own personal situation and from the depth of your life precisely as it is now.
All this waiting for the divine and all this journey towards the divine is postponement and distraction.
No matter what situation you’re in you can always call from your mind a lovely whisper or song of prayer.
- John O'Donohue
From the recent inter-religious dialogues of H.H. the Dalai Lama , Father Thomas Keating , Father Richard Rohr, Brother David Steindl-rast( his book Deeper than Words alone shows how this is possible) , Thich Nhat Hanh already has participating in his large retreats world wide many Catholic monks, priests and nuns. We have come away with the very clear vision that a new dawn is happening in monastic as well as lay circles. The time is ripe for inclusive vision and practice in new spiritual communities.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half heard, in the stillness
Between the two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always--
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.
Little Gidding V,
-- T.S. Eliot (1943)
"The east edge of
The Milky Way."
Like a drifting cloud,
Bound by nothing:
I just let go
Giving myself up
To the whim of the wind
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass.
My tongue, every atom of my blood, form'd from this soil,
Born here of parents born here from parents the same, and
their parents the same,
I, now thirty-seven years old in perfect health begin,
Hoping to cease not till death.
Creeds and schools in abeyance,
Retiring back a while sufficed at what they are, but never
I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard,
Nature without check with original energy.
Houses and rooms are full of perfumes, the shelves are
crowded with perfumes,
I breathe the fragrance myself and know it and like it,
The distillation would intoxicate me also, but I shall not let it.
The atmosphere is not a perfume, it has no taste of the
distillation, it is odorless,
It is for my mouth forever, I am in love with it,
I will go to the bank by the wood and become undisguised
I am mad for it to be in contact with me.
America's First Zen Master
The Tao of the Tau
At least once in your life you’ll be asked about the meaning of the cross, usually made of wood, which is shaped like a “T” and is often worn by Franciscan friars. With the help of the portal, St. Francis Patron of Italy, we sought to understand the meaning of the Tau.
Tau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and was used symbolically in the Old Testament. It was already spoken of in the Book of Ezekiel: “The Lord said to him, ‘Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over the abominations… (Ez. 9:4). The Tau is the sign placed upon the foreheads of the poor of Israel, it saves them from extermination.
It was then adopted by the very first Christians, for a twofold reason:
1.As the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, it prophesied the Last Day and had the same function as the Greek letter Omega as it appears in the Book of Revelation: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water without price from the fountain of the water of life … I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 21:6;22:13).
What it is not
The Tau is not a magic amulet.
It is not a fetish, much less a trinket.
Nor is it a charm that is hung only because it “brings good luck.”
St. Francis and the cross
Because of the Tau’s resemblance to the cross, this sign was very dear to St. Francis of Assisi, so much so that it occupied an important place in his life as well as his gestures. In him the ancient prophetic sign was actualized, regained its saving power and expressed the beatitude of poverty, which is an essential element of the Franciscan way of life.
“Whenever necessity or charity required, St. Francis marked with this seal the letters he sent” “He began all of his actions with it”
The Tau was therefore the sign dearest to Francis.
Thus the Tau, which is backed by a solid biblical and Christian tradition, was received by St. Francis for its spiritual value. The Saint of Assisi took hold of this sign in a manner so complete and intense that, at the end of his life and through the stigmata impressed in his flesh he became the living image of the Tau that he had so often contemplated, drawn, and especially loved.
Wood is a very poor and flexible material, and the children of God are called to live simply and in poverty of spirit (Mt.5:3). Wood is a material that is easily crafted.