We are beloved companions on a mystic journey, sharing our solitude and holding the world in the divine prayer of love.

"Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory. Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance. And transform your whole being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation."
- from St. Clare's third letter to Blessed Agnes of Prague.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Game of Life

During this hectic shopping season, we’ve been bombarded with ads for video games, board games, interactive games like Foosball—as well as nonstop TV sports. They recalled for me the inscription on playwright John Gay’s tombstone:
Life is a game and all things show it.
I thought so once and now I know it.
Our lives, in fact, do spin out through a series of games, each with its own language, rules, conditions, uniforms and goals. Some obvious examples are the student game (pursuit of knowledge), the Wall-Street game (wealth), war games (domination), political games (power), the married-with-children game (family)—and yes, we seekers must include the contemplative journey game (enlightenment or mystical union).

This last insight in particular underscores our absolute need for surrender in the spiritual quest, for until we finally release the journey itself, we will never glimpse the ultimate reality hiding behind it. Until that happens, of course, we play our hands as well and respectfully as we can, but we must remember always that the ego is a participant through most of the game’s twists and turns. It would happily announce to all and sundry (albeit humbly) that it has at last achieved the empty state of nirvana. No, we must in the end let go of all these encumbrances, of the small self, the journey and the wish for union itself, and yield to Love on Its own terms.

Truly, this pilgrimage is the game of life, and why Divinity requires us to play, who knows? Apart from any speculation, however, this trek across the terrestrial globe is the reality of our existence. If nothing else, it’s a marvelous adventure. The quest for the homeland literally gives meaning and purpose and enjoyment to our time here.

“From where do you come?” someone asked the holy Rabia.
“From the other world,” she replied.
“And where are you going?”
“To the other world”
“What are you doing in this world?”
“I am making a game of it.”

Laughter, or at least bemusement, seems after all to be the healthiest response to life’s serious pretensions, oddness and absurdities.
-John R. Sack

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Other Genealogy of Jesus

A Guest writer provides the other genealogy of Jesus, on the women’s side. Here it is:
A genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of Miriam,
the daughter of Anna:
Sarah was the mother of Isaac,
And Rebekah was the mother of Jacob,
Leah was the mother of Judah,
Tamar was the mother of Perez.
The names of the mothers of Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon
and Salmon have been lost.
Rahab was the mother of Boaz,
and Ruth was the mother of Obed.
Obed’s wife, whose name is unknown, bore Jesse.
The wife of Jesse was the mother of David.
Bathsheba was the mother of Solomon,
Naamah, the Ammonite, was the mother of Rehoboam.
Maacah was the mother of Abijam and the grandmother of Asa.
Azubah was the mother of Jehoshaphat.
The name of Jehoram’s mother is unknown.
Athaliah was the mother of Ahaziah,
Zibiah of Beersheba, the mother of Joash.
Jecoliah of Jerusalem bore Uzziah,
Jerusha bore Jotham; Ahaz’s mother is unknown.
Abi was the mother of Hezekiah,
Hephzibah was the mother of Manasseh,
Meshullemeth was the mother of Amon,
Jedidah was the mother of Josiah.
Zebidah was the mother of Jehoiahim,
Nehushta was the mother of Jehiachinm
Hamutal was the mother of Zedekiaj.
Then the deportation to Babylon
the names of the mothers go unrecorded.
These are their sons:
Jechoniah, Shealtiel, Zerubbabel,
Abiud, Eliakim, Azor and Zadok,
Achim, Eliud, Eleazar,
Matthan, Jacob and Joseph, the husband of Miriam.
Of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
The sum of generations is therefore:
fourteen from Sarah to David’s mother;
fourteen from Bathsheba to the Babylonian deportation;
and fourteen from the Babylonian deportation
to Miriam, the mother of Christ.
Compiled by Ann Patrick Ware
of the Women’s Liturgy Group of New York