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, January 17, 2015


A leaf of the Madrone collects drops of rain these January days. It is a forest shell. I bend and snap the image up into my phone's camera during our walk along one of the trails near Casa Chiara. We've had a guest with us these days--a friend of John's from college years at Yale. Imagine over fifty years of stories, aspirations, loves and losses needing to be shared. I am filled up to the brim with all of it, the immensity, the endurance, the radiance, the laughter, and the tenderness (oh, the tenderness that a long life can bring towards all that is upon the earth.) Mo feels it, dear little Mo who keeps as close to our friend as possible. We all absorb each other's life like rain falling on thirsty souls. We drink each other in like moss drinks January rain, needing little else.

What is in us that cannot be said? "Thoughts that do often lie too deep for words," as the poet Wordsworth mused. But all three of us are writers, multiplying words in the never ending task of bringing form to the formless. There is so much love in us this day there can be no denying it, but no word can capture it either. There's a clue in the leaf that captures rain, in the moss that drinks.

All through my life I have been loved, and yet I am like moss in my yearning. There's so much of it, you'd think it hadn't already been fulfilled. The rain is right now falling! I remind myself. Why aren't I satisfied? Is the yearning a holdover from a former lifetime, one in which I was deprived of love? But this morning it came to me that my yearning is not my own alone. It is the yearning of Form for Essential Being/Existence. In each fragment of matter, even in me, is felt that yearning for incorporation into the Allness. It is the Love that grounds all love. The psalm came to me, “Like a deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for You my God. My soul is yearning for God, the God of my life; when can I enter and see the Face of God?”

This is a universal yearning; that of Form for the Formless/the Formless for an adequate and perfect Form. This is the Fire that rain can't quench. This is the Passion of the Spirit as well as of the material form. This is why nothing else satisfies. Even if mind insists (and rightly so) that the Divine Fullness is the heart and pulse of all form, of the micro and macrocosm, still even the most minute of forms longs for the realization IN ITSELF of that universal consciousness. This is the Fire in form that consumes the heart and trans-forms. “The whole universe groans in a great act of birthing,” says St. Paul. (Romans 8). It is the thirst of all creation for the life-giving rain.

We walk. Our voices form the words for stories, ideas, descriptions, and the words combine with the sounds of rain on leaves, and the songs of birds when the sun breaks through. We are all together a symphony of being. Each movement brings back the same theme, introduced/intensified/made more complex/combining complexities/weaving the tonal poem together/unifying/rising towards simplicity/made One in what we imagine as the Fullness of Love. A single Tone in which Being is Form and Form is Being in an Eternal Instant.

Such a mystery--because from the outside it looks like a walk in the woods. Three people and a dog.