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, November 21, 2020

Quiet Day

 The sun rose over the eastern hills as John and I walked down to the mailbox on a Saturday morning, hoping to catch Sarah, the postwoman, on her rounds. It's our quiet day--always on Saturday. Before dawn today John set a fire in the living room fireplace where we sat in contemplation, a daily ritual, but on Saturday's we continue in the calm it instills by engaging only in those activities that bring us into the still center of each moment. Right now John is sitting on the couch reading "The Living Flame of Love," in his complete works of John of the Cross. He's facing the fireplace where the logs have burned down to coals. I think of Hopkins' sonnet in which just such coals "fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion."

It's good we have this weekly day of quiet, I think, remembering how the pain of the world wakes me almost every night around 2 A.M. and leaves me lying awake for hours, my heart filled with images of people around the world suffering from the pandemic, from wars, from poverty, from worry over the most basic of human needs and dangers: hunger, homelessness, violence, isolation...all too many to name. We've talked about it, John and I, how to spend those wakeful midnight moments and hours. We lean against the silence of night and pray. Last night I watched the stars behind the bare branches of the gigantic oak tree in the back yard. Points of light in darkness. It was as though each was a spirit of some person--an exhausted nurse on a COVID unit that I saw on yesterday's evening news, a frustrated politician, a caged child at the border. Kyrie eleison. Then the sense of presence--those whose lives have mingled for a while with mine--family, friends, teachers, all deeply loved and caring, supporting our poor injured world. I breathe those spirits of light, hoping with them, crying out with them for mercy. Often there are no words, only the breath of life. We cannot do this work alone. It is time to breathe for and with each other. 

Sometimes I write incantatory prayer/poems. Here is one that will soon be published in our local Quarterly, The Applegater. 

The incantation I want to share is entitled “Sheva” meaning in Hebrew “a fissure or wound—a house broken.” “El” means Divine Oneness, so EliSheva implies the coming together or paradox of opposites—a divine fissure or wound. It is EliSheva who speaks: 

My dear beloved,

Your times have become a tumult

Your house near collapse

Your habitation without air or water.

You are broken in the fissure of Elisheva.

I know you.

I am at the meeting place.

You know me.

You have been told of these times.

You have heard the whispers and felt the wings of that which comes.

I am the Oak 

On my branches perch the hawks

I am the Terebinth

See my red berries

See my coral colored burls

I tower above the People.

I am beauty and I am bitterness.

Break me open


I am the fissure.


Do This:

Cry out for those who cannot speak

Weep for those who have no eyes

Dig in earth for those who hunger

Plant the seed.

Feel This: 

Agony of the fawn who has eaten poison,

Silence of the bee from the abandoned hive, 

Ache of the child left on the rocks

Fear in the belly

Dark in the mind

Hold out your being like open hands.

Release it all.

© 2020 Christin Lore Weber