April 1991 (Vol. IV, No. 4)

GREETINGS! The long winter is over ... signs of nature's yearly renewal are seen all over the land ... earth giving birth to new life, new hope. May each one of us participate with awe and reverence, taking time to recognize a springtime renewal of our souls.

The stillness of the forest

Outer silence, the deep true silence of nature and prayer, calls forth the silence hidden within one's inner being. For to be other than silent in the stillness of the forest or the chapel seems inappropriate and irreverent. In silence, the rare times I attain true inner silence, I recognize my inner self, and I am also aware of God's presence in me as well as a loving, merciful gaze upon me. It is in the mutual gazing upon the infinite and the infinite upon me that I find peace. Oh, why then, silence, are you so hard to attain when you bring so much joy? Why do I so often avoid you? Because the silence is where God is to be found? You have such gifts to give. While our inner being is often noisy, filled with less than productive chattering of the mind, you are always waiting for us to accept you presence in us. To be still, to be silent brings its own gifts. The reward is in the stillness, in the silence, in the sitting.

~ from "Silence in the Forest, Silence in Me" by Shirely J. Daney in Monos Newsletter

The heart of every liturgy

Today when I receive communion, I am reminded of our dark roots within the earth. I know my energy flows in two directions: the Spirit lifts me up, yet my bond with all creation pulls me down into the depths of life. This moment of tension -- when we are suspended between the heavens and natural world -- is the heart of every liturgy.

~ from A PASSION FOR THIS EARTH by Valerie Andrews

Spirit that hears each one of us

Spirit that hears each one of us,
Hears all that is --
Listens, listens, hear us out --
Inspire us now!
Our own pulse beats in every stranger's throat,
And also there within the flowered ground beneath our feet,
And -- teach us to listen! --
We can hear it in water, in wood, and even in stone.
We are earth of this earth, and we are bone of its bone.
This is a prayer I sing, for we have forgotten this,
And so,
The earth is perishing.

~ from "Thinking Like a Mountain" by Barbara Deming with thanks to Patricia Dorsey
Prisons That Could Not Hold
By Barbara Deming

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
O heart within my heart,
in you I place my trust.
Let me not feel unworthy;
let not fear rule over me.
Yes! let all who open their hearts
savor You and bless the earth!
~ Anonymous

A long and loving look at the universe we inhabit can actually change us

A long and loving look at the universe we inhabit can actually change us. We can become different persons.

Prayer with nature is a passionate listening to the beating heart of the world. It is appreciation. And it is always praise.

Let us plant dates, even though those who plant them will never eat them ... We must live by the love of what we will never see. This is the secret discipline. It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved away in immediate sense experience, and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren. Such disciplined love is what has given prophets, revolutionaries and saints the courage to die for the future they envisaged. They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.

~ from TOMORROW'S CHILD by Rubem Alves with thanks to Tina Beneman

EARTH teach me stillness

EARTH teach me stillness
As the grasses are stilled with light.
EARTH teach me suffering
As old stones suffer with memory.
EARTH teach me humility
As blossoms are humble with beginning.
EARTH teach me caring
As the mother who secures her young.

EARTH teach me courage
As the tree which stands all alone.
EARTH teach me limitation
As the ant who crawls on the ground.
EARTH teach me freedom
As the eagle who soars in the sky.
EARTH teach me resignation
As the leaves which die in the fall.

EARTH teach me regeneration
As the seed which rises in spring.
EARTH teach me to forget myself
As melted snow forgets its life.
EARTH teach me to remember kindness
As dry fields weep with rain.

~ from the poetry of the Ute Native American Indians with thanks to Pat Drypolcher

Tasted in one small moment.

Just as a whole world of beauty can be discovered in one flower, so the great grace of God can be tasted in one small moment.

~ Henri Nouwen

I reach out my hand to God

I reach out my hand to God that He may carry me along as a feather is borne weightlessly by the wind...

~ Hildegard of Bingen