How to Hear the Voice of Call

08-11-2013 | Bob Sabath

Today we focused on the question: How to hear the voice of Call, the voice of the Beloved? And how do we distinguish this voice from the other voices that Mary Oliver speaks of when she says, "those many voices with their bad advice."

Always the collective wisdom of the community gathered is helpful. Sharing of individual stories followed and personal insights emerged and were cherished.

Three threads were woven together:

  • the Gospel passage John 20:1-18, the story of Mary and Jesus post resurrection
  • the second beatitude in Matthew 5:4 — "Blessed are those who mourn"
  • the poem by Rainer Maria Rilke called The Swan

The song we shared at mid-day was Deep Within a Song is Heard.

The reflection questions for the day

  • Why do you weep?
  • What has been your experience of hearing the voice of a call?
  • How have you heard call in your life?
  • Where has it led, changed, died, grown?

The Swan
by Rainer Maria Rilke
translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows

This laboring of ours with all that remains undone,
as if still bound to it,
is like the lumbering gait of the swan.

And then our dying—releasing ourselves
from the very ground on which we stood —
is like the way he hesitantly lowers himself

into the water. It gently receives him,
and, gladly yielding, flows back beneath him,
as wave follows wave,
while he, now wholly serene and sure,
with regal composure,
allows himself to glide.

The Journeyby Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice —
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Listen to song: Deep Within a Song Is Heard.
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Dream Work
By Mary Oliver