I don't know anyone that is that nice. You must be some kind of saint or something.
It was an awkward moment. I remember I had already started talking when I walked into my twin brother's room one afternoon. I should have knocked. My brother and I stood motionless for a moment in utter silence, staring at each other over a TV tray set up like an altar, with an embroidered pillow case carefully arranged over the top and candles on each side. I think my brother was using Saltines as his stand-in Host, his customary iced tea for the wine.
“I guess you have to do what you have to do”, my father said when I finally told him about my desire to join the Carmelites. We were walking under the autumn trees on my farm in Oregon, talking face to face for the first time in nine years, and I wanted to tell him my plans while we had this time together.
So much for the Climbing Carmel Christmas Special. I know, my vignette is not really the White Christmas image of Bing Crosby and company singing and dancing across a stage in their color-coordinated, elegant, his-and-hers upgrade of old Santa's suit. I can't help it, whenever I think of Advent and Christmas, my mind turns to Father Elijah walking across the Desert of Sin, Sinai. It is easy to forget that the hero of the story doesn't know how it ends the way we do.
Sometimes in contemplation God chooses to gives us the means rather than the end. Instead of merely handing over the keys to His kingdom, he gives us the blueprint and lets us build it ourselves and put ourselves into its construction. I can imagine that St. Theresa of Avila saw the Interior Castle first before she saw all that it contained.
Every morning I crept down the hall, boots in hand, to the bathroom to get ready in the dark. I wanted to get out early before the others and spend some time in St. Thomas the Apostle Church before the discernment retreat started for the day. St. Thomas is a magnificent church, a huge marble baldachin towers over the altar.
I do not claim to know anything. I do not claim to be anything. I aspire to nothing and find I often do not achieve it.
Why am I beginning this blog with a description of an 8th Century Irish tale describing the death of one greatest heroes of Irish mythology? Mythologies articulate cultural values and they also re-inscribe them down through the generations. This passage is pretty typical of the pagan value system for a hero
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled "A Charism of Many Colors." In it, I tried to present excerpts from the constitutions of other religious communities that gave voice to aspects of my own personal charism.
I was still holding out to join the Carmelites in the next year and wanted to be truly mendicant: poor, light on my feet, ready to follow the call, and beg for my bread. I smiled when he dismissed my vocation, even through it turned like a white hot shank of iron in my belly.