Browsing "Poets"

A poem for the new year by Joyce Rupp

Photo credit: http://morguefile.com/creative/jpkwitter

Photo credit: http://morguefile.com/creative/jpkwitter

Dear Pope Francis,

I was all ready to write my own post on welcoming the new year, and then Joyce Rupp‘s newsletter landed in my email inbox. She says it so perfectly in this poem that I don’t think I could really add anything else.

New Year Prayer of Fastening     (Joyce Rupp)

Fasten my heart to you, Love of all Loves,

that all I am and do finds its motivation in you.

 

Fasten my mind to you, Inner Peace,

that whatever stirs within leads to tranquility.

 

Fasten my days to you, Divine Presence,

that in each happening I remain united with you.

 

Fasten my nights to you, Keeper of Dreams,

that I find restoration in your embracing care.

 

Fasten my joys to you, Delight of My Soul,

that these memories comfort me in times of trouble.

 

Fasten my sorrows to you, Compassionate One,

that I experience solace in your kindheartedness.

 

Fasten my concerns to you, Faithful Companion,

that I withdraw from my fears and anxieties.

 

Fasten my responsibilities to you, Source of Love,

that my daily efforts evolve from a generous spirit.

 

Fasten my relationships to you, Friend of My Heart,

that your profuse love nurtures and sustains them.

 

Fasten my anguished world to you, Holder of Hope,

that my dreams for peace may become a reality.

 

Fasten my prayer to you, Eternal Mystery,

that I might give myself ever more fully to you.

New Year Prayer of Fastening     (Joyce Rupp)

 

Fasten my heart to you, Love of all Loves,

that all I am and do finds its motivation in you.

 

Fasten my mind to you, Inner Peace,

that whatever stirs within leads to tranquility.

 

Fasten my days to you, Divine Presence,

that in each happening I remain united with you.

 

Fasten my nights to you, Keeper of Dreams,

that I find restoration in your embracing care.

 

Fasten my joys to you, Delight of My Soul,

that these memories comfort me in times of trouble.

 

Fasten my sorrows to you, Compassionate One,

that I experience solace in your kindheartedness.

 

Fasten my concerns to you, Faithful Companion,

that I withdraw from my fears and anxieties.

 

Fasten my responsibilities to you, Source of Love,

that my daily efforts evolve from a generous spirit.

 

Fasten my relationships to you, Friend of My Heart,

that your profuse love nurtures and sustains them.

 

Fasten my anguished world to you, Holder of Hope,

that my dreams for peace may become a reality.

 

Fasten my prayer to you, Eternal Mystery,

that I might give myself ever more fully to you.

 

All the best for a great new year.

Your friend,

Kevin

Aug 18, 2013 - Book Club, Poets, Resources    No Comments

Day 59: Jim Conlon’s Sacred Butterflies

Butterfly on flower

Photo credit: http://morguefile.com/creative/puravida

Dear Pope Francis,

There’s a new book you might want to check out. It’s called “Sacred Butterflies: Poems, prayers and practices,” and is by Fr. James Conlon.

Jim serves as Director of the Sophia Center for Culture and Spirituality at Holy Names University in Oakland, Calif. He is also one of the keepers of the vision of Thomas Berry and the New Cosmology.

More than anyone else, I think, Jim embodies the New Cosmology. There are others who have done work on the New Cosmology, writing books and putting forth theories, but Jim lives it. Through his work at Sophia and in his writings, Jim keeps Thomas Berry’s concern and worry for the Earth community alive and present in the world. Jim would never admit to this, of course. He’d much rather fade into the background, doing the hard work, but not taking any credit. This is why Jim is so important to the New Cosmology. It’s all about the work and the vision, never himself. I call him the grinder of the New Cosmology.

Jim also has a true love for people. He sees the good in everyone, and the possibilities that can happen when people join together with a common purpose. That’s the whole point of Sophia; bringing seekers, activists, thinkers, and doers together in a way that is transformative, almost alchemical. As a graduate of the Sophia program, I can attest to the magic that happens in that space. Everyone is changed, and empowered to go forth into their part of the Great Work.

That’s what Jim does. He attracts people, draws them in, and then stands back to see what happens. Ask any Sophia student or graduate why they came to the program. Down to a person, their story will start with “Well, I met Jim…”

Jim’s keen sense of what people need to flourish and grow is evident in “Sacred Butterflies.” We live in a world where people have grown tired, even suspicious, of organized religion. Church attendance is down; “none” is becoming the most common answer when people are asked to name their religion.

And yet. And yet. The human need for practices that foster a connection to the Divine, however defined, has not gone away. As pews have emptied, yoga studios have filled. Everyone, it seems, is working on a meditation practice. People who run, swim, cycle, or lift weights often say they keep at it because of what they feel happens inside. Sure you can write it off as endorphins, or the need to look good in a swimsuit, but, personally, I think this is their spiritual practice.

Jim is writing for these folks. He’s seen first-hand that people need and want new ways of connecting with the Divine. We need new practices. They may take us to the same place, but the way we get there has to evolve.

“Sacred Butterflies” is written in three parts. The first is a series of beautiful poems. Inspired by Thomas Berry’s counsel that, when faced with what seems to be insurmountable problems, sometimes the best thing to do is to write a poem. And, so, Jim has written many poems about geo-justice, eco-spirituality, and the need for humans to find ways of co-existing with the rest of the Earth community.

The second part of “Sacred Butterflies” is a series of prayers. In the section’s introduction, Jim writes:

I believe prayer is largely about conscious self-awareness, about paying attention to the divine that is already present. In fact, prayer is more about
listening and responding than about formulating words. It opens us to epiphany moments in every aspect of our life and throughout all creation.

And Jim’s prayers do just that. They provide a window of awareness, a way of re-visioning our relationships with the Divine, each other, and nature.

Finally, the third section of “Sacred Butterflies” offers a series of spiritual practices. These are ways of connecting with the Divine that don’t take a person out of the daily rhythm of life, but offer, instead, ways of waking up to every moment. This is such a contrast to the “official” practices of organized religion, that see daily life as a distraction that endangers a connection with the Divine. Jim’s suggested spiritual practices are all about connecting with the every day reality of life. He writes about compassion, noticing beauty, and activism as spiritual practices. In this way, Jim’s book fits right in with what people today are seeking: simple ways of engaging with the Divine through every day life.

“Sacred Butterflies” is actually the third book in a trilogy that Jim has written over the past few years. The first book, “Beauty, Wonder and Belonging” takes the ancient practice of praying the Liturgy of the Hours and makes it more relevant for today’s world. In “Invisible Excursions,” Jim relates the story of his life against the background of social and religious upheaval and change over the past seven decades. It is one of the best books on the history of the New Cosmology that I’ve read.

So, there you have it, some good books to peruse, and a good companion to get to know in Jim Conlon.

Your friend,

Kevin

(P.S. The links to Jim’s books go to an Amazon affiliate site and I’ll get a little bit of money if you buy them there.)

 

Jul 24, 2013 - Poets, Resources    No Comments

Day 36: Some David Whyte

Dear Pope Francis,

I was traveling today, so not a lot of time to write. But just wanted to give you some David White to ponder.

Everything is Waiting for You

Your great mistake is to act the drama
as if you were alone. As if life
were a progressive and cunning crime
with no witness to the tiny hidden
transgressions. To feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings. Surely,
even you, at times, have felt the grand array;
the swelling presence, and the chorus, crowding
out your solo voice You must note
the way the soap dish enables you,
or the window latch grants you freedom.
Alertness is the hidden discipline of familiarity.
The stairs are your mentor of things
to come, the doors have always been there
to frighten you and invite you,
and the tiny speaker in the phone
is your dream-ladder to divinity.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation. The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.

  — David Whyte
      from Everything is Waiting for You
     ©2003 Many Rivers Press

Until tomorrow.

Your friend,

Kevin

Jul 12, 2013 - Poets, Resources    No Comments

Day 24: Two of my favorite people in one post!

Dear Pope Francis,

A treat today. Poet Drew Dellinger writing about Thomas Berry. So much awesome for one blog post.

Carolina Prophet: Poem for Thomas Berry
By Drew Dellinger

we were dreamed
in the cores
of the stars.
like the stars,
we were meant to unfold

we were dreamed in the depths
of the undulating ocean.
like the waves,
we were meant to unfold

like bursting supernovas, birthing elements,
which crucibles give rise to creativity?

the world makes us
its instrument.

Father Thomas,
speaking for stars, in a voice
old as wind: ‘origin moments
are supremely important’

what are the origins
of a prophet?

found in syllables of Sanskrit,
or Chinese characters?
in a decade of midnight prayer?

in childhood epiphanies
rising like heat?

blue Carolina sky;
dark pines;
crickets;
birds;
sunlight
on the lilies,
in the meadow,
across the creek.

born in Carolina
on the eve of the Great War,
Saturn conjoining Pluto in the sky.
raised in a world of wires and wheels,
watching dirt roads turn to pavement.

brooding intensity,
measuring loss
when others could see only progress.

white hair communing with angels of Earth

Father Thomas, reminding us
we are constantly bathed in shimmering memories
of originating radiance

we are constantly bathed in shimmering memories
of originating radiance

the psychic stars:
the conscious soil:

this thin film of atmosphere;

and only gravity
holding the sea from the stars.

when a vision of the universe takes hold
in your mind, your soul becomes vast as the cosmos.

when the mind is silent,
everything is sacred.

like the spiral
like the lotus
like the waves
like the trees
like the stars,

we were meant to unfold.

Hope you enjoyed. If you like Drew’s poetry, you should really buy his book.

Your friend,

Kevin

Jul 11, 2013 - Poets, Resources    No Comments

Day 23: Bet you thought I’d missed a day

Dear Pope Francis,

It’s been a pretty busy day — but I didn’t forget to write you. Just getting to it a bit late, right before I go to bed.

I thought this poem by David Whyte was fitting.

What to Remember
When Waking.

What you can plan
is too small
for you to live.

What you can live
wholeheartedly
will makes plans
enough
for the vitality
hidden in your sleep.

To be human
is to become visible
while carrying
what is hidden
as a gift to others.

To remember
the other world
in this world
is to live in your
true inheritance.

Excerpt from ‘What to Remember When Waking’
From River Flow: New and Selected Poems
Many Rivers Press. ©David Whyte

Good night, Pope Francis.

Your friend,

Kevin

Day 17: Drew Dellinger

Dear Pope Francis,

I had the day off today and it was really nice. I got some errands done, read, did some tinkering on the behind-the-scenes of the blog, and even went to a local farmer’s market.

Which is to say I was busy relaxing, and not writing.

Thankfully, I have another writer’s work to share with you. Drew Dellinger is a poet and activist from the San Francisco Bay Area. I love his work. His poems are best appreciated when spoken aloud. So, here’s Drew with one of his most well-known pieces.

Hope you enjoyed that.

Your friend,
Kevin