Today’s Wisdom Wednesday is brought to you by Thomas Merton:
“At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our own mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us… It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely…I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.” – Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander
Last week, after our date-night dinner, Dennis and I stood on the Albany side of the Hudson looking out and, as I usually do, I pointed to a beautiful steeple on the Rensselaer side of the river and wondered what church it might be.
On this particular night, Dennis decided to solve the mystery and drove across the bridge to the church you see there on the left, St. John the Evangelist-St. Joseph, just down the street from the train station. We caught a beautiful sunset from that spot and found a lovely little garden dedicated to St. Padre Pio. And so I thought I’d share some Wednesday Wisdom from that beloved Italian saint: Read more
I don’t like fake things. Never have. I guess that’s why ever since I started regularly coloring my hair a little more than a year or so ago (before that I would do occasional color “rinses”), I felt a little bit like an impostor, like I was wearing a mask. I’m lucky, in a sense. I inherited my mother’s hair genes (as opposed to her colon genes, thank God), and so my hair didn’t even begin to gray until I neared 50, and even then, it was just a sprinkling of silver strands in a riot of curls. Not very noticeable. But our culture tells women to fear the gray. Any gray. Read more
My “Soul Seeing” column, running in the current issue of the National Catholic Reporter:
If you look around my office prayer space or on my bedroom dresser, you’ll notice one constant: broken conch and whelk shells everywhere. Small and blue-gray, large and sun-bleached, twisting, turning, spiraling in that gorgeous and mysterious way that seashells do. Although I have one perfect channeled whelk shell that I purchased in Cape May, N.J., years ago, my prized possessions are broken shells of every shape and size because, as far as I’m concerned, they are far more beautiful than the ones that are perfectly intact and so lovely on the outside. Read more
So yesterday’s post was pretty heavy, I guess, and I was reflecting on it as I went about my day and thinking about the depths of the darkness. And I realized something, I noticed markers, I guess you could call them, that to me are signals that I have not yet reached a level of depression that is beyond hope. What markers? Read more
As we head into another new year and people everywhere jump on the diet and fitness resolution bandwagon, I thought I’d rewind to last year at this time when everyone was probably making the exact same resolutions and I was talking about our real cravings and how to conquer eating issues without counting calories. So often our hunger has nothing to do with cookies or potato chips or eggnog. It has to do with our understanding of ourself and our place in the world and a hunger for inner peace and joy. We just use food to fill the void. Read more
I was searching for something in my digital files and came across this column from January 2012. It seemed to ring true all over again, although, to be honest, I had totally forgotten about it — both the words and the lessons. So here it is again, if only for myself.
It amazes me sometimes how a casual comment, a familiar smell or the sound of a name we haven’t heard in a while can send us spiraling back in time to a place or event we’d long ago forgotten. Memories linger on our hearts. Some we’d like to preserve forever; some we wish would stay hidden. Good or bad, they are too often the things that shape us. Read more
Ever since I first came in contact with the writings of Thomas Merton about 28 years ago, he has spoken to me. I know I’m not alone there. Countless people of every faith and persuasion have found meaning in his writings and his life. Of course, others will counter that with claims that he was too flawed to be held up as a role model, or, dare I say, saint, but that’s precisely why he’s a great example. Read more
All of my regular readers here at NSS know that honesty is the name of the game. I always try to tell you the truth, even when it’s not easy or pretty. You’ve been to some dark spiritual places with me. And I try to be that way in life — honest. Just ask the prison chaplains who sat through about 90 minutes of honest yesterday. But sometimes, despite all the best attempts at honesty, there’s a sliver of truth that gets left out, something we’re afraid to say because we think hearing the words out loud would shake us to the core. Read more