Wisdom – the Image of God’s Goodness

Since Sunday, we have had lovely readings from the Book of Wisdom

sunrise, bolinas

In Wisdom is a spirit intelligent, holy, unique,
Manifold, subtle, agile, clear, unstained, certain,
Not baneful, loving the good, keen,
unhampered, beneficent, kindly,
Firm, secure, tranquil, all-powerful, all-seeing,
And pervading all spirits,
though they be intelligent, pure and very subtle.
For Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
and she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.

For she is an aura of the might of God
and a pure effusion of the glory of the Almighty;
therefore nought that is sullied enters into her.

For she is the refulgence of eternal light,
the spotless mirror of the power of God, the image of God’s goodness.

And she, who is one, can do all things,
and renews everything while herself perduring;

And passing into holy souls from age to age,
she produces friends of God and prophets.

For there is nought God loves, be it not one who dwells with Wisdom.
For she is fairer than the sun and surpasses every constellation of the stars.
Compared to light, she takes precedence; for that, indeed, night supplants,
but wickedness prevails not over Wisdom.

Indeed, she reaches from end to end mightily
and governs all things well.

Wisdom 7:22 – 8:1

Let God’s Glory Be over all the Earth

From today’s Morning Prayer:

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!

Psalm 108

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

In Awe of the Simple Gifts of LIfe

The following is the closing prayer from Vespers for this evening.

May we experience awe in the presence of the Simple Gifts of Life.

O gracious God, open our hearts and our eyes to the wonders of your presence among us. May we see the signs of your beauty within and about us and ever be in awe of the simple gifts of life. Help us to reach beyond ourselves and to give thanks for all of your creation that shares this universe with us: peoples of every nation, animals of every species, all forms of vegetation, the planets, stars, and all the elements. We pray this in union with the incarnate Word of God in whose image all was created. May you be blessed throughout the ages and for all eternity. Amen.

All the Earth Cries Out

One of today’s psalms at morning prayer was Psalm 100. It begins: “All the earth cries out to you with shouts of joy, O God.”

All the earth cries out to you with shouts of joy, O God!

All the earth cries out to you with shouts of joy, O God,
Servign you with gladness, coming before you, singing for joy.

You, Creator of all, are God. You made us, we belong to you,
We are your people, the sheep of your pasture.

We enter your gates with thanksgiving, and your courts with songs of praise.
We give you thanks and bless your name.

Indeed, how good you are, enduring your steadfast love.
You are faithful to all generations.

Today is the Feast of St. Martin de Porres

St. Martin de Porres in one of the tapestries at the Cathedral in Los Angeles

Today is the Feast of our Dominican Brother, Saint Martin de Porres (December 9, 1579 – November 3, 1639). He is known for his care for the poor and vulnerable, and care of the sick. Many are the reports of his gift of healing, and he was skilled in the art of healing herbs. Animals loved Martin, and he they; they were comfortable in one another’s presence.

Though the priests of the Order were far more educated then he, Martin continually taught his brothers through example how Jesus taught us to value one another.

It was recalled by his prior that once when Martin was punished for picking up a destitute elderly beggar and placing him in his own bed at the monastery, Saint Martin went humbly to his superior and asked for forgiveness. He said that he didn’t know that obedience took precedence over charity.

He said, “Compassion is preferable to cleanliness. Reflect that with a little soap I can easily clean my bed covers, but even with a torrent of tears I would never wash from my soul the stain that my harshness toward the unfortunate would create.”

Saint Martin is one whose life was a preaching, and when necessary, he could add the right words.

All Souls Day

Is there not a beautiful thought connected with prayer for the dead? Were it not sad to feel that when our loved ones pass away, they are wholly separated from us? Through prayer we may still hold communion with them; by the spirit of prayer we may gather the inspiration and clothe ourselves with the mantle they were clothed with. In blessing them we receive their blessing….

– Andrew Barrett, The Shakers

Mother Justin Barry visits the grave of Sister Dominica Arguello, remembered in California history as Dominica Arguello, who is often mentioned in the early history of California. Photo taken, circa 1955.

Mother Justin was the Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of Sister of San Rafael from 1953 to 1965.  Sister Dominica was the first woman to enter a convent in California.

Taking Jesus Seriously

A few years ago I read a book entitled, Taking Jesus Seriously, by John Cowan. I recall agreeing with the author that we tend to rationalize away many of the things that Jesus said, and thus don’t really take him seriously. Just pay attention, what are the things that many religious people (we) wave their (our) arms about? Then ask yourself, did Jesus talk about these things? And then look at the overwhelming social needs in our country and world. Then ask yourself, what did Jesus say about this?

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke left me wondering.

On a sabbath Jesus went to dine at the home of one of the leading Pharisees. He said to the host who invited him, “When you hold a lunch or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or sisters or your relatives or your wealthy neighbors, in case they may invite you back and you have repayment. Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind; blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to  repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

So, if I pay attention to my life, and the banquets and dinners I attend, I see tables of plenty. Then I ask myself, “Who is missing?” How do the guest lists match up with Jesus’ guest list, without my trying to rationalize it with giving time or money to a homeless shelter?

What will it cost me to really take Jesus’ words seriously? And how can we encourage one another to really do just that?

Table of Plenty - Set for Whom?

Finding the Cure in a Pumpkin Patch

pumpkin, pumpkin patch, Presentation Center, Los Gatos
Pumpkin patch in garden at Presentation Center, Los Gatos

The only cure is love, by Helen Caldicot

I just walked around my garden. It is a sunny, fall day and white fleecy clouds are scudding across a clear, blue sky.
The air is fresh and clear with no taint of chemical smells, and the mountains in the distance are ringed by shining silver clouds.
Earlier I picked a pan full of ripe cherry guavas to make jam, and the house is filling with the delicate aroma of simmering guavas.
Figs are ripening on the trees and developing that gorgeous deep, red glow at the apex of the fruit.
Huge, orange-colored lemons hang from the citrus trees, and lettuce, beet-roots, and cabbage are growing in the vegetable garden….

It is clear to me that unless we connect directly with the Earth, we will not have the faintest clue why we should save it.

Source: If You Love This Planet

Preacher of Wonder

Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.

E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web

weed, descanso gardens
Weed preaching the presence of wonder.

Every morning I receive a daily quote from Gratefulness.org. After reading today’s, I knew there were many images that easily preach the presence of wonder. Are we listening?

Everybody is Unique

Everybody is unique.
Do not compare yourself
with anybody else
lest you spoil God’s curriculum.

– Baal Shem Tov

Koala at L.A. Zoo
One of God's unique critters at the L.A. Zoo. He's too busy to compare himself with others.