Do We Live like We’re Looking for an Escape Clause?

No Christian escapes a taste of the wilderness on the way to the promised land.
“No Escape” by Evelyn Underhill

saguaro, "arizona desert"
No Christian escapes a taste of the wilderness on the way to the promised land.

I’ve been thinking about this as I witness and experience the fragility of life all around me. I wonder how it is that we seem to approach life as if we had some guarantee that everything would go well, and we would “live happily ever after.” Then I read this morning’s quote from I guess I’ll just keep working on letting go and trying to welcome the present moment . . . with the help of the Spirit.

I try to remind myself that we are never promised anything, and that what control we can exert is not over the events that befall us but how we address ourselves to them.

Jeanne DuPrau
The Earth House


The Feast of St. Albert the Great

Today is the feast of a Dominican saint, St. Albert the Great. He was born sometime around the year 1200, and died in Cologne in 1280. His teachings that stretched the Church of his time to look beyond the confines of a Christian

Koln (Cologne) Cathedral
St. Albert the Great, though he never saw the completed cathedral in Cologne (completed 1880), he certainly saw its beginnings (circa 1248). Neither did he know that his scholarship and mentoring of Thomas Aquinas would guide the theology of the Church.

milieu for truth could stand us in good stead in these days when many proclaim that they have a corner on the truth. Albert and his famous student, St. Thomas Aquinas, found truth in the writings of Aristotle . . . found that they complemented Christian teaching. The Church named Albert a Doctor of the Church and a saint in 1931. We would do well to cultivate the willingness to listen and study the experience and beliefs of others before condemning them out of hand. We would also do well to cultivate the discipline to rigorous study that was demonstrated by St. Albert the Great, rather than taking the easy road of listening to what we want to believe, and taking that for truth.

Appreciating Beauty as Prayer

May our appreciation of creation become prayer and praise.

Last week published this quote.

What is real prayer? Praise to God. And the meaning of praise? Appreciating; thus opening the heart more and more to the divine beauty one sees in manifestation.

– Pir-O-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan
Bowl of Saki

Joining Worthy Women – Reaching out their Hands to the Hungry

The first reading today, on the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time talks about a worthy wife. Obviously sisters and nuns are not wives. And in the days that the Book of Proverbs there weren’t nuns or sisters, so our lives could not be imagined. So I’ve taken a little liberty here and changed a few of the words so that it relates to women, whether married or not.

Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31

When one finds a worthy [woman], her value is far beyond pearls. 
[Those who] entrust their heart to her, have an unfailing prize.

She brings good, and not evil, all the days of her life.
She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands.
She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle.
She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy.

Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.

"Sr. Anne Bertain" "St. Dominic Church, San Francisco"

While this is a Christmas setting, Sister Anne Bertain, definitely a “Worthy Woman” reaches out her hand to the hungry every day at St. Dominic’s.

And if you happen to be a single woman, maybe you might think about joining us  as we “reach out our hands to the poor, and extend our arms to the needy. Sister Anne Bertain, a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, does this every day in San Francisco at St. Dominic Catholic Church. To learn more about us, please go to our website. If you would like to pray with us, we invite you to San Rafael for an Advent Vespers service on December 1st. Please feel free to contact me to find out more.

What Do Football and the Church Share in Common?

There’s a common thread that runs through many of the latest news items.

I’m just wondering what is it that Football and the Church have in common?

  • Is it that they both have major celebrations on the weekends?
  • Is it that they are both male bastions?
  • Is it that they both adhere to a code of silence?
  • Is it that their most loyal fans cry “Foul!” in disbelief?
  • Is it because both “institutions” are hierarchical – and seemingly beyond blame?
  • How else can you explain the feeling of vulnerability of the janitor/witness?
  • How else can you explain away the fact that the university police didn’t pursue this?
  • How else can you explain the D.A. not investigating or prosecuting?
  • How else can you explain all those men knowing . . . and doing nothing?

    May our resolve for justice be like this sister in El Salvador and the persistent widow in Luke's Gospel.

When a child is attacked, they look the other way. When a woman reports her attacker, she is called a whiner, and others are warned not to speak up. Women and children . . . the powerless ones . . . the vulnerable  ones.

On behalf of the vulnerable, we must be like the widow in today’s Gospel reading:

Jesus said, “There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, “Render a just decision for me against my adversary.” For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, “While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.””

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18: 1-8)

Who do you want to stand with?

Can We Discern the Artisan from the Beauty that Surrounds Us?

More from today’s selection from the Book of Wisdom

Creation Tells Us the Nature of the Creator

All  were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God,
and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing God who is,
and from studying the works did not discern the Artisan;
But either fire, or wind, or the swift air,
or the circuit of the stars, or the mighty water,
or the luminaries of heaven, the governors of the world, they considered gods.

Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods,
let them know how far more excellent is the Lord than these;
for the Original Source of Beauty fashioned them.
Or if they were struck by their might and energy,
let them from these things realize how much more powerful is the One who made them.

Wisdom 13

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.