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Posts tagged ‘education for justice’

The Slip

What is it that is stirring beneath the surface of the water?

What is it that is stirring beneath the surface of the water?

I love Wendell Berry’s poetry, so I was delighted to find this in the Advent collection on Education for Justice.

The river takes the land, and leaves nothing.
Where the great slip gave way in the bank
and an acre disappeared, all human plans
dissolve. An awful clarification occurs
where a place was. Its memory breaks
from what is known now, begins to drift.
Where cattle grazed and trees stood, emptiness
widens the air for birdflight, wind, and rain.
As before the beginning, nothing is there.
Human wrong is in the cause, human
ruin in the effect–but no matter;
all will be lost, no matter the reason.
Nothing, having arrived, will stay.
The earth, even, is like a flower, so soon
passeth it away. And yet this nothing
is the seed of all–the clear eye
of Heaven, where all the worlds appear.
Where the imperfect has departed, the perfect
begins its struggle to return. The good gift
begins again its descent. The maker moves
in the unmade, stirring the water until
it clouds, dark beneath the surface,
stirring and darkening the soul until pain
perceives new possibility. There is nothing
to do but learn and wait, return to work
on what remains. Seed will sprout in the scar.
Though death is in the healing, it will heal
Source: The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, by Wendell Berry. Washington,D.C.: Counterpoint, 1999.

What Is True?

He came that we may have life abundantly

He came that we may have life abundantly

By Daniel Berrigan
It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to
destruction and loss —
This is true: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten
Son,that whoever believes in him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination,
hunger and poverty, death and destruction —
This is true: I have come that they may have life, and that abundantly.
It is not true that violence and hatred should have the last word,
and that war and destruction rule forever —
This is true: For unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.
It is not true that we are simply victims of the powers of evil who seek to
rule the world —
This is true: To me is given authority in heaven and on earth,
and lo, I am with you, even unto the end of the world.
It is not true that we have to wait for those who are specially gifted,
who are the prophets of the Church, before we can be peacemakers.
This is true: I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and daughters shall prophesy,
your young shall see visions,
and your old shall have dreams.
It is not true that our hopes for the liberation of humanity, for justice,
human dignity, and peace are not meant for this earth and for this history —
This is true: The hour comes, and it is now, that true worshippers
shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
So let us enter Advent in hope, even hope against hope.
Let us see visions of love and peace and justice.
Let us affirm with humility, with joy, with faith, with courage:
Jesus Christ — the Life of the world.
Source:Testimony: The Word Made Fresh, by Daniel Berrigan. Maryknoll, NY:Orbis Books, 2004 – found on the Education for Justice website.

Prayer: A Progression

This "pure white blossom burning in glimmer" is the night blooming cereus. It blooms once a year. what a beautiful site!

This “pure white blossom burning in glimmer” is the night blooming cereus. It blooms once a year. what a beautiful site!

This Jessica Powers poem was found on the Education for Justice website.

Prayer: A Progression
You came by night, harsh with the need of grace,
into the dubious presence of your Maker.
You combed a small and pre-elected acre
for some bright word of Him, or any trace.
Past the great judgment growths of thistle and thorn
and past the thicket of self you bore your yearning
till lo, you saw a pure white blossom burning
in glimmer, then, light, then unimpeded more!
Now the flower God-is-love gives ceaseless glow;
now all your thoughts feast on its mystery,
but when love mounts through knowledge and goes free,
then will the sated thinker arise and go
and brave the deserts of the soul to give
the flower he found to the contemplative.
Source: “Prayer: A Progression” from The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers,edited by Regina Siegfried, ASC, and Robert F. Morneau. Kansas City, MO:Sheed & Ward, 1989

Mary Oliver’s Wisdom

Just take a seat, I'll be with you in a minute.

Just take a seat, I’ll be with you in a minute.

Making the House Ready for the Lord
By Mary Oliver
Dear Lord, I have swept and I have washed but
still nothing is as shining as it should be
for you. Under the sink, for example, is an
uproar of mice –it is the season of their
many children. What shall I do? And under the eaves
and through the walls the squirrels
have gnawed their ragged entrances –but it is the season
when they need shelter, so what shall I do? And
the raccoon limps into the kitchen and opens the cupboard
while the dog snores, the cat hugs the pillow;
what shall I do? Beautiful is the new snow falling
in the yard and the fox who is staring boldly
up the path, to the door. And I still believe you will
come, Lord: you will, when I speak to the fox,
the sparrow, the lost dog, the shivering sea-goose, know
that really I am speaking to you whenever I say,
as I do all morning and afternoon: Come in, Come
Source:Thirst, by Mary Oliver. Boston: Beacon Press, 2006. p. 13 – Found on the Education for Justice website.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

Can there be anything more grand than the magnificent mountains?! And we are fortunate in California to have one of the grandest mountain ranges, the Sierra Nevadas. Its grandest and tallest peak is the tallest in the contiguous 48 states, Mt. Whitney, and it rises to 14,505 feet.
Taken from one of the 99 switchbacks on the way to Mt. Whitney. If you look closely you can see two of the switchbacks below. A crooked path, indeed. But what a view from the top!

Taken from one of the 99 switchbacks on the way to Mt. Whitney. If you look closely you can see two of the switchbacks below. A crooked path, indeed. But what a view from the top! Grand!!

by Sr. Christine Schenk, CSJ
I wait
with quickened hope
for crooked paths
to straighten,
with tough-soul’d
while blinded
keepers of the keys
shut out
God’s own.
(If such a thing
were possible.)
I wait,
and will not be
For tiny shoot
of Jesse tree
took root in me
to love
give sight
set free.
Source: National Catholic Reporter, December 12, 2003 – found on the Education for Justice website.

Advent Calendar

A December morning sun

A December morning sun

I remember the Advent Calendar of my childhood. Mother would pull it out of the box of decorations every year, and every day I would open a new window or door and see the delightful picture behind it. I don’t recall that it felt like a particularly spiritual experience, and it was a Christmas-y (with Santa) kind of decoration. Nonetheless, it still had its spiritual lessons – to count the days – to wait patiently – to experience expectancy and anticipation of something good. We need that still in this darkest time of the year – and in all the darkest seasons of our lives. It’s the lesson for a child and for us.

Advent Calendar
by Rowan Williams
He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.
He will come like the frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.
He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.
He will come, will come
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child
Source: The Poems of Rowan Williams, by Rowan Williams. Grand Rapids,MI: William B. Eerdsman Publishing Co., 2004. Found on the Education for Justice website.

How Do We Prepare?

Winter clouds hurrying across the sky

Winter clouds hurrying across the sky

Advent 1955
By John Betjeman
The Advent wind begins to stir
With sea-like sounds in our Scotch fir,
It’s dark at breakfast, dark at tea,
And in between we only see
Clouds hurrying across the sky
And rain-wet roads the wind blows dry
And branches bending to the gale
Against great skies all silver pale
The world seems travelling into space,
And travelling at a faster pace
Than in the leisured summer weather
When we and it sit out together,
For now we feel the world spin round
On some momentous journey bound –
Journey to what? to whom? to where?
The Advent bells call out ‘Prepare,
Your world is journeying to the birth
Of God made Man for us on earth.
And how, in fact, do we prepare
The great day that waits us there –
For the twenty-fifth day of December,
The birth of Christ? For some it means
An interchange of hunting scenes
On coloured cards, And I remember
Last year I sent out twenty yards,
Laid end to end, of Christmas cards
To people that I scarcely know –
They’d sent a card to me, and so
I had to send one back. Oh dear!
Is this a form of Christmas cheer?
Or is it, which is less surprising,
My pride gone in for advertising?
The only cards that really count
Are that extremely small amount
From real friends who keep in touch
And are not rich but love us much
Some ways indeed are very odd

By which we hail the birth of God

We raise the price of things in shops,
We give plain boxes fancy tops
And lines which traders cannot sell
Thus parcell’d go extremely well
We dole out bribes we call a present
To those to whom we must be pleasant
For business reasons. Our defence is
These bribes are charged against expenses
And bring relief in Income Tax
Enough of these unworthy cracks!
‘The time draws near the birth of Christ’.
A present that cannot be priced
Given two thousand years ago
Yet if God had not given so
He still would be a distant stranger

And not the Baby in the manger

Source: Collected Poems by John Betjeman. London: John Murray; New Edition, 2003. Found on the Education for Justice website.