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Posts tagged ‘florence’

Wednesday of Hope – Nothing is Hopeless

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you are slamming the door in the face of God.

– Charles L. Allen

Love that Can Bridge All Divisions

In a world so torn apart by rivalry, anger, and hatred, we have the privileged vocation to be living signs of a love that can bridge all divisions and heal all wounds.

– Henri Nouwen

The Feast of Saint Dominic


Tomorrow, August 8th, is the Feast of St. Dominic, the founder of the Order of Preachers, otherwise known as the Dominicans. It is always appropriate to celebrate a feast on the eve of the feast. And as we are celebrating the 800th Anniversary of the Dominican order this year, we could actually celebrate Dominic everyday.

The photo above is detail of a fresco named, Madonna delle Ombre at the Convento (or now, Museo) San Marco, in Florence. Dominic holding what we call his last will and testament. According to his brothers, he gave this to us on his deathbed: ” Have charity, guard humility, hold fast to voluntary poverty.” He promised that he would continue to guide them in spirit. He died on August 2, 1221, and was buried as he wished, “at the feet of his brethren.”

Opening Doors


When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

– Helen Keller

The Feast of the Annunciation

annunciationMarch 25th, nine months before Christmas – the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, is celebrated this day in Lent. So today’s Lenten poem from Education for Justice is
Annunciation by Denise Levertov.

This year, because we are in the midst of Holy Week,  the feast has been transferred to April 8th. But I don’t mind celebrating twice! 😉


‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’ From the Agathistos Hymn,
Greece, VI

We know the scene: the room, variously furnished,
almost always a lectern, a book;
always the tall lily.

     Arrived on solemn grandeur of great wings,
the angelic ambassador, standing or hovering,
whom she acknowledges, a guest.

But we are told of meek obedience. No one mentions

     The engendering Spirit
did not enter her without consent.
                                                           God waited.
She was free
to accept or to refuse, choice
integral to humanness.

Aren’t there annunciations
of one sort or another
in most lives?

     Some unwillingly
undertake great destinies,
enact them in sullen pride,
                                   More often
those moments
                 when roads of light and storm
                 open from darkness in a man or woman,
are turned away from
in dread, in a wave of weakness, in despair
and with relief.

Ordinary lives continue.

                                  God does not smite them.
But the gates close, the pathway vanishes.

She had been a child who played, ate, slept
like any other child – but unlike others,
wept only for pity, laughed
in joy not triumph.

Compassion and intelligence
fused in her, indivisible.
Called to a destiny more momentous
than any in all of Time,
she did not quail,
                               only asked
a simple, ‘How can this be?’
and gravely, courteously,
took to heart the angel’s reply,
perceiving instantly
the astounding ministry she was offered:
to bear in her womb

Infinite weight and lightness; to carry in hidden, finite inwardness,
nine months of Eternity; to contain
in slender vase of being,
the sum of power –
in narrow flesh,
the sum of light.

                             Then bring to birth,
push out into air, a Man-child
needing, like any other,
milk and love –

but who was God.

Source: “Annunciation” from The Stream and the Sapphire, by Denise Levertov.
New York: New Directions Publishing, 1997.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas – An Epiphany

The twelve days of Christmas come to an end on January 6, and the season of [Ordinary Time] begins. But Epiphany not only ends Christmas, it also fulfills it by celebrating the revelation of the Christ to the whole world. The coming of Incarnate God to all people, especially to those of us who are Gentiles, is the bridge from birth into life, the event that makes Easter possible for most of us. The light of the Epiphany illuminates the church’s year as it illuminates the human race from whom the kings came.

– Phyllis A. Tickle

Bridges have often been powerful spiritual symbols. This one, Ponte Vecchio, in Florence, is one teeming with life and commerce - a powerful symbol to St. Catherine of Siena.

Bridges have often been powerful spiritual symbols. This one, Ponte Vecchio, in Florence, is one teeming with life and commerce – a powerful symbol to St. Catherine of Siena. She understood Jesus to be our Bridge.