Monday, July 13, 2009

Reading Journals

"That God should have time for you, you seem to take as much for granted as that you cannot have time for God." -- Dag Hammarskjold, Markings.

Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk and famed spiritual author, filled 70 "reading journals" with notes and commentaries on the books he read throughout his life time, as careful a reader as he was a writer. (The Intimate Merton: His Life from His Journals)

Though I have only two such reading journals, one very fat and one very thin, they continue to nourish my spiritual life as I daily find, and add to, some quote to ponder.

I came across the above quotation from Dag Hammarskjold this evening while preparing to meditate and felt as if I'd been dealt a hammer blow. I'd copied that quote years ago, and though it impressed me then, tonight's reading propelled me to my knees.

What immense, divine humility that God -- the "I AM" of all creation -- should be always at our disposal while we, filled with insane hubris, spend but a few moments of our day, if at all, with this ineffable presence in return.

Photo of the Holy House of Loretto at the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Washington New Jersey.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just Go For Walks

"just Go for walks,
live in peace,
let change come quietly and invisibly on the inside" -- Thomas Merton, Woods, Shore, Desert: A Notebook.

What a simple recipe to expand the heart? To allow what Philip Toynbe calls "seepage." Seepage is slow, often invisible. I find this consoling as I view the sluggish pace at which my journey to God progresses. In her lovely little book, Lost in Wonder, Edith De Waal writes the pilgrims, "the peregrini were clear that it was because they already held Christ in their hearts that they could set out on their journey to find him. So too, the journey I take day by day, minute by minute.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sitting so still that . . .

Today a chipmunk confused me with a climbing pole. I was sitting on the deck, meditating, when I felt a few ounces of something skitter up my leg and then beat a quick retreat. Shocked from my "mindfulness," I saw the little fellow cowering in a corner of the deck next to the house, looking at me curiously. Clearly, I was not supposed to be there.

The visitation by a little neighbor delighted me, though I found it impossible to resume meditating. Instead I gazed about me and enjoyed the sun and breeze. Lake Superior gentle today and whispering against the ledge rock, the pin cherry and ash trees preparing to launch the fruit for which the birds (and bears)yearn, the chatter of the gold-finches as they swooped around the feeders.

When the cry of a gull drew my attention, I was treated to another of those marvels we see up here -- a larger animal being chased by a smaller one. This bald eagle, hounded by only one gull, was in great haste to get away. (I've seen very small birds chasing eagles which makes me wonder why it was chosen as a sign of national pride.)

When I returned to my computer a bit later, I did so with a light heart and smile -- God's presence so visible in the life surrounding me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Expanding the Heart

I stand with hands uplifted . . . a willing heart all I have to offer. After 50 years of searching I am still a beginner pilgrim. Today I think about the way love expands the heart, the way the fire of longing opens us not because of our efforts but because of God's longing for us.

About Me

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Beryl is the author of The Scent of God: A Memoir published by Counterpoint NY in 2006 and A View of the Lake published by Lake Superior Port Cities Inc. in 2001. She’s been living on Lake Superior for seventeen wonderful years, and spent 10 years writing two popular columns for the Cook County News Herald: Newcomer Notes and Putting Down Roots. Beryl is past president of the Schroeder Area Historical Society and a long-time chair of its Oral History and Marketing committees. She is a past board member of the Violence Prevention Center in Grand Marais and committee member for the Grand Marais Art Colony’s first ever annual North Shore Reader and Writers Festival. She’s been published in the Sun Magazine, Minnesota Monthly, Lake Superior Magazine, and The Trenton Times and in the anthologies, Surviving Ophelia published by Perseus Publications in 2001 and The New Writer's Handbook, Vol. 2, published by Scarletta Press in 2008 and was named Best of Minnesota Writers by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She is currently working on her third memoir: the sequel to The Scent of God.