My previous Blogger blogs — The Dude Abides, Vasco’s Heart and Becoming Family — are now fully nested here. You can find older posts from those historical blogs under their eponymous “Categories” labels.
With the start of my boy Vasco’s new school year on September 7, I intend to be posting here regularly with furniture including my weekly (and/or bi-weekly) GODSTUFF columns for Religion News Service and Sojourners Magazine (among others), daily religion news roundups in the form of TODAY IN GOD posts, general merry-making quick hits a la A LITTLE HAPPY, as well as SWAG GRAB contests, TWO CENTS polls, and the occasional LURKING IN THE NARTHEX guest bloggers.
So while we get the rest of the boxes unpacked and figure out where we put the lime press and the potholders, have a look around and make yourselves at home.
Thanks for joining me on the journey (see: Long Strange Trip) so far and I hope to be an exemplary and entertaining tour guide as we move farther down the road in our little ship of fools.
I’ll leave you with this before I get back to recycling some cardboard and lining the cupboard shelves with non-slip padding:
Community has been on my mind a lot lately. For a long, looooong time, consummate individualist that I am, I didn’t think I needed it. (And God said: “Ha!”) Now I can’t imagine my life without it. Community. In real-time and real-life, and in this funky, sacred third space between the pixels.
Thomas Merton has a lot to say about community. My homeslice Jen Grant handed me one of his books, New Seeds of Contemplation, last week when I was bolting out the door to the CNN studio in Chicago, all sweaty and kerfuffled and feeling anything but contemplative.
One of the paradoxes of the mystical life is this: that a man cannot enter into the deepest center of himself and pass through that center into God, unles she is able to pass entirely out of himself and empty himself and give himself to other people in the purity of a selfless love.
And so one of the worst illusions in the life of contemplations would be to try to find God by barricading yourself inside your own soul, shutting out all external reality by sheer concentration and will-power, cutting yourself off from the world and other men by stuffing yourself inside your own mind and closing the door like a turtle.
Fortunately most of the men who try this sort of thing never succeed. For self-hypnotism is the exact opposite of contemplation. We enter into possession of God when He invades all our faculties with His light and His infinite fire. We do not ‘possess’ Him until He takes full possession of us. But this business of doping your mind and isolating yourself from everything that lives, merely deadens you. How can fire take possession of what is frozen?
The more I become identified with God, the more will I be identified with all the others who are identified with Him. His Love will live in all of us. His Spirit will be our One Life, the Life of all of us and Life of God. And we shall love one another and God with the same Love with shich He loves us and Himself. This is God Himself….
The ultimate perfection of the contemplative life is not a heaven of separate individuals, each one viewing his own private intuition of God; it is a sea of Love which flows through the One Body of all the elect, allt he angels and saints, and their contemplation would be incomplete if it were not shared, or if it were shared with fewer souls, or with spirits capable of less vision and less joy.
I will have more joy in heaven and in the contemplation of God, if you are also there to share it with me; and the more of us there will be to share it the greater will be the joy of all….So we all become doors and windows through which God shines back into His own house.
When the Love of God is in me, God is able to love you through me and you are able to love God through me. If my soul were closed to that love, God’s love for you and your love for God and God’s love for Himself in you and in me, would be denied the particular expression which it finds through me and through no other.
Because God’s love is in me, it can come to you from a different and special direction that would be closed if He did not live in me, and because His love is in you, it can come to me from a quarter from which it would not otherwise come. And because it is in both of us, God has greater glory. His love is expressed in two more ways in which it would not otherwise be expressed; that is, in two more joys that could not exist without Him.
Let us live in this love and this happiness, you and I and all of us…