Sacred Humanitas

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Community Retreat Spring 2002. Soul and Spirit. Presence and Absence.



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the holy father in a m letter to benedict and viruses and nineteen and the two thousand for the millennium
or extend to developed what he called and sacred the humanitas
ha which has
instigate a lot of consideration in my mind what would a sacred you be
on perceval i sentence important
that the word there it's a curious association of english and latin or why was that done i think it was on purpose because sacred humanity you wouldn't quite say although it says a lot but humanitas implies and sensibility a whole perspective on a culture
maybe even christian money toss is not enough it's got to be sacred new money talks because the nature of world that we're in
so when i was talking the other day about our the kemal delays involvement in the early italian renaissance and that humanitas i urged us to think about
what kind of humanism is needed in our day and age on a holistic or integral humanism
the would also at the same time be deeply rooted in that sacred and obviously in the mystery of christ
so i doubt with a lot of threads this week you know monastic life and commodities history and ah the apathetic and the cat of fatty and metaphysical theology which sort of considers they kept fabric world and also
the unmanifest germany the outer fabric and so forth
and soul and spirit yesterday ah so you know it's like putting great big brush strokes on canvas that needs a lot of filling in or threads and a carpet to the warp and woof you know that need than other threads to be put in
the it in
i just like to say a few more things i came to my mind after yesterday's talk and discussion which was very valuable for me in new new insights that are brought to me in the discussion and then even with discussion with others later in the day
i think we have to be soulful and spirit-filled people and too much in the tradition with concentrated on being spirit-filled people and forgetting the connection with the earth and the fuller development of human heartedness and psyche and so forth and that's i think why
matthew fox reacted so harshly against that notion of the spiritual ladder because of it's interpreted as up up in a way transcendence away from the earth and the human and bodily and the heart and emotions and psyche and so for it can be tremendously
a tripod you know a great danger or young said one time he was shy of having correspondence with freud and for it asked him if you have any or spirituality or are you a christian you have a spiritual discipline and young sansar was very interesting he said for me the spiritual ladder has met
mostly falling off the spiritual ladder
and you know wrong walter had that vision of white robed monks climbing the ladder to heaven some interesting image if you see it as a connection between heaven and earth you know the oxus monday ah but if it's just upward transfer
attendance it can be a i think certainly dehumanizing and a is certainly a kind of false religion
because religion means to bind etymologically managed to connect rather go rail or barring to make the connections to on to bring the threads together
shake up in the hebrew bible saw the angels are both ascending and descending that be bethel interesting of ascending and descending
in climaxes ladder if you've seen the icon of the ladder of divine sent you see the monks climbing to heaven and the demons falling off which is also interesting ah so it's it's an interesting image to play with know it's summer
thing it's an image that justice a fertile i just have so many associations
nowadays there's a lot of writing and nice falsehoods and kind of new age literature and sort of the spiritual soup that's that there but there's a lot of interest in shamanism and one of the terms had been taken over from communism is the term soul loss that people do lose soul
and course one of the purposes of a classic chairman was to return a person's soul to themself
but a psychological writer looseness as symptoms of so loss psychic numbing alienation apathy burn out torpor anxiety cynicism
in one sense the western soul has been lost that's why they young serves to grail mess is myth of the west were in search of that cup that vessel on incheon mormons film merlin which is not a great film where it's been called the him in a spoof on younger side
ecology and it's great to see it from that angle but it has certain truths in it ah
i find it fun to watch although it's kind of bloody and violent parts ah because one arthur it's kingdom starts to fall apart and i'd love to go into the details boy i won't take time and you know the kinda sick and the wasteland they're sick
know when our ego on our personhood your sick then there's a wasteland around us and if it's so it spills over from us
at any rate the knights of roundtable go in search of the grail and one go wayne know after great trials and actually of death reports experience brings to come back to arthur arthur is collapsed and the cheer when he hands the cup to arthur
author's words are i did not know my soul was so thirsty
i did not know my soul was so thirsty so they're great spirit or truce i think sometimes and film and and novels and so forth
perhaps it's drastic to say that the west has lost its soul but at least a shriveled and anemic
i heard on national public radio a couple of years ago about on a navajo indian who had been in the vietnam war and he came back very shattered and saw in in great depression and a virtually non-functional and
they send him from all sorts of treatment and to ah so forth and psychological work and he still remain sort of shattered so finally they sent him back to his tribe
and the tribe the elders had the wisdom to take him through a kind of ritual experience with the whole tribe involved in of so it was community experience and a ritual experience and in one week had a week long ritual and brought him back where his soul was knitted together again that
it was very interesting i'd love to get her a written description of that
so we have to be soulful people at the same time that were spirit drilled dorothy day it was a very soulful person and she fed her soul by
no obviously nourishing yourself on scripture okay and a whole tradition is a matrix of symbolism which nourishes our soul on that's why people who dabble in spiritualities and don't have a maitre it's a tradition that nourishes from it ends up being kind of sin and superficial
any rate dorothy would listen to the opera on saturday afternoon and listened to symphony sometimes on old little beat up radio said she had or read the great russian novelists and tolstoy and so forth
church members humanitas soulfulness a whiteness of heart
and because of that i think a great wisdom posh plus she could also be in a spiritual warrior and confront the cardinal land on you know take stands alone god was with her and back and no oh no no one could move against her she was just employ
laughable okay
don virtual michael's a great leader just i had a breakdown when he was at college fill and set him up to the indian missions have to read like it's very interesting what healed him and brought him back to health was being part of a chippewa or duke way a try
our culture they took him fishing they took em hunting and so forth there was something our church of he nose we talk about care of soul on
he was able to get a depth of himself back but that he had been out of touch with
i think the film i heard in all call my name is another way of seeing them and the young priests to ah
knows he has a terminal illness by the bishop it's wise enough to send him off to i think it's saw
the and try and the inner experience that he goes goes through in that in that setting
father joseph said yesterday that this notion of solace to psychological and ideas and that's why i think psychology and our day has finally reaching out to spirituality and the wisdom of the spiritual traditions and so forth but it's also true that spirituality has been reaching out for psychology
in order to be grounded in order to deal with the human and so forth
hellman is certainly searching for spirit
so psyche is carried by symbolism and images
that's why they can be so powerful i wish josh giving some spiritual direction to a woman not long ago who are said that she had virtually no religious upbringing except a little bit of alpha
contact with the christian church when ah when she was young but she was in a terrible situation of trial and rejection and a lack of support and great loneliness and so forth and she said i happen to remember christ carrying the cross and that
image carried me through my identification with that so you see it's an idea were but example where an image has power okay and that's why a whole traditional whole matrix ah can be so so nourishing
so far
what i want to do today
his talk about
one poem actually ah which i'm gonna share with you
the deals worth
a wide human experience and that's presence and absence and also presence in absence and at the end of yesterday's talk i shared with you the poem by such a mary virginia micah on the sister of st joseph that i know in st paul
i went to college of st catherine and i didn't know her when i was there but i like to tell you a little story about high metre of since i went east ah when i was working on my dissertation in the early eighties i am i borrowed a friend's lake cabin up near syracuse
and sister placid when with me and we went over to town every afternoon at five o'clock where the parish literature we left the liturgy were walking across the parking lot this woman came up to us and said ah where are your sisters from what order you do belong to and so forth she is
produced herself as sister mary virginia the whole and i saw your from st catherine's i i went to st catherine's i'm katie and i shall she said one or to come over to my apartment for supper which very interesting because it was a tiny little apartment in a private home and she was at her like
microwave heating up but tomato soup and making grilled cheese sandwiches and she said what do you do to support yourselves and i said we cater french dinners and she turned a raft with plenty of them though she was preparing this great for may be i would hope i hope we
yet we have planned for i'm talking and i've sorted followed her poetry since then and this is a little upset her she said to me within the last year is called three bridges and actually in one way or forty pages forty eight pages are in a way one
home that expresses her life and her spirituality she must be up in her mid seventies or more now and it's wonderfully rich are so i'm just taking part of it and i'd like to shop
first of all there's a section in the front of that is simply too much to take in one section but the last section is called heck xamarin which is the six days of creation and it's are you are written during an eight day retreat that she made in which she meditates on our god
god's presence in creation so it's cat fabric and and very personal land a very much a scene of light are in all things
but woven into that is also her meditations on the scripture ah you know that was a korean and the liturgy at the time and part of the readings were on first kings about the lives in celsius so i just want to snatch out the parts about
about eli elias and lncs was from before and after the poem that i'm gonna share with you today
here is part of the poem exam
shoot me he was old that elijah asked me for twice as much and saliva and got it by god
deeper in the same story someone promises under certain conditions you will do even greater works with these toys meaning her words mobility i support with these toys where are the chariots and horses of fire know mantle has fallen
oh that's her
talking about ah
life i asking for a double portion and spirit and how inadequate she feels with her toys which are are her words and images as a poet and from a later poem
in this little booklet continuing the image of elias and alice ayres
talking about elias in the cave
listen up close for a tiny whispering song
all it took for elijah hiding his face and his cloak in his cake was a tiny whispering sound and
men nothing

i'm not sure i understand this poem which would so probably probably a good thing i and i actually couple of months ago center to to of my friends or one who's a published poet and one who does why poetry herself and asked them to
give me an impression because it saw titled in flight and it's talking about her brother and i said is she talking about her actual brother or a friend or she talking about christ or she talking about the presence in the absence of god and maybe it doesn't matter and maybe it's all of us you know that's sitting
about poetry ah so they weren't sure either but my friend who was a poet said that there's so many images come in in that it's a bit complicated so at any rate i leave it with you i've read it probably forty times and i found even this week the discussion that we've had has helped me sort of
ah see angles of it that i hadn't seen before
so there's question of presence and absence in a way it's the
it's cat fabric in the outer fabric and i'm terrified and apathetic
and i
began the week talking about the fact that ronald roll high service so that perhaps our society though supposedly religious is actually quite agnostic we sort of believers god but we don't know much about that
so there's a lot of feeling of the distance of god
in western society well i think a lot of people simply ignore god and live in forgetfulness of god but there's also a feeling of the distance of god and maybe even theology can be partly responsible for that i talked about making such a transcendent god a superb
being out there apart from creation and so forth
woody allen says and one of his movies
about god he says so if only he would cough
and i think what you'll find in this sub poem is that ah this is a person who has heard a lot more than a costs
ah or a clearing of the throat really has a sense of the words that always speak and yet the mystery that goes beyond are all the words
let me give you a copy of the phone

this is just three pages out of this sort of long for
hedge its independent homes but they year was sort of the same thing so you might want to get the a whole while books on time

i think about poetry you have to live was kind of brackets about things for you catch her pin it down
a long flight yeah how far we are pump your hand simple and mine on my forehead what you have printed
stars could be thompson the dark but in a channel for all face and and replicable gauge the planet returns expanses of azure emerald lack both with first the singer of morning than the finger of night as if we too had been merely curving and
place in and out of low rooms or how want somewhere the loosening small bottle of a mouth opened before closing on a sharp tightness with no sound because the child tossed and play through the year must get busy and dream a slow unlikeable embrace
ace will catch him all his name's and pack back into his wife passed away so widely as it seems up down the swallowing error
who timeless transparent catches the triumph
name that a joy one by whom we need not remember nor imagined flight and only one way somehow the plummeting child feels his foot catching the first rung of the ladder of over rock say or knows himself suddenly free brother among starve
i stood waving my small white cry after rivers of when did you see do you see by somebody in we who are by rooted still sees the error here there everywhere in one brass
turn network you will find me nestled way folded quite unafraid
i am that breathing between layers of your garments or journey
those are my arms tightening lush to slip
yeah comb through become one smooth unbroken assent by know nothing but life
how little i know is already too large drinks my life
i know this my brother we are both of us naked in full flight in exile heavy with one fall in tears as the ash tree boeing it's fair bombing it's barriers to all who pass by again and again
this is now the next part where i think it becomes very interesting
courtesy ass that one we called to the table of absence when not look too hungry but concentrate rather a deep bow to six chairs the six chairs over six days of the heck xamarin the truth and talking about early one thing
say ingredient something like this my pleasure brother and son were here it is night and new my same brother restless asleep within many tongue dreams sit down here brother roaming the shore
and you here at my left brother you rushing dry shot overseas and you all all my brothers simply away sit at my right hand your brother and god who swallows the distance between us so be it
for distance is god is god's like this night a place of richest engagement watch the the presence and absence distance is god's like this night a place of richest engagement
we're soon heading towards pentecost and
raymond brown says in his commentary and john's gospel that the holy spirit is christ presence in his absence
which you could know geologic yeah
for what is unreachable lengthens the slain determines the imperiled glance gave rise to the fork
see where each at that tables with one little fork with the six days of creation round the table
held in this race the woman dining alone will bow her head north to south east to west and spoon absence up
although the ash berries may hold themselves steady kingdoms of blood each very a name it's own heart the milkweed go spilling its life out into millions of ghosts wild for adventure
do not therefore waste pity the film of ice on the pond guys with morning neither holding or abandoning lives long enough to be countered as loss with the sun slipping in and out i gather and spend everything everywhere against you're going on my brother against
your return read like a letter that this is what i am learning
what a difference
tip for photograph this way and that into the best life then varied set it aside for on his image space where comedians take shape
this communion the circle
solid words hand in hand may begin but never define it
that's very apathetic finger your necklace a sort of rosary of wishes or trace the line on your mouth thoughtfully
or is communion the center the fathomless gays asking at once all
help me make the best possible case for distance between help me picture for instance the heart grown by leaps and bounds in each week outward a support circling the old planet nodding in time day or night
that i think a very important image they're the heart grown by leaps and bounds in its reach outward let's give me an embodiment to soul and spirit oh my brother come go if you must but in the distance between where it is no body fine
me dance their their praised distance redeem it
who is it prepares the bank would have been
i just love that term the bank would have been a very suit with our little fork you know and creation is the bank would have been
who is it prepares the bank would have been has called you by six names as if one were scarcely enough nor are six really nor seven perhaps the infinite eight vibrant and rest cronin all things including emeralds tight
and the soft wild intentions of angels hundred the seas we circle above racing the wind perhaps in this alone nanjing suzhou fast home
stars phil from my tongue
letter by letter distance and time go down and the names someone has called you
sacred the money cause i think
means allowing the virtue
and the gift or wisdom
for us to build a house you know of wisdom built herself a house
and that house has a grand table and the next
on connected with the one on the distance in flight is called the house
and it's about the house of wisdom and i think is so something about the sacred humanitas
so this is the house and i didn't copy this for you are because i think it's simpler and of says it in your absence my dearest i am building a house it's windows already room full of the everlasting deep changing colors of seeds bearing everything known or still
to are wise more visually from every direction
wisdom herself beguiled by such spacious becoming instructs me thirty images is feminine and inclusive all embracing even even the book of wisdom says all embracing through image upon image melt and the hand closing around it now
no glance nor gesture of your remember grace but described you will admire rooms larger than air
doorway simply a widening and to end
our house so sacred few task which is wisdom has to have doorway simply a gauge widening
you know we don't need to
build a fortress all closed off but create a host of transparency that can be extended
is widening and to end and comprehension of drift feather post lightning cleaving the heart when the wind small and all night those seven fires that once leapt at your touch to open the dark bird when more abundant than day know extravagance denied so when she
ips bring you your word of how dark distance wigs here while i climb watched hours of sleep give western for do
sacred chao says giving wisdom it's do
i wish i could say how often have late this house feels lifted at dawn into an indescribable amber light as of the original finger of god beginning his plans
and the field of my body than breathing is so at home and it's prayer you might picture what i was lashed wearing as borne by the more courteous than hunger i descend to were all you have ever spoken returns noun and verb clusters absorbed fruit for
full of morning poor person so day this house yes like your name is coming to house all manner of light
how it insinuates itself into every conceivable moment sings and hollows how at one fleet along beams to far places where there is otherwise no light claiming exiles land and sea back before winter dusk lowers
believe yes that while by the hour your absence lengthened to whole season's start as will well as in leaf so does the reach of my house
you should know this beloved of my life last i die or you die for any last least wonderment of being hour after hour guy what is time else not having been housed
time was simply what we have not helped what we have not enbridge
what we have not found room for
yates the poet showed that on
talked about his life being an ever widening gyre
something that moves out from that center our own and of personhood sense of personhood and unique this but then reaches out you know just as hildegardes ah the land fun to wisdom or shopping answer and and connects have an interest you know what moves out in circle
was circling know cherkaoui true whiskey so
so i just started it open for discussion
sister mary virginia micah
she was a poetry editor the four sisters today where number of years until it finished polishing of
csj sutra st joseph

what about the holy father's injunction to a sacred humanitas
any suggestions

with year formation
conflicts with
you canadiens was all we were
three docking just nine she brought to be you to emphasize smooth and when it for extraordinary as i was trying to be chosen to say the whole verse the hip information multiple person spirit and by that he kept great right
like us remembered for him he met a prototype marines
so serious he said your hands from across the strong on and
his mind as if my awesome games this integration of body songs be interesting and he suppresses she's begun assistants hundred years
that the students would be
exposed to great cultural life is awesome
emphasis is alessandro you answered much bigger enough we're a bit of that in order for the whole person developed the your box should be exposed the couch in necrosis victory mostly alzheimer
new chips chancellor as which we asked her physicians history he wants to see and off from recurring figures
i think that that's great advice we drift toward my that driftwood oh sure
our concentration
the through off
and that's i guess that's the only be includes but certainly they
that's a big theme in there
i don't be in other forms of religious life cultural life has gotten
this theological education it can have its own positives well though it seemed yeah
it also can be surely overwhelming in terms of quantity like an hour damage and i have to understand the new science and and know art of of it it's enriching buddy you know area with our little for catch and now the communion of being and all of this
this you know they can is there any way that we can filter it know whether either as i referred to the other day weather vanes people who really can tell us what the significance of this instead of us are sort of been overwhelmed by over overfed so i didn't like you certainly
understand i'm in in not in harmony with that thing about toss ah but has got to be a sacred the amount of toss and you know when when i got that letter from the union of benedict and prices i had a suspicion of tensile load of side though he was doing some
ghost a whore for the holy father general so it's no surprise that virtue of look at
the and they i was thinking that it also created as be when they had a little talk on sexuality during a thing ah if i was terribly disappointed to their understanding of i'm going to these explanation of these sexual and i thought the thing that they really they
don't have a baby we have these going on in america they don't seem to have already disappeared and that is there a mirror were looking at the world yeah and now maybe what we lack in terms of culture they lack of experiences that has one costs and ah
just all psychic there's also the body i'm not sure that our wonderful sense of sexuality and bodrum this year and even though they're fairly near me
emporio and sensual and very rarely but you know when t she's bisexual i want the church they a all they're very important and ignore either completely never really deal with the fact that you can't say what they can do something else ah so how has i think that maybe the west's literals that leave us
our gift to this reminds us just as five quince jam to go ah
i i was certainly think there is something unique about american her monotypes in a were perhaps culturally deprived in the sense of the great old cultures but we also have something new and it has to do with creativity and ah
he knows that tradition can cultural contribution tradition can so way and now they look at wrong with the masses of when you know that there's the tradition but it just sort of waist down you know on so yeah that that's
so i don't know how to answer that but i think you're onto something there they we have perhaps a greater sense of psycho sexuality rather than just literal sexuality or one two national sexuality on
you anybody else none of that phrase sacred come out here my purse
the interview so much for really heavy what am i can be just wasn't as leaving served as a curator history culture is a figure of just
a real christian culture and also sacred which means very carefully
the iron or something like that in some way to road he asked it's going to the baroness conspicuous image sacred as distinct from the second and ah that is wrong yeah reading a champion burn they are
and other resident is entered everything we want but he's coming from a scepter are working okay which is distinctive monastic tradition i felt the center of person a little the you might have a life with the central person who haven't applied to the center of the first on which is a contemplative
and i able to project that like the pop culture well as a kind of refining simplify we then the other thing is a very acute sense of person might have that sense of a very personal thing of what it going to reach us on of them which can also be that and that's a ipos and
or much a cultural religious okay well they have a leisure finances very well educated okay we therefore have this is kind of hoo crusted over of culture which also your kind of you yeah yeah
monastic friendship of so both the the contemplative sense that the canada and have to light which murderers and i always come and and also dispense with the person universe every afternoon
they can be any commando
privilege precinct okay want whatever it is this your monitor ages so on how you find that every person if you're working in our culture becomes be balance
more of a special event to it's true self imposed to compares to that was somehow as to open and scope still in shock
no sounds kind of yeah i see see what you're saying yeah it's it's the american character have not been tied to the past and moving out with the frontiers and sort of a new energy the cowboy yeah kind of fried chairs person kind of hatred for aristocracy mattress
yeah oh yeah and reacting against that kind of in a class system and suffering
why do you want the moronic the secret nine class news really organically cleaning our humanness in which are afraid because they didn't we don't really have an agenda than i guess i've definitely is a unionized effort it's spiritual
hey if we go organically to where we are in the go inside even here we can go to the apathetic until ready really they our person
i'm trying to give the most of us are in the people state or it with their emotions gmo from the things that are blocking to can't lose or small will make us lose contact with it may think i should have small family were controversial we get in touch with reality that if you wrong
when one in on the sacred humanity costs will come naturally we see the rural brothers and sisters in christ women and the world rawlings or of creation national folk to make our
the effort and i have to do us and then i think we get lost in now in this level volleys efforts to an immediate still stuck the not known working out that is leaping from john then we read gradually get glimpses that the unity of the
the elements to god in us a and it's nationalizing like but a connection
i was like in a rural area that of in the reception guess think that said at first prizes me is you have to receive every person who monitors and that's i think the personal that reveal his courage to other things informational yes the respect for
will make skirt a physical force their buildings should get care for us every day movement and you receive the guess this crisis a gift coming to you so it isn't from you to them as both directions to assess damages that my testicles restraint
exhausted yeah
i ask
six me about looking at all of our interactions with ourselves as in the world with the sense of of there's always something people behind what could see and rather than think that we're ever going to
grasp that are understand it or its suppliers contain it it really works tankers is the opposite sense in letting it wash over us slimming it swallow bust my ass a part of that realize that that it's not us that are somehow in charge
are making all of a sad that were me that much larger process now handle it were taken into it and me not to be transformed by it's not as was asked whether
yeah you mentioned several times since where you going to native heard several of us here and gun the
well like a hex on how may i think of sick of my catholic and that experience
and you're connected
the body and hurt and this or spirit your in this experience in very very much in your guy who you're very much one everybody this code experience content you're praying receive or
how will suffer
world in commanded lodge and usually your a new area beautiful setting wilderness and you're still one with nature and all creation go on but i think it and and going on february the expression the and you'd find it in every person in
there is a union one handsome this experience that you're finding your kid yourself
and our hostel well made that gets in not an average been experiencing really brings it all right
reminds me of another line from yates i must lie down or all those ladders start will fall on my phone shop the human heart
human experience
which means universal
ah i was going and took just a simple poem from on rainer maria rilke
i live my life and widening rings i live my life and widening rings which spread over earth and sky i may not ever complete the last one but that is what i will try i circle around god the primordial tower and i circled ten thousand years long and i
still don't know if i'm a falcon a storm or not finished song
well thank you very much for was time with you ah i feel a greater and greater connected us with this community and it's a very enriching for me and my suggestion for you thanks to consider think about and reflect on it
sister we want to thank you for a big wickets were showing us these conferences sharing the gesture you're studying your research your extra keys opening perhaps to another way to us to really understand ourselves as we want the spiritual journey even a person with you for your intentions your sister jean grey
the transfiguration monastery and up know that you're always welcome
thank you