“Grace is everywhere” were the final words of the priest in Bernanos’ book Journal d’un Curé de Campagne. Some weekends we see it easily in nature. Other times in the presence of a friend:
It is light that matters,
The light of understanding.
Who has ever reached it
Who has not met the furies again and again?
Who has reached it without
Those sudden acts of grace?
May Sarton, The Angels and the Furies
Do not speak to me of angels
unless you want to lie by
their side on the surface of emerald lake
and live forever with your eyes open.
My own angels take many forms.
Today they are trees.
Etel Adnan, born Beruit 1925 Lebanese-American poet
I believe that anybody can find a way into the world:
some landscape, a particular room, neighborhood street, a building such as a barn with its smells, or a thing privately treasured, for instance a baseball glove or a pair of shoes. “All things are full of Gods” is an ancient Greek saying; “In my Fathers house are many mansions”, a Christian one. These suggest that there is something divine even in the baseball glove and the neighborhood street.
The forest is peaceful, why aren’t you?
You hold on to things, causing your confusion.
Let nature teach you.
Hear the bird’s song, then let go.
One of the foundations of wisdom is to see that things are always changing, and changing in ways that we do not expect. The weather we are having these “Summer” days helps – showers, followed by sun, followed today by longer spells of rain:
It must be obvious..
that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe
whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.
Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity
This weekend, thousands of pilgrims will climb Croagh Patrick, a mountain which was considered sacred as far back as 3000 years BC and associated with St Patrick from the time he fasted there. Ireland today is bombarded today with lots of examples of what will lead to a happy life, such as wearing certain types of clothes, such and such a diet, success in achieving goals, quick-fix self-help slogans and imitating celebrities. However, in the wisdom developed in Celtic spirituality around the time of Patrick – over 1500 years ago – a fulfilled life had three elements: being close to nature, having concern for those less fortunate and being grateful. Let’s see which will lead to greater contentment….
Let me bless almighty God, whose power extends over sea and land, whose angels watch over all.
Let me do my daily work, gathering seaweed, catching fish, giving food to the poor.
Let me say my daily prayers, sometimes chanting, sometimes quiet, always thanking God.
Delightful it is to live on a peaceful isle, in a quiet cell, serving the King of kings.
The Prayer of St. Columba, 521-597 A.D.