Saturday, November 30, 2013

Of Pope Francis, of Words, of Love

You have this opportunity, this moment.

What was that?

It was a moment, a unit of time that is not, strictly speaking, a unit. An opening. A point. A juncture. You have that.

What for?

I can't tell you, as I do not know. I know less than you do what any moment or juncture is for, or what it means. If lips are meant for kissing, moments are made for doubt.

What is this moment?

Well, for one thing, I want to talk about Pope Francis, who is getting a lot of people excited because of the positive messages he is putting out in the media. But now I will skip a whole lot of background and context.

I do not not want anyone to forget that the "great man" syndrome is always and forever alive. There is no great man. There is God, the Father, and his only son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, There is the Holy Spirit, who communicates to us the wishes, the will, the words of the Lord.

We are well advised to be skeptical of the "great man." We should be careful not to succumb to any man, no matter how perfect appear his intent. There is nothing about Pope Francis that is new, or notable, except insofar as God speaks through him.

I am a Catholic. I love Pope Francis. I loved Pope Benedict. I love you, I hope....I hope I can love as our Lord has commanded me to love. I aspire to love; even as I love, I hope that my love is as true, as certain, as perfect, as we are assured is the love of the Lord.

I would rather that any one person reserve judgment than that anyone "believe" in the Pope. Heaven and the world - this physical world - is alive at this very moment with the intentions of the Saints. We are surrounded and embroiled in their acts and prayers. Of this I have no doubts. We might aspire to this world. God willing by his infinite mercy, we might act thus: to help.

This is the world to which Pope Francis speaks. Make no mistake. His statements, such as are related by the media, are an enactment of a species of conviction that goes far beyond mere choice. It is as if a river were to speak to the purpose of water. I say, as a fellow Catholic, a brother, that the Lord is all, the Alpha and Omega. Pope Francis will speak to the world and its people as one who is of this world, indeed, or so his words might appear. But, do not fool yourself into thinking that the world is the subject of his encounter or address. Oh no. Not by a long shot.

This world, this occurrence, has no language and no address. Trees that drop their dead and dying leaves have a stronger purchase on the claims of immortality than do the worrying precepts of humanity.

We will most certainly die. We most certainly can be saved.

Understand this, and all that any man or woman declared to be great should shudder into perfect focus: a thing, such as one might perceive and name or slip into one's pocket.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Mix and Merry, for Mary

You wake, you pick up a book, and the world seems divided into either shiftless transpositions or sedimentary endorsements. You snooze. You wake again, the world a-cry. You figuratively leap to your feet. You practically stand at attention. Garments leap to cling. The surrounding forest is bubbling with anxious conversation. But you, you are like stone. Not quite like stone, but you are quite set on what's next.

Woe to the placater, the converser, the settler of 1's and 2's.

For every dollar spent, a sigh; for every sigh, two dollars spent. For every day a kind of song - an anthem - even if we haven't time to put a name to it. Ah, what was it they used to say. They used to say what made heads nod and we got on with our day's work. Then personal television. See, it is easy to complain and hard not to. Ah, how easy that and so strange this.

I enjoy anecdotes and mythologies, such as how the flower came to be. A king of long ago found himself languishing for lack of a companion and so he invited the daughter of a launch-cart salesman to banquet. Suffering for lack of words, he conceived, in a manner of speaking, an interlude of physical respite, which has come down to us by the name of "flower." Imagine if you took the caloric sum of all botanical activities related to this same endeavor and were somehow able to apply it to a Ferris wheel open to one and all young ladies. Well, I for one am of the opinion that young ladies, and even those who are you might say not so young, all things considered, will save us all.

And that is just one reason why I love Mary, mother of our Lord.

The end.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Open and a Portland Bus

The point or premise of this blog is to promote a notion of open Catholicism. And yet I have to admit that I find myself arguing less for openness and reporting more on experience from, I hope, an open Catholic perspective. But is my perspective all that different? Well, no.

At some point, or over a period of time, I made I think a healthy move away from believing that I know anything to where I watch and listen. I have surrendered a lot in the way of determination. There is little any one can do to make me believe they are "wrong." Wrong? Who's wrong? Harm comes from harm. Ignorance the same. The forces of good are plenty. The world turns.

And yet, I believe in this project.

Writing is conversation where one's best self assumes a position of dialogue with complete, eternal strangers. Well, this is my perspective. I cannot assume that the conversation is alive, as no one responds to me. Understand, I like this just fine. A word goes out. A sentence, a poem, a paragraph, an essay, etc. To be read is to be understood, if we are willing to allow that any reader's experience - even where they click and backup - is valid. Valid, True. What are these words?

I age, I age. I blog here and on iPage. How do I know myself? I am I suppose what I do now and what I have done. I imagine the same is true of others, though I am more hopeful for what they might do, while in wonderment of who they are. Would you like to know what I will do one my next day of from work? I will fulfill an ambition I have held in my heart from two years or more. That is, to take the bus to a transfer point and take a another bus, and another, and another, all being unplanned and uncharted, to see parts of Portland I have never seen with people I have never met.

All quite spontaneous. All very bland.

Writing now, sounds a bit like heaven, doesn't it? I can't wait. No, actually, I can.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

What is Prayer - what is Language?

We pray. Daily, hourly, weekly. Perhaps when we "feel" like it, perhaps following a routine. Perhaps we pray even as we say I love you to family, or when we pay taxes. I don't know. I am not the arbiter of prayer.

I have not been assigned a station to administer to and watch over people's prayer habits. No one comes up to me and says, "Pat. My praying. Is it going okay?" No, I do not have this task before me, where I can know, assess, and adjudicate in the matter of peoples' prayer.

You should not be surprised to know how little is under my purveyance or control. Almost all the issues I deal with are pretty ordinary - work matters, family concerns, etc. In fact, I cannot surprise you with what I control. All I can do is say what I do. Really, that is all I can do. And even then, I am bound to color how I handle things.

So, I will say, I pray. I pray for three reasons. Because I want to pray. Because Jesus told us to. And because, well, I need to pray. I need help. I need to be understood: forgiven for my terrible failings, and supported in my hopes and ambitions (many of which of course are failings in themselves).

I do not know how not to pray, except I suppose if I were to forget to pray, but even that circumstance would likely be brought about by some kind of extreme emotional condition which, in itself, could serve as prayer. And death is certainly no barrier to prayer. Along with the Little Rose, I look forward to praying in heaven for all the sorts of things I pray for now. Family, my parish, and the souls in purgatory, especially.

I do not believe that there is any one life that is absent prayer.

I do not believe that anyone believes in prayer in the same way one might choose this or that philosophy or way of life.

I believe that prayer in an inherent practice. Not quite breathing - but perhaps, not quite critical thought. Ha. I believe prayer preceded the human condition and will supersede it.

What is language? It is what comes from prayer.