Prayer

966From Paul Knitter’s Without Buddha I Could Not Be A Christian: “In general… my practice of the Sacrament of Silence helps me deal with and be inspired by the language of liturgy. That even includes one of the biggest ritual stumbling stones: prayers of petition. … But regarding petitionary prayer more broadly, I believe that my daily reception of the Sacrament of Silence has helped me see and feel not just the validity but the value of bringing our requests to the Spirit. If what we become aware of in silence is real –that is, if we, each one of us, are part of the interconnecting Mystery that we call Spirit and that has its life in us –then prayers by which I express my concern and good wishes for you are ways in which I can act out, as it were, what I know in silence: my Spirit-grounded connections with and compassion for all other beings, especially those in need. …That’s how I can understand our prayers of petition to work. When I feel compassion for others, I am “practicing” what I am. I am letting the energy of the Spirit connect me with others. And when I do this, I am sure it is good for me –because it is connecting me with you. Just how much it will be good for you, just how much the energy that I feel and send out from my end will arrive and affect your end, that I don’t know for sure. For sure I know it’s good for me. I trust it will be good for you. In any case, when we pray for each other in this way, it is not a form of requesting divine interventions. It is a way of enabling the connecting Spirit to emerge rather than invade; it’s activating the Spirit that is already there…. Petitionary prayers, we might say, make us aware of –and therefore more active agents of –the Buddha-nature that contains all beings, or the Body of Christ of which we are all parts. To petition is to connect, really though mysteriously.”

Roger

The Compassionate One

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From Thich Nhat Hanh’s Good Citizens: “…in order to have compassion to offer to others, we have to offer it to ourselves first. We cultivate compassion by looking deeply to understand the suffering inside us and around us. You don’t have to be rich to help people. In fact if you’re too wealthy you can’t help people. People who are rich want to continue being rich, so they invest all their time and energy in maintaining their wealth; they don’t even have time to take care of themselves and their families, so how can they help other people? Being wealthy is not a good condition for spiritual life. To live simply and to be happy is something that is possible. When you transform yourself into a bodhisattva [a compassionate person], you have a lot of power—not the power associated with fame and money, but the power that helps you be free and enables you to help and bring relief to many people.”

Roger

Suspended Between

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In 1966, after the passage of the Voting rights Bill, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his book Where Do We Go From Here: “A year later, the white backlash had become an emotional electoral issue in California, Maryland and elsewhere. In several Southern states men long regarded as political clowns had become governors or only narrowly missed election, their magic achieved with a “witches’” brew of bigotry, prejudice, half-truths and whole lies….Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash. This characterization is necessarily general. It would be grossly unfair to omit recognition of a minority of whites who genuinely want authentic equality. Their commitment is real, sincere, and is expressed in a thousand deeds. But they are balanced at the other end of the pole by the unregenerate segregationists who have declared that democracy is not worth having if it involves equality. The segregationist goal is the total reversal of all reforms, with reestablishment of naked oppression and if need be a native form of fascism. America had a master race in the antebellum South. Reestablishing it with a resurgent Klan and a totally disenfranchised lower class would realize the dream of too many extremists on the right. The great majority of Americans are suspended between these opposing attitudes. They are uneasy with injustice but unwilling yet to pay a significant price to eradicate it.”

Roger

Raising up America

From Vincent Harding’s Introduction to Martin Luther King’s Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community: “I recalled the story of [Fannie Lou Hamer] being questioned by a reporter at the historic 1964 Democratic National Convention and asked about her powerful challenge on behalf of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to the convention’s acceptance of segregated delegations. Did her vigorous antisegregation stand mean that “she was seeking equality with the white man?” the reporter asked. “No,” Ms. Hamer firmly replied. “What would I look like fighting for equality with the white man? I don’t want to go down that low. I want the true democracy that’ll raise me and the white man up … raise America up.”depositphotos_28789195-stock-video-woman-standing-on-beach-holding

Incarnational Cross

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From Robert Saler’s Theologia Crucis: “… an incarnational logic of the cross, born from formation by the gospel and its gifts, results in a situation in which the properly formed …Christian, loves the world more than the world loves itself. The community of fidelity to the crucified—the church—must call the world blessed to preach gospel to it.”

Roger

Glory to God

last-supperFrom Elizabeth Johnson’s Quest for the Living God: “…Oscar Romero, bishop and martyr, riffed on a famous proverb crafted in the second century by the bishop Irenaeus. In Latin this pithy, mellifluous maxim reads: Gloria Dei, vivens homo, which translated means, “the glory of God is the human being fully alive.” The glory of God is homo, the human being, the whole human race, every individual person, vivens, fully alive. God’s glory is at stake in the flourishing of people, every single one and all together. How could it be otherwise if the incomprehensible Mystery toward whom the human spirit dynamically tends self-communicates to the world in Jesus and the Spirit as absolute, challenging, sheltering love. In thus choosing to create, save, and dwell within the world, holy mystery has made the world and its inhabitants precious beyond all telling. Harming human beings, inflicting violence or neglecting their good, translates logically into an insult to the Holy One. The two are so tied together, by God’s intent, that the glory of the One is at stake in the well-being of all others.”

Roger

Hospitality

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From Norman Wirzba’s Food and Faith: A Theology of Eating: “According to a rabbinic tradition …it was precisely the months inside the ark that mattered most because it was there, in the work of feeding and caring for the animals, that Noah revealed what it means to be a righteous one. On this view, the ark was not primarily an escape vessel but a school for the learning of compassion. Here Noah refined the sympathies and dedication that are crucial for the development of a caring, hospitable relationship with the world. By giving up self-interest, Noah learned how to transform himself and his work into a gift for the good of others. …The triumph of Noah’s life is that, like God, he recognized the needs of others and then attended to them. What Noah learned is that the whole world is God’s ark because it is the place where God shows himself to be a hospitable host.”

Roger