Monday, May 25, 2009

In Honor of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat

I cannot think of anything that better sums up the spirit of Religieuse du Sacré Coeur de Jesus than St.Madeleine Sophie Barat's own words:

Mother Barat had stipulated that newcomers were not to be served sensible food like carrots but given what they wanted at no matter what trouble to the kitchen. This child demanded "potatoes that open with butter inside." While the potatoes disappeared Mother Perdrau let her talk about home, then led her to the best dormitory and tucked her into bed. The child hugged her pillow happily, then suddenly threw her arms around Mother Perdrau. "Why do you love me so much? You’ve never seen be before!
Saint Madeleine Sophie: Her Life and Letters,
Margaret Williams, RSCJ Pg. 520

After being expelled from Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School in Washington DC, I was sent to Kenwood Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York. I am still influenced by the faith of these wonderful women. The society was founded in 19th century France by Madeleine Sophie Barat, who was canonized in 1925.

Song for Bernadette

Thursday, April 30, 2009

And then...T.S.Eliot

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

A condition of complete simplicity

(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well+

When the tongues of flame are infolded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.

+see Julian of Norwich, 127:21

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.
dame julian of norwich - 14th century - mystic

About the Roadside Beggar

Annie Dillard writes, in Holy The Firm:

His disciples asked Christ about a roadside beggar who had been blind from birth, " Who did sin, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" And Christ, who spat on the ground, made a mud of his spittle and clay, plastered the mud over the man's eyes, and gave him sight , answered, "Neither this man has sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest to him." Really? If we take this answer to refer to the affliction itself--and not the subsequent cure--as "God's work made manifest,"then we have, along with "Not as the world gives do I give unto you," two meager, baffling and infuriating answers to one of the few questions worth asking, to wit, What in Sam Hill is going on here?

The works of God made manifest? Do we really need more victims to remind us that we are all vitims ? Is this some sort of parade for which a conquering army shines up its terrible guns and rolls them up and down the street for people to see? Do we needs blind men stumbling about, and little flame faced children, to remind us what God can--and will--do?

...Yes in fact, we do. We do need reminding, not of what God can do, but of what he cannot do, or will not, which is to catch time in its free fall and stick a nickel's worth of sense into our days. And we need reminding of what time can do, must only do: churn out enormity at random and beat it, with God's blessing, into our heads: that we are created, created, sojourners in a land we did not make, a land with no meaning of itself and no meaning we can make for it alone. Who are we to demand explanations of God ? ( And what monsters of perfections should we be if we did not?). We forget ourselves, picnicking; we forget where we are. There is no such thing as a freak accident. "God is at home," says Meister Eckhart, "We are in the far country."