Poetry as Memory of God

Blogging should sound like talking to myself. But it’s not journaling becasue, while talking to myself, I’m also talking to you. The most “virtuous” (because I’m a virtue ethicist of my own behavior) thing I can do is help you, others, pay attention…to my own words, which I hope hold value for their thoughtfulness and to the Word of God. It’s what the poet, G.M. Hopkins invites himself and others to do: pay attention to the Kingfisher and the dragonfly, consider what they say. “Pay attnetion to what you pay attention to,” says, Amy Krouse Rosenthal.

Well, If you’ve found yourslef here, in my clouster of the internet, you might have noticed…I pay attention to poetry. Why is that? I grew up with my mom reading it aloud. I studied it in university. etc (on my past experience). Most of all—and this is thanks to re-reading Hopkins just now— I hear Christ “lovely in [voice] not his.” I swim upstream of poets to the scripture they read. I remember God. Usually in by body. Today, it was with tears while reading Hopkins aloud. I get that I’m weird for crying at poetry, I accept it and you’re free to as well.

As Kingfishers Catch Fire
BY GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves — goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying Whát I dó is me: for that I came.

I say móre: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: thát keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is —
Chríst — for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Prayer is a portal

I'm headed to the beach this weekend!

Whenever we touch nature we get clean. People who have got dirty through too much civilization take a walk in the woods, or a bath in the sea. Entering the unconscious, entering yourself through dreams, is touching nature from the inside and this is the same thing, things are put right again.

— Carl Jung via: Swissmiss

This Jung quote grabbed my attention for its Emersonian charm and near narration of what I hope this weekend to be. On second reading, I found myself remolding some of the pastoral platitudes. At the risk of over-spiritualizing, here are my thoughts:

When one enters a dream, more than one's self is present. We enter the unconscious in the compony of the invisible. There, not all are benevolent. Yet, when we humble ourself to the good, true, and beautiful one, we bath in the sea, walk in the calming compony of the woods and are consequently washed, calmed, and put right, in the compony of The Man of Sorrows. In him, we get clean. In him, we touch nature from the inside.

Prayer is the portal.

Meditation via Mediation: Balthasar, prayer, and The Our Father

This morning a listened to a podcast discussion on the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar that sadly seems to be inactive. Despite truncated production, the one episode that was published gave an invigorating introduction to Balthasar’s book Christian Meditation. From which, the hosts highlight VB’s theology of meditation, IN Christ. I have two takeaway thoughts and one takeaway prayer:

  1. Thomas Torrance’s The Mediation of Chirst might make a great reading companion to VB’s Chirstian Meditation for their mutual, high christology. Torrance holds a reformed catholic view of the atonement that leaves much to mystery, while staying firmly trinitarian in upholding the hypostatic union. Jesus the Christ is cosmically inclusive by way of his exclusice mediation on the cross. In a similar way, VB maintains the particular mediation by the person of Christ, in prayer. By Christ’s mediation, one does not empty the mind in order to incite God to come near. Rather, Jesus prays for us as the incited action of God, particularly when he came near in space and time to pray for us in death (Lord, Jesus, pray for me now and in the hour of my death). “Why am I forsaken,” can only be prayed by Christ on his cross.

    VB and Torrance might hug or, at least shake hands, in saying: even now, the risen, slain-Lamb is behind the veil, praying to his father, in the love of the Spirit, for his people.

  2. Prayer is inviting one’s soul into the presence of Chirst and finding one’s home in the triune God. AND Prayer is kneeling, at the trough of our sin, sadness, misery, and self-love, in/with Christ, long enough to find satisfaction in a father already running to meet us—coming to our senses…in the words of George Herbert, “Something understood.”

Our Father, in whom we surrender our perceived control, your self-revelation is heavy with value. Please bring your crowned king to rule, here and now, like it is there and always, in heaven. Give us grace enough for our next breath and decision, in remembrance of you. Please wash us with the clensing blood of your son, Jesus, as we wash others with the water of your word. Don’t steer us into the songs of the Sirens but sail us away from the rocks into the open sea of your love. Because we journey, fight, and serve your purpose, by your strength, and for your praise. Amen