Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gracious Space

Sojourning at San Lorenzo Friary, Jamaica Plain in Boston. Arose at quarter after seven; nowadays that's considered sleeping in. Meditation and morning prayer in private; sat in the sunroom, an annex to the library on the second floor. Breakfast taken in the dining room with The Boston Globe as sole conversation partner. Eating slowly, reading slowly: how much more nourishing these activities become when undertaken in silence with stillness.

One of my friar hosts observes that this house of formation provides an oasis of serenity during the summer season, when the brothers are away. How true, and how grateful I am to the brothers -- not for leaving, but for how they have left. Even in their absence, they are felt to be kindly near because their hospitality has consecrated the space. Their manner of departure has left a gracious space in which guests can enter to meet the presence of the Holy Spirit. May each of us enter our places in God's name, and when we leave them, leave them whole, holy, and habitable.

A little computing and corresponding now. A gentle, hopeful morning.

The day ahead: lunch with two of my Boston University friends at the Bella Luna Restaurant and Milky Way Lounge, a favorite of the graduate student crowd and most of my Jamaica Plain pals. Perhaps an afternoon of walking in the neighborhood, time permitting. Later in the afternoon, a journey to Cambridge to distribute sandwiches with Harvard Epworth United Methodist Church to the women and men who beg around Central Square. Then, dinner with one of my friends from the congregation. Friendship and fellowship in the Spirit awaits!

An insight from one of my Unitarian Universalist friends: there is all about us a mystery we cannot fully understand. When we accept it, somehow it moves us into where we are meant to be, and it inspires us to be who we are meant to be. My friend says you can affirm this mystery even if you call yourself an atheist. (Maybe this affirmation makes it irrelevant to call yourself an atheist.) You can use the language of God, or you can call it something else. But it is difficult to deny the reality -- and the incomprehensibility -- of the mystery. Whatever you call it, it is the acceptance that matters. Blessed be, my friend.

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