The word of God came to John ... in the desert.
Caught up with my periodicals. Back to Mumford, The City in History. Going to keep the reading list short for now.
A little backtracking:
Wednesday: extended the prayerful silence of hermitage time throughout the whole day. Not an easy thing to do, when silence can be (mis)interpreted by others as displeasure toward them or outright hostility. I want to tend a compassionate silence, a friendly quiet that nurtures and nourishes others. How to do this, when the longer I keep quiet, the further inward I turn, and the more I turn inward, the more I want to withdraw from others? There is the rub: how to be silent without becoming withdrawn; how to cultivate a social, sociable silence. How to practice fraternity in the mode of interiority? Wow. There's a question for the sages of the desert.
Yesterday: a lighter day, a day-off kind of day. Went to see the Spielberg picture Lincoln at a multiplex cinema in Goleta with a novice brother and my novice director. This film examines the final year of Lincoln's life and his final political achievements, the 13th Amendment and the end of the Civil War. It is an adaptation of the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team of Rivals, which I read almost two years ago. (My brother, who knows I like to read one book about Lincoln every year, gave it to me two Christmases ago.) Fine acting all around, great dialogue, and remarkable likenesses of the men and women whose lives and times I have read and re-read about many times.
Today, ministry at the federal prison in Lompoc. Last week was dedicated to introductions and a description of our aims and vision for faith sharing. Today we are actually getting the faith sharing groups off the ground. As we will do every Friday, we will look ahead to the Sunday Gospel reading. This session, we recall the preaching of John the Baptist, and the words of hope and promise from the prophet Isaiah that became his own -- and, later, Jesus' own. This prison is in a desert; this prison is itself a desert, albeit a crowded, unquiet, violent place. The Word of God is here; we will receive it here.
Getting warmer, but feeling a little nippy right now.