Monday, May 20, 2013

Season of the Spirit

Lectio Divina

The world will surely stand in place,
never to be moved.

Psalms 93:1


Two chapters away from finishing Johnson. A long way to go on Brown; perhaps during prayerful silence this evening.

Our Pentecost observance ended gently and joyfully in the evening with a celebration of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our novitiate fraternity. In the intimacy of our back chapel we sat in choir in two long rows facing each other. After we listened to the words of Scripture (Psalms, Paul to the Corinthians) on the gift of friendship in God and the many members of the body of Christ, we brothers named for one another the gifts we see in each one. As meditative music played we circulated pages of stationery, each imprinted with a Spirit dove descending, each with a brother's name written on it. On each page we wrote a word or phrase or sentence naming the gift we see in that brother's soul. We spent a few moments in grateful silence reading what our fraternity had written to us. Those who were so moved expressed their thanks. Then we exchanged the heartiest peace of Christ with one another before moving into night prayer and the beginning of an all-night vigil of Eucharistic adoration. A beautiful, therapeutic, and upbuilding moment, and exactly the right way to conclude the season of Easter and our season of evaluation. Now we enter the season of the Spirit.

Extending our class sessions on the prayers written by Saint Francis just a little further, concluding tomorrow. This morning, we examined the most well known of his works, the Canticle of the Creatures. A watershed in Italian literature -- this poem was one of the earliest to be composed not in Latin, but in the Umbrian dialect -- and as definitive an expression of Francis' mature spirituality as we have. I am hearing it anew, not only because we today we heard it recited in its original language, but also because it was written in the midst of intense physical suffering. I am pondering the significance of this song as an expression of joy in spite of the evil of sickness and absurdity of death.

This afternoon, I went to Santa Barbara for my final meeting for spiritual direction of the novitiate. With my spiritual director we debriefed on my final evaluation and the outlook for post-novitiate, including studies and ministry. My spiritual director will be abroad for all of June, returning in early July, by which time we will be winding down our program and remaining on-site for the duration. I thank him for his listening ear, wise words, and fraternal warmth.

Just after departing Old Mission Santa Barbara, my novice brother and I headed to the airport and picked up an elder brother from my home province. It is our dear friend, Bro. James Gavin. He will be leading our day of recollection, which begins tomorrow evening and concludes Wednesday evening. I am eager to hear him break open the Word of God he loves so well again.

Now, into the prayerful silence.


Nothing can block the sun, whose light today is indeed brighter and whose heat is stronger than many places I have been.

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