Give new signs and work new wonders.
But not like the one we received this morning!
Now making progress in Brown, The Ecumenical Revolution. Finished Commonweal in an evening.
At 7:38 a.m. this morning, just after we began the liturgy of the Eucharist, we heard what sounded for all the world to me like a gigantic rodent pounding the chapel timbers. The pounding became a rapid jackhammering, and all the space around us began to vibrate.
What on earth? Precisely. The earth moved under our feet.
The chapel rattled for about four seconds. Everything appeared ready to collapse, but we were frozen -- nobody moved. What would we do?
Never had my heart rate jumped so quickly as at that moment. Then the rattling stopped, and everyone and everything was silent and still.
Those of us who weren't from California asked the innocent questions. Should we go outside? Should we continue Mass? One of the California novice brothers said it was only an aftershock and it was probably all over. We continued, and the earth stood still.
"Welcome to California," said another of the California novices to me after Mass. Well.
The U.S. Geological Survey says it was a temblor of 4.6 magnitude centered three miles west of Isla Vista in Santa Barbara County, which is only a 45-minute drive from here.
For all the power of that quake, not a thing fell in the chapel. I am reflecting now on how gentle and yet how tremendous the energies of creation are.
In a little while, we're going to Old Mission Santa Barbara to tour the Franciscan archives, which I am told also hold many documents on the history of the state and the county. We will also have lunch with the friars, including, I hope, my spiritual director, whose birthday is today. I expect it will be a light and amusing day.
To Sister Mother Earth I say: Don't move!
Sunny, windy, clear. However, as regular as nature is, it is also unpredictable.