"... your wickedness is removed, your sin purged."
Found inspiration browsing through the classroom library. From the night table, now featuring....
McFadden, Thomas M. (ed.). Does Jesus Make a Difference? New York: Seabury, 1974. (Proceedings of the College Theology Society. Twelve articles, originally delivered at the 1973 meeting of the College Theology Society.)
Miranda, Jose. Being and the Messiah: The Message of St. John. Trans. by John Eagleson. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1977. (A Mexican scripture scholar in the tradition of liberation theology. Wow. I've read only the first two chapters, tantalizingly titled "Revolution and Existentialism" and "The Vindication of Atheism." Sorry, Bonaventure--you lose for now. This is what speaks the Gospel and the Christian commitment to me.)
Commonweal and National Catholic Reporter also beckon from the night table.
Last night during the announcements at the end of the evening meal, one of my novice brothers announced cheerfully that he is leaving the program. Just when I thought this community had shown all the cards in its hand.
He will be with us until Friday morning. His departure is easily the happiest and least conflicted of the five I have witnessed this year. It puzzles me why he is leaving, since it is clear he is so happy in the company of the Capuchins. But far be it from me to question the prompting of the Spirit in my brothers' lives.
Are there any more shoes left to drop? Thirty-one days to go, and still waiting, and waiting poorly, in the desert for the word to return home to take vows.
This morning, concluded our class sessions on Bonaventure, ancestor of our movement and a founder of the Franciscan intellectual tradition. His theological work has the touch of a poet, but I must confess that his way of talking about God and the mystical journey to God doesn't move me. His meditations are carefully crafted and skillfully worded, but they are dense and difficult to penetrate. Reading The Vigilance of a Poor One in the Desert (known more commonly as The Journey of the Mind Into God) is like deciphering a James Joyce novel or solving a New York Times Sunday crossword. The "payoff" doesn't seem to be worth the work it requires, and it requires a lot.
But then again, I've had only a few days to read Bonaventure. Scripture, too, once seemed too obscure and therefore hardly vital to me. So am I being too harsh on my Franciscan ancestor? Probably. Had I encountered Bonaventure fifteen years ago, when God was first stirring my spirit with the Holy Spirit, and I was looking for all things mystical, I would have ate up this stuff. However, the reality is I have learned to appreciate all that Bonaventure champions -- the virtue of contemplation, the necessity of living by faith, and the urgency of doing good theology (read: God-talk) -- by other means, through other voices and other communities. With all kinds of scaffolding already surrounding the edifice of my soul that rises to God, Bonaventure's ladder seems superfluous at this time.
This evening, we celebrated a brother's birthday, the last such celebration for a novice in this long year together. (But we have one more birthday song to sing. Tomorrow, we celebrate the 85 years of Bro. Joseph Slominski, the senior friar here, who has dwelled at San Lorenzo since he joined the order in 1971. You can read about him on Page 7 of the June Caperone.)
Call it morning driving through the sound and in and out the valley....
In and around the lake, mountains come out of the sky and they stand there.