Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday


Beloved, you have kissed
My eyes awake
I am consumed
In a blaze of your being
My embers fly
At a cost I did not,

Take me.
I yield willingly, joyfully, urgently
Fuse my essence into yours
Make us something not of this world.
Such a radiance you draw from me
desire as I have never known.
A passion visceral and potent.
Constant as the sun
Fervent to be light.

Stop! I am assaulted by senses of
such woeful orthodoxy
Beat me bloody numb with pain.
Forces of longing and judgment
Ebb and flow as
Fists of turbulence
Sculpt a deep, deep well within
The battleground of mind and flesh
In murky waters of my soul
Devastation like nuclear holocaust
Strips my peace
And feigns to turn my heart against me
All in the name of love.

Who would set a blaze so mighty
That ravages the soul in eternal battle?
Love’s enduring light is wrapped in violent opposition
Powers that resist a blessed consummation
Lest it loose a light so
Great that love is all
All is love.

Neediness be gone!
My heart cannot sustain the fight.
Open my wounds and lay them bare before the fray.
Flush them with sunlight in streams flowing with surrender
Post my longing to a pole
Stretch it wide, wide with time
and pierce me through and through
with swords of eternal light that
Rend my flesh to ash and earth
Restore my truth
My rest
My life.

I cannot live without love.
Death is more than dying flesh
Conforming suffocates life slowly.

© Peggy Beatty, September 11, 2010
                                             ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Psalm 22. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
    Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
    and by night, but I find no rest.

Yet you are holy,
    enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our fathers trusted;
    they trusted, and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were rescued;
    in you they trusted and were not put to shame.

Alain Villeneuve

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Palm Sunday

As I think on the symbolic events of this week: the parade, the betrayal, the arrest and trial, the killing and the living again, all around me earth is coming to new life. Out my window, the trees are fecund with lime green buds and fragile flowers, dripping their sweet honey, enchantment to bees and butterflies. Daffodils and crocus have risen from brown earth in glorious colors of  



                                   They wave and dance in the cool March breezes. 

A late snow has come in the darkness of the night. Smooth and sensuous, he kissed each blade of grass and tender bud with sly allure, crooning a lullaby to sing sweet Spring back into her dream sleep. But she will have none of it! Twirling with gusto, she laughs and opens her ruby red lips to drink in the tune, liquid music warmed by dawn’s light.

Arrest? Trial? There will be none for this Lady. She dances on, her parade never ends. She moves through darkness and light with love and assurance. Like a phoenix rises from ashes, she is never laid to rest for any longer than the cycle of Holy Life permits. She does not question, when accused. She has no need to defend herself against that which will ultimately amount to a short term setback. She surrenders and rises again. She can do nothing else. It is who she is.

Life wins! Love wins! The sacred relationships of Life are perpetually on parade. They march forward in one grand chorus of interdependent harmony. And I am just a note, or perhaps a rest, on the score of such miraculous music.

As sleep restores our bodies, so does Life go to her Winter’s rest. This is part of the song. The darkness is an inherent characteristic of the light, and the light, is ever and always, the essence of darkness expressed. Spaces and notes.

Let this be my covenant: to honor the dance of the darkness and light. As in nature, so within the temple of my heart and mind. May I reverence who I am in this sacred Love relationship in ways that steady my soul to extend generosity and compassion to all else. May I surrender my leaves in Autumn and stand stoic and strong through the Winters of Life, as the trees brace themselves against the promise of a blazing winter’s sunset. And may I come to Life over and over again, singing Hallelujah!



                as beautiful Spring insists on flowering her way to the lazy days of Summer.

Let this be my resurrection song!!

Sending you love and always, peace in the darkness and joy in the light!

_/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Merton's Sophia Wisdom and Natural Contemplation

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1874
I am researching the idea of Sophia Wisdom in the writings of Thomas Merton. In his later years,
Merton became quite occupied with Wisdom as an aspect of Christ. Drawing on scripture, such as the Song of Songs, and his extensive study of the Holy Spirit in Eastern Orthodox mysticism, Merton came to find a deep, inherent aspect of humanity that is "eros," a notion far beyond the superficial idea of genital erotic love, and applicable to loving relationship, spiritually expressed in unity with humanity and nature. This is Sophia Wisdom, to know this passion for Divine unity with all of life as "Christ-graced" transformation.

Merton says, "If we believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, there is no one on earth in whom we are not prepared to see, in mystery, the presence of Christ." (New Seeds of Contemplation) This expression is enlightened mind, the very essence of the concept of "the mind of Christ." (Paul - 1 Cor 2:16)

In his exquisite book called "Sophia, The Hidden Christ of Thomas Merton," Christopher Pramuk shares many great quotes by Merton from various sources, but one in particular is a collection of notes from a class Merton taught on Mysticism, Introduction to Christian Mysticism, at Gethsemane in the 1960s. Here, Merton has compiled a wonderful collection of writings from the church fathers, Roman and Orthodox mystics through the ages on mystical theology, the cosmos, the oikonomia (cosmic household - BTW, the origin of the name of this Blog, Ecumenicus), the Wisdom inherent in humans - "multiformis sapientia" - that which apprehends the wisdom and glory of God:

1. in the spirit of Scripture and not in the letter;
2. in the logoi of created things, not in their materiality;
3. in our own inmost spirit and true self, rather than in our ego;
4. in the inner meaning of history and not in its external (history of salvation, victory of Christ);
5. in the inner sense of the divine judgments and mercies (not in superstitious and pseudo-apocalyptic interpretation of events). (New Seeds of Contemplation, 122 via Sophia by Christopher Pramuk, 142)

I'd like to share with you a slice from Introduction to Christian Mysticism that speaks to the idea of natural contemplation (theoria physike), a practice first mentioned by Evagrius Ponticus (345-399 AD), Christian monk and ascetic, meaning understanding natural order of being from both spiritual and material aspects. Merton holds the ability to unite these paradoxical aspects of the human perception of reality as the essence of Sophia Wisdom. It is in this light that humans realize both their spiritual identity in Divine Being with God and their enfleshed, material identity, each one integrally a part of Divine reality.

"Hence theoria physike (natural contemplation) is a most important part of man’s cooperation in the spiritualization and restoration of the cosmos. It is by theoria that man helps Christ to redeem the logoi of things and restore them in Himself.

This theoria is inseparable from love and from a truly spiritual conduct of life. Man not only must see the inner meaning of things but he must regulate his entire life and his use of time and of created beings according to the mysterious norms hidden in things by the Creator, or rather uttered by the Creator Himself in the bosom of His creation.

The vision of theoria physike is essentially sophianic (Sophia wisdom). Man by theoria is able to unite the hidden wisdom of God in things with the hidden light of wisdom in himself. The meeting and marriage of these two brings about a resplendent clarity within man himself, and this clarity is the presence of Divine Wisdom fully recognized and active in him. Thus man becomes a mirror of the divine glory, and is resplendent with divine truth not only in his mind but in his life. He is filled with the light of wisdom which shines forth in him, and thus God is glorified in him.

At the same time he exercises a spiritualizing influence in the world by the work of his hands which is in accord with the creative wisdom of God in things and in history. Hence we can see the great importance of a sophianic, contemplative orientation of man’s life." (Thomas Merton, An Introduction to Christian Mysticism)

This is a mystical way of perceiving, to hold the duality of spirit (what is unseen) and flesh (what is seen) together in the coincidence of opposites, Heraclitus (535–475 BC), the Coincidentia oppositorum (Nicholas of CusaDe Docta Ignorantia,1440). In Hinduism this is advaita vedanta, nondualism. In a psychological sense, this is to use both the sensing - thinking mind and the intuiting - experiencing "body" together to fully assess ones reality. This is more than knowledge. This is Wisdom. And it is (attained through) "contemplative orientation."

Mertons book, Introduction to Christian Mysticism is available free at this link.

May you find within you, that silent place where Sophia whispers love and unity, a song of songs from the Beloved to the Beloved. Peace. _/\_Peggy @ Ecumenicus

I am blessed to be hosting a retreat with Madonna Sophia Compton on The Divine Feminine: Sophia Wisdom, Origins and Expressions on March 19th. More info here: Lavender House Events