“The Evening of the Visitation” (Thomas Merton) Go, roads, to the four quarters of our quiet distance,While you, full moon, wise queen,Begin your evening journey to the hills of heaven,And travel no less stately in the summer skyThan Mary, going to the house of Zachary. The woods are silent with the sleep of doves,The valleys with the sleep of streams,And all our barns are happy with peace of cattle gone to rest.Still wakeful, in the fields, the shocks of wheatPreach and say prayers:You sheaves, make all your evensongs as sweet as ours,Whose summer world, all ready for the granary and … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Sorrows
Our Lady Of Cobre and the dance of the sacred feminine ©2018 Alfred Eaker Song for Our Lady of Cobre (Thomas Merton) The white girls lift their heads like trees, The black girls go Reflected like flamingoes in the street. The white girls sing as shrill as water, The black girls talk as quiet as clay. The white girls open their arms like clouds, The black girls close their eyes like wings: Angels bow down like bells, Angels look up like toys, Because the heavenly stars Stand in a ring: And all the pieces of the mosaic, earth, Get up and … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Cobre and the dance of the scared feminine
Our Lady: Star of the Sea © 2018 Alfred Eaker The Blessed Virgin Mary Compared to a Window (Thomas Merton) Because my will is simple as a window And knows no pride of original birth, It is my life to die, like glass, by light: Slain in the strong rays of the bridegroom sun. Because my love is simple as a window And knows no shame of original dust, I longed all night, (when I was visible) for dawn my death: When I would marry day, my Holy Spirit: And die by transsubstantiation into light. For light, my lover, steals … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady, Star of the Sea
“Hagia Sophia” (Thomas Merton) I. Dawn. The Hour of Lauds. There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, adimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden whole-ness. This mysterious Unity and Integrity is Wisdom,the Mother of all, Natura naturans. There is in allthings an inexhaustible sweetness and purity, a silencethat is a fount of action and joy. It rises up in word-less gentleness and flows out to me from the unseenroots of all created being, welcoming me tenderly,saluting me with indescribable humility. This is atonce my own being, my own nature, and the Gift ofmy Creator’s Thought and Art within … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Pontmain
“Canticle for the Blessed Virgin” (Thomas Merton) Die, Boreas,And drown your ruins in the gaudy sea,December, clash your cymbals once againAnd put them away.The crops come thronging from the ground.The land is green with strength.The harvests sing like confidenceIn the ascetic earth.Let there be no more patienceWith your iron music, death:Stand, continents, and wear the spring your crown! The ox-eyed land,The muted lakes,The cloudy groves that praise you,Lady, with their blooms,Fuse and destroy their lightsAnd burn them into gold for you, great Virgin,Coining your honor in the glorious sun. The skies speed up to meet you, and the seasSwim you … Continue reading SEA OF ROSARIES: Our Lady of Kibeho
(Photo: Jesus raising the dead with a wand, Roman catacomb, 3rd century)
When J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books hit the shelves and became a global hit, American fundamentalist Christians took note and reacted with a loud fear, demonization, and astoundingly idiotic condemnation that was rare even for their various denominational demographics. There is perhaps nothing more threatening than rival mythology, especially when its well publicized and successful. Protestations and calls to ban the books were followed by entire websites devoted to instructing Christians how to respond to witchcraft and demonology as pop phenomenon. It backfired and the Potter juggernaut paved right over all that evangelical silliness. With the films that followed, Rowling became the most successful franchise since Disney. Given their way, these Western, allegedly Christian sects would have certainly have mounted a belated sequel to the Salem Witch Trials. Alas, pesky secular laws predominantly douse homegrown puritan torches and minimize imitation of Isis-styled iconoclasm, which hardly negates in-house suspicion of and aggression toward imagery, such as detailed here:
(Photo: 4th century Raising of Lazarus Fresco ((Christ with magic wand)) Catacomb cubiculum O, Rome)
Although the display of overwrought evangelical histrionics reached a new, modern height with the opening of the Harry Potter universe, their pop paranoia is nothing new. For those of us old enough to remember, the same demographics were issuing warnings about Superman, who they saw as a rival to their Lord and Savior (the mythological underpinnings of the DC character were undoubtedly inspired by Christ origin Gospel narratives).
In A Search For Solitude, Journals 1952-1960, Thomas Merton lists “distrust and rejection of emotional symbolism of art,” as an unfortunate tenet of contemporary Western Christianity.
Earlier, in “Run To The Mountains. Journals 1939-1941, ” Merton wrote: “It is one of the singular disgraces attached to Catholics as a social group that they, who once nourished with their Faith and their Love of God the finest culture the world ever saw, are now content with absolutely the worst art, the worst writing, the worst music, the worst everything that has ever made anybody throw up. All this, far from being caused by their Faith, only weakens and ruins their Faith. It is something of a Middle Class culture which is poisoning the Faith instead of slaking our thirst to honor God. And those who cannot distinguish what is bourgeoisie, in what they believe, from what is Christian are crucifying God all over again with their trivial, complacent ignorance and bad taste and materialism and injustice.”