|Carol in the Hand of God|
My dear friend, Carol Rieke, died yesterday. Please read my tribute to her life HERE
Thursday, July 9, 2015
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Saturday, February 7, 2015
With that from the earth, beauty I will create. With that beauty, my soul I will give.
This is the original community of woman, the elemental feminine, one could even say the Divine Feminine within and at the heart of matter. That's what the painting says to me. Go deep, it says, to find them. Go into the core of the mountain, the core of the body, the core of the universe, and they will be there weaving and painting and whispering the words of beauty.
There are seven women. In the ancient wisdom, seven represents the wholeness of the natural world. It is a sacred number in virtually every spiritual tradition. You might say, "Christin, there are eight of them--look, there's another woman, one they've painted and framed." Yes. I've noticed that. Eight represents the world to come, the world beyond this world, the fullness that encloses this world and is unending. This is the image of their desire.
When you Google the meaning of seven the information is virtually unending. For me, after all these years of gazing at this painting, I realize that meaning emerges from the task of bringing the light of Spirit into the material of earth to create beauty. This can happen every moment because earth is what we are and Spirit is what flows into and through us. Seven are the number of notes in the diatonic scale; we are the musicians; Spirit is the music. Seven are the colors in the rainbow; we are the artists; Spirit is the inspiration. Seven are the way-places on the mystic mountain, we are the pilgrims, Spirit is the ever expanding energy by which the mountain is transformed into beauty by the giving of our souls in even the smallest and most common task.
Like right now. I'm on my way to the kitchen to start making supper. On the way I'll glance over at the seven women in the mountain of being and say Thank You. You have taught me much. Let's get the kettle out and whip up a bit of delicious beauty!
Monday, January 12, 2015
|Sister Marie Schwan|
It's hard, though, to surrender those intimacies mediated by the beauty of this earth.
Sister Marie Schwan is the mother of my soul. She will remain that in this world and the next. She taught me to think, to pray, to love. She gave me a deep sensitivity for words and for The Word. It is she who encouraged me to become a writer.
I was twenty and she was twenty-seven when we met as student sister and master teacher at Marywood. She filled me full of memories that still guide my life. We were faithful to observances that sprung from our love for each other.
That she would be a visionary, that she would whisper her visions into my soul, that her descriptions would be vivid and beyond the wild of nature or the invisibility of God, that she would smile and tell me to see.
That she would open the writings of Thomas Merton, Jessica Powers, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Paul Claudel, Gertrude von le Forte, Emily Dickinson, and T.S. Eliot, and drop their words into my mind and heart; that I would catch my breath and love her for the gift of them. We would read them together. She loved the lark from Claudel's Tidings Brought to Mary, all wings and no feet like the cherubim, crying out in its ascent towards God.
That she would form the thought patterns of my mind.
That she would give structure to my creative imagination.
That she would dissolve the dualities and extol Wisdom, the knowledge gleaned from love.
That she would carve a path and I would walk that path gladly. That she would plant me in the future before the future was here. That I would begin to live in her dream.
A few hours before she died, I was sitting in my living room by the Christmas tree, watching the candle beside her photograph burn down. Music played quietly in the background. For three days I'd kept vigil, though in miles I was far away from where her body lay. She was not alone; I knew that. Her Sisters of St. Joseph kept their own vigil, someone with her every moment as her body made that mysterious transformation into spirit. Suddenly I heard the violin begin to climb. I caught my breath. I rose to my feet. "The Lark Ascending," by Ralph von Williams. Those tones that seem played on the heartstrings. Higher, Higher, seeming finally to dissolve into the Cosmic Silence.
John came into the room to find me in tears. "It's Marie." I told him. "She came to say goodbye."
I am so grateful.