Wednesday, December 12, 2018
“have a cup of tea and rejoice”
These days of Advent — 4 weeks that dare us to imagine hope without denying violence, loss, and fear. Year by year, they stir my blood and fill me with wonder — work day cars moving women and men in a hurry, their driving more confident in the light traffic. Me? I love the early dark, and the full moon, when the skies clear, hanging over the West side of our campus. Today’s post is partly an homage to a Jesuit soul friend who died too young and partly an homage to a gift he gave me by introducing me to the poet Mary Oliver on one hot summer day in Oglala South Dakota. November 29, was the anniversary of Bill Pauly’s sudden death at 59 of a heart attack while taking a lovely sabbatical after years of demanding pastoring on the Pine Ridge Lakota Reservation in western South Dakota. Before Pine Ridge, Bill was pastor in a South Milwaukee Latin@ parish. I miss him especially at this time. This Mary Oliver poem captures his earthiness and urgency and his passion for the sacred ordinary.
Advent blessings can open a reader to joy even in a time of mean and frightened ranting. You may have read Mary Oliver here before. Best to read her poetry slowly, with pauses, anticipating surprise.
Welcome to these last days of Term One on our McNichols Campus in Detroit.
Today’s Post “Wage Peace” (1st posted December 2, 2013)
Wage peace with your breath.
Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.
Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and fresh mown
Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.
Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.
Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.
Learn to knit, and make a hat.
Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty or the gesture of fish.
Swim for the other side.
Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious.
Have a cup of tea and rejoice.
Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Don’t wait another minute.
P.S. Today, December 12, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, is also celebrated by Sisters of Mercy around the world as Foundation Day. [Foundation Day is the day in which Catherine McAuley and two other sisters took their vows as the first Sisters of Mercy in 1831.]