April 17 mid-day in Holy Week – – Rumi, Sufi mystic 1207 – 1273

Wednesday,  April 17, 2019

“Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows . . . ”

In traditional Catholic faith practice, Holy Week can take a lot of living up to.  The intimate closeness of the Christian teaching that points to Jesus as human and divine, rubs closely with playful human tenderness together with work-a-day violence that wears the world all year long.   But, this week pays particular attention to the collision of Christ and violence.  I incline to treat the impulse for “living up to” this week as a distraction.  Better, perhaps, to let the texts and music of these seven days knock on the door of my awareness now and then, surprising me in the middle of the plans and deadlines and the joys of kinship that make up a lot of daily life.  And remind me that there lives beneath the ordinary stuff depths that open me to stark and delicate graces.

Rumi’s poem, “The Guest House,” explores this mystery of living a reality both ordinary and vast.    Best to read the poem out loud.  From a person still growing in this faith tradition, still learning to allow what runs deep to mingle with what hustles along on ordinary daily paths . . . .  Have a blest week.


john sj

Today’s Post:   “The Guest House”

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī  (جلال‌الدین محمد رومی‎)
Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic 1207-1273

This entry was posted in Poetry. Bookmark the permalink.