Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 25th

Come, dear Heart!
The fields are white to harvest: come and see
As in a glass the timeless mystery
Of love, whereby we feed
On God, our bread indeed.
Torn by the sickles, see him share the smart
Of travailing Creation: maimed, despised,
Yet by his lovers the more dearly prized
Because for us he lays his beauty down --
Last toll paid by Perfection for our loss!
Trace on these fields his everlasting Cross,
And o'er the stricken sheaves the Immortal Victim's crown.

From far horizons came a Voice that said,
Lo! from the hand of Death take thou thy daily bread.'
Then I, awakening, saw
A splendour burning in the heart of things:
The flame of living love which lights the law
Of mystic death that works the mystic birth.
I knew the patient passion of the earth,
Maternal, everlasting, whence there springs
The Bread of Angels and the life of man.

Now in each blade
I, blind no longer, see
The glory of God's growth: know it to be
An earnest of the Immemorial Plan.
Yea, I have understood
How all things are one great oblation made:
He on our altars, we on the world's rood.
Even as this corn,
We are snatched from the sod;
Reaped, ground to grist,
Crushed and tormented in the Mills of God,
And offered at Life's hands, a living Eucharist.

-Corpus Cristi, by Evelyn Underhill


June 6, 2013

I’ve been reserved with Him, trying to process everything. I didn’t go straight to be with Him, I lingered in my own thoughts and felt shy, until I felt His invitation and I let myself fall into it.

I had read something about communion, and how the typical phrase, as one passes the plate, is to say:

“This is His body, broken for you.”

And how that hit me in the gut. First of all, the mention of His broken body- it seemed so casual. I used to hear that all the time. I had no idea what that meant.

But more than that, the fact that they are passing it around and eating it! It was shocking to me. I have such a deeper understanding from what I knew before. It’s raw and challenging.

By eating His body, they are demonstrating and affirming in a way which seems almost primal that they are one with Him. And it’s so simple- through bread and wine. The profound implications of the act are hidden behind the simple bread, which is broken and eaten and absorbed- by the whole- the whole that is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all.

That was how Jesus chose to have us remember Him- by eating His broken body. Out of any other act, that is what He chose.

Also, I was thinking back on how there is a pattern to my relationship with Him. It goes in a cycle- from challenge into distress to deeper understanding, leading to greater trust and a deeper, more honest relating, which leads to ecstasy and then, shyness and then more communion leading to a misunderstanding/challenge, leading to distress, leading to deeper understanding/trust, leading to ecstasy, etc, etc.

I guess it’s called growth. I had no idea that even one’s relationship with God grew. I mean, I guess I did not but not so dynamically.

“You’re so…” I couldn’t speak. It’s amazing to me, how deeply and immediately I am moved by Jesus- from the gut. It sweeps me off my feet. In fact, we were sitting on the floor, because I had kept falling down.

You were made that way, He explained, fondly.

I remembered, all over again, that He was Jesus. I thought, oh my goodness! I am with Jesus! I wonder what He does all day! I wonder what He likes to do! Surely He has some extraordinary hobby or something.

“What do You want to do?” I asked, excitedly, curiously.

I want to be with you, He replied.

I actually felt disappointed, at first! I pushed that aside. “No, but really,” I protested. “What do You like doing?”

I love to love you, He replied, smiling.

And oh my goodness. I burst out laughing and Jesus was laughing, because it was just so true! That is pretty much all that we do- that is, I adore Him and He loves me and this is the most delicious thing I know. I thought about how I created for this, so it is in my nature.

I remembered how at the first, I had asked Jesus why I was experiencing Him that way- as if He was around me all the time, day after day, although, at that time, I couldn’t see Jesus. But I heard His voice so often and so clearly and I thought, at the time, that maybe I was going to die soon and Jesus was with me like that to prepare me. So I finally I asked Him why He was with me, and Jesus said, because you’re Mine and I want you with Me- tucked up in Me, close to Me.

And I remember the wonder that washed over me, hearing these words- really hearing for the first time in my life that God might want me just for myself.

And how months later, in a burst of frustration, I had asked Jesus, why, since He wasn’t making me perfect or incredibly religiously or spiritually productive, why on earth He was with me, and Jesus replied with such intensity, to be with you- and I thought, holy crap! He is serious.

I looked at Jesus as I was puzzling this through. “So You really just want to be with me... So then, the question is not, what do You want to do, but what do I want to do,” I said, slowly- and this delighted Him so very much, that I had figured that out.

“I can freely choose what I want to do here and You will be with me, so that pleases You, to be with me, and I have freedom to do or to go and we are both pleased,” I said, thinking.

His eyes were sparkling. But we did not end up doing anything at all, because I thought about the things I like to do and the things I like to do are actually just to be quiet and still and to be with someone. Shocker!

Then, in the early morning, I woke up and I was with Him and I was full of that reading, The Spiral Way, by Evelyn Underhill and how the soul is drawn to Him and Jesus said into my ear, do you see? Do you understand now?

“Yes,” I breathed, “yes, I see. I understand, but why… Why do You draw me to You like this, before I’m dead?” I asked, in wonder.

Because I want you with me, He answered, His voice quiet.

“But why do I see You the way I do? Why are You like this with me?”

I was just filled with wonder at this- how my mysticism is not the cloud of unknowing, the featureless falling into the embrace of the All in All, but was warmly specific, filled with the senses, personal, vivid.

Don’t you like it? He asked, tenderly.

Wonder and love washed over me so that I could barely speak. “You know,” I breathed. “You know that I do; You know me through and through.”

June 7, 2013

I heard Jesus calling me so strongly. Remember when you first stood and realized you could? He asked me, as I was going inward, without form or vision. And my heart warmed and I remembered- “Yes,” I said. “And now I know I have so much freedom to come to You.”

And I opened my heart to Him and I saw Him face to face.

“Hello,” I said, smiling.

June 9, 2013

Oh, I am so needing to write! Last night was the worst I have ever been with Him- feeling the pain of being without children, watching children growing up in dysfunctional, abusive homes, being so angry at Him and filled with grief and not knowing why He lets it happen and knowing that generation after generation of children come up like that- being permanently hurt when they are innocent and young and can’t defend themselves or even recognize that they are being hurt.

I couldn’t look at Jesus. I was furious at Him and so ashamed of myself for feeling that way- I kept being torn between the two feelings- my intense anger and my shame that I was feeling this way. He kept trying to comfort me and I kept refusing it- I was so furious at Jesus that I couldn’t receive anything from Him. I didn’t want to be around Him, I didn’t want to love Him.

The thing is, I was aware that Jesus also was in a great deal of pain- He was not holding Himself apart from either how I was feeling or what had caused me to feel that way.

But for a long time, this did not matter to me. I couldn’t understand how He could allow it to continue- this passing down of pain from one generation to the innocent, helpless one coming next. I didn’t know how He could stand it, just stand by, just let it happen again and again.

How could I yield to His love, knowing this? How could I trust Him or give myself to Him in love, knowing this?

I was yelling at Jesus, bent over double from the force of my emotion. I said, “Why won’t You give me a child? Why won’t You give me just one, to save? What a waste of my life! What a waste of who I am now- a whole life available to nurture and love and raise even one child, a loving stable home, rooted in a strong marriage, but no! No! You won’t! You don’t! You don’t stop it, You don’t prevent it- You send them to places where they’ll be hurt and disfigured and won’t even realize it until the damage is done!”

Finally, without words, Jesus reminded me how much it hurt, to have to sit back and watch someone you love suffer without being able to offer comfort, how that was heart breaking- it was as if He said, don’t do the same to Me! or I’m hurting in the same way, watching you go through this, let Me comfort you!

It was a cry of strong emotion from Him that washed over me, and this combined with His entreatingly outstretched arms, caused the block in me to melt- I turned immediately and yielded to Him and Jesus caught me up so tightly in His arms, He wrapped His arms so tightly around me and held me close. We were wound up in each other, breathing together and hurting together and He whispered many things into my ear: not reasons and not explanations, really, but loving affirmations and I tried to let them sink in but the pain was really extraordinary.

In fact, the pain was worse once I had turned to Him, because I wasn't fighting it off with anger. I was sunk down into the pain and it was so great that it felt like I was dying, suffocating- it was as if I was letting a part of myself die.

The pain had many levels. The worst of this pain was the fact of my helplessness in the face of suffering- my own suffering, when I had been a powerless child and could not protect myself or stop what was happening, and the suffering that was occurring right then, everywhere- a small part of which I had just seen, and which I also was largely powerless to stop. There was also the pain of infertility and how my body was not bringing forth life and so was, in a way, dead already.

Jesus confirmed this- that being in this pain altogether without denial was a chance to die- if I did not deny the suffering through anger or closing my heart, that a part of me could die through it or in it, and I immediately understood this form of death as good- that it would in the end bring forth good, in the light of His own words and way of living- because if a grain of wheat does not fall into the earth and die, it will remain only one, but if it dies, it brings forth a great crop.

He took me up to the brow of the hill, in the meadow grass and it was comforting, to be sunk so onto the warm, solid earth, surrounded by waving grasses and wildflowers and closing my eyes, I could hear the wind going through them and the soft keening of insects and I felt more peaceful.

June 10, 2013

Things I want to remember:

Realizing that I was with Him and feeling my love for Him rise up and up and up, my heart opening, and feeling the pain that ached all through Him.

And Jesus  reminding me that in the place of knowledge that we do not have now, there is faith, hope and love and that these three must encompass all the pain in the world, all the pain that knowledge cannot come to terms with. To have these things is to believe that all shall be well, all manner of things shall be and all shall be well.

And how I was sunk down into His heart, cradled in His arms, hidden under the golden, warm light of His wings, wrapped up, enclosed, safe- everything in me, all the shards of my pain and brokenness enclosed in that love, all the incompleteness within me carried in His heart, so that shards of my pain that hurt me also hurt His own heart, because He carries me there-

How He carries the whole world in His heart, all that pain cutting into Him and how large He must be- beyond imagining, beyond conception and how it must be like how even the galaxy is tiny compared to the vastness of the universe and so much of it empty space, so that the pain of our one planet is surrounded by tens of billions of light years and the softness of that space and the cradle of that loving dark, which holds the pain in perspective-

And how God became a tiny spec in the warm, dark living womb of flesh and blood, and grew in the mystery and warmth and frailty of that space and was birthed a living, flesh and blood enfant, helpless, blind, completely vulnerable, completely present in space and time- made manifest, incarnate and grew to be a man and suffered, as a man, incredible physical and emotional and spiritual pain, so much so that His heart of flesh and blood stopped beating- He died. So His heart beat once, again and then stopped- silent, still, growing cold, all the physical processes of life ended.

And how He was drawn back up into physical and spiritual Life- how His heart began beating and I saw Him come up with a gasp of air and I looked away, because I thought this is too intimate, too sacred a space for me to see into and again Jesus presented me to it and I saw again how He came sitting up with a gasp of air and He put His face in His hands and burst into tears from the sheer emotion of it and I thought, that’s too much- how could Jesus be that beautifully human, that fully emotionally vulnerable and open.

And Jesus encouraged me to try thinking about it more deeply- to not simply reject it, but to try relating to that response- as He was as human as I was, and wasn't that a human response?

So I had to stop and think about what that might feel like, and I thought, “Yes, Yes, considering He had died in excruciating pain, in humiliation and apparent and complete failure in the eyes of all that had believed in Him, and woke suddenly to life, to His Father, to the world that He loved so that much- in that moment, knowing that He had accomplished all the excruciating tasks, that He had drunk that bitter, unbearable cup and that it was finished and the world was new and reconciled, and all that He loved was come alive in Him- yes, I can see how You would burst into tears.”


June 13, 2013

Jesus has been so vividly present- or I’ve been so vividly aware of who He is- that my interactions with Him have changed- they are full of wonder and awe. We were walking down a slope beside a stream, and I would stop and look at Jesus and fall down, so often.

Jenny, He said tenderly.

I would be all, Oh My God! Oh My God! And put my hands over my face. And then fall. Again.

We walked down and then up to a ridge and we watched some eagles through the pine branches. Then we walked down the ridge and down, all the way to the ravine, where a stream of water was shooting into a tunnel at the base of a mountain.

“Do all mountains have subterranean streams here?” I asked Jesus, but He didn’t answer. He didn’t ask me to go. I knew I was free to choose, to go into the current, or to go back up stream, to the valley.

The stream wasn’t even a stream- it was a terrifying, deadly torrent of water- it was like water shot out of a hose- it was water that thrusts out from high pressure- it was white and spray and coiled and terrifying.

I thought, I’ll die if I go in there. But eventually, I threw myself in. I saw it again and again, how the water tore, in a split second, myself and Him from the ledge and sucked us in- each time, in a moment. Just gone- in a moment, torn away and then I couldn’t continue on down the dark tunnel- it was like a part of me was caught back on the ledge and I had to pry something free and then wham! I was being rocked through the dark, compressed and then shot straight out into the blue sky, over the ocean and we dropped down and then soared back up and we were flying over the glistening wrinkled ocean.

It was gorgeous, peaceful. The light shone on the wrinkled ocean, which tilted and tipped below us, silken blue and gold.

June 14, 2013

I read almost all of Luke and almost all of John in The Voice version. I read His prayer over and over again, but most of all, I was caught on this line:

“Father, I long for the time when those You have given Me can join Me in My place so they may witness My glory, which comes from You.”

Over and over again I read and heard that phrase; I sat there with my hand at my mouth, looking at it. It went on ringing in me and it explained so much.

Even before I could go through to Jesus, His love was coming to me and mine was going out to Him and then I was through and we were babbling in this great rush of love and recognition. My toes hit the stone floor and Jesus was standing, holding out His arms, His hands open to me, His face so eager, so lit up and He was saying, so eagerly, so passionately, Did you hear Me?

And I was in His arms and I threw my arms around His shoulders and I was going up in fire and wonder and I could hardly speak because I loved Him so much. I kept grabbing hold of His shoulders and gasping for air, because I could hardly breathe through the flames.

The knowledge that this was Jesus was going through me in waves, almost unbearable waves and each time, words of love kept welling up, but the love was so much it could hardly make it out of my throat.

I just kept thinking of everything that I had read of Him and as I was thinking these things, He was speaking.

I love you, I love you, Jenny He was saying and it made my head swim.

“Thank You,” I whispered. “Thank You.” This gratitude was rising up from the deepest places in me and I meant, for bringing me through, then and there, for the chance to see Him and to know Him and be with Him the way that I was- that I did not have to wait my whole life through for that.

And I remembered, again, Jesus saying, "I long for those You’ve given me to be where I am," and how, when I had asked Him why I was with Him like this now, instead of after I died, Jesus had said, because I want you with me.

And it was a torrent of love and I was trying to keep a hold of Him, but I couldn’t stand; my legs were like noodles.

“I’m going to fall,” I was gasping, and trying to hold on to Jesus and slipping through His arms, but He swung me up and set me back down on my toes.

Didn’t it help? Do you understand now? Didn’t I open My teaching up to You like you asked? He asked passionately, again and again.

“Yes, yes, I heard You!” I said with wonder. “Yes, I understood more!” And I was laughing, because He answered that request in such a practical way- through a different translation of the Bible and we were both laughing, because sometimes He is just practical.

“You Rabbi,” I whispered, just to try it out, but He was much more interested in another title at that moment.


I rested my arms on His shoulders and His face! His face was clear, beautiful- honey skinned and His almond eyes full of light and this feeling so exquisite passed over me that I thought I was going to pass out there. We were walking into the other room and again I saw His face and I simply slipped down into a boneless huddle on the floor.

Jenny, Jesus said, so tenderly, but His eyes were twinkling. We were almost there.

And even as I was, I laughed- this breathless, joyful astonished laugh. And this feeling! Just from knowing who He was and that He was right there, with me. Jesus was looking down at me with that face! So absorbed, so tender, so serious, so open-

And this feeling swept over me that was purely holy- this kind of wordless, reverent awe that went over me like a wave- like something washing me over and back. It was sacred- I knew myself to be deep in some inner, sacred space that is ineffable. It was like falling back into slow moving, heavy clear water.

And I was saying- "I love You, I love You, I love You, You are all I have ever longed for, You are the light by which I see, You are the life in my heart, You are in my very bones and I can’t even say- I longed for You all my life, You are the culmination of my every longing and I’ll never let You go"- and then I remembered it was reversed.

So I said, "You have me," and this feeling went through Jesus like fire and  immediately I was caught up in this fire as well and He was saying or I was saying or we were saying that He would never, ever lose me, that I was His and I would never, ever leave Him, because I was in His hand- in the Father's hand and no one can take me out of His hand- and this just undid Jesus very much- and I was caught up in all this worship and adoration of Him and the receiving of His love- the giving and the receiving of these things being almost simultaneous and largely without words.

It was so much that I was saying, again and again, “I can’t!” because it felt like I was going to shatter apart from the ecstasy. My saying "I can't," was mostly unconscious, but then I realized I was saying this and that I should try to say something different, though I could hardly speak.

I tried to pull myself together, like taking a deep breath and I spoke three syllables- “I accept,” and it was so hard to speak that the word came out broken and cracking apart, and as I spoke it, this ecstasy of white fire swept up through my spirit and I can’t describe this well, but this knowledge that I was with Jesus was so much that it was like it was breaking me apart and just like that, it was as if a switch went off and I couldn’t see anything inwardly.

So I rested in my physical body and tried to catch my breath. I tried to let my nervousness and feelings of failure just pass through, without judgment, and to let myself be as I was, and then I was drawn back through and was in His arms and I was saying, "You have to make me more sturdy to face You, You have to stretch my ability to take this in."

As I was asking this, I realized that Jesus had been answering this all along, even before I’d asked- He continually was. Looking back, I could see how this was true, because I could see that over time I was able to move through- or to let it move through me- to be within far more intense experiences than at the beginning.

But I wanted more- I wanted it all- I wanted to know Jesus  completely- not with the eyes of faith operating through love, but to know Jesus as He knows me now- fully, completely, not through the mirror, no matter how clear.

But Jesus said, you need your new body for that and I knew He meant, the one that Paul speaks of- how this present body is like a seed that eventually is sown in death, that rises up into a new one, a spiritual body- and also, Jesus speaks of it Himself, when He talks about marriage and the sons of the resurrection being beyond mortality.

So I had to pull myself back from that intense desire for the future seeing, the future relating,  which would be complete and without effort or the continual choice to remain in faith, and I re-centered myself into the present, which after all, is very good.

I was looking out the window- it seemed to be evening- golden light was slanting down through the window and Jesus whispered, do you want to go out there?

We went outside, though I had some trouble seeing the door and I said, I don’t even know where we’re going and we were laughing.

Jesus gestured toward the meadow, so I said, okay! And off we went, and passing through that reminded me of how He had been passing through the field of grain and eating the kernels and I reminded Him of this.

I said, “And You said You were the Lord of the Sabbath…”

And what does that mean? Jesus asked, tenderly and interested.

And I simply keeled over laughing, from the astonishment of being quizzed by Jesus, about Jesus. Anyway. Then I sobered up and thought about it.

“It means that You get to define what it means,” I said. “You have authority over it.”

Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man, Jesus affirmed.

I said, “Yes! That is what You said.” Then I thought about it some more and I said, “You are the Sabbath! You are the holy rest, God’s rest, in Your person. People rest in You from all their works.”

Yes, He agreed.

I ended up falling down in the meadow and Jesus simply sat down next to me and we rested there, amid the wild flowers.