Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Already Spring!

Magnolias Autumn Buds

Putting the garden to bed this time of year: washing tools and reorganizing the shed, bringing in clay pots to keep them from cracking with the ice, heaping up spent vines on the compost heap. But also planting bulbs and green manure. Digging in the new grasses I found at the nursery end-of-season 40% off sale! And watching and observing ~ the leaves of trees, the birds, the sky, the animals, the temperatures, the sun's light, the berries...

Then my sister sent four 12th century Japanese poems about the four seasons and suddenly I discovered one of them present of actualized in my garden here. So I wrote my own 21st century, Starlight, Pennsylvania version. Just a few lines.

Bay Magnolia's buds are set,
Winter Rye is scattered
Blue Grass roots are settling in
Spring is already here.

The spring or new life is already present in the buds, the seeds, the roots ~ and in my imagination, energy, personal history, creative possibilities and potentiality. The discoveries may well take time; we might need some help, but there's no shame in that.

Even in the old wounds, the personal misfortune or upset, the resolution, insight, growth, learning, are already present. Often it is so close we don't see; we miss it. 

We might try to catch an idea or inspiration that passes through our minds. Seize it! Write it down! We're getting older, we can lose it in a moment. And then hold the idea and let it ferment a bit: to write, to compose, to work in a new way with any kind of material: flour, dreams, watercolor, paper and pen, soil and seeds, fabric, clay, journaling. Maybe it's a book that's been sitting for too long, waiting to be read.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Pope Said What?

More than a few people said during the recent papal visit that the pope should avoid politics and stick to church concerns: sexual morality, liturgy, prayers, kissing babies and charity. 

In this country we have a policy of separating church and state because history has shown (even to today) that when religion and the state are wedded, things often get ugly and dangerous - at least for some. 

But the pope has to speak to the world's problems best he can because our consciences become lax or power and greed take over.

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. (Psalm 24:1 ~ New Living Translation)

Mahatma Gandhi said: "Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." 

So as Pope Francis addressed Congress and spoke about a Seamless Garment of Life he said:
"Being at the service of dialogue and peace also means being truly determined to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout the world. Here we have to ask ourselves: why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade." 
Now more than a week later I've yet to hear a commentator-priest or newscaster draw our attention to this paragraph from the pope's thoughts. Why is that? Too busy talking about the Fiat, the pope's clothes, what he ate and who he met privately. 

My Ukrainian priest-friend, Father John, said of Catholicism in the world today: "It is like a great ship trying to navigate a narrow and cavernous ice flow."

Thursday, October 1, 2015


Here is my friend Yuri's painting of St. Therese of Lisieux whose feast day is today. And here's a little paragraph from my boyhood missal telling us who Therese is:

Mary Frances Teresa Martin was born at Alencon in France on January 2, 1873. She was brought up in a model Christian home, and educated in the Benedictine convent at Lisieux. While still a child she felt the attraction of the cloister, and at fifteen had by persistent entreaties obtained permission to enter the Carmel of Lisieux. She wanted to offer herself in sacrifice for priests and missionaries and the whole Church. She heard God's call to little ones to come to Him and surrendered herself forever with childlike confidence to God's "merciful love". She died on September 30, 1897, at the age of 24, and was canonized in 1925. 

Perhaps the best way to become familiar with Therese, especially the Little Way of living the Gospel, is to read her autobiography, The Story of a Soul. The Ronald Knox translation (French to English) is especially beautiful. 

Therese had an exuberant love for Jesus, often expressed in her writings by the use of the little word "Ah" and repeated exclamation points which one teacher-colleague of mine called surprise marks. Here is perhaps the most lovely and spiritually awake paragraph taken from Therese's journal. 

Then in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out: "O Jesus, my Love, at last I have found my vocation, my vocation is Love!... Yes, I have found my place in the Church, and it is you, O my God, who have given me this place... in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I will be Love!... Thus I shall be all things: thus my dream shall be realized!!!"

Intercessions ~ Twenty Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

At Ground Zero/ Pope Francis said the deep fountains of flowing water reflect the tears shed on September 11, 2001,/ but also the tears people cry around the world each day,/ caused by terrorism,/ war and destruction./ For those who weep/ to be comforted./ We pray to the Lord.

Today is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi./ We ask for a new willingness to love and protect the earth/ and every living thing,/ God's great gift to us./ We pray to the Lord.

Our political climate is characterized by bitter divisions./ And if we cannot hope to work together well for the common good,/ can we at least hope by prayer to stop demonizing each other./We pray to the Lord.

We ask blessings for the peace-making work of the United Nations as it celebrates its seventieth anniversary./ We pray too for the healing of any part of our own lives where we feel disturbed,/ troubled or despairing./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the reform of prisoners around the world./ For the enlightening of consciences,/ the turning of hearts/ and growth in goodness./ We pray too for the healing of those who have been victimized by violence and crimes./ We pray to the Lord.

We pray for the many who are injured in wars: soldiers and civilians./ For the conversion of those who plan and execute terrorist attacks./ For refugees,/ the sick,/ the elderly and all the world's children./ We pray to the Lord.

And we pray for those who have died to enter God's promised life of light and peace/ where saints live in joy./ We pray to the Lord.