Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The Lord is my Shepherd


I went to an Anglican Requiem Mass the other day and we recited the Coverdale Twenty-third Psalm, older than the King James Version. It is a beautiful translation and I love it especially in John Rutter's setting, opened by the haunting strains of a solo oboe followed by crystal clear soprano melody.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd: therefore can I lack nothing.
He shall feed me in a green pasture: and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.
He shall convert my soul: and bring me forth in the paths of righteousness, for his Name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me.
Thou shalt prepare a table before me against them that trouble me: thou has anointed my head with oil, and my cup shall be full.
But thy loving-kindness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

This is one of my favorite places in the world, the Isle of Arran in Scotland, with a view overlooking Whiting Bay. The sheep were quietly grazing as I strolled past them, the sun shining warmly after a furious rainstorm. The sky was an unforgettable sapphire blue.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Human Zoo

Special event at the London Zoo....



The August Bank holiday welcomes an extra special exhibit to London Zoo as a flock of Homo sapiens gather on the world famous Bear Mountain.

Click here for more information.

Thanks to Holy Whapping.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Frivolity

Your Hidden Talent
You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.
And while this may not seem big, it can be.
It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.
You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Interiors



How good it is to enter once more
   a room neglected.
To cross the threshold into the familiar scent.

Dancing motes shimmer in the beam of light
    greet, cling, whisper
Remembered conversations of long ago.

The familiar chair embraces, enfolds,
    imbued with yesterday's dreams--
      that pervade, permeate, melt
    the changes and chances which suspended
Presence in this beloved room.

Heart speaks and mind understands,
    for all the strivings, discontentment, restless longings,
       yet stillness here
    pierces inner eyes to perceive afresh
Alive again to new, fine vistas.

~by Argent

Monday, August 15, 2005

On This Feast Day of Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin Mary





Sweet gentle Mary, maiden most mild,
At the loss of Eden was foretold
To crush rebellion's head.


Pleasing to the Father were you,
Sending Beloved Son to be knit with your nature.
All heav'n rejoiced at your fiat,
Creation groaning
Burdened under the weight of sin,
Rejoiced in your assent.

Sweetly falls the music from your lips
A hushabye to Son of God
Encircled in your embrace,
Heaven's Prince whose eyes beheld
Foundation of the worlds,
And sees new worlds yet arising.

Fluttering eyelids close,
Slumbering child, dreaming...
Of Easter to come, mankind's Salvation.

~by Argent

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Feast of St. Clare of Assisi


St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi began a radically new movement for the Church of the 1200's and their spirit vibrantly illumines the world of our day.

St. Clare (1194-1253), a young woman from a wealthy family in Assisi, was inspired by Francis as she saw and heard of his radical way of life that was stirring up the status quo and causing talk and ridicule from the townspeople. She secretly met with Francis and told him of her desire to join him. On Palm Sunday night, she escaped from a side door in her home and ran to meet Francis and his small band of brothers at the chapel of the Portiuncula of St. Mary of the Angels. There, Francis cut her hair, clothed her with a rough fabric, and welcomed her to a life of poverty and simplicity. Soon after, Francis arranged for Clare and the other women who immediately followed her example, to live at San Damiano, the original church he repaired.

Thus began the story of a man and a woman on fire with the call to poverty, and whose only desire was to follow the radical call they were given by God.

He Christ is the splendor of eternal glory, "the brightness of eternal light, and the mirror without cloud."

Behold, I say, the birth of this mirror. Behold Christ's poverty even as he was laid in the manger and wrapped in swaddling clothes. What wondrous humility, what marvelous poverty! The King of angels, the Lord of heaven and earth resting in a manger! Look more deeply into the mirror and meditate on his humility, or simply on his poverty. Behold the many labors and sufferings he endured to redeem the human race. Then, in the depths of this very mirror, ponder his unspeakable love which caused him to suffer on the wood of the cross and to endure the most shameful kind of death. The mirror himself, from his position on the cross, warned passers-by to weigh carefully this act, as he said: "All of you who pass by this way, behold and see if there is any sorrow like mine." Let us answer his cries and lamentations with one voice and one spirit: "I will be mindful and remember, and my soul will be consumed within me."

from a letter to Agnes of Prague by St. Clare

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Feast Day of St. Laurence--Deacon, Martyr

St Laurence ( - 258)

Laurence was one of the seven deacons of the Church of Rome and was executed on 10th August 258, four days after Sixtus II and his companions. By now, few of the facts of his life are known for certain: he was probably a Spaniard from Toledo.

Legend has it that he was roasted alive over a gridiron. Laurence bore the torture with great calmness, saying to his executioners at one time, "You may turn me over; I am done on this side." The spectacle of his courage made a great impression on the people of Rome, and made many converts, while greatly reducing among pagans the belief that Christianity was a socially undesirable movement that should be stamped out.

A basilica was built over Laurence’s tomb fifty years after his death, by the Emperor Constantine, and the anniversary of his martyrdom was kept as a solemn feast – with considerably more solemnity than that of Pope Sixtus II (we do not know why). By the sixth century, it was one of the most important feasts throughout much of western Christendom. His name occurs (with Sixtus’s) in the Roman Canon of the Mass.

Which Famous Literary Work are You?



You are Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Classic, elegant, and you speak properly!


What Famous literary Work Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, August 08, 2005

Further Musings on Friendships

The discussion about friendships continues to resonate in me, which led me to reflect on newly-found friendships...tender, like seedlings, in need of cultivating care.

There are some new people in my life, who have managed to slip in through an opening and whose presence in my life have begun to change me, altering imperceptibly in some ways, and in others, more palpable, observable. They limn for me hidden corners and have helped me rediscover the treasures that are there. And sometimes, illumination is upon that odd collected hoard which I tenaciously possess, yet are of little value as clutter, rubbish.

One of these friends leaves this week to go to a new locus, where he may stir up people as he is wont to do, finding new Argents to challenge and to dare to think and see differently. The books are boxed to be shipped to new bookshelves, where he, with someone new, will run his fingers down the spines and pull an old beloved volume and turn to a page and say, "Ah, ha!...here it is." And turn to that new person with that maddening yet endearing twinkle in his eye and say, "Let's get to work."

My season of goodbyes to new-found friends extends to yet another who has helped me embrace an unwanted task, teaching me, guiding me as I gained proficiency--perhaps not as quickly as he would have liked--but always remaining patient, understanding, with cordial humor.

As they have changed the landscape of my life, I hope that I in turn was able to open new vistas and possibilities for them. I hope that they can look back at their tenure with me with fond remembrance.

I am grateful for my friends, whose presence in my life change my vision, like tumbling beads in a kaleidoscope, varying, changing...coruscating, sparking my imagination so that the world is always fresh and new. And so, even though I must at times retreat to the company of my thoughts in solitude, I can emerge with awakened senses, alive to the serendipity that is life.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Feast of the Transfiguration

Christ, Whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
Triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high be near;
Day-star, in my heart appear.

Dark and cheerless is the morn
Unaccompanied by Thee;
Joyless is the day’s return
Till Thy mercy’s beams I see;
Till they inward light impart,
Glad my eyes, and warm my heart.


Visit then this soul of mine,
Pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
Fill me, Radiancy divine,
Scatter all my unbelief;
More and more Thyself display,
Shining to the perfect day.
~Charles Wesley

Friday, August 05, 2005

Musings on Friendship


I was having a conversation last night about friendships--what fuels, nurtures, ruptures them. I've been pondering my circle of friends, why it is a small circle and not a large net as some people seem to have. There are not many willing or patient or persistent enough to overcome my profound need for stretches of solitude and privacy. My public persona is affable, if not a bit eccentric. I soon tire of the public face and retreat to my inner sanctum.

My closest friend and I are a generation apart. She is the one to whom I bring all my frustrations, follies, and epiphanies, who undauntedly endures the level of intensity with which I live my life. She is the one to whom I am most willingly transparent, with whom I do not have to wear masks or take on a persona. It may seem frightening to be so fully exposed to another, but to me it is a great freedom to have this precious friend. Our mutual empathy is strong and deep, and we are dependent on one another, not necessarily in the daily living out of our lives, for she is as fiercely independent as I. But our dependence on one another encompasses the heart, cor ad cor loquitur, heart speaks to heart, where each other's joys and sorrows pierce and wound and transform.

I have not known her long, in the shortness of chronos time. But we have shared a lifetime in kairos time. We share the same birthday, our lives have parallel themes, our values resonate with each other. I realized last night that what nurtures our friendship is the complete trust to be open with each other. There is no fear that there might be betrayal...that is not in our language. And the great benefit from this friendship is that burdens are lightened and life is endurable. Joy is sweeter for the sorrows shared.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Homecoming


Homecoming

Smile greets smile and eyes behold,
Beloved features, familiar yet changed.
The journey which led you
Away from our familiar circle,
And the road that brought you
Back within our fold have shown you
Things which our eyes had no share in.
The secret places of your heart
Changed by sites and sights unknown to us.

We smile at your telling
Traces of your journeys.
We joy in your return,
Circle closes again.
But silvery voices in our hearts
Whisper that soon you will depart again,
Embarking on new adventures.
The circle of proximity
Transformed into circle of the heart,
Unbounded by space.

You are dearer to us at this moment
In light of future fare-thee-wells.

~by Argent

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Nicodemus

In the Anglican calendar, today is the Feast Day of Nicodemus, surreptitious disciple of Jesus, who defended Jesus' right to a fair trial, and helped to bury Him with honor.

John 3 relates that haunting conversation about rebirth in order to see the kingdom of God. You must be born of the Spirit, Jesus said to Nicodemus who did not understand the new birth. And then Jesus spoke the stunning words about God's love and the Son's sacrifice for the sake of the world.

Oh, love, how deep, how broad, how high....

Interim......


.....time. The time in between, moving from one certainty to another, is a time of heightened senses. The act of listening--actively and intently--casting aside preconceived ideas to hear perhaps a still small voice or a blaring message is exhausting, draining, yet ultimately exhilarating. I am in multiple discernment paths at present, one at the beginning, one in the middle, and one at the end, each with its own rhythm and set of dilemmas. I wonder why God often thrusts me into these situations to be closely surrounded by people, when my natural state of comfort is almost hermitlike. I am happiest being alone and in a state of contemplation.

One of the most life-giving things that I do for myself is to go to the beach house for unstructured time, just to sit and watch the waves. If I listen carefully, I can hear the cadence of the waves as they rush to meet the sandy beach...starting from a low pitch and rising quickly to that timpanic crash on the sandbar followed by a scattering sound as the water scurries up the field of broken shells to be met by gleeful children and parents and dogs. The book that I intended to read would often lie on my lap unopened, words unread, while I relish the time of being still...a rare moment when my mind isn't racing to ferret out answers to puzzles in my life.

All too soon that pause comes to an end, and I have to return to the tasks of living. But that pause, that interim time where deep speaks to deep, God meets me and I am content.

St Eusebius of Vercelli


He was born in Sardinia and brought up in Rome, and later (in around 340) was made the first bishop of Vercelli in Piedmont. He lived in a community with his diocesan priests, the first bishop ever to do so.

He was a strong supporter of orthodoxy, and in 355 was sent into exile by the Emperor for refusing to sign the condemnation of St Athanasius that had been passed by the Council of Milan. He was in exile for six years, harshly treated by those who had charge of him. On his release he worked hard for unity, but in vain.He co-operated with St Hilary in fighting Arianism, and eventually died peacefully at Vercelli, where a manuscript of the Gospels in his handwriting is preserved.