Friday, August 04, 2006

Intimacies and spiritual closeness expressed in a poem...

Just today, I was talking with a friend about spiritual intimacies. We asked each other what were the acts or experiences during Worship that each remembered as a special time. I said, during the offering of the cup as a lay minister when people come to the rail to take communion. This is an intimate time of offering, and there is a limit to what one offers spritually when saying, "The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation."

It is this limitation that accentuates the intimacy of the moment and the prayer. As an instrument, it is God's work that is at work. And in seeming contradiction, we two engaged in offering and the taking of the cup have in that few moments have a special connection.

Welcome to this older poem of mine written during a retreat at New Camaldoli, Big Sur, California (monastery). I was taken with the spiritual intimacy of the Communion Service, and observed one woman who I thought especially devout during this silent retreat. I was inspired, and mystified by the communion experienced on this Sunday at the top of the mountain above the Pacific Ocean...engaged in the mystery of it with others and so wrote my observation of the worshiper.

Spiritual recognitions: Chapter House intimacies
by Peter Menkin (2001)

You were there, and I knew you tangible
from love and desire, recollected:
the fine mind, and education,
the religion and spiritual teachings

held privately with a modesty
in respect for reverent teachers.
Your prayers were those I listen
to as you offer mention to God
for the women of the Church.

Jesuit minds have instilled in you, spiritual strength,
stranger known to me in the bread and wine--
the willingness to wear a silvercross. More beautiful because you
express pain and love for the world
in its excess, of so much evil. Forgive

me I had to notice you in communion,
in archtype as woman seeking the divine
on the mountain in winter by the Pacific
Ocean: Vistas of rock, Route 1, Big Sur
Edge of the world, of the awe consistent:
We are at the place of prayer tangible

Christological; an immensity of the burning fire
with white in Trinity, mysterium.
New Ecumenical spirits sweep the world.
So generous a meal; we partake through
the day wrestling meditation,
and prayer to witness and speak. Everflowing.

You came for strength and wisdom, ignited.
All of us were brought closer to God together.

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