… Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
From ‘The Bright Field’ by R. S. Thomas
Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes
From ‘Aurora Leigh’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
… there was an extra-ness in the air, as if a gate had been left open in the usual life, as if something might get in or get out.
From Seamus Heaney’s book District and Circle
It’s the really hungry who can smell fresh bread a mile away. For those who know their need, God is immediate – not an idea, not a theory, but life, food, air for the stifled spirit and the beaten, despised, exploited body.
Rowan Williams, as quoted by Sara Miles, Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion
In her poem ‘The Lord’s Prayer from Guatemala’ (1979), also published in Threatened with Resurrection/Amenazado de resurrección, Julia Esquivel envisages that:
churches abandon their structures of power and domination
and become instead a source of life and service
for all humankind.
For yours is the kingdom
belonging to no usurper,
yours is the power
belonging to no structure or organization,
and yours is the glory,
for you are the only God and Father
forever and ever, AMEN.
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?
(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
I read this amazing e.e. cummings poem (from Complete Poems 1904–1962) in Janet Morley’s The Heart’s Time this morning, only to find that it also featured as part of the Easter Eucharist led by Peter Francis at Gladstone’s Library this morning. An unexpected blessing!
If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.
Albert Camus, ‘Summer in Algiers’
Desire has a disreputable reputation in religious circles. When most people hear the term, they think of two things: sexual desire or material wants, both of which are often condemned by some religious leaders. The first is one of the greatest gifts from God to humanity; without it the human race would cease to exist. The second is part of our natural desire for a healthy life – for food, shelter, and clothing.
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
We tend to think that if we desire something, it is probably something we ought not to want or to have. But … without desire we would never get up in the morning. … We would never have read a book or learned something new. No desire means no life, no growth, no change. Desire is what makes two people create a third person. Desire is what makes crocuses push up through the late-winter soil. Desire is energy, the energy of creativity, the energy of life itself.
Margaret Silf, Wise Choices, as quoted by Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything