The Greater Sea

Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet.  It’s peaceful.  Beyond the horizon is rest beckoning me.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and mercy will follow me.

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The Greater Sea

My soul and I went to the great sea to bathe.  And when we reached the shore, we went about looking for a hidden and lonely place.

But as we walked, we saw a man sitting on a grey rock taking pinches of salt from a bag and throwing them into the sea.

“This is the pessimist,” said my soul, “Let us leave this place. We cannot bathe here.”

We walked on until we reached an inlet.  There we saw, standing on a white rock, a man holding a bejeweled box, from which he took sugar and threw it into the sea.

“And this is the optimist,” said my soul, “And he too must not see our naked bodies.”

Further on we walked.  And on a beach we saw a man picking up dead fish and tenderly putting them back into the water.

“And we cannot bathe before him,” said my soul.  “He is the humane philanthropist.”

And we passed on.

Then we came where we saw a man tracing his shadow on the sand. Great waves came and erased it.  But he went on tracing it again and again.

“He is the mystic,” said my soul, “Let us leave him.”

And we walked on, till in a quiet cover we saw a man scooping up the foam and putting it into an alabaster bowl.

“He is the idealist,” said my soul, “Surely he must not see our nudity.”

And on we walked.  Suddenly we heard a voice crying, “This is the sea.  This is the deep sea.  This is the vast and mighty sea.” And when we reached the voice it was a man whose back was turned to the sea, and at his ear he held a shell, listening to its murmur.

And my soul said, “Let us pass on.  He is the realist, who turns his back on the whole he cannot grasp, and busies himself with a fragment.”

So we passed on.  And in a weedy place among the rocks was a man with his head buried in the sand.  And I said to my soul, “We can bath here, for he cannot see us.”

“Nay,” said my soul, “For he is the most deadly of them all.  He is the puritan.”

Then a great sadness came over the face of my soul, and into her voice.

“Let us go hence,” she said, “For there is no lonely, hidden place where we can bathe.  I would not have this wind lift my golden hair, or bare my white bosom in this air, or let the light disclose my sacred nakedness.”

Then we left that sea to seek the Greater Sea.

soul food

smiley-face-2Just another traveler on life’s highway, hanging out in the slow lane.  It’s quiet, it’s peaceful; beyond the horizon is rest calling my name.  Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.

 

The term “soul” is thrown around quite often in today’s society.  Soul food, soul music, eternal soul are just a few.  It always brings to mind that internal essence which many people consider the truth residing within each of us.  Fr. Richard Rohr, cac.org , defines soul as “……anything’s ultimate meaning which is held within. Soul is the blueprint inside of every living thing that tells it what it is and what it can become. When we meet anything at that level, we will respect, protect, and love it.”

Notice that this advocate of the mystic nature of Christ does not describe my soul as an entity separate from anything else, as a part of my being which will move on to heaven after my physical death, nor a hard-to-understand tenet of any religion’s theology.  Soul simply is.  It tells me that I am what I am and it leads me to what I can become.  It is the blueprint, the divine spark of DNA, present in every living organism.  Every living creature has soul.

Francis of Assisi understood this and is well known for spending many hours walking the roads of Umbria learning from nature the meaning of soul.  He called all of creation his brothers and sisters.  Think about it.  Every creature of nature is born, matures and reaches its destiny, when unimpeded, without a thought as to what it should be or how it should develop. A lion becomes the king of the jungle, a daffodil becomes a springtime beauty, a butterfly flits about searching for nectar.  Only man disputes and denies his inherent divine spark of DNA.  Man was created in the image of God and man’s destiny is to become a son of God, a recreation of that eternal Force which gave him life.

My religious tradition confused and often denied the teaching of St. Francis.  It told me I had to conform to its theology and ritual in order to access the sacredness of soul.  It led me to a narcissistic approach to God which proclaimed me as very unique and special while simultaneously damning me to hell if I did not conform through its creeds and prayers.

According to scriptures, John the Baptist eschewed the trappings of the temple and its purity laws calling people to repentance in the waters of nature.  Jesus was baptized in those waters and subsequently spent 40 days and nights communing with nature in the wilderness.

Fr. Richard goes on to observe the mark missed by contemporary Christianity:  “We would have done much better to help other Christians discover their souls instead of “save” them. My sense, after being a priest for almost 50 years, is that most Christians are trying to save something they have not even found.” cac.org

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awakening

“Your soul is who you are in God and who God is in you.  We do not ‘make’ or ‘create’ our souls.  We only awaken them, allow them, and live out of their deepest messages.”   Richard Rohr

wrap us in your brilliance,
cover us with understanding,
lead us to peace,
to tolerance,
to love.
lead us to the eternity
that dwells within,
lead us to wisdom,
to forgiveness,
to your magnificence,
to your power.

thoughts from emptiness by larrypaulbrown

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