Water

Water is one with itself.

The elements together to form one liquid.

Becomes steam, ice, or remains liquid.

It cannot become what it is not.

It does not long for anything.

It exists as itself.

Water a source of life.

Symbolically death into life.

Drowning the old man–

resurrected as new, remade, reborn.

One cannot live without water.

Water becoming one with body.

The body longs to be one with water, giving it life.

Without it–death.

I long for the eternal waters. What has been lost found in someone new. A new and remade person emerging from the water. Cleansing.

To find a life– lost –with another. Like water and flesh as one: a joy made visible.

The miracle of water and life–a mystery of oneness with another.

 

The grape

The grape divorced from the vine.

The vine lives on.

The grape is trampled, crushed, thrown to the ground,

devoured or shrivels.

If fallen to the ground,

decays or is eaten by the bird that flies away.

Yet, the seed will live–though the grape has died,

the seed will fall to the ground producing another vine.

A vine grafted to the other vines?

Or a lone vine among weeds and woods?

The crushed and trampled grape becomes a sweet or dry wine.

The older the juice is the finer the taste.

There is hope for the grape divorced from the vine.

 

a broken love

Failure in love.

The summation of the law.

To love God;

To love neighbor as yourself.

Failing every day. Almost every moment.

Loving other things in place of the Maker of all things.

Idols placed above a jealous God.

We love because we are made in the Image of Divine Love.

But our love misguided, birthing from brokenness. Image cracked,

shattered, scarred, wounded. Patched with pride and self-sufficiency.

Seeking a love eternal in counterfeits.

Remember your first Love.

Like a breath of wind in stifling desert.

Glistening water from rocks amidst sand.

In stillness and silence, listen for the breath that leads us to Love well;

to live well. Not to know the law, but to live it in Love.

Grace a dew sustaining a fragile plant in the desert sun.

Love a labor.

Taken for granted a destruction of soul.

Thinking love will save us. Or another imperfect love will save.

But only One can save. A Love Who is Love.

One perfect in Love.

Breath of love ordering our hearts, beating along with the Divine heartbeat.

Love is not automatic, to love is labor of the mind, heart, and will. Our passion misdirects. Leading toward sorrow, desolation of the heart.

Delight is part of love, it can’t be a sterile act, but honor and virtue– goodness directs it.

God of Love at the heart.

“Teach me how to love.”

Remember your first Love, then you will begin to love as Love loves.

counterfeit

Beauty in form and order,

Beauty in heart …

In will and intellect.

The aesthetic becoming idol.

Instead of worshipping the Maker of beauty,

we love lesser things.

Like Francesca, ever in motion seeking what we desire–passion never fulfilled.

The Island in the West. The eternal joy we search for but cannot find.

Like Amata plunged into despair for desire unfulfilled. Lost in the forest of the self-murdered.

The sensualist always searching. Travel its substitute.

But the same. Its aim to fill that gaping hole.

Restless heart. Temptation of eye, of flesh, pride of life.

 

Give us aim of purpose in seeking.

Teach us to seek. Guide the prow toward safe harbor with rudder repaired.

Sails full and heading toward home because the heart is ready. Finding its rest in You.

Canto 17 Purgatory: love that strays

“Not the Creator nor a single creature, as you know, ever existed without love, the soul’s love or the love that comes by nature. The natural love is just and cannot rove. The soul’s love strays if it desires what’s wrong or loves with too much strength, or not enough. When toward its prime good it is led aright and keeps good measure in the second goods, it cannot be the cause of bad delight, But when it twists to evil, or does not race for a good with the appropriate care, the Potter finds rebellion in the pot.”

Here Dante sees those afflicted with acedia or sloth as most know it. Those who are restless. On this ledge the penitent seek to rest in God. Augustine’s famous words, “our hearts are restless until they rest in thee,” are threaded within this canto.

In Dante’s view, as Anthony Esolen elucidates in his commentary of his translation of Dante’s Comedia, love is the law of all things. “…the source of every good deed, and of every evil deed, is love.”  Our loves disordered. We love too much or too little or love the wrong things. “Excellence is a good thing; therefore to love excellence is also good; but to love excellence in oneself and to deny the incomparable excellence of God, as Lucifer did, is evil, is outside the order of creation.”

For example, the sexual act is good. It stems from love. But the love of the sexual act as the highest love will become an idol. Which can become an insatiable seeking of the next thing, like Don Juan seeking the next woman instead of delighting and loving only one woman. Eros in the right order is that in a commitment to one person. Affairs stem from a disordered love. A search for the next thing. The next pleasure. Romantic trysts fueling the affair. There can be genuine love within, of course, but at the outset, it is illicit and out of order. Adultery in the throes of acedia begins with joy, but leads toward pain and hurt and destruction. Causing much more pain than a fulfillment of what love truly is.

In another sense, we can have pride in ourselves in knowing we are good at something. Good with people, good at writing, good at managing. Knowing who we are and what we are good at. But when we elevate ourselves above everyone else because of what we are good at, this is a dangerous pride which leads to other sin. Usually losing our sight to love God first and loving others. All sin does this. Blinds ourselves from loving God and then others. We begin to love idols. Putting our pride, our lust, our greed, our needs, love for self above love for God.

It is a twisting of what is good. Twisting it into an evil. Acedia leads us to indifference of our sinfulness. An indifference to our actions that are disordered. An indifference toward God, toward others, even toward our self. Becoming more and more restless. Seeking and seeking in our minds, in our hearts, in our bodies. Seeking for the next thing. Discontent always haunting, wanting a destination, but never knowing what that destination is. Like Ulysses lost on the sea, searching for Mount Purgatory, for immortality.

Acedia is frightening. All sin is when we examine how destructive it is and see its destruction. Knowing it in our hearts and our lives. The Inferno exemplifies the horrors of our sin. Mount Purgatory warns us but gives us hope when we repent and turn back to God. Lord, help us put our loves in order that we do not stray. And when we do stray, give us the grace and courage to turn our ship around heading toward the source of all Good. The loving and good God.

Canto 17 Inferno: liars

There would be no lies if there was no truth. Here Dante begins the journey through the areas of the fraudulent. Geryon takes he and Virgil deeper in Hell, nearer to Satan, the Father of Lies.

Dante’s use of imagery in this Canto is very good. He compares liars to Arachne the goddess who was turned into a spider. Liars are great at spinning webs of lies, trapping the listener and believer of the lies in her web. Like all sin, lies hurt and befoul and destroy. Being lied to is one of the most hurtful things another person can do to you. Lies pepper almost every sin, especially when the person does not want to be found out. It is a journey deeper and deeper into the Pit. Coming nearer and nearer to the Father of all Lies–Satan–the enemy of our souls.

In this particular Canto Dante sees the usurers. Those who gained profits without labor. Dante couples usury with greed or avarice. The lust for wealth at the expense of others. Anthony Esolen in his commentary on this Canto reminds us these are the moneygrubbers. “They feed upon their purses … Since their schemes for enriching themselves involve dishonesty (for how can money be made to produce money, without a substantial lie?), they serve as a nice bridge from the violent to the fraudulent below.”

Lying is a game of manipulation. It is a violence directly to the soul. Whereas the violent above the fraudulent is violence to the body. Physical torment is terrible, but I think mental, emotional, psychological torment is far worse. Madness, depression, isolation is far more damaging to the person as a whole. Dante having the violent and then the fraudulent farther down in Hell is rather appropriate: violence to the body, then violence to the soul.

The Father of Lies destroys the soul. The inner person. Do not fear those who can destroy the body, as St. Paul says, but he who can destroy the soul.

Beyond the Veil: a journey

First, I want to thank all the followers of this blog. Thank you for your participation. I’m glad there are people out there who enjoy poetry and the other things I have been writing about.

Second, for all the new followers, I want to make you aware of this book:

http://wipfandstock.com/beyond-the-veil.html

It has been one year and three months since this book was published. What a year it has been. The heart is a treacherous thing. When we follow our own star or our own desire, it ends exactly where Dante and C. S. Lewis and Christ said it would end — heartbreak or something worse.

But the hope in every journey and the hope portrayed in the book is that no matter how hard a person falls, there is still hope when the person turns back, repents. Joseph Ratzinger said faith is a daily turning back.

Each of us has a will. Will we continue on a path of blindness and groping in the dark? Or will we walk in the light of wisdom and obedience despite our despondency?

The road is fraught with temptation, pain, suffering, little pleasantries. There is joy at the end when we walk in God’s will, not our own.

For poetry lovers, the second part of the book is poetry similar to that which I have written on the blog. But the language has a little more astronomical flair and medieval persuasion. I would appreciate it if you all would check it out. Leave a review on Amazon if you would like. It would be helpful.

Many thanks. Thank you for reading. And keep reading.