Monasteries of the Heart

from my Copybook 1

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For most of my adult life I’ve kept copybooks filled with stories, prayers, art, quotes poems—anything that gives insight to the human journey. It is my favorite spiritual practice. It is also an ongoing source of monastic formation: the rich and raw material of life that helps shape my Monastery of the Heart. Now and then I will use this blog to share some of my favorite entries.

I read “Mark: The Lost Spiritual World” by Ruth Rimm in 2007 and almost copied the whole book by hand. For example, this is Rimm’s comment on Jesus raising the daughter of the synagogue official from the dead (Mk5: 35-42).

“Here the lesson is: never write your own epitaph. You may think your prospects are dead, but never give up! The Cosmic Christ whispers in your ear, ‘Everyone else on earth may have given up on you for dead, but I trust in you. So keep going.’ The greatest miracle that the historical Jesus ever performed was not to raise anyone from the dead, but to see life in people where others failed to see it.”

This “miracle” is tougher to replicate than it sounds, isn’t it. I have to admit that sometimes I talk as if I believe another person is “dead.” Either I don’t agree with their politics or theologies or philosophies and I “give up” on them, I don’t believe they can change; I can’t see the life within. Or someone repeats destructive behavior over and over and I write an epitaph. I dismiss them; they are dead to me. And then there are my constant failings…. I guess that why Rimm called this Jesus’ greatest miracle.

It’s a good reflection, too, as we near the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Can we approach this memorial as Jesus did the “dead” daughter of the synagogue official. Full of trust. Full of love. Full of light. Try to imagine the world if all of us became “miracle workers” who raised each other to new life. “Miracle workers” because we never gave up on another human being. Ever.