Broken Bottles

‘Don’t my Creator pour such precious liqueur into so broken a bottle…you have already seen how I spill and waste it.’ Teresa of Avila

‘Don’t my Creator pour such precious liqueur into so broken a bottle…you have already seen how I spill and waste it.’ Teresa of Avila

Friends of Carmel at launched its first international Zoom meeting on March 13th when a group of 45 or so participants from U.S., U.K., Italy, Poland, and all over Ireland gathered around the theme of humility Lk. 18,9-14.

Friends of Carmel at Holy Hill Is a core of those who are brought into and remain faithful to the love-life of God mainly through our Carmelite saints, who feel called to contemplation. Being receptive to the loving inflow of God via a night which is love lived in darkness and faith. All are welcome for a visit or longer.

But contemplation is not only about how we pray it is also about how we live.  We aim to have an aesthetic life style.  That means every moment matters and every moment is an art—the interests we cultivate, the habits and judgments we make, the dispositions we foster.

Mature Prayer

Fr. Matt Blake, ODC, examined the two types of pray-ers: the publican and the pharisee.  He likened the pharisee to the advanced beginner who is all talk and bragging — filled with complacency.  Whereas the publican saw the truth about God and about himself.  His was the mature prayer, quiet and filled with self-knowledge and truth.  We need mercy not achievements.  If we have no sin we have no need for Jesus who became a sinner for our sake so that he could pour out his life in kenosis.

 Our lives, our souls, our hearts, our experience are the “Temple” into which Jesus comes, says Fr. Matt. He purifies, changes, and transforms us into “sanctuaries that are his body”. His presence within us changes everything – how we see ourselves, and how we see the other person and the whole world.  Jesus knows us from within and wants to live in us. Wherever a Christian is present, Jesus is present. the believer is the Temple of Jesus, the Temple of the Holy Spirit. In addition, Jesus works in and through the person in whom He dwells, for the good of all people.

Foolishness and Lack of Humility

Gillian Coxhead, one who lives out in the fray as a wife, mother of four grown sons, and emergency room nurse during the time of Covid, goes to St. Teresa listening for her insights on humility.  First, says Gillian, in the face of suffering and pain, of emptiness and bewilderment, all we can do is nothing  but know we are not alone.  In moments of great love and connection and beauty we can only allow the moment to happen. 

Love involves some level of self-interest. But as we journey we grow in self-knowledge and begin to see in a new way who are.  There is no queen like humility for making the King surrender into an entirely mutual relationship.  With one hair we will draw him into our souls as Mary drew Jesus into her womb.

But we are “so broken a bottle” for his precious liqueur.  No matter!  All we need is our willingness.

What does a person with humility look like?  This one attracts others, she is secure and free to accept the other as he is, wants the other to share her good fortune.  A new way of seeing grows and expands our capacity to realize what a trifle we are and how great God is.  He discovers  how God wants holy daring—a willingness to be exposed, vulnerable. Dare we consent  to  being  undone, even cut to pieces?

Wanderer, Mystic, Philosopher, Story-Teller, and Poet

Or John Moriarty as a broken bottle, cut to pieces and surely an example of holy daring.  After a leisurely break for lunch, walk, reflection, and prayer we came back together for the final talk by Tomas Maher

Tomas took us through the major steps of John’s life climaxing when he had his meltdown and rebaptism.  Moriarty opted for the priority of imagination over deductive reasoning.  He took long loving looks from God’s point of view at the world and its peoples, its cultures and religions.

The only thing that can sustain us is story.  Moriarty discovered that no story is Big enough to accommodate God.  What happened to John is that he fell out of institutionalized religion’s subjection to corruption and distortion and instead rediscovered through the great pathos of genuflection and even meltdown his own story in a brand new way.  He became a Christian for the first time.  His mystical, poetic, and imaginative vision is packed with imagery and depths of meaning that he drew on and continued developing throughout the rest of his life.

Surely we will hear more from Tomas Maher, so on fire is he with the insights, discoveries, originality, yet Irishness, of one John Moriarty.

John Moriarty’s Ireland is infinitely hospitable to wildness.  Wilderness is sensuous. We are a holy people whose umbilical cord is attached to the divine.  We are mirrored by the same river; all the rivers of Ireland are sourced in another world’s well.  He worried more about the repressed soul than repressed sexuality.  The Irish psyche he believed and experienced as magical, mysterious, filled with contradictions and paradox and circles and peopled with other worlds.  He refused to domesticate Christ or Mary or God.  He rethought dogma from the ground up.  His witness offers more space for the divine, balancing angel and beast.

John began by being his own man.  That failed.  He ended by being an Infinite God’s man in his own Christic way.

Friends of Carmel at Holy Hill plans to convene via Zoom and for those who are interested and able are invited to Holy Hill.

May 15th. Save the day.

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