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Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage Update
December 2004

Theme: What is holy is the sound of seeing.

Time does somersaults. Anselm says, "The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary."

This December, that which seeks Itself turns round and round in wobbly gyre, feet over head and hands with extended arms out from rotating shoulders. The season turns, and with its turning, we turn too.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we will not be ashamed,
To turn, to turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come 'round right.

(from “Simple Gifts” -- a Shaker Hymn written by Shaker Elder Joseph Brackett, Jr. in 1848)

Time present and time past cartwheel when we try to figure and follow which comes first in the realm of the Spirit.

Reading: A sermon by St Anselm:
O Virgin, by whose blessing all nature is blessed!
Blessed Lady, sky and stars, earth and rivers, day and night -- everything that is subject to the power or use of man -- rejoice that through you they are in some sense restored to their lost beauty and are endowed with inexpressible new grace. All creatures were dead, as it were, useless for men or for the praise of God, who made them. The world, contrary to its true destiny, was corrupted and tainted by the acts of men who served idols. Now all creation has been restored to life and rejoices that it is controlled and given splendour by men who believe in God.

The universe rejoices with new and indefinable loveliness. Not only does it feel the unseen presence of God himself, its Creator, it sees him openly, working and making it holy. These great blessings spring from the blessed fruit of Mary’s womb.

Through the fullness of the grace that was given you, dead things rejoice in their freedom, and those in heaven are glad to be made new. Through the Son who was the glorious fruit of your virgin womb, just souls who died before his life-giving death rejoice as they are freed from captivity, and the angels are glad at the restoration of their shattered domain.

Lady, full and overflowing with grace, all creation receives new life from your abundance. Virgin, blessed above all creatures, through your blessing all creation is blessed, not only creation from its Creator, but the Creator himself has been blessed by creation.

To Mary God gave his only-begotten Son, whom he loved as himself. Through Mary God made himself a Son, not different but the same, by nature Son of God and Son of Mary. The whole universe was created by God, and God was born of Mary. God created all things, and Mary gave birth to God. The God who made all things gave himself form through Mary, and thus he made his own creation. He who could create all things from nothing would not remake his ruined creation without Mary.

God, then, is the Father of the created world and Mary the mother of the re-created world. God is the Father by whom all things were given life, and Mary the mother through whom all things were given new life. For God begot the Son, through whom all things were made, and Mary gave birth to him as the Saviour of the world. Without God’s Son, nothing could exist; without Mary’s Son, nothing could be redeemed.

Truly the Lord is with you, to whom the Lord granted that all nature should owe as much to you as to himself.

(from Office of Readings, Dec.8, Feast of the Immaculate Conception)

We re-dedicate hermitage to this wholeness of Mary.

At conversation last evening the artists named Clarity remind it is a round path, not a flat path, we each walk.

Listening this morning to Joseph Campbell. He says: God is a metaphor for a mystery that absolutely transcends all human categories of thought. Even the categories of 'being' and 'non-being.' Those are categories of thought. (from video, "The World of Joseph Campbell; The Hero's Journey")

Christianity is metaphor. As is Judaism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, etcetera. Those who hold metaphors as true are one category of seers. Those not holding them as true are another category of seers. We are invited to be seers. We speak at times and we remain silent at times in the presence of what is seen.

When we ask, "What is true?" we place ourselves in response to invitation. To ask is invitation into the open. The very question itself is invitation to contemplation, meditation, or prayer. Ask, and drop into the way of metaphor.

In language, a metaphor is a rhetorical trope where a comparison is made between two seemingly unrelated subjects. Typically, a first object is described as being a second object. In this way, the first object can be economically described because implicit and explicit attributes from the second object can be used to fill in the description of the first.

A trope is a play on words, a word used in something other than what is considered its literal or normal form. It comes from the Greek word, 'tropos,' which means a "turn", as in heliotrope, a flower which turns toward the sun. We can imagine a trope as a way of turning a word away from its normal meaning, or turning it into something else.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trope)

There is a dance that occurs with words. The steps of the dance are idiorhythmic to the dancer and the word. Idiorhythmic, that is, where each person and word could follow their own rhythm and tempo.

The greatest thing by far is to be a master of metaphor. It is the one thing that cannot be learned from others; it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an eye for resemblance.
(-Aristotle, De Poetica, 322 B.C.)

"Una voce dicentis" (one voice saying) was the Latin phrase leading to "Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus" (holy, holy, holy) in the preface to the celebration of the Presence in Sacrament at Catholic Liturgy.

What is holy is the sound of seeing.

On the 10th of December, (what we hold as the feast of Thomas Merton), we pronounce again our 3 promises of Contemplation, Conversation, and Correspondence.

Contemplation is the promise of simplicity.
It is a gift of poverty inviting open waiting, receptive trust, attention, and watchful presence. It is a simple Being-With.
It is attentive presence.

is the promise of integrity.
It is a chaste and complete intention to listen and speak, lovingly and respectfully, with each and all made present to us. It is a wholeness of listening and speaking.
It is root silence.

Correspondence is the promise of faithful engagement.
It is responsible attention and intention offered obediently to the Source of all Being, to the Human Family, to Nature. It is a faithful engagement with all sentient beings, with this present world, with existence with all its needs & joys, sorrows & hope.
It is transparent service.

{Three promises: Contemplation, Conversation, Correspondence ...as held by Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage “m.o.n.o.”(monastics of no other).}

We listen silently.

For that one voice.

Speaking as Itself.

Mother. Metaphor.

A blessed fruit.

Turning with love.

, Sando , Cesco , Mu-ge
and all who grace Meetingbrook 


Feast of Juan Diego, protector and advocate of the indigenous peoples.
 (Juan Diego was born in 1474 in Cuatitlan, a small Indian village 14 miles north of Tenochtitlan (Mexico City). His Indian name was Cuauhtlatoatzin, which means “The eagle who speaks.”)

Email (mono@meetingbrook.org) or mail to
Meetingbrook, 50 Bayview St. Camden, Maine 04843.



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