Catching Up

Blessed Ascensiontide.  My favorite season.  The Resurrected Christ is gone.  Caught up into “heaven” whatever that is.  The Holy Spirit has not arrived.  We practice extreme ambiguity.  The Dark Night of the Soul.  “Do not leave us comfortless.”

Meanwhile, in community at Bluestone Farm we’re digging, planting, sowing, transplanting, tending seedlings, hardening off.  Singing the Ascension responds and antiphons.  Praying to birdsong. 

Blogwise:  Goodness, where have I been?  Mostly busy not only with the garden, but with preparing materials for the Christian Education Conference at Kanuga in June.  Designing the worship for a week and a workshop I’ll give twice. 

Before I went to Cornell, I was working on a kind of prayerbook for beginners of all ages.  The book contains seven books of hours, a prymer, exercises for preparing for reconciliation and for Eucharist, and other spiritual exercises.  My hope is for an illustrator to create borders full of hidden pictures and symbols and puzzles and references.  Perhaps it is a coloring book – so that you can enter your own pages viscerally.  Perhaps different “hours” might be illustrated by different artists – or there would be different versions you could download from the internet. 

I’m working diligently on the project again – catching up! It’s huge, so I’ve had to be singleminded about it.  Anyway, I created a “coloring book” using the “Morning and Evening Hours” for the Kanuga Conference.  I’m not an artist so … its a struggle!   Anyway, this way an artist or publisher might get a hint of what I’m trying to do beyond the texts.   

The workshop is called, “Inhabiting Your Prayer: Creating an Abbey of the Imagination.  By placing your prayers (the books of hours, for example) into the context of an imaginary cathedral-like church with gardens and guesthouses, cloisters and towers, participants design a balanced interior life.  Based upon the medieval use of “memory palaces” the Abbey of the Imagination reclaims a playful and traditional tool for growing in depth, breadth, and prayerfulness.  

I’ve been studying and inspired by the work of Mary Carruthers.  (The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200, and also The Medieval Craft of Memory . )  I’m also studying Gothic architecture, sacred geometry, Books of Hours, etc. floor plans of cathedrals and monasteries. 

So forgive my bloglessness. 

Tomorrow I leave for a 10 day trip which will include a full week at New Camaldoli Hermitage in Big Sur California.  I’ll be connecting with the monks there – I’m an oblate of the Camaldolese Benedictines, and staying in a hermitage overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Then I’ll go to Berkeley for Trevor’s PhD graduation ceremony.  (See Trevor on The Colbert Report – go to his website paglen.com)

Enjoy the mystical possibilities of praying in Ascensiontide.  Sit in the ambiguity and tension of loss and possibility, confusion and hope.  It’s a good practice for the times life gives you similar confluences.  Amen. 

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One Response to “Catching Up”

  1. Bosco Peters Says:

    Delighted to see you are going to the Camaldolese.
    I went there specially from NZ with my family in 2005.
    Do pop over to my site http://www.liturgy.co.nz
    You will even find photos there from that trip 🙂
    It does not appear you have any links from your site?
    Blessings

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