As Valentine’s is fast approaching, and as I believe that God is everyone’s Soul Mate, instead of worrying about if I will get flowers or a box of chocolates, I turn my focus onto my Eternal Beloved. I have a good story to tell of the Valentine’s Day when God sent me a Valentine and pierced my heart with His arrow… and I’ll save that for Saturday, February 14th.
For today, I’ll simply share with you a love poem and the names of this year’s Valentine’s crushes. Yes – as Love is a Wave and the Ocean, I have three secret crushes that I will reveal here now:
1. God. Ok, that’s probably not a secret.
2. Peachy. Again, pretty much everyone knows that.
3. Richard Rohr. He is my new crush, my newly discovered Franciscan friar interfaith contemplative lover of God who I’ve been absolutely giddy about. (Yes, I feel giddy over monks and nuns, sadhus and yogis – lovers of God make my heart go pitter patter like a teenage girl seeing a cute guy or a rock star.)
Honestly – I don’t know who is cuter? (Ok, it’s pretty clear Peachy wins on that account). In a way it seems silly to think of God or Franciscan Friars as cute – but why shouldn’t we be just as silly and in love with the Divine as we are with our high school sweethearts?
I do believe that all our expressions of Love stem from the same source – Love Itself, also known as God, Brahman, Allah, Krishna, Pure Consciousness and Quantum Entanglement. I also believe that every human endeavor is an expression of our yearning to return to our Oneness in Love – from our high school crushes to the building of the world’s tallest building. And I believe that every tree, river, bird and blade of grass is constantly expressing that same Love and Oneness for/with God.
My favorite part of the daily contemplation is actually from the description of Thomas Merton: Merton wrote extensively about contemplation, and his own prayer practice “centered entirely on attention to the presence of God and to His will and His love . . . a kind of praise rising up of out of the center of Nothing and Silence” (The Hidden Ground of Love, pp. 63-64). That is such a beautiful description of my favorite kind of prayer and meditation – putting my attention on the Mystery of God’s Love, the mystery of how my love for God makes me One with God as we merge in the midst of this experience of LOVE, and the deep gratitude and praise which rises up out of the silence of this realization.
So, Happy Valentine’s Day.
Happy Joyous Love for God and from God AS God.
Here is one of Thomas Merton’s exuberant, joyous psalms:
Today, Father, this blue sky lauds you.
The delicate green and orange flowers of the tulip poplar tree praise you.
The distant blue hills praise you,
together with the sweet-smelling air that is full of brilliant light.
The bickering flycatchers praise you
with the lowing cattle and the quails that whistle over there.
I too, Father, praise you, with all these my brothers,
and they give voice to my own heart and to my own silence.
We are all one silence, and a diversity of voices.
You have made us together,
you have made us one and many,
you have placed me here in the midst
as witness, as awareness, and as joy.
Here I am.
In me the world is present,
and you are present.
I am a link in the chain of light and of presence.
You have made me a kind of center,
but a center that is nowhere.
And yet also I am “here.”-Thomas Merton, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, pp. 131-132