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A Flame Melting Chaos

9.25.2022. An excerpt from Laurence Freeman OSB, “Unity” in FIRST SIGHT: The Experience of Faith (London: Continuum, 2011), p. 129-30.
Flame

Civilization rests on faith not technology. Faith leads to the belief in human goodness and equality, to trust in our neighbor, a sense of the common good rather than just selfish advantage, a passion for justice and a courage for compassion extended to the vulnerable. It empowers forgiveness and patience in times of betrayal and conflict. 

 

Civilization also rests upon sustained faith in the future, believing that there is a point to it all, that we have not achieved perfection but we’re not going to give up. . . .Civilized society rests on the belief born of faith that we have something worthwhile to leave for the next generation to do better than we were able to do. 

 

Meditation begins and ends in faith. It expresses the unity of all in the spirit, as do indeed all sacred acts inspired by love and compassion. 

After meditation: “Inukshuk” by Rob Jacques in HEALING THE DIVIDE: Poems of Kindness and Connection, ed by James Crews (Brattleboro, VT: Green Writers Press, 2019), p. 48.

INUKSHUK

Note: On frozen trails of the far north, Inuit people placed five stones in rough human form as a testament of endurance and as warm encouragement from those who had gone before to those who were coming after

We were here. We saw sorrow.

Across our hearts, emptiness and cold

pulled hard, as they do in you now,

and we pressed on as you will do. 

We did all that possibility will allow

and expect nothing less of you.

We stand guard over accomplishment

and a strong journey through all this.

 

See in gray desolation how we made

this five-piece thing and left it here,

a stone creation to bring you certainty

in this drear, frozen waste, showing

you and we are keepers of a flame

melting chaos. You and we proclaim. 

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