I read this poem, from The Way of Chuang Tzu by Thomas Merton, last night. It is an incredibly accurate description of the weather around these parts for the last week. We’ve had some crazy wind and storms: boats beached and capsized, trees blown down, driving rain… you name it. It is both beautifully awe-inspiring and kind of freaky all at once.
The Breath of Nature
When great Nature sighs, we hear the winds Which, noiseless in themselves, Awaken voices from other beings, Blowing on them. From every opening Loud voices sound. Have you not heard This rush of tones?
There stands the overhanging wood On the steep mountain: Old trees with holes and cracks Like snouts, maws, and ears, Like beam-sockets, like goblets, Grooves in the wood, hollows full of water: You hear mooing and roaring, whistling, Shouts of command, grumblings, Deep drones, sad flutes. One call awakens another in dialogue. Gentle winds sing timidly, Strong ones blast on without restraint. Then the wind dis down. The openings Empty out their last sound. Have you not observed how all then trembles and subsides?
Yu replied: I understand: The music of earth sings through a thousand holes. The music of man is made on flutes and instruments. What makes the music of heaven?
Master Ki said: Something is blowing on a thousand different holes. Some power stands behind all this and makes the sounds die down. What is this power?
Life. It is constantly changing yet stays the same. It provides excitement and disappointment. There are opportunities and there are challenges. People come and people go. In the end, what do you have except yourself? And the people who care about you.
When you agree to be the mother of God you make no conditions, no stipulations. You flinch before neither cruel thorn nor rod. You accept the tears; you endure the tribulations.
But, my God, I didn’t know if would be like this. I didn’t ask for a child so different from others. I wanted only the ordinary bliss, to be the most mundane of mothers.
When I first saw the mystery of the Word made flesh I never thought that in his side I’d see the callous wound of Roman sword piercing my heart on the hill where he died.
How can the Word be silenced? Where has it gone? Where are the angel voices that sang at his birth? My frail heart falters. I need the light of the Son. What is this darkness over the face of the earth?
Dear God, He has come, the Word has come again. There is no terror left in silence, in clouds, in gloom. He has conquered the hate; he has overcome the pain. Where, days ago, was death lies only an empty tomb.
The secret should have come to me with his birth, when glory shone through darkness, peace through strife. For every birth follows a kind of death, and only after pain comes life.
Spirit of Creation, you Fill all space as sound waves do. Your music makes a chamber Of my soul, resonating, An organ-filled cathedral. Bass pipes thunder; trebles sing. When old spaces shrivel up, Shrunk wineskins, crushed paper cup, You seek new vessels to fill. So, reverberating now, New spaces blossom: you will Rush in, wide wind, holy fire. Filling, not consuming us, With thankful joy, high desire. Come Holy Spirit.