It has been some time since I shared my inspirations so I hope you will indulge me a little bit longer post.
One of the most impressive sights of our visit to Spain has to be the Cathedral of Mary in Toledo, an hour from Madrid. It stands on the site of the Great Mosque of Toledo, which itself had replaced a Visigothic church and was built from 1226 to 1493. Its truly an amazing structure. The collaboration between God and humans in creating this fabulous cathedral is moving and standing under its stain glass and marble is marvelous.
At the same time, I feel some ambivalence about the Cathedral and its historical and political ramifications. I feel certain God would rather we just gather outside under the shade of some glorious trees to worship. Nevertheless, I am attracted to the chapels set off to the sides of the Cathedral. In one such chapel I find this:
We find an inner courtyard that provides some fresh air and another kind of beauty:
In an adjacent room we find this space, reminiscent of Moorish influence and a reminder to me that we are all one. God’s love shines on all of us equally.
And back in my real world…A friend shares this poem with me, written by the ancient St. Symeon who lived from 949 to 1022.
We Awaken in Christ’s Body
We awaken in Christ’s body
as Christ awakens our bodies,
and my poor hand is Christ,
He enters my foot, and is infinitely me.
I move my hand, and wonderfully
my hand becomes Christ,
becomes all of Him
(for God is indivisibly whole, seamless in His Godhood).
I move my foot, and at once He appears
like a flash of lightening.
Do my words seem blasphemous?
-Then open your heart to Him
and let yourself receive the one
who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
we wake up inside Christ’s body
where all our body, all over,
every most hidden part of it,
is realized in joy as Him,
and He makes us, utterly, real,
and everything that is hurt,
everything that seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged,
is in Him transformed
and recognized as whole,
as lovely, and radiant in His light
he awakens as the Beloved
in every last part of our body
Reading the poem brings tears to my eyes because I often tell people I am never more myself than when I am practicing yoga. Now I know why!
“And it is not necessary . . . to have great things to do. I turn my little omelet in the pan for the love of God; when it is finished, if I have nothing to do, I prostrate myself on the ground and adore my God, Who gave me the grace to make it, after which I arise, more content than a king. When I cannot do anything else, it is enough for me to have lifted a straw from the earth for the love of God.” (Brother Lawrence, a mystic from the 17th c)
“There seems to be a divine way of doing everything: a divine way to be a lawyer, doctor, grandmother, teacher, convict, homeless person, or just to be sick. Since the Kingdom of God is present in ordinary circumstances, sensitivity to the movements of the Spirit within us tends to increase. On such occasions, everyday life can become a kind of dance . . . Everything one does — walking, sitting, breathing, speaking, working, playing, eating, sleeping — is manifesting the dance. Together with God, we co- create the dance.” (Thomas Keating, the Cistercian comtemplative, in Manifesting God)