The theme for November here at the Abbey is community based on the third principle of the Monk Manifesto:
3. I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
(Please consider stopping by to sign the Monk Manifesto as a statement of your own commitment).
You can read more about community here and see the wondrous Photo Party and Poetry Party celebrating the gifts of community. There is even a series of podcasts with reflections and meditations from last year and the third one is on community.
In September I introduced the wonderful work of Marilyn Freeman, a filmmaker in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and fellow lover of the Benedictine way. One of her art forms is the practice of CinemaDivina. Rooted in the contemplative prayer and listening of lectio divina, CinemaDivina draws on film as sacred text, as a way to hear the sacred shimmering in this world. (You can read her description of it here).
Consider pausing for just three minutes right now. Pour yourself some tea, close the door, and turn off anything that rings or beeps or buzzes. Breathe deeply, put your hand on your heart, and give yourself over to three minutes of reflection and see if you can welcome in the hope that comes from our sense of connection to one another right here in this moment.
Then play the meditation:
Hope from Marilyn Freeman.
After being with the film, take three long and slow deep breaths, seeing if you can make some inner space for what is stirring in your heart. See if there is a word, phrase, or image shimmering for you and welcome it in. What longing for community is stirred?
~ the literary text ~
I think I’m not afraid but then
Fear floods through me
When I should be sleeping
I think I can’t despair
And even so I’m overwhelmed
By the poverty and greed
The chaos in this world
But did I hear what I thought heard last night?
It was a relief
“We’re all gonna need to make sacrifices.”
It was a political leader who spoke
But there was no thunder in this man’s voice
He was calm when he talked about sacrifice
And it felt like a call to everyone listening
To do our parts
To be our better selves
What would it mean for me
To really sacrifice I wonder?
A call to us all
Not me alone or you on your own
But us together
I felt myself heat up with hope
My friend Debe would say, “Bless that man”
Bless that man who calls us to our higher selves
Bless those who light the way for us in service
Bless those who sacrifice as a way of life
And bless this chaos
If it brings us to our knees
So be it
And like the Bent Over Woman I read about in Luke
May we be found in the temples of our lives
And touched by the spirit of compassion
And inspired by the Divine in all that is.
–By Marilyn Freeman