L'Chaim December 12, 2019

 

PRESENTS

 

I give you an emptiness,

I give you a plenitude,

unwrap them carefully -

one's as fragile as the other -

and when you thank me

I'll pretend not to notice the doubt in your voice

when you say they're just what you wanted.

 

Put them on the table by your bed.

When you wake in the morning

they'll have gone through the door of sleep

into your head. Wherever you go

they'll go with you and

wherever you are you'll wonder,

smiling about the fullness

you can't add to and the emptiness

that you can fill.

 

           Norman MacCaig

 

L'Chaim November 29, 2019

 

There are no words for the deepest things.

Words become feeble when mystery visits

and prayer moves into silence.

            John O'Donohue

L'Chaim November 14, 2019

 

»Do you actually believe in God, Mr. Bermann?, she once asked me at the beginning. First I was astonished, and then I said: If I am to be honest, not really. Then what are you doing here in the synagogue? He believes in me, I said, and I do not want to disappoint him.«

            From: Michel Bergmann, Die Teilacher, 2010

L'Chaim October 29, 2019

 

The manner in which God speaks to us is similar to the revelation of the light in flowers. It is the warmth and the brightness that opens them to the light. And the kindness, closeness and trust with which we are met, is the manner in which God reveals himself as person in the background of every act of human affirmation.

                                                                   Eugen Drewermann

L'Chaim October 16, 2019

 

I am created to do something or to be something for which no one else is created; I have a place in God’s counsels, in God’s world, which no one else has; whether I be rich or poor, despised or esteemed by man, God knows me and calls me by name.

                   St. John Henry Newman

L'Chaim September 26, 2019

The secret of reaping the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously.

       (Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900)

L'Chaim September 11, 2019

And it's a human need to be told stories. The more we're governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are, where we come from, and what might be possible.

                       Alan Rickman

 

L'Chaim August 28, 2019

»The desert is beautiful,« the little prince added.

And that was true. I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams . . .

»What makes the desert beautiful,« said the little prince, »is that somewhere it hides a well . . .«

Antoine de St. Exupéry, The Little Prince

L'Chaim July 30, 2019

 

Prayer is not a stratagem for occasional use, a refuge to resort to now and then. It is rather like an established residence for the innermost self. All things have a home, the bird has a nest, the fox has a hole, the bee has a hive. A soul without prayer is a soul without a home.

Weary, sobbing, the soul, after roaming through a world festered with aimlessness, falsehoods and absurdities, seeks a moment in which to gather up its scattered life, in which to divest itself of enforced pretensions and camouflage, in which to simplify complexities, in which to call for help without being a coward. Such a home is prayer. Continuity, permanence, intimacy, authenticity, earnestness are its attributes. For the soul, home is where prayer is.

     Abraham Joshua Heschel

 

L'Chaim April 27, 2019

 

I am the warmth of your hearth

on cold winter nights.

I am the shade that shields you

 from the hot summer sun.

My fruits and my vitalizing drinks

slake your thirst on your journey.

I am the beam that holds your house,

the door to your home,

the bed in which you lay

and the frame which carries your boat.

I am the handle on your rake,

the wood of your cradle

and the shell of your coffin.

 

Discovered on an ash tree at the Abbey of Marienstatt.

L'Chaim March1st, 2019

 

The God, who does not exist,

within me, a dark crack,

is close to my soul,

as often as I miss him.

(Christian Lehnert: Windzüge, Frankfurt 2o15)

L'Chaim February 13, 2019

 

Never has a portion of well-being grown out of hardness.

                                        Erik Riechers SAC

L'Chaim January 17, 2019

 

»Why do so few ever see the star? Only because so few are looking for it. Some occasionally resolve to do so, but then always have something cheaper that counts and takes precedence… What are we looking for anyway? And where does this genuine passion of the heart smolder, that shy away neither from desert nor from the unknown, neither from loneliness nor from the knowing smile of those who always consider the believer to be a fool?  Only with this passion, to  which the heart has prescribed itself, does the tirelessness grow, that then still sinks to its knees, wisely and royally, when the end of the long journey is only found in the stall. They see deeper and grasp the definitive. A hundred hardships of the spirit and the heart have enabled them to believe.«

(From: Alfred Delp, Fest der Menschenfreundlichkeit Gottes, hrsg. von Roman Bleistein,  Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Josef Knecht 1985. Translation E. Riechers.)

L'Chaim December 13, 2018

 

Desert

 

When the smell

of light

throws

your head

upon the rocks

 

when you taste the sand

like freshly baked

bread

 

when stones

flow into

your sleep

like the wax of a candle

 

when the Bedouin

draws

heaven

to the earth

with his prayers

 

then

do not

turn back

to the oases

of yesterday

 

wait

for the voice

of the beginning

 

until

it sings anew

in you

         Wilhelm Bruners

L'Chaim December 6, 2018

 

»What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.«

(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry)

Source: r. monnerjahn 2014

L'Chaim November 9, 2018

 

The greatest danger any civilisation faces is when it suffers from collective amnesia. We forget how small beginnings lead to truly terrible endings. A thousand years of Jewish history in Europe added certain words to the human vocabulary: forced conversion, inquisition, expulsion, ghetto, pogrom, Holocaust. Once hate goes unchecked, the road to tragedy is short.

(Jonathan Sacks)

Source: bz-Berlin, November 4, 2018

L`Chaim October 12, 2018

 

Earth's crammed with heaven, 
And every common bush afire with God, 
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.

       (Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

L`Chaim October 1, 2018

cathedrals III

 

the pillars

on which our glances wandered upwards,

there are engraved

the

stuttered

wept

screamed

songs of lamentation

of the elders

               the stone skin

               on which our glances

               climb,

               there are inscribed

               the sung

               laughed

               danced

               hymns

of the elders

the breath of all those

who were here before us,

with nothing but their lives,

sanctifies

this space

           Burga Gripekoven, Treibsand, 2014

L`Chaim September 13, 2018

True humanity is more precious than all the beauty of this earth.

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, 1746-1827

L`Chaim April 18, 2018

My God, my God,

may it never end –

the sand and the sea,

the rustle of the water,

the brilliance of the sky,

the prayer of man.

           From Hannah Szenes’s Poem,

                  A Walk To Caesarea



L`Chaim March 22, 2018

If stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown. But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.

Ralph Waldo Emerson,
Nature, 1836

L`Chaim February 25, 2018

 

at home outside

 

III

judge not

the lovers

their togetherness

shatters

 

where birds of sorrow

build their nests

in the mouths

of the weeping

 

be song

comfort

 

               from Wilhelm Bruners, »ZUHAUSE IN ZWEI ZELTEN«, p. 42

L`Chaim February 4, 2018

 

»Art can move and alter people in subtle ways because, like love, it speaks through and to the heart.«

                              Martin Luther King Jr. in a letter to Sammy Davis Jr., Dec. 20, 1960

 

 

L`Chaim January 9, 2018

 

How simple for me to live with You, O Lord!

How easy for me to believe in You!

When my mind opens unto doubt or falters,

when the most clever of the clever

see no further than this day’s end

and do not know what must be done tomorrow,

You grant me the clarity and the confidence that You exist​

and that You will take care that not all the paths of good be closed.

At the peak of my earthly fame,

I gaze back with wonderment at that path

through hopelessness - to this place,

from whence I, too, could send

a reflection of Your radiance to humanity.

And however much time is required

to mirror your radiance,

You will grant it to me.

And what I will no longer be able to accomplish,

means that You have predestined it for others.

 

Prayer by Alexander Solschenizyn, composed between 1958 and 1963.

[quoted from: Alexander Solschenizyn, Was geschieht mit der Seele in der Nacht. Kurzerzählungen.

Herbig, 2006]

We come from afar

dear child

and must go further yet

have no fear

all are with you

who were before you

your mother,

your father,

and all who were before them

long long ago

all are with you

have no fear

we come from afar

and must go further yet

my child.

 

Your grandfather

May 8, 1985

 

Heinrich Böll (1917-1985)

Best I love September's yellow; 

Morns of dew-strung gossamer,

Thoughtful days without a stir,

Rooky clamours, brazen leaves,

Stubbles dotted o'er with sheaves, -

More than spring’s bright uncontrol

Suit the autumn of my soul.

              Alexander Smith (1829-1867)

Just as a mother with her own life

Protects her child, her only child, from harm,

So within yourself let grow

A boundless love for all creatures.

 

Let your love flow outward through the universe,

To its height, its depth, its broad extent,

A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

 

Then, as you stand or walk,

Sit or lie down,

As long as you are awake,

Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;

Your life will bring heaven to earth.

 

Eknath Easwaran

L'Chaim July 25, 2017

 

»Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by humankind.«   (Rudyard Kipling)

 

 

L`Chaim July 18, 2017:

 

If you are reasonable, prove yourself to be a bowl, rather than a canal

that simultaneously receives and passes on,

while the bowl waits until it is filled. . . .

I do not wish to become rich, if it means you must become empty.

If you treat yourself poorly,

whom will you do any good?

If you can, help me out of your fullness,

if not, then spare yourself.

 (From a letter of Bernhard of Clairvaux)