We meet the 1st and 3rd Thursdays at St. Gertrude's Ministry Center
(6214 N. Glenwood), beginning at 8:00 p.m. Folks are welcome to join us at anytime.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Loving and Hating

As of this morning I've developed a great big crush on Joanna Macy, who was recently interviewed on the radio show "Being" (formerly, "Speaking of Faith"). Over the course of the interview she addresses many of the sentiments that arose during last night's Kairos reflection: being able to express grief and anger without having to follow that with articulate solutions; wildly loving in spite of (sometimes all the more because of) woundedness; the interconnectedness we share with each other, the earth and God; to name a few. She also quotes a lot Rilke. If you are interested I suggested giving it a listen here.

Below are a couple of the poems that really struck me:

"Go to the Limits of Your Longing"
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don't let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

Book of Hours, I 59

"Let This Darkness Be a Bell Tower"
Quiet friend who has come so far,
feel how your breathing makes more space around you.
Let this darkness be a bell tower
and you the bell. As you ring,

what batters you becomes your strength.
Move back and forth into the change.
What is it like, such intensity of pain?
If the drink is bitter, turn yourself to wine.

In this uncontainable night,
be the mystery at the crossroads of your senses,
the meaning discovered there.

And if the world has ceased to hear you,
say to the silent earth: I flow.
To the rushing water, speak: I am.

Sonnets to Orpheus II, 29

Thursday, October 7, 2010

No excuses--Crucify Him

"We are obliged to fight injustice with every ounce of energy..." --Ignacio Ellacuria from a poster on a wall of the Holy Rosary Jesuit Community.

7th October 2010
Dear Kairos,

Greetings from South Dakota to you from Luke Hansen, SJ! Those who were at Sugar Creek will remember the cubic yard of popcorn he brought in the black plastic bag. Well, if you have ever wondered if Luke is actually doing anything at the Pine Ridge Reservation, I can confirm a few facts.

His official title at Red Cloud School is now Volunteer Coordinator, a position of responsibility that seems to be going to his head. "You're not going to believe this," he says, "I just made an executive decision, because that's who I am now, an executive."

He is a remote executive, who has in the last week has been in Chicago, St. Paul, and now types on his laptop beside me in a cozy coffee shop in Rapid City. Total hours driven this week, including the amount to "thirty hours." Actual office work: "five hours." And even as he makes a few final business calls before a four day vacation (Columbus day is known on the Res as Native American Day), he gripes aloud to Patty Gilger, SJ his predecessor "People have no idea what I do. "

We know he makes popcorn. Contrary to popular opinion, the secret of Luke's success may have been no more secret than his curious affection for corn. Every agent of nonviolent change must have his or her source of power right? At Sugar Creek it was thought that in order to get so much Luke must have popped corn for hours. He assured us this wasn't the case, and I would never have believed him until I saw with my own eyes the fact itself that at the Jesuit Residence, in a lair Luke calls his "second home," there exists a popcorn factory. There, in the bowel's of the building that has served the Lakota Sioux since its founding on October 6th, 1888... In between four stuccoed walls carved with hundreds of names dating back to the fifties, with notorious Jesuit signatories such as Ben Anderson, there is a home to a cage-like contraption welded together by Jesuit brothers five generations ago. Luke has been handed the torch to carry on the great tradition.

With a precision of word and deed, perfectly integrated, Luke enumerated each aspect of his nonviolent science. "Step one, open gas valve. Step two, take a match, put it in the prongs so fingers won't burn upon insertion. Step three, pour a cup of oil in. Step four, put three corn kernels in so I'll know when it's hot. Step five, pour in a wide brimmed bowl of kernels. Step six, add the half cup of salt.... And now we let it do it's thing." Here was the master's daily discipline, his own underground church.

The stove, or should I say "altar," hung from the cave's ceiling over a metal bowl one meter in diameter, the steel jawed hen eventually lays the goods. I watched as this man of genius performed the final touches of a culinary masterpiece. He gleaned the irons for the remnants, dusted the batch with a light layer of salt, and announced perfection. Transubstantiation? I was doubtful until I tasted the mouthful of his making. So this was Luke's alter Christi.

Yes, in the past week I witnessed a new man. In spite of late night tours of this idyllic basement cave, Luke woke early, already habituated to his new duties which begin at dawn. If I had to sum him up in one of his catch phrases it would be: "You're not going to believe this." I'm still started that he manages to rouse himself daily for 6:45 a.m. Mass.
In fact, he now has a Commercial Driver's License for a school bus and drives a morning route leaving at 5:30 a.m., several days a week.

In his new position of power, some of you might wonder just how does it feel? "I got eight hours of sleep last night..." he says to me on day two of the State Golf Tournament for which he served as "marker" while in support of his Red Cloud team, "why am I so tired?" I nearly sympathized with him, thinking of what some call compassion fatigue or in extreme cases, vicarious trauma...but no. I thought of his Jesuit formatores who must be proudly chanting "Crucify him! Crucify him!"

On my last day with him he answered himself at breakfast, reading aloud a cartoon: "Excuse #479. I'm tired because I got too much sleep last night."

n.b. It was not exactly 30 hrs driving time:
Eight hours mega bus to St. Paul
Nine hrs. St. Paul to Pine Ridge
2 hrs Pine Ridge to Rapid for State Golf(back and forth,4 total)
2 hrs in Rapid
2 hrs driving bus for Senior Retreat (back and forth 4 total)
Total driving time 28 hrs.