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Friday, April 25, 2014

So that's what you think -- GOD IS A KILLJOY?

(St. Teresa of Avila wrote the Interior Castle, referring to the interior life of man. The Beloved is at the heart of the Castle. Those souls who have moved into the Castle can hear His Voice. Those outside are deaf to the Beloved. It explains how two people can be arguing religion out of two totally different perceptions and states of being. The atheist, running away from the Castle, will never perceive what the Christian profoundly experiences -- unless he turns around.)

by Susan Fox

You have walled yourself inside glass
and you cannot hear Him.
You live outside the Castle
with brute beasts and tumultuous passion.
But I live within.

On the outside
you see a useless housewife,
with four degrees
waiting in pain to see a doctor.

You cannot imagine
the ambrosia within.
This Water is welling up pure and sweet
in a dry desert -- in a husk of an old housewife.
Like at Meribah and Massah,
Water gushing from the Rock.
Drink, brother, drink.
It is gift for us both!

My God, my God,
this Life is so sweet
I cannot even bear it. 

But the skeptic is deaf to thunder,
blind to lightning from the throne of God.
I wear his unhappiness like a disheveled glove
trading tweet for tweet in short Twitter speak.
The Voice is sweet and clear
If only he could hear!
I used to look for Him everywhere.
I wandered many alleys and byways,
absently rambling through English hedgerows,
happily dancing around the stranger's grave,

I played intricate jokes on my friends,
read T. S. Eliot to my mother walking backwards on the beach, 
I hitchhiked in foreign countries.

I did find Him in these pleasures,
but to my surprise, when I completely stopped walking
and stopped talking...
He was waiting within.

Dear skeptic,
will you not hear?
His voice is sweet like nectar from a flower --
such subtle flavor, exotic.
He tastes of everything I ever longed for
like manna from the desert
containing all delight.
And it is here within me --
the Water, the Bread so sweet
I cannot bear it.

Inside my heart
an ocean swells.
Its beauty is indescribable.
I live on a tranquil island in a tropical paradise.
I am never alone.

Everything you ever longed for is right here:
Food for the poor – “meat to eat you know not of;” 
Living Water shared with the woman by the well;

Justice as you have not understood it;
such thirst for justice as you cannot even describe it;
Peace in the heart
where now you ride the stormy waves of anguish.  

We were not raised together.
We are from different families,
but we are related.
I call you brother
and this disturbs you.
You call me a crazy housewife --
useless by anyone’s measure in life.

But I have a little hammer.
And I am patiently tapping those glass walls
entombing your heart.
The hammer’s name is “Prayer.” 
  The climb to Sacré Cœur de Paris*
rises out of the writhing guts of the Red Light District known as “Pig Alley.”
At the top of Montmartre,  
the Beloved’s heart beats for 120 years.
Do not walk away, brother.
Let us go together to defend the Castle of the Sacred Heart!
You have more right to Him than I.
You have more right to His Mercy.

Together, we will cuddle with Jesus crowned by thorns.
We will all be mocked together.

The climb up to the Castle of the Sacred Heart
Montmartre, Paris

Paris night skyline:
Sacré Cœur de Paris at the top of Montmartre
Eiffel Tower on the left. 

(*The Basilica of the Sacred Heart sits on top of the hill in Paris called Montmartre. Around the base of the hill is the famous seedy neighborhood of Pigalle, dubbed “Pig Alley” by American servicemen in World War II. Often simply called Sacré-Cœur, the Basilica has constantly held the Real Presence of Jesus Christ displayed in a huge monstrance since 1885. It is amazing for this and the large number of first class relics of martyrs contained in the Church.) 
Sacré Cœur de Paris by day

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Skid Row Profiles 3: Betty the Alcoholic

by Susan Fox

You live in a fine house.
Your friends are as frequent as the stars,
and your lovers all desire you.
But your dog is lonely and neglected
like the person you used to be.

Now the beer flows freely
and it’s good times every night;
the party runs late,
then the jokes are put on ice.

In the early hours of the morning
when others go home laughing,
you are alone,
standing naked on the balcony,
wrapped in a blanket and weeping
into the dawn and melting snow.

The television is your closest friend.
It is the closet you hide in
and it talks to you
like nobody else can.

It tells you what you want to hear:
that your face is beautiful,
your lovers all require you,
and the years will never overwhelm you.

It substitutes for dreams,
buries old emotion
and turns reality into black and white.

I sometimes creep down the stairs
to watch you sleeping by the television.
You are always lying close to it,
and your face – a mirror of everything you see –
reflects nothing, but its flashing edge.

 Outside the world explodes in color,
the spring is celebrated in the song of birds,
and the air is chilled like fine wine.

But you do not feel it:
you are plugged in somewhere else

and refuse to disconnect the umbilical cord.