You Shine

In times of confusion, I turn to the words of mystics and saints. I lean into the ancient roots of the faith with which I was raised, for something about its well-worn mystery quiets the noise of modern chaos that troubles me.

Is it not a confusing time to be alive? This period inversion and immorality? Death, destruction, corruption, division are splashed across the front pages of newspapers. A few miles away from where I write now, thousands of acres of wild brush are on fire. People are leaving their homes, and communities are burning. People are suffering here, and in Syria, and in New York, everywhere.

The world is always vast and particular. We live in this meshwork that knits us to love in its sweeping truth and its most intimate expressions, that knits us to pain both individual and collective. Because the world is both beautiful and devastating, every day, it is important for us to remember that even when things fall apart, things also remain together. Chaos and order coexist. And love, above all, sustains us, no matter what comes.

Paying attention means we not only see earthly pain, we also see what is sacred, what is beautiful.

“Good people,
Most royal greening verdancy,
Rooted in the sun,
You shine with radiant light,
in this circle of earthly existence
You shine so finely,
it surpasses understanding.
God hugs you.
You are encircled by the arms
of the mystery of God.”  – Hildegard of Bingen