The Father Is In Me and I Am In The Father

The monks Of Gethsemani sing this beautiful Chant based on Psalm 18 from today's Mass for Friday 5th Week of Lent.

Scripture readings for the Mass are here

Since 1848 the Trappist monks of Gethsemani Abbey, Kentucky, have lived a life of work and prayer. 

 Each day, seven times a day, they gather to lift their voices to sing the divine office. 

Vigils, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline are the seven "hours" of the liturgy of the hours or opus Dei (work of God) as St. Benedict called it in his Rule. 

They are common prayer services, the prayer of the Church as well as the prayer of the community. None of these "hours" actually lasts an hour. All seven add up to two and a half or two and three-quarters hours. 
The backbone of these services is the 150 psalms, sung or recited according to a two-week cycle. At each hour there is also a hymn, reading from Scripture, prayer of the day and commemoration of Our Lady 

Ronald E. Powaski has written about the Trappi...

Thomas Merton entered Gethsemani Abbey on 10th December 1941.  

Matthew Kelty ( see left),  was also a monk at Gethsemani who sadly died last February. The full text of all his homilies are here

I have chosen this particular one written in full below for today as it speaks of human identity and God like identity and works and how we can recognise God.
The gospel for today shows how those who refuse to see beyond their narrow categories cannot recognise the signs in the work Jesus did that proved He was profoundly of God and was truly The Son of God.

It links well with today's Gospel from John although the opening verse is a little farther on.

 He who has seen Me has seen the Father.
                                — Jn 14:9
All Is Symbol

n the Beginning God created. So does Scripture open. Creation is by speech, indeed, is a kind of speech: "Let there be light." 
That is why the Son of the Father is spoken of as the Divine Word. In the beginning was the Word. Speech is creativity and creation is a work of God, a sharing in it. In the highest and most perfect sense, the Word is God.

Can it be a surprise that when God made a human, God should at once teach speech? God showed Adam all the world and bade him name everything. God spoke and so made man
: man speaks and so creates with God, for by this word he makes the named thing part of himself. 

The nature of the created mind carries creation a step further and adds word to word in reasoning sequence. So is man God-like in having the nature of things in himself and by thought creating a new idea. 

The world would be incomplete without the human to name it, to contemplate it, to fructify it.

God taught the secret of the universe in speech, for it is by speech that we learn that all is symbol and sign. The world is God saying
: I am beauty, I am goodness, I am love and light and wisdom. It is the word that reveals this, for with God we create symbol just as he did. And through the word share the mind of God.

When we heard last week [in a book read in our monastic refectory] about the congenitally deaf who can move easily into the realm of the mind through sign language, we were brought face to face with the fact that we are naturally symbolic, taught so, made so, by God. 

We do not make love with concepts, but with words, with deeds. 

What is in the mind remains there until I say it or play it or act it or do it or mime it. 

Nothing leaves the mind but by symbol. Nothing enters the mind but by the same route. How splendid. You smile at the little infant in your arms and the little infant smiles back. A shattering experience.

The monastery teaches us this, much as God taught Adam. It is all symbol. That is why we meet in this handsome church. After all, a barn would do, a hall, an auditorium, an aula. We wear symbolic clothes, do symbolic actions, our song is symbolic, our gestures—not to say the words themselves.

We have not a corridor, or a hallway
: no, a cloister. Our refectory is the place where monks eat. It is not a lunch room or a cafeteria or a restaurant or a buffet or even a dining room. It is the refectory. We gather in chapter; it is no board room, no conference room, no community room. As chapter it is a very special symbol. Our scriptorium is no lounge room or living room or sitting room or reading room. It is a symbol of its own.

So the monastery says "monk" to the monk all day. It is what he is, what he should be, what he wants to be. That is the symbol he is, the word he utters unceasingly. 

All the neighborhood knows this : for miles around we are known not as the abbey, not as the monastery, not as Gethsemani, but directly: we are "the monks."

The futility of saying, "What good is it? What use? Who needs it? Who needs incense? Who needs bells? Can't you get yourself a watch? Who needs cowls and choir stalls and cloister and abbot?" No one, really, if that is your approach. 

Who needs daffodils? Or blue skies? Or whippoorwills? Who needs song and dance? Who needs processions and icons and candles? Candles? All these lights on—39 of them, 12,000 watts—and you light candles! You are mad!

Yes. The way God is mad. He made the world for the joy of it, not the need of it.

 It is full of His glory—still.

 Despite what we have done to it. 

Kentucky was once magnificent forest-land of mighty trees, giants rising from a clean floor. Look at it now. Skimpy woods full of undergrowth. 

Yet, for all that, it is glorious with God—still. The symbols may not be all they were, but they still speak loud and clear. Even the deaf hear them. And they reply, whom God loves more than miles of woods.

My brothers, my sisters, how splendid is God in creation. Infinite wisdom in the smallest insect, in the remote planet. 

Yet, most magnificent of all, in the human. 

For he can do, she can do, what nothing else of earth can do : make the world their own. By word the human creates anew in the marvel of symbol-making. We are like God.

We are not always conscious of all that. As if that matters. We may use few words in a day. But we use symbols all day and all night. And every one of them is of God
; they are God speaking. 

And since only a modest part of our mind is conscious and a massive part unconscious, it is this unconscious part, which is still mind, that feeds us, nourishes us, sustains us. It would be difficult to live as monks in the Holiday Inn down the road.

 Not because the Inn is ugly or tacky or plastic. It could provide all we need: but it speaks the wrong words, that's all. 

It is not a monastic symbol. And the word that the Inn is, would be at work on us all the time, unconsciously unsaying what we are trying to say.

 Even though this monastery too is an Inn. And we are passing guests, here but for a while, and then gone to another country. It may not be as comfortable as the Inn down the road, but you get more for your money. 

God is explicit in the night at this Inn.

We are each and all a symbol. We are saying something all the time. All of us preach. 

Spread a cause. Take a stand. All the time. Everywhere. 

The world God created is full of God and his glory. 

We aim, each of us, to be just like that : God-like, God-ly, radiant in his glory.

After God had fashioned you and finished you, he stood you upright, smiled at you, touched you lightly and said

Speak.  Tell me ... that you love me!"

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