LISTSERV mailing list manager LISTSERV 16.0

Help for TSE Archives


TSE Archives

TSE Archives


TSE@PO.MISSOURI.EDU


View:

Message:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Topic:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

By Author:

[

First

|

Previous

|

Next

|

Last

]

Font:

Proportional Font

LISTSERV Archives

LISTSERV Archives

TSE Home

TSE Home

TSE  September 2006

TSE September 2006

Subject:

Fw: Oh dark, dark, dark.

From:

Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

T. S. Eliot Discussion forum.

Date:

Sun, 17 Sep 2006 01:28:26 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (137 lines)

Abbot Francis Kline died on August 27 after a long illness. A private
funeral Mass for him was celebrated by his community and family on
Wednesday, Aug. 30 in the small Abbey Church. Dom Damien Thompson of
Gethsemani Abbey, Bardstown, Kentucky, presided. The homily was delivered by
Dom Peter McCarthy of Guadalupe Abbey, Lafayette, Oregon and President of
the US Region.


Oh dark, dark, dark.
They all go into the dark.
The vacant interstellar spaces - the vacant into the vacant.
The captains, merchants, bankers, eminent men of letters
All go into the dark.And we all go with them
Into the silent funeral.
I said to my soul, "Be still
and let the dark come upon you
which shall be the Darkness of God."

My friends, the words are T.S. Eliot's but the experience is each our own-to
come together here-you and I-around the spent and broken body of our son,
brother, friend, father, Abbot Francis. It is wrenching-death-it is soul
numbing-it is so deep and vast it stretches the mind out into cavernous
darkness-and it breaks the human heart. And yet-this morning, among us, his
family and brothers and friends-this morning-death itself is the Word of God
written in human flesh-the flesh of our beloved Francis.

It is a loving and mysterious God decisively taking the pen from Francis's
hand and finishing his life story. Death is the joining-the wedding-of the
Word of God with Francis's completed earthly life.

And of all the Gospel choices for a funeral liturgy-if you hold up this
particular Gospel passage and place Francis's life next to it, you have two
prongs of a tuning fork. They literally resonate off one another-they sing
together.

At that time Jesus said, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and
earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the
learned, you have revealed them to mere children." Matthew 11:25-27.

Now, Francis was learned. I think he was brilliant (but I may be prejudiced)
and yes, he could be wise.when he wasn't being exasperating and impossible
to understand! Which brings me to the point-Francis was the most child-like
person I've ever known and, if we leave that central fact, we lose him and
we can't do this lectio together around his body. We'll never understand.

Isn't it St. Bernard who wrote, "The human h! eart is born old and meant to
grow ever younger"?

Francis's heart grew ever younger. His was the heart of a child and because
of that he was an artist. You see, the artist is born of the child in each
one of us-Francis taught me that.

For although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned, you
have revealed them to mere children.

We always lived our monastic lives in different communities. (This was
probably providential!) So you might say that our friendship was something
of a road trip, if not a road show, traveling around Novice Directors'
Meetings, Regional Meetings, and later, General Chapters. And there are so
very many wonderful and very funny stories. I was embarrassed to discover in
the last two days that most of you know many of them! So let me just share
an image from the Sufi tradition. It goes like this:

God and I?
That's simple.
We are like two big people in a very tiny boat
who are continually, unexpectedly bumping into each other
and giggling.

Now, just add a third big person and you have the experience of our road
trips.

Francis taught me what friendship is. It is looking out together at a world
far more beautiful, and funny, and sad, and tender, and fierce, and radiant,
and larger, and deeper than I ever suspected. He awakened the child in
me-perhaps to some extent he awakened the child in all of us?

Yesterday morning I received an email from a loving friend and mentor of
Francis over many years. Abbot Timothy Kelly could not be here this morning,
but I want his words to be part of mine:

There is just this great sense of loss which almost translates into a sense
of a loss of direction. In the midst of his bleakness that could be rather
strong sometimes and did make me wonder if he did not have some Irish in
him, Francis always had a hope that was enviable. Then his artistic sense of
beauty and proportion which was a burden also gave to life something of that
dimension of the Eternal. His passing is a real loss and to be selfish a
loss to me. May he remain in our midst to encourage us and make us laugh.

The Cistercian Fathers speak of the soul as a mirror--speculum-a lovely and
radiant image. Well, Francis had this huge soul-mirror inside him which
could make him at times very awkward, and frustrated, and frustrating! I
have never before or since ever experienced anyone who could register near
cosmic boredom in every facial feature no matter how sensitive the occasion
might be-this could include Regional Meetings and General Chapters! If he
couldn't find light-beauty, there was hell to pay! And yet.and yet.and this
is where the child comes in.he could find light-beauty in the most
surprising places! Francis could find light-beauty even in the Valley of the
Shadow of Death. I will never forget that unexpected phone call from the
floor of the day clinic at Sloan-Kettering when he suddenly announced he was
ending his treatments, and he was coming home to Mepkin to be here with the
brothers he loved. His voice was so child-like and it was as if he was
surrounded by light-beauty. That evening when I was attempting to reason
with him in a more "mature" way, I heard, "Peter, this will be difficult for
me to say and painful for you to hear, but there is something so utterly
beautiful in all of this-in each moment of all of this."

It was another child of the Word, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, reflecting
on death, who wrote:

The body is not a prison but an opportunity. We must distinguish between
being human and human being. We are born human beings. What we must acquire
is being human. Being human is the essential-the decisive-achievement of a
human being."

The Hebrew Scriptures speak of the death and the burial of a person as that
person being "drawn together to his people." We are his people and here we
are. Francis has called us to the sharp edge of a deep and painful
mystery--his broken and surrendered body--lying here at the altar of the
Eucharist. He draws us to the Light. He draws us together to the Beauty of
this Eucharist of the Resurrection this morning. And he meets us here
again-where he will always meet us-here again. And our shared lectio ends
here. Understanding, perhaps more deeply, those words of the first letter of
John, "See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the
children of God.

"Yet so we are."


All-new Yahoo! Mail - Fire up a more powerful email and get things done
faster.



No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.1.405 / Virus Database: 268.12.4/449 - Release Date: 9/15/2006

Top of Message | Previous Page | Permalink

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

November 2021
October 2021
September 2021
August 2021
July 2021
June 2021
May 2021
April 2021
March 2021
February 2021
January 2021
December 2020
November 2020
October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



PO.MISSOURI.EDU

Secured by F-Secure Anti-Virus CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager