Sounds like he made a GOOD choice.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Diana Manister 
  To: [log in to unmask] 
  Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 7:05 AM
  Subject: Re: Oh dark, dark, dark.

  Donald Hall in his essay on Eliot describes meeting him at Faber some time before his marriage as a stooped, slow-moving old man. After he married Valerie, Hall writes that he looked ten years younger, stood straight and was as debonair as a matinee idol.

    From: Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
    Reply-To: "T. S. Eliot Discussion forum." <[log in to unmask]>
    To: [log in to unmask]
    Subject: Re: Oh dark, dark, dark.
    Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 03:11:08 -0700

    Seemd to me to be quite compatible with Eliot's religious and poetic sensibilities.

    The focus on simplicity is crucial.I think Eliot was searching
    for that child-like simplicity. The joy he found with Valerie
    seems to reflect some success in that regard. Perhaps Old
    Possum's Book of Practical Cats is another reflection of its being
    part of whom Eliot was.

    Perhaps once the simplicity is apprached, the poetry weakens or is not
    needed, for the irritation of complexity diminishes. Hence the
    inadequacies of his poem to Valerie, and of The "Cultivation of Christmas Trees".


      ----- Original Message ----- 
      From: mikemail 
      To: [log in to unmask] 
      Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2006 11:38 AM
      Subject: Re: Oh dark, dark, dark.

      Thank you Peter for this heartfelt memorial
        ----- Original Message ----- 
        From: Peter Montgomery 
        To: [log in to unmask] 
        Sent: Sunday, September 17, 2006 11:28 AM
        Subject: Fw: Oh dark, dark, dark.

        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

        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

        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."

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