Summer Quarterly 2014

Greetings To All,                                                                                                                       After my experiences with the Order and Father Paul and Mother Ruth that resulted in the transformation of my consciousness and the awakening of my Higher Self, as many of you know, I went on to develop a hospital ministry with individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. During that time I had the opportunity to explore with more depth the writings of the modern Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen. I was familiar with his work before I became a hospital chaplain and my ministry afforded the opportunity meet him shortly before his transition. I have included an excerpt of his musings on Hospitality (the origin of the word, ‘hospital’) that is a transparent look at how I strive to live my life in relationship with others. If you find that his ideas have touched a place within you like they have within me I would invite you to explore more of his works, if you haven’t already.   

                              Love & Peace In Christ,   John Hatgidakis

 

“In our world full of strangers, estranged from their own past, culture and country, from their neighbors, friends and family, from their deepest self and their God, we witness a painful search for a hospitable place where life can be lived without fear and where community can be found. Our society seems to be increasingly full of fearful, defensive, aggressive people anxiously clinging to their property and inclined to look at their surrounding world with suspicion, always expecting an enemy to suddenly appear, intrude and do harm. But still – that is our vocation: to convert the hostis into a hospes, the enemy into a guest and to create the free and fearless space where brotherhood and sisterhood can be formed and fully experienced.

               …if there is any concept worth restoring to its original depth and evocative potential it is the concept of hospitality. It is one of the richest biblical terms that can deepen and broaden our insight in our relationships to our fellow human beings. Old and New Testament stories not only show how serious our obligation is to welcome the stranger in our home, but they also tell us that  guests are carrying precious gifts with them, which they are eager to reveal to a receptive host…

               When hostility is converted into hospitality then fearful strangers can become guests revealing to their hosts the promise they are carrying with them. Then, in fact, the distinction between host and guest proves to be artificial and evaporates in the recognition of the new found unity.

               Hospitality, therefore, means primarily the creation of a free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines. It is not to lead our neighbor into a corner where there are no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum of options for choice and commitment. It is not an educated intimidation with good books, good stories and good works, but the liberation of fearful hearts so that words can find roots and bear ample fruit. It is not a method of making our God and our way into the criteria of happiness, but the opening of an opportunity to others to find their God and their way.

               The paradox of hospitality is that it wants to create emptiness, not a fearful emptiness, but a friendly emptiness where strangers can enter and discover themselves as created free; free to sing their own songs, speak their own languages, dance their own dances; free also to leave and follow their own vocations. Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the life of the host, but the gift of a chance for the guest to find his own.

               Indeed, more often than not rivalry and competition, desire for power and immediate results, impatience and frustration, and most of all, plain fear make their forceful demands and tend to full every possible empty corner of our life. Empty space tends to create fear. As long as our minds, hearts and hands are occupied we can avoid confronting the painful questions, to which we never gave much attention and which we do not want to surface. ‘Being busy’ has become a status symbol, and most people keep encouraging each other to keep their body and mind in constant motion. From a distance, it appears that we try to keep each other filled with words and actions, without tolerance for a moment of silence. Hosts often feel that they have to talk all the time to their guests and entertain then with things to do, places to see and people to visit. But by filling up every empty corner and occupying every empty time their hospitality becomes more oppressive than revealing.”

– Henri Nouwen in the chapter “Creating Space for Strangers” in Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

 

From Father Paul

Concluding remarks from class October 13, 1973

…One of the great things that we must learn is patience.  Patience.  This is not said a great deal about, but there is a passage in the Testament which our Lord used, which is directly connected to patience.  Several times, not just once but several times, things happened and Jesus could have rebuked somebody or he could have walked out on somebody, or somebody apparently was going to do something to him, and he turned around and said to one of them…”My time is not yet.”  This is a distinct demonstration of discipline and patience.  “My time”, he said, “is not yet.”  In other words, well, we’ve got to wait for a little while.  We’ve got to put everything in the right place in the pattern which has been set up from above with the Host.

These are all things that we must learn to fulfill even the ministry as a brother, to say nothing about a priest.  Patience.  Patience to let the Spirit work, patience to let the Word work, patience to let things happen in accordance with the divine plan.  Patience to let God and the Host do their work because sometimes they know more about it than we do, you know.  Although some people sort of question this, but you’ll find they do generally.  And here’s where there has to be room for miracles.  Patience, because impatience is the thing that always breeds contempt, because the result from impatience is never good.  It never brings things in the right place.

I’m not talking about wasting time, I’m talking about saving time.  Because you can be patient and let things happen in a normal way.  Let, always let…and the intelligence of this universe that we so often forget about, in our getting around and doing things.  We see how we can do it, and we don’t stop to think and to feel from the man inside, is it the time?  Should we wait?  Is it the time to do it?  Because sometimes it is not the time.  Then we do it and we find that we have to do it all over again, maybe, or somebody else has to do it over and clean up the debris from an imperfect choice.

And there’s one thing that you’ll find, that by having this patience when we are working with people–and I think this whole thing fits together very nicely, because if you do not have patience when you are trying to go out there to save souls, you’re going to find that you’re going to do a lot of work that is not going to be fruitful.  Because without patience, you are going to get on the wrong track a number of times.  But with patience, with patience, real patience, you can flow along through the day in all of the jobs, in all of the work you have to do, or on the outside, either one, and you’re never going to be under that stress.  A great deal of the stress that people exhibit here is due to impatience.  And if you’re going to be an old soldier, so to speak, why, you’d better have patience because you’re going to do a lot of work which will not bear fruit in the way it should.

Our Lord was the most beautiful example of that patience.  He never did anything until the right time, and when he did it he knew it fitted, fit into the plan, he knew it fit into the reality, and he knew that it was in accordance with God’s will.  And here’s why they bring out this statement which very often people wonder about, “Not my will, but Thine.”  That’s what we’re talking about, not my will but Thine, when we put things in their right place where they belong, and this is the way they should be, and we are patient until things develop and take place.  Evern though we have the Word and know how to use it, there is a time, there is a way that is in accordance with God’s Will.

If we do that, we can relax and go ahead just as rapidly as we want to, but you have to relax in order to go–as I heard one chap say one day, “You have to relax,” he said, “relax and doze along, and you can run faster.”  Remember that, and remember what the Master said, because there’s a great deal of truth in that little saying.  And this man knew, and he was a long distance runner too.  He really was.  And he said, “I have to relax.  Sometimes I’m really kind of sleepy when I’m running.”  Just think about that.  I don’t care if you get sleepy as long as you’re still going.

.                                        God bless you

 

The Story of Tea

In ancient times, tea was unknown beyond China. Rumors of its existence had reached other lands, and those who heard of it tried to find out what it was in accordance with their desires or imagination.

The king of Inja sent an envoy to China, who returned with a gift of tea from the Emperor. But the envoy had seen peasants drink tea, and decided that it was unfit for his royal master; he suspected that the Emperor was trying to deceive them by substituting some lesser substance for the celestial drink.

A philosopher of Anja gathered what information he could find, and determined that tea must be rare, unique and mysterious, for it was known as an herb, a beverage, green, black, at times bitter, at other times sweet. In Koshish and Bebinem, people tested every herb and liquid they could find. Many were poisoned; all were disappointed. The tea plant had never been brought to their lands, so no one could find it. Still they continued the search.

The people of Mazhab knew of tea — a small bag of it was carried in their religious processions as a talisman. But no one thought or knew how to taste it. When a wise man told them to pour boiling water over it, he was hanged as an enemy of their religion, for who else but an enemy would suggest destroying their magic? Before he died, he told his secret to a few, who then managed to get some tea and drink it secretly. When someone noticed and asked what they were doing, they answered that it was a simple medicine.

It was this way throughout the world. Some had seen the bush, but did not recognize it; others had tasted tea, but thought it common, certainly not a drink of legend. Still others possessed and worshipped it. Beyond China only a few drank it, and only in secrecy.

A man of understanding spoke to the tea merchants and tea drinkers. “The one who tastes, knows. The one who tastes not, knows not. Don’t speak of a heavenly beverage; offer it at your banquets and say nothing. Those who like it will ask for more; those who don’t aren’t fit to drink it. Close the shop of debate and mystery. Open the teahouse of experience.”

Tea was soon carried on every caravan on the Silk Road. Pausing to rest, merchants made tea and offered it to their guests and companions, whether they knew the legends or not. This was how chaikhanas came to be established from Peking to Bukhara and Samarkand. And those who tasted, knew.

At first only the powerful and those who pretended to possess wisdom sought the ambrosia, then protested, “But this is only dried leaves!” or “Why do you boil water when all I want is the celestial drink?” or yet again, “Prove to me what this is. It looks like mud, not gold!” When the truth was widespread, and when tea was given to all who would taste, only fools asked such questions.

And it is still that way.

From Tales of the Dervishes by Khwaja Yusuf al-Hamadani

 

 

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”
John Muir, The Mountains of California

 

One is constantly reminded of the infinite lavishness and fertility of Nature — inexhaustible abundance amid what seems enormous waste. And yet when we look into any of her operations that lie within reach of our minds, we learn that no particle of her material is wasted or worn out. It is eternally flowing from use to use, beauty to yet higher beauty; and we soon cease to lament waste and death, and rather rejoice and exult in the imperishable, unspendable wealth of the universe, and faithfully watch and wait the reappearance of everything that melts and fades and dies about us, feeling sure that its next appearance will be better and more beautiful than the last.
My First Summer in the Sierra (1911) chapter 10.

August Sky

   August 12, 13 – Perseids Meteor Shower. The Perseids is one of the best meteor showers to observe, producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by comet Swift-Tuttle, which was discovered in 1862. The Perseids are famous for producing a large number of bright meteors. The shower runs annually from July 17 to August 24. It peaks this year on the night of August 12 and the morning of August 13. The waning gibbous moon will block out some of the meteors this year, but the Perseids are so bright and numerous that it should still be a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Perseus, but can appear anywhere in the sky.

  August 18 – Conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. Conjunctions are rare events where two or more objects will appear extremely close together in the night sky. The two bright planets will come unusually close to each other, only a quarter of a degree, in the early morning sky. Also, the beehive cluster in the constellation Cancer will be only 1 degree away. This rare, double-planet event is definitely one not to miss. Look for the bright planets in the east just before sunrise.

 

I                                      PRAYER  I

 

Prayer is the scientific method of communication to our Creator, scientific in that Jesus said, “Whatsoever ye ask in my name shall be given unto you,” and anything that is scientific — that means you get results each and every time — the Law of Prayer works each and every time.  This shows the eternalness of the giving of the Father — that all you ask is given to you.

 

The scientific method of prayer is:  before you pray, you know what you are going to pray for.  You know in detail that which you want.  Draw a mental picture of what you need for there can be no confusion in your mind as to what you want.

 

Then, you establish contact with the Father.  When this contact is established, you can feel it for He is here closer than your hands and feet.

 

Getting in contact with the Father is like contacting your friends.  When the phone rings, the person on the other end of the line picks up the receiver.  Upon the picking up of the receiver, you know that contact has been made without his saying a word.  As in the mechanics of the phone — the wire being the contact between you and your friend — so your thought is the wire between you and God.

 

When you have established contact, then you ask that which you want or need. You ask in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Then, as Jesus said,  “Whatever ye ask in my name shall be given unto you.”  What you have asked for is then yours.  It has already been given to you so you go on about your business and forget about it, or, as the students say, you let go and let God.  But, thank the Father for what He gave you, for it was His power and His force that brought this into your life.

 

The Law of Prayer is shown in the symbol of the Triangle giving you a picture of what it looks like graphically:

When you contacted the Father, you were at the uppermost part of this triangle marked the Father.  When you asked for what you wanted, you moved your consciousness from the Father point of the triangle to the Son (Sun) point of the triangle.  When you received that which you asked for, this is shown in the motion from the Son through the Holy Spirit — the third point of the triangle.

For many thousands of years, the triangle has been used for this purpose so that man could see the action of this Great Being he is living within.

 

The Master Jesus manifested the second point of this triangle — the Son (Sun), which St. John called the Logos, or the Word.  The Son is the eternal word of the Father.  At this point of the Law, you use the Word as Jesus said:  “The Father gave unto Me the Word so I give it unto you.”

 

This triangle shows the action of God — from the Father to the Son, then, to the Holy Spirit.  So, in using the Law, you must start with the Father by contacting Him.

 

In the New Testament, Jesus talked about the Pharisees and their prayers — how they would stand on the street corners and make long and beautiful prayers so that those around them would hear them.  They forgot to contact the Father.  For if they had, their prayers would have been fulfilled.

 

The science of the statement Jesus made of  “Whatsoever ye ask in my name shall be given unto you,” is nature abhors a vacuum.  For, your asking creates a vacuum which shall be fulfilled.  A vacuum is a space, or something, that is missing.  The Word creates the physical vacuum which is physically fulfilled.

 

The Law of Prayer — being scientific — is also extremely simple.  For if man would use pure logic — the reasoning of a child — he would have known his Creator and would have all his prayers answered.

Prayer is a tool for all man.  It is one of your tools of life whereby you can govern your life and control your personal universe — accepting into your life that which you desire and rejecting all negative things for your health. For man is not a ship on a storm tossed sea — being tossed to and fro at the slightest whim.  He is a creator who designs his own destiny.  For without the knowing and use of the Law of Prayer, it is an impossibility for man to be the creator he is.

 

Inuit Prayer                       

I think over again my small adventures,
My fears,
Those small ones that seemed so big,
For all the vital things
I had to get and to reach;
And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing,
To live to see the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.