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It began this morning. Shivering snow showers blanched pastel blossoms atop fruit trees, discolored bulb plants, and pinched dogwoods, leaving in their wake penetrating wetness and slick sidewalks: More of April’s fickleness that smarts—as if the faux colors of spring were a joke.

And less than one year ago, there was another killing in Powderhorn Park of Minneapolis, this time, not a shrub, but a man, its international impact finding resolution, of some sort, in today’s guilty verdict on all three counts. How this “flowering” will unfold remains to be seen.

Desperate is the need for global prayer to recreate hearts, afresh with new color.  

In the interim, we cry, “Mercy!” while observing tomorrow’s blooming azaleas and giving thanks.

At 6 A.M., I woke with this dream:

It is August, the evening of my arrival at the Eastern Point Retreat House for my eight-day directed retreat. Animated conversations of other retreatants draw me to the dining room for buffet supper. I search among them for my friend Pat, but she has not yet arrived. I’m concerned. Winds sweep dense levels of humidity from the Atlantic’s surface that borders the complex. I feel clammy, heavy.

At first, the dream’s setting, EPRH, thrilled me, the Jesuit retreat house that I had frequented for decades at Gloucester, Massachusetts. Profound spiritual cleansings had buoyed my spirit, until home for a while; and the emergence of entrenched habits resumed their former dominance.  

Then, I looked deeper into my psyche: Animated conversations of other retreatants exposedthe seepage of inner chatter, warring against my practice of meditation and spiritual reading that blocks “conscious contact” with Higher Power. This had been true at Gloucester, as well; only within its silence could I settle down to fully engage in its critical work, guided by my director.

In my present circumstances, I yearn for the same depth of silence in my psyche. This is not happening as much as I would like. I feel clammy, heavy. My body has never died before and I need guidance in prayer and from other spiritually minded persons. Yet, control still has mastery, despite my practice of CPA’s Twelve Steps; though, such sparring does yield spiritual growth. Time is of the essence.

In the dream I also noted anxiety over the absence of my friend, as if unable to surrender to the grace of the retreat that necessitates psychic change. This image speaks to existential loneliness, casting me adrift in powerlessness. Therein, I eventually find my God who companions me through end time. No one else can serve this purpose.

So I plod along, one day at a time …

And God is always there; if you feel wounded.

He kneels over this earth like a divine medic, and His love thaws out the holy in us.

So concludes the poem, When the Holy Thaws, composed by Teresa of Avila (1515 – 1582) Spanish mystic, reformer of the Carmelite Order, and author of contemplative prayer and practices.

This many centuries later, I wonder of this consoling poem reflects one of her visions with which she was gifted during her life. She knew the wounds, inflicted upon her by ecclesiastical authorities and her own nuns for the reforms she implemented among them—even founded seven monasteries for the observance of the new rule of life. She, too, given her frail health, needed solace and experienced the kneeling God as divine medic.

In my perception nothing much has really changed—only more darkness and disease have distorted our planet from its God-given path.

It’s helpful to return, in prayer, to the gift of these inspired words and let His love thaw out the holy in us. For the holy is properly our birthright and our deepest joy, even in the midst of calamities.

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