Of late I have been reading Paul Elie’s book, The Life You Save may be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage. Hmm…reading it…no, that is not entirely accurate. Savoring it. Sipping it slowly. Feeling it bloom within me, warming me, teasing my senses with hints of something familiar and yet a distinct combination of flavors all its own…
It brings together Flannery O’Connor, Dorothy Day, Walker Percy, and Thomas Merton and weaves their stories of faith and the role of writing, conversion and seeking, desire and determination to listen to God within their own experience and beyond.
I was telling my friend last night about this book and how much I was enjoying it…how good it is for my heart to read of them. She added, and to touch a world you understand.
Yes! Yes, exactly. In certain respects, they are each people with whom I can identify…people who could not leave the company of God…people who made conscious choices about God, about their lives of faith, people who moved through life as seekers, not settlers, people for whom the pen is a sacramental and the written word a testament and invitation, a call, a way to help them mediate the fullness of life surrounding.
Two excerpts from my notebook about what I have read so far…
Dorothy Day’s motivating desire behind her writing–“to give reason for the faith that is in us…” I LOVE that…and will find a way to use that…blog, wall quotation, something. To what end the witness of our lives? To give reason for the faith that is in us, Therefore, live with a fullness and be not afraid. Express, share, own the truth as it is experienced. Discover, reveal, make manifest, the stunning constancy of God in sadness and challenge as well as in joy and easier times. To give reason is not to defend, but to reveal…to seek to live and to write with such openness, aperture, divine permeability, that it is God’s love and the humanity of Jesus in the daily lived reality that is seen, heard, read…
And on Merton and his keeping of a journal…
“The balcony was his outpost, his observation deck, his open-air hermitage. There, his journal, a series of exercises in observing and recalling, thinking and writing, became a religious devotion.” AUGH, I love that and I GET that. To so intimately link God and the daily whatnot of living that can be seen for a balcony…and not even that…it ISN’T making the link, it is revealing it…noticing it, allowing it to pierce, pass through, to be, to bloom, to challenge, to change the self… YES!!
In so many ways and for so many reasons, is good to be together with these four for a while… to listen to them and learn from them and know them as kindred souls… The sort of souls for whom Jessica Powers wrote the following, I think…
The second giving of God is the great giving
abundances with which the soul is laden
once it has given up all things for Him.
the flourishing of those who by God’s mercy
have cut themselves down to the roots of love.
God loves a soul that cast down all He gave it
and stands and cries that it was not enough.