Sunday, March 17, 2013

St. Patrick's Breastplate

When I don't have time to meditate, this is my shortcut mantra. I say it while fingering prayer beads, hiking, walking and driving. When called out to see a patient in crisis, a first time visit with a bereaved client or a death, I repeat this prayer until I feel Divine Love flood my being -- from head to toe and cell to cell. This prayer more than any other reminds me I am beloved. In this Catholic prayer, Christ consciousness, like Divine Love, dwells within us all.

St. Patrick's Breastplate

I bind myself to the strong virtue of love.
To the obedience of angels,
to the prediction of prophets
to the faith of the confessors,
and the preaching of the apostles.

I bind myself to power of heaven --
the light of the sun,
the brightness of the moon,
the depth of the sea,
the stability of earth,
and the compactness of rock.

I bind myself to God's power to guide me,
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to teach me,
and God's word to give me speech.

Christ with me and before me.
Christ behind me and within me.
Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me,
Christ above me, Christ beneath me.

Christ in the ears of everyone who hears me.
Christ in the eyes of everyone who sees me.
Christ in heart of everyone who knows me.
I bind myself to the strong virtue of Christ.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Remember the Waltons!

No surprise, my favorite television show as a kid was The Waltons. They did more than love their children, they cherished them despite living in poverty. Well, they said they were poor, right? They were mountain people living off the land. In the Christmas episode they weren't going to get presents. The grandparents lived at their home. They drove around in an old pickup. Poor John Boy. How was he going to go to college without the money to pay for it? To my mind, the Waltons represented the poor in America.

My mother often complained about her own childhood poverty and oddly enough, she didn't like the Waltons. Not at all. I started understanding why when she showed me her childhood home sometime around my 12th or 13th birthday. First, I saw the land near Tell, Texas where she and her family farmed. Sounds idyllic but they didn't own the land. They were sharecroppers. My grandfather had lost what little they had in the 1920's when the farming economy went bust long before people started to use the word "Depression". Their shack was long gone, but their home in Childress, Texas where they moved when my mother was five still stood. Not much bigger than a shack, maybe three rooms, an outhouse, and a stove that required firewood, nine people lived in that house. Where was the big Walton House with a dining room, living room, the big staircase and all those bedrooms? John Boy even had his own room. And where was Coldsmith Mountain? The Waltons might have been cash poor for a few years, but they were not ever asset poor and they never went to bed hungry.

My mother and her family were hungry all the time. My Uncle Sonny's favorite story was being home with my mother, his older sister with no food in the house except wilted lettuce and bacon grease. My mother fried it up the lettuce in the grease and that was dinner. He was grateful for that meal because he was fed something before bed.

Hugo Chavez had many faults but he did something for Venezuela no one had done before; he listened to the plight of the poor. He heard their stories and he acted. It is why he was so beloved by his countrymen. It is why he was re-elected even after the coup. And weirdly, it's why they will put him in a glass coffin and hold him in stasis just like Snow White. I don't know if he made their lives any better. I hope so. I am not a Communist but I strongly support a regulated and modified Capitalist economy which serves and promotes the poor and the middle class.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

For God and Country???

I abhor violence and when scenes in movies or tv depict cruelty, I shut my eyes until my husband tells me the image has passed. In that way, I am the scared teenager and the appalled adult. My cinema behavior was no different for the movie Zero Dark Thirty. Even so, the windows to my soul were wide open.

On the right and left people denounced the film for portraying torture as a necessary evil to hunt down Osama bin Laden. Maureen Dowd didn't like it for fictionalizing an event and then calling it historic. My beef is with my progressive brothers and sisters who criticized the film for promoting the notion that torture led to information to find OBL.

Of course torture gave the US government leverage to find OBL and many of his underlings. This is historic fact, but even if torture was the most efficacious way to extract information -- even it torture presented the only way to find OBL, it was wrong. Terribly wrong. Waterboarding, starving people, locking persons in boxes and chaining them up like dogs is not a scar on our national psyche but a gaping, oozing, fetid wound.

Despite the graphic violence or really because of it, Zero Dark Thirty indicted the use of torture as a means to an end. In each torture scene, my compassion was with the detainees. Even at the end, I worried for the children. My heart broke for the women. What madness leads any of us, on both sides of a conflict, to sell our souls down the river for a chance to kill our way to victory? Maya is not relieved at the end of the film. As her tears fall, the viewer wonders: was the cost worth it? Was justice done?

So what movie about historical events over the last decade would I have rather seen? One where we didn't invade Iraq or Afghanistan, we used humane means to gather information, and we put OBL on trial for crimes against humanity.
We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human one.
Teilhard deChardin