flor * de * jazmín

In the month of May, after Baccalaureate festivities are over, when I walk between our little chapel and one of our academic departments, hundreds of star-jasmines blooming along the walkway are, in a word, intoxicating.

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Peace: I am blessed to walk the long way around our little campus just to mingle with jasmine-soaked wind.  I think God is in the wind: the Holy Spirit.

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Prayer: Healing for a man’s eyes,  a woman who awaits birth (sent me a sonogram), and a woman who waits for a miracle.

soy * maestra

A reason why I love the neighborhood…

Overheard at the hairdresser’s this weekend, one Nepalese esthetician said to her younger sister, a Nepalese cosmetologist (no, I don’t know the difference between an esthetician and a cosmetologist: I only know their titles from reading the licenses on the wall.  I do know the difference between a cosmetologist and a cosmologist, will give myself credit for that) —

“The doctor said I can’t have any sugar.”

“What can you eat, then?” (Clicking noises for sympathy.)

“No rice… no potatoes… no corn, especially not corn, the doctor said, and no tortillas… no fruit… no oranges, no strawberries, no pineapples… if I have an apple, only half… no juice… no cookies… no sodas… no cupcakes…. no pancakes… nothing.”

My kind & patient hairdresser, a self-described “African woman in a Mexican mujer/cuerpo” b/c her great-grandmother was an African woman from Africa who lived in Mexico and married a Mexican, echoed, “¡Eh!  What can you eat?”

“Spicy peanuts.  I can eat spicy peanuts.” 

Cacahuates picante!  Ah, the little graces in our lives.  I actually think a Nepalese diet would be a vast improvement (smoked fish, black soybeans, pumpkin vine tips, lentils) over traditional American fare, but I also understand love for cakes.

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Prayer: For the women in my neighborhood who see me at the market or hairdresser & ask if I’m Filipina, or Vietnamese, or Thai, or Japanese, and I wish my response were all of the above y la Mexicana. 

When the women ask me what I do for a living, I say, soy maestra. 

I am a teacher.

denise * levertov

 

  

 

In Poetry as Prayer: Denise Levertov, Murray Bodo describes six ways to “pray” poems:  “Prayer involves discipline, perseverance, and a humility that comes from knowing that you cannot control God… You learn to pray by praying, and you learn to appreciate poetry by reading it” (91).

1. Be Committed.

Denise Levertov’s commitment to her art was a true vocation.  She made hard decisions throughout her life in order to protect and nourish her writing.  (92)

2. Try to Write as a Way of Prayer.

What I learned from Denise was to trust my words to take me where I would not have gone without them; to trust the first word to lead to the first line, the second line, and then on to stanza after stanza.  Prayer-words will likewise lead to silences and pauses not unlike those blank spaces on the page, those pauses at the end of lines… (95)

Denise Levertov was one of the most intellectually honest people I have ever met.  She would not say what she did not believe, simply in order to please another.  She trusted the truth, and her poems shimmer with a truthful articulation that frees her work from faddish posturing. (98)

4. Plan Well.

Without a course of action to pursue in the face of injustice, Levertov said, people only become frustrated and angry – another kind of violence. (100)

5. Believe in Memory.

The injunction, “Remember,” is one of the most frequent exhortations in the Bible, for it is in remembering the works of God that we are able to define who we are and see the world around us with God’s eye.  (102)

6. Know that Faith is a Journey.

For faith is a gift given to those who are open to receiving it.

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Prayer:  Lines from Levertov’s “Making Peace.”

“A line of peace might appear / if we restructured the sentences our lives are making…./peace, a presence, / … might pulse then, / stanza by stanza into the world, / each act of living/ one of its words….”

joy * alegría

Sharing a psalm by a king and an apostle’s letter…

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“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)

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“I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through God who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:10-13)

first * corinthians

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 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.

And though I have the gift of prophecy — Of foretelling future events.

And understand all the mysteries — Both of God’s word and providence.

And all knowledge — Of things divine and human, that ever any mortal attained to. And though I have the highest degree of miracle working faith, and have not this love, I am nothing.

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