A cross enclosed within a circle;
opening-out within the embrace of sheltering arms,
my God, this illumines life so much.
A child in his mother’s arms,
loving spontaneously because he is loved;
the invitation to discipleship, touching the heart,
not as a mere command or a task, but as a romance,
a wondrous adventure, Love awakening love.
Our tendency, my God, so deeply-rooted,
is to separate the cross from the circle,
and to embrace task outside the realm of gift.
But you call us back from this empty grasping,
whether in the profligacy of sin
or in the self-righteousness of the elder brother
(a beloved son who lives, every day, as if he were a slave)
and teach us to reach out, rightly,
in response to the Love ever enfolding us.
Integrity of heart and life,
this beautiful reality for which we yearn,
feeling often, with a sense of shame and guilt,
that we are so disintegrated,
not living as we would like,
but doing the very things we hate.
Yet it is not up to us alone
to break beyond the obstacles
that draws us down, in narrowness,
but rather to open our eyes, our heart,
to the arms of Love embracing us.
Then, as a cross within a circle,
all of our own efforts find their place.
To be a beloved one within Love’s embrace,
this is primary, the true reality of every moment;
only then does our own doing find its place,
and not as a rolling snowball
blindly following its own course,
but as the heart’s receptiveness
to the Beloved’s beauty,
which touches and awakens the heart
each and every day, every moment, anew.
When the eyes of the heart ceaselessly contemplate,
gazing out in order to welcome deeply within,
the form of the cross is already impressed,
deeply, upon the inmost soul.
The circle from the beginning, indeed,
bears in itself a diameter:
only draw the lines across
and you have a cross.
God’s love penetrates through and through,
like a seed in the soil of the earth,
blossoming forth and reaching out,
responding, unceasingly, to the sun,
radiant in warmth, light, and beauty.
This is life, my God, gratuitous gift,
purely given, unconditionally,
yet calling forth to ever greater love,
so that we may receive anew again,
until at last we receive, completely,
in the torrent of your delight, eternally.
Our world is full of so many people
who wend their way along its many paths,
the flashing of traffic lights and computer screens,
the noise of buses, cars, and railway trains.
Each heart is searching for something,
following a certain desire, knowing or unknowingly.
Some have voiced it to themselves, even to another,
but some are led, almost blindly, by unconscious drives,
the inner person lulled and almost put to sleep,
while the flesh and senses pass from one thing to another.
Restless nostalgia, alive deep within each of us,
for something we do not have, perhaps have lost,
or, indeed, have lost so long ago, yet never knew.
Yet it is still impressed upon our inmost heart
as a sketch without paint or pigment,
only hinting at what it could some day be.
Or like a seal of wax upon parchment,
with the insignia of the One to whom we belong.
Perhaps best of all, it is like an engagement ring,
promise of something wonderful, full of hope,
needing only to be moved from one hand to another,
placed there by the One who loves us
more than we can imagine.
Is there a way for this feverish activity,
within this world of ours, to find some rest?
Is there a way to be, and simply to abide,
on this globe that is always turning,
people like ants scurrying across its surface?
What if one could draw so near
that the ant-sized person unveils something more:
an immense mystery larger than the entire world?
Then there is a glimpse of rest, pure abiding love,
where there is no longer the need to do,
but simply to love, cherish, and embrace.
Yet all doing then, losing its burning fever,
is replaced by another, purer fire,
one kindled by contact with the other’s heart.
The heart within my breast is then no longer drawn
by this interior hollowness and need
—but by a deeper need and longing nonetheless.
The change is like the sinful woman at the well
who comes driven by so many struggles,
yet leaves driven, so much more powerfully,
by a deeper longing, yet a deeper joy and repose.
The heart-strands are stretched and expanded,
precisely by being woven together to those of others,
stretched out in the form of a cross, to brother and sister,
and upwards, especially, knitted to the Heart of God.
The seed of love and encounter is implanted
as true life in the place of the inmost heart,
and after three days it rises anew, radiant,
bearing wounds, now become glorious, pure.
The human heart, stretching out, here and there,
finds itself enfolded already, always,
by the encircling arms of eternal Love.
It is led back then, to a blessed repose,
taste of the endless joy to come,
and within this repose of intimate embrace
it finds others also contained,
and reaches out, without departing,
to touch them and to hold them,
lovingly, close to itself…
within the God who holds us close.