Today we remembered St Mark the Evangelist, whose Feast day falls on March 25th. At this weekly service, instead of a homily, we spend a few minutes reflecting as a group on the appointed readings or on the saint being commemorated, or on what God is doing in the world or in our lives.
The blurb about the saint of the day in For All the Saints, notes that Mark “was addressing a Church confused by the gap between the promise of “the good news” and the reality of persecution.”
This reminded me of a review I read in the latest New Yorker of a new book about the poet Wallace Stevens. The reviewer (Peter Schjeldahl) mentions his candidate for the finest American modern poem: “The Idea of order at Key West.” I pulled out my anthology of 20th-century poetry and read Stevens’ poem, finding it a challenging piece of work. The phrase “blessed rage for order” comes from this poem, although it was more familiar to me as the title of David Tracy’s book about theological pluralism. I looked up an analysis of poem and found this: “The core of the poem lies on the interdependence of imagination and reality. Stevens stresses the “essential discontinuity between them” and emphasizes their differences by “demonstrating the vain struggle of the imagination ‘to grasp what it beholds in a single version of it.”
Another member of our Wednesday circle mentioned having seen a PBS special on Buddhism recently, in which a Buddhist monk spoke of people being surprised that Buddhist monks continually struggle with earthly temptations on their spiritual path. The struggle between the illusory and pursuit of Nirvana is ever present.
Whatever the spiritual path we walk, there will always be distractions, washouts, potholes, detours, forks, dead-ends, and the unknown. We have always had to live with these tensions as part of the journey.
— Sherman Hesselgrave