Thursday, April 23, 2009

Open Space

“Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord, praise and exalt him above all forever.” (Dan 3: 57)

“Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessings.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong,
And no man is worthy to mention Your name.
Praised be You, my Lord, with all your creatures,
Especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom You give us light.” (Canticle of Brother Sun, St. Francis of Assisi)

Yesterday, April 22nd, since it was Earth Day, I decided to walk to my office via the Rose Kennedy Memorial Greenway. For those who know Boston, MA, where the Greenway is now, once stood an elevated highway, known as the Southeast Expressway. It was a mass of rusted steel girders and pavement that sliced through the city, separating the North End form the rest of Boston. Then came something called “The Big Dig.” The Expressway was placed underground, the steel girders and pavement was torn down, and in its place is this ribbon of green grass, young trees, shrubs, flowers and plazas. The difference in the area is amazing, the open space, the sunlight and blue sky; it makes you think you are in a different city. All I could think of as I was walking was the above quotes from the Book of Daniel, and from the writings of St. Francis.

Of course, as soon as you get open space, there are people who want to build something there. There are groups who want a memorial statue put up, others want museums, outdoor marketplaces, all worthy ideas, I am sure, but what is it about humanity,, that we cannot let a piece of earth lie fallow, let it just Francis of Assisi once was visiting a hermitage that had a garden that provided vegetables for the friars. He begged Brother Gardener to give a small patch of the garden to the wild flowers and grasses, because they had a right to some of the earth also.

This started me thinking also that we never seem let our minds be empty, either, of thoughts, letting us be still, open. We are always crowding it with the contents of books, blogs (heh), twitters and e-mails; music so loud that it drowns out the sounds of nature, drowns out the whispers of the Spirit. So let’s go out into the open, let’s us be still and let the Sun shine in, or rather, let the Son shine in.

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