May 2015


St Augustine wrote of God in his ‘Confessions’:

“You, my God, are supreme… You are the most hidden from us and yet the most present amongst us, the most beautiful and yet the most strong, ever enduring and yet we cannot comprehend you. You are unchangeable and yet you change all things. You are never new, never old, and yet all things have new life from you.”



When artist Joan Miro was 24 years old, he predicted that he would do his best work in old age.

The exhibition, “Joan Miro: Instinct and Imagination,” documents the work he did in his 70’s and 80’s.  In keeping with the idea of positive aging, Miro described himself as working like a gardener: “Everything takes time… Things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen.”

His life-course also manifested the process of life-review.  At age 57 he took out pieces he had done earlier in life and put into storage.  His self-examination of his own work was ruthless: “It was a shock, a real experience,” he said. “I was merciless with myself.”

For Miro, later life creativity also involved exploring new media: after age 70 he used bronze for sculpture for the first time and  after 80 began to paint with his finger.  He said “I think I’ll start doing good work when I’m 70.”  He was concerned, too, for future generations.  In 1975, at age 82 he said “It’s the young people who interest me, not the old dodos.  If I go on working, it’s for the year 2000 and for the people of tomorrow.”

The exhibit of Miro’s late work is being shown at the Denver Art Museum through June 28.

For more on the exhibit, visit:



they go there with empty hands


What do they do,
The singers, tale writers, dancers, painters,
Shapers, makers?

They go there with empty hands, into
The gap between.
They come back with things in their hands.

They go silent and come back with words, with tunes.
They go into confusion and come back with patterns.
They go limping and weeping, ugly and frightened,
And come back with the wings of a red wing hawk,
The eye of a mountain lion.

That is where they live,
Where they get their breath,
There, in the gap between,
The empty place


Ursula le Guin





A friend told me of visiting the Dalai Lama in India and asking him for a succinct definition of compassion. She prefaced her question by describing how heart-stricken she’d felt when, earlier that day, she’d seen a man in the street beating a mangy stray dog with a stick. “Compassion,” the Dalai Lama told her, “is when you feel as sorry for the man as you do for the dog.”


Marc Barasch




Perhaps the tulip knows about impermanence

and that is why, on a green stem

it carries a wine cup in the wilderness

Hafiz, (re)transl. Tom Davis



There is a famous story that Gandhi  told of himself and the girl who was addicted to eating sweet foods.

The story goes that a troubled mother one day came to Gandhi along with her daughter and explained to Gandhi that her daughter was in the habit of eating far more sweet food than was good for her. Please, she asked, would Gandhi speak to the girl and persuade her to give up this harmful habit? Gandhi sat for a while in silence and then said, ‘Bring your daughter back in three weeks’ time, and then I will speak to her.’ The mother went away as she was told and came back after three weeks. This time Gandhi quietly took the daughter aside and in a few simple words pointed out to her the harmful effects of indulging in sweet food; he urged her to abandon the habit.

Thanking Gandhi for giving her daughter such good advice the mother then said to him in a puzzled voice, ‘Still, I would like to know, Gandhi, why you did not just say those words to my daughter three weeks ago when I first brought her to you?’

‘But’, explained Gandhi in reply, ‘Three weeks ago I myself was still addicted to eating sweet foods!’



And so it is with the glory of God expressed in human creation. It is not only in the ardent lover, the faithful friend, the wise counsellor, the trusting child that we see God’s glory. There is glory also in the anger of the oppressed, the pain of the wounded and the loneliness of the despised. It is the glory of God that puts such as these first in the Kingdom of Heaven, and makes us all interdependent – as much as part of the delicate and complex structure of relationship as the plants and animals that need the trees in the forest to survive.

The Church that has lost its sense of injustice is in danger of losing its heart

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