Saturday, June 3, 2017

we have given our hearts away...

St.Kevin and the Blackbird.-Michael Cook.

The Creator must have a special place in his heart for the blackbird.

I once saw a squirrel try to rescue a blackbird who was trapped under the claws of a hawk four times his size. Like a tiger, he charged the hawk who released the blackbird only to catch him in mid-flight. I will never forget this action, this seeming kindness by the furry grey animal that steals our bird food.

Today is the feast of St.Kevin. My second son bears his name.This Celtic saint of 1400 years ago had an encounter with a female blackbird who started to build her nest in his palm, outstretched in prayer. Seeing her efforts, he held his arms out til the baby birds fledged. I love that story.

It does seem a bit of a stretch doesn't it ? But the saint was a real pray-er, hours of it and he withdrew from all contact to keep the connection with God firm and all important. Off he would go, into the woods for years but always someone would find him. Maybe he glowed. He would eventually be dragged back to preach about what he had found in God's presence. He founded a monastery in Glendalough, Ireland and brought Christ to the thousands of pilgrims who made their way there in the 600s A.D.

As I contemplate the long gone Kevin, words of a poem keep coming to mind:.

"The world is too much with us: late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;-
Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon.".....

Standing at Wordsworth's grave in England two years ago, I could  hear his words, smell his golden daffodils. The quiet under those tall trees was Wordsworth quiet.The meandering stream across the way knew his gaze. Poets and saints, they know.

In my mind is a painting. It is an American woman in her fifties, sitting on a rock circle in Glendalough where the quiet was a pale blue. A yellow September sun shone around her and with eyes closed she prayed, overlaying hers with the many that Kevin had uttered. Knowing peace that could only be described as a Presence, she wanted to put down green spreading roots and never leave. Along came a young British girl who sat down for a chat. Our older tourist looked up, nodded, and engaged. (You never know when a bird might land in your hand.)

The world is always too much with us. Rambling William knew, holy Kevin knew. But those who seek that quiet, that solitude, have much to say when they come back.

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