To the Muslim Community in the West: Thank You

    I want to thank you for all that your predecessors have given, that you give, and that your descendants will give to humanity, for all the stories of your soul that have been molded by a harsh landscape and a strong faith, as strong and supple as a spider web stretched across the entrance of a cave.

Oh, Ye Lovers! A Meditation on Mawlana Rumi and St. John of the Cross

By Avellina Balestri

Word Count: 1255

Rated: G

Summary: A poem about the spiritual expression of love, inspired by Mawlana Rumi and St. John of the Cross.

red-roses-500
Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/red-roses-love-natural-beauty-3131349/

 

“The people of the city, young and old
Were all lamenting, crying, sighing loud
The villagers as well as Turks and Greeks,
They tore their shirts from grief for this great man.
‘He was our Jesus!’- thus the Christians spoke.
‘He was our Moses!’ – said the Jews of him…”

~ A contemporary account of Mawlana Rumi’s funeral

“What a wonderful thing it is
For two souls to understand each other,
For they neither lack something to say,
Nor grow tired.”

~ St. Theresa of Avila on her friendship with St. John of the Cross

 

Oh, ye lovers, dance! Whirl as the petals of the rose unfurl and find the Center of all Longing, the Oneness of all Being. Spin as the seasons turn, color melting from one shade to another, ever deepening, as ink upon the parchment forms poetry, formed deeper yet by the pattern within. Let every the every pen be broken save for the feather of Reality’s Breath, fluttering in our chests, blowing through the hollowed out reed, playing the music divine… Read more about Oh, Ye Lovers! A Meditation on Mawlana Rumi and St. John of the Cross

Christian and Muslim Understandings of God: Irreconcilably Different or Close Kindred?

By Avellina Balestri

Word Count: 1216

Rating: G

Summary: A look at the similarities between the Christian and Muslim faiths

Pope & Imam

    There is a common claim made that the distinction between Muslim and Christian understandings of God are a stark difference between a distant, remote, severe deity and an intimate, invested, and loving one. There is also much said with regards to the analogies of a Master/Slave relationship on the Islamic side and a Father/Son one on the Christian side. This is typically brought up by those seeking to argue that Muslims and Christians do not worship the same God and that one side or the other is “pagan”, as opposed to simply differing branches on the Abrahamic tree, and therefore surprisingly close spiritual kin.

    However, while the belief in the Trinity and Incarnation lends a unique form of intimacy and solidarity to the Christian conception of God’s relationship to Man, which stands apart from all other monotheistic traditions, I do not believe this in any way negates the depth and complexity of Islamic tradition with regards to the intimate nearness of the divine nor does it nullify the more formal titles or harsher imagery present within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Also, when the twists of linguistic preferences are explored more deeply than their face value, they often have some degree of commonality not previously acknowledged. Read more about Christian and Muslim Understandings of God: Irreconcilably Different or Close Kindred?

Star of the Sea: Marian Devotion through the Prism Of an Old English Hymn to the Virgin

By Avellina Balestri

Word Count: 4050

Rating: G

Summary: Thoughts and reflections on the Woman who bore God in her womb.

   Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary has played an integral role in Christian devotion since the early days of the Church, and continues to be a vital part of the daily devotions of Catholic, Orthodox, and even some denominations of Protestant Christians to this day. Once a year, during the season of Christmas, even those who typically do not engage in Marian devotion find reason to shed a spotlight on this Jewish maiden’s role in the salvation of mankind. But it is my firm belief that all Christians should have ample cause to honor her all year long, particularly during the Lenten and Easter seasons, as a vital thread in the fabric of our spiritual lives. Read more about Star of the Sea: Marian Devotion through the Prism Of an Old English Hymn to the Virgin