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ASCENT - Reflections

 

Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI Theologian, Teacher, Author

In the Book of Genesis we read that Jacob had a dream within which he saw a ladder connecting earth to heaven with angels going up and down on this ladder. Waking from the dream, Jacob realizes that he has had a very privileged experience within which the gap between heaven and earth was, for a moment, bridged. Not wanting to lose this experience, nor this special place, he sets up a stone as a pillar, as an altar, to mark the place, a concrete physical spot, where he sensed a special connection between heaven and earth, so that he find his way back to this privileged spot. That’s the first church building and that’s ultimately the meaning of every church building, every temple, every shrine, every mosque, and every holy site. It’s a privileged place where there’s a ladder between heaven and earth, with the angels of God ascending and descending. It’s a special place where one can go to pray...

The ladder upon which angels ascend and descend between heaven and earth can be found everywhere, nature itself is a cathedral and, inside each of us, there's a church.

Two Churches, Two Sacred Places, Two Struggles, November 24, 2014

The Angels Made Way

A poem for Kayla Mueller

Mark C. Johnson, Executive Director, Center & Library for the Bible and Social Justice


There were so many
(And each day more)
So many, many more
Who built a ladder
Of prayers, blessings,
That we would want
To believe with you
That though you slept,
Your head on the Rock,
That Angels made Way.
And rising you've climbed
Rungs of suffering yet
Seen in others' eyes' pain
And carried it with you
To a promised Peace.

 Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI Theologian, Teacher, Author

[The challenge to grow] comes with an invitation that invites us upwards, towards a spirituality of the ascent. All spiritualities worthy of the name, stress the need to make a certain ascent, to grow beyond our immaturities, our laziness, our wounds, and the perennial hedonism and shallowness of our culture. The emphasis here is always to reach upward, beyond, towards the heavens, and towards all that is more noble, altruistic, compassionate, loving, admirable, and saintly. 
 

 

Mother to Son, 1926
by Langston Hughes 

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
Bare.
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. 

 

Jacob's Ladder
Pete Seeger
We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
We are climbing Jacob's ladder,
Brothers, sisters, all.

Every rung goes higher and higher,
Every rung goes higher and higher,
Every rung goes higher and higher,
Brothers, sisters, all.

We are dancing Sarah's circle,
We are dancing Sarah's circle,
We are dancing Sarah's circle,
Sisters, brothers, all.

Every new one makes us stronger,
Every new one makes us stronger,
Every new one makes us stronger,
Sisters, brothers, all
 

 

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