FRA (March 29 / Cabagan, Isabela, Philippines)


(At the Monastery of the Transfiguration
Malaybalay, Bukidnon 2012)

Once upon a time these hills,
This valley of Malaybalay were barren,
Now we see a garden patiently re-created
By prayer and labor of monks and workers.
One hill has the stature of a mountain topped
By a pyramid-chapel and a bell tower
That calls all creation to worship.
Land and sky and human hands care for
A convent, coffee plantation, a rice field,
A pumping station, electric lines, and guests
To the delight of once neglected barrio folk,
And local government too. The monastery
Is a school of the Lord’s service, a shrine,
A national tourist attraction as well.
The bells, the bells ring, the monastics
And faithful chant psalms, broadcast the Word
And invite man and woman, flora and fauna
To aspire to the condition of music of faith.
To enter the holy cloister of adoration,
The liturgy of holy Word and Eucharist.
But where is the vision of wholeness
I sense is there, missing for me? Where
The connectivities to lure in my prideful selves
To patterns of wisdom, understanding, love,
To holding oneness of Self and relations?
There is more than meets sense and images here,
More than meets the mind and its categories,
More than meets levels of spirit consciousness.
It tugs at my heart, pressures it to open,
To break tight seams of creatureliness,
That the heart may see and take all in.
The bells, the bells, ring in, ring out,
The bells of discipline, righteousness, care,
And beatitude from the mount, loud and clear:
Blessed, the clean of heart for they shall see...
Where the configurations, the transfiguration?

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