CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: HADEWIJCH OF ANTWERP ON THE WILD LOVE OF GOD

This is our last week exploring the spiritual poetry of the Flemish mystic Hadewijch of Antwerp (13th c.). I’m so taken with how this mystic explores the mysterious and powerful force of love in her poems. Remember that in these poems, love is personified and should be understood as God’s love.

In the first poem, Hadewijch touches on the slow course of love. It reminds us that spiritual maturity is a lifelong process.

Love’s maturity

 

In the beginning Love satisfies us.
When Love first spoke to me of love—
How I laughed at her in return!
But then she made me like the hazel trees,
Which blossom early in the season of darkness,
And bear fruit slowly.

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In the second poem for today, Hadewijch marvels at the fact that God’s love is complete in and of itself. I find the last three lines of this poem incredibly moving.

Knowing Love in herself

 

I do not complain of suffering for Love,
It is right that I should always obey her,
For I can know her only as she is in herself,
Whether she commands in storm or in stillness.
This is a marvel beyond my understanding,
Which fills my whole heart
And makes me stray in a wild desert.

God’s love is a wild thing! May we all go on an endless search, even into the desert, to meet it there.

Source.

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: HADEWIJCH OF ANTWERP ON LOVE’S TRUTH

Today I bring you another poem form the medieval mystic Hadewijch of Antwerp. In her spiritual love poetry, Hadewijch expresses both the agony and the beauty of serving love, that is, God’s love.

In this excerpt from Poem 28, Hadewijch wrestles with the power of love, which can both destroy and raise up. She also asks the question, what do you do when you just can’t go on, when you’ve reached the end of the road and you can’t love anymore? Read Hadewijch’s poem for her honest take on God’s love.

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For this is love’s truth: she joins two in one being, makes sweet sour, strangers neighbors, and the lowly noble.

 

She makes the healthy sick and the sick healthy; she cripples those who are sound of limb and heals the wounded.

 

To the ignorant she reveals the wide roads they must wander in weariness and teaches them all that shall be learned in the school of highest love.

 

Burning desire is taught in the school of highest love.

 

She confounds the experienced, she brings happiness to the wretched, she makes them lords of all over which love herself holds sway.

 

Of this I am certain beyond all doubt.

 

To those who can serve love no more I give this good advice.

 

Let them still beg for her comfort if they falter and serve her with devotion according to her highest counsel.

 

Let them think how great love’s power is, for only those near to death cannot be healed.

 

They have risen high that have received love’s power, and in that power they shall read her judgment over them.

*****

Source

For reflection:

Hadewijch - love's truth

 

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: THE POETRY OF HADEWIJCH OF ANTWERP

A few months ago, we dipped into one of the letters of Hadewijch of Antwerp, a thirteenth-century mystic who was probably a beguine. Hadewijch wrote many letters and is also well known for her spiritual love poetry. In her poems, love is personified and is to be understood as God’s love, which consumes all things and which fills the lover with a terrible and wonderful longing.

Sometimes poetry can help us approach our faith with new eyes. So today, let’s read one of Hadewijch’s poems. In Poem 8 below, Hadewijch speaks of the the “awesome calling” of being in love and also of its responsibilities and rewards.

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Poem 8

Born is the new season as the old one that lasted so long is drawing to a close.
Those prepared to do love’s service will receive her rewards: new comfort and new   strength.
If they love her with the vigor of love, they will soon be one with love in love.

To be one with love is an awesome calling and those who long for it should spare no effort.
Beyond all reason they will give their all and go through all.
For love dwells so deep in the womb of the Father that her power will unfold only to those who serve her with utter devotion.

First the lover must learn charity and keep God’s law.
Then he shall be blessed a hundredfold, and he shall do great things without great effort, and bear all pain without suffering.
And so his life will surpass human reason indeed.

Those who long to be one with love achieve great things, and shirk no effort.
They shall be strong and capable of any task that will win them the love of love, to help the sick or the healthy, the blind, the crippled or the wounded.
For this is what the lover owes to love.

He shall help the strangers and give to the poor and soothe the suffering whenever he can.
He shall pay loyal service to God’s friends, to saints and men, with a strength that is not human, by night and by day.
And when his strength seems to falter he will still place his trust in love.

Those who trust in love with all their being shall be given all they need.
For she brings comfort to the sad and guidance to those who cannot read.
Love will be pleased with the lover if he accepts no other comfort and trusts in her alone.

Those who desire to live in love alone with all their might and heart shall so dispose all things that they shall soon possess her all.

Source

For reflection

hadewijch - one with love2

CONTEMPLATIVE PROFILE: AN ADVENT POEM FROM MADELEINE L’ENGLE

Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007) was a beloved American writer. If you’re like me, her novel A Wrinkle in Time was formative for your young adult years. L’Engle also wrote poetry; today, I invite you to reflect on her beautiful poem about silence, brokenness, and the coming of Jesus.

Ready for Silence

Then hear now the silence
He comes in the silence
in silence he enters
the womb of the bearer
in silence he goes to
the realm of the shadows
redeeming and shriving
in silence he moves from
the grave clothes, the dark tomb
in silence he rises
ascends to the glory
leaving his promise
leaving his comfort
leaving his silence

So come now Lord Jesus
Come in your silence
breaking our noising
laughter of panic
breaking this earth’s time
breaking us breaking us
quickly Lord Jesus
make no long tarrying

When will you come
and how will you come
and will we be ready
for silence
your silence

Source

Friday Favorites For Prayer and Writing

Welcome to Friday Favorites! Each week, share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Do you have someone else’s article or post to share? Join the Contemplative Writers Facebook group, comment on today’s post on my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter (@LisaKDeam) to nominate your favorite articles, blog posts, and books by Thursday at noon each week.

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The Unassuming Habits of Hope via Richard Clark (how do we sow hope in the dry soil of our world?)

What do Gene Kelly and St. Francis have in common? via Jon Sweeney (the answer to this surprising question might surprise you!)

Finding Forgotten Friends: Apprenticing Ourselves to the Past via James K. A. Smith (how the Christian past can give us wisdom and humility for today)

Christians Need Compassion More Than Ever via Ed Cyzewski (on nourishing compassion, rather than anger, for those who believe much differently than we do)

Humbled By Your Sovereign Ways via Jenneth Graser (a prayer poem to help you worship our Creator today)

Balance: Perspectives and Advice on Finding Harmony Amidst Life’s Duties via Redbud Writers Guild (check out the November issue of the Redbud Post for a series of articles on finding balance in your life)

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FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

This week’s favorites begin with two reflections on the tragedy in Las Vegas. If you’re like me, you can always use help processing and praying through these terrible events.

As always, please let me know if you have suggestions for Friday Favorites. You can find me on Twitter @LisaKDeam.

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A Prayer for the Victims of the Las Vegas Shooting via Chelsen Vicari (prayer is more than a hashtag . . .)

Weary In Well-Doing? via Michelle Van Loon (in the face of national tragedy, how do we avoid becoming weary in doing good?)

What If Christians Need Empowerment More Than Oversight via Ed Cyzewski (can leaders and Christians help one another examine theology and spirituality?)

How Meister Eckhard Inspires Letting Go for Love via Mark S. Burrows (the startling appeal of the wisdom of a medieval mystic)

The outsider via Glynn Young (a poem after Isaiah 56:6-8)

Why we need Silence via Ian Paul (a book review and thoughts on silence in ministry and spirituality)

Deliberate Acts of Kindness via Lisa DeLay and Meredith Gould (a Spark My Muse podcast on service as a spiritual practice)

 

FRIDAY FAVORITES FOR PRAYER AND WRITING

Each Friday I share some of my favorite finds related to praying or writing. If I think it could help you pray or write better, or just “be” better, I’ll include it below.

Since yesterday was National Poetry Day (in the UK, anyway), this week’s faves begin with some lovely poems and prayers. These pave the way for explorations of the way we label ourselves and the way we find and nourish our creativity. Enjoy!

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Having It Out With Melancholy: Amanda Palmer Reads Jane Kenyon’s Stunning Poem About Life With and After Depression via Brain Pickings (take a listen . . .)

Enter Autumn Cautiously via Emily Polis Gibson (“May we find the color amidst the gray”)

Turn, and Be Saved via Kelly Chripczuk (“Sometimes, all it takes/is the slight movement of your eye . . .”)

A Psalm of Mercy Relentless via Jenneth Graser (a beautiful prayer for mercy)

Questions for the One Who Waits via Richard Chess (a meditation on Psalm 27 and the experience of waiting)

Are You an Extravert or Introvert? Or Maybe That’s the Wrong Question via Gina Butz (a call for contemplation rather than labeling)

Cultivating Creativity in Chaos via Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros (understanding your creativity and helping it to flourish)