Carol Bieleck, RSCJ, if you’ve read the fabulous book of the same title by Franciscan Father Richard Rohr, about Spirituality and the 12 Steps.
In a Blue Theology prayer book of “Ocean Devotions,” this one could be my Call to Worship.
Here’s the whole poem. Just read it and let it “sink” in. I then add a few reflections, including a cool idea about how coral itself breathes underwater, and helps us all breathe as well.
But, really, the poem sinks/floats on its own – it might be best just to let the deep mystery be, leave that tender wet moment alone.
Rohr calls the 12 Steps “12 Breathing Lessons.” Having had a spiritual awakening, “We can breathe, and we can even breathe under water, because the breath of God is everywhere.”
-“Breathing under water doesn’t make sense,” writes Fr. Arthur MacKay in a lecture based on Rohr’s book. “God acting on us does not make sense– in a world where we thought we succeeded, or failed on OUR OWN… It is the opposite of what we expect, a paradox.” Rohr calls that paradox healing, salvation, recovery.
-Why is a castle made of coral so intriguing? I had a fishbowl in college with a fabulous castle my goldfish swan in and through. My mother read me Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, and I can still recite the poem of a little boy dreaming as he sends boats of stick and leaves down river; “Green leaves a floating, Castles of the foam, Boats of mine a-boating, Where will all come home?” Castles of the foam. I want to live there in that mysterious wet palace.
-Talk about mystery – coral. It does breathe underwater. It looks like rock, forms solid reefs. But coral is an animal. And coral has its own in-house food service – ocean algae, a plant, lives in symbiosis with and within the coral. Animal and plant each ensure the other will live – structure and safety for the plant, built-in food for the coral animal. And while coral reefs cover only 0.0025 percent of the oceanic floor, those resident plants inside the coral generate much of the Earth’s oxygen. Breathing for themselves underwater, corals also help create the oxygen that keeps us alive.
I post these ocean devotions every Wednesday here and on Facebook. Dive in with me!