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aheartbeachOnce again today, I arise to the feeling that I live a life of privilege. I arrived last evening with two friends at Stonington, Maine where we will spend the entire week at a gathering of “Wisdom seekers” in the company of our teacher, Cynthia Bourgeault, in the place that she calls home. Part of the island community of Deer Isle, it was incorporated as a town in 1897 and has gradually become the number one port in Maine for the value of its fisheries, primarily lobsters.

I am sitting this morning in a sweet little cottage room in an eleven-unit motel, family-owned for generations. The hospitality is as lovely as the room itself and I have already downed my first cup of in-room coffee (with real half-and-half added). The harbor is across the street and each of the two large venues where we will meet are two minutes away from here. I hear that the best coffee in Maine is just down the street and there is a deck at the water’s edge owned by the motel for sitting in the peace of the ocean to drink it all in.

We gathered in the Town Hall last night to greetings and hugs from friends with whom we have shared past Wisdom Schools and others from across the country whose experiences of Cynthia and her teaching have been elsewhere. It was clear that we all share a desire for the depth of wisdom and unity consciousness. Of special note for me was our closing prayer. Into the silence we chanted in harmony a petition prompted by one of the Beatitudes from today’s gospel (MT 5: 1-12) Lord, as you will, Lord as you know, have mercy; have mercy.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, I am often struck as I was yesterday by the breadth of a term that is sometimes reduced to something like pity. As I have most likely said here before, at its deepest level mercy can be understood as a fierce bonding love that impels us to become God’s presence in the world. That last clause is my own conclusion of what such a love can generate, but how else would such a grace be reciprocated?

As we gather for prayer, for consideration of the themes of heart-centered living, for the conversations that will undoubtedly be deep and meaningful, we offer our presence here for the good of the world – for people everywhere, for all living creatures and in gratitude for the on-going care of the One who motivates us all. I invite your solidarity in prayer and intention with us.