The Fire and The Rose are One
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one. T.S. Eliot from Little Gidding
Sitting in darkness, alone with my heart pierced in love
unknown, unwanted, at the time of a full moon, sailing
in clouds above this Middle-Sea, no noise, but the sense
of a Man lying on rock, on the stones of Gethsemane,
praying, then rising and joining in another's prayer.
The dark room fills with fire, flames moving in and out
of a giant heart, the Heart of God, taking me in, like a
child in papoose, in swaddling clothes, or a moth caught in flame.
These flames do not burn outwardly, but inwardly cause
a newness, a rebirth in tears and wonder. The flames surrounding
me sustain, create a cell of protection, of deep privacy, of
a sad knowledge that pain is the only way to Truth. Heart of God
encircles me as I weep in abnegation, in nothingness, truth, as I
was taken back to Gethsemane, in the dark, dark of this Night.
No comfort but love, no sense, but calm resignation on the shores
of the wind-swept sea. And, again, another taking-in, another shelter
of love, of wonder, of mystery, into the Rose of the World, a rose
so large I stand in it, the petals changing colors, from blue, to red, to
white, and to blue again. Resting in the rose, a voice comes telling
me to join in the rest of the Rose. And, so the great bard has been
proven correct, the fire and the rose are one, but one is pain and the
other rest, a restful, quiet, endless prayer of praise and worship. I walk
in the rose, in the flame, unseen by others, unknown except to me and
the One Who calls and creates the fire, the rose, the endless rest which
only my pettiness can disturb. One wills nothing, wants nothing, knows
little but the mystery of the Rose of the World, but not of this world.
This rose is here and in England, as the poet wrote, where the heart is
as well, as I wait for the answers to the mysteries of flame, of sparks
reaching up engulfing anyone who cares to come to love. The poet
writes of the longest river, my river, but now I have transferred my
love to this blue, grey, purple, silver sea, which heals my body and
my soul. But, all waters are one, all are connected in spirit and in truth,
in the water which makes us new, if we so desire it. So now, like a
body coming out of a slow convalescence, I wait for great strength.
The throbbing Heart and the floating Rose protect me while I wait.
The rose remains blue, as I am not worthy of white, and red is the
fullness of love, while blue is the waiting, the wondering, the reaching
for what seems unattainable, I, like the small yellow butterfly fighting
the wind to reach oleander or bougainvillea. They have other names
for such here, but no matter, the butterfly knows the essence of the bloom.
But, I must leave and wander, no longer in, or with, or known, but like
a shadow walking among men who cannot imagine that the flames
and the petals join in some unseen dance of joy. A shadow in flame,
a shadow in soft blue, hearing the Woman who alone dwells in the
heart of the rose. Rosa Mystica, we prayed after Mass today, the
one who waits as well for the time of illumination, the time when
all sin ends, laughed away in tears of relief and sorrow, laughed away
because one sees, finally, the foolishness of self. We shall not cease from
exploration, And the end of all our exploring, Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.