Saturday, September 25, 2010

On Immigration Labor: Colbert Quoting Matthew 25

I wonder who caught this on C-Span 3, (or YouTube or Facebook or any television news source...?) It's Stephen Colbert speaking at the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, and Border Security. In the following excerpt from the transcript, he shares why he's there:

"At the request of Congresswoman Lofgren, I am here today to share my experience as an entertainer turned migrant worker and to shed light on what it means to truly take one of the millions of jobs filled by immigrant labor. They say that you truly know a man after you’ve walked a mile in his shoes, and while I have nowhere near the hardships of these struggling immigrants, I have been granted a sliver of insight."

Mr. Colbert had prepared comments which you can see and read in their entirety. It's this moment, when he's asked why he has chosen to come and talk about this topic today, that I find truly inspiring.
"people who don't have any power...we invite them to come here, and then ask them to interesting contradiction...the least of my brothers...."
My friend Bridget O'Brien posted this on Facebook; again, it moved me. (Bridget is a Notre Dame theology doctoral student, Maggie's godfather - Zac Willette's friend.) This video gave me pause, as any Colbert work does. I wondered watching it:
"Is this real? A comedic skit? More of Colbert's brilliant satire?"
After watching more closely: I realized this was citizen-smart-Christian-catholic-Colbert acting according to his conscience. And that rocks.


Happy Contemplating!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Tending to our Interiors: Introducing Inspiration from Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

Note: The following was written for the Visitation Monastery North Minneapolis blog. I post it here to invite readers of "QueenMab Contemplates..." to follow this series on Fr. Rohr.
"There is nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am and it's enough." Richard Rohr
After I left my ten-plus year post in urban education, I spent a year cleaning people's houses. I got paid to tidy, scour, tend to the dust and grime that we all accumulate in our living spaces. For twenty four hours a week, I would scrub, sweep, polish a family's home or single person's pad, making my way through bathrooms, kitchens, dens, bedrooms, laundry rooms, office spaces, attics, basements. It was privileged work in many ways - as I was privy to the interiors of others' "sanctuaries" - so to speak. I came to think of this period in literal and figurative ways; I was cleaning out not only the inside of other humans' homes, but tending to my own interior spaces: of heart, spirit, mind. It was sacred work on many levels.

During this time, I listened to a lot of Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation, on CD. I'd go into these sacred spaces, broom and bucket in hand, and -- (if it wasn't a Bob Marley kind of morning, or Neil Diamond flashback afternoon that I was having) -- I'd pop in a recording of the Franciscan priest from New Mexico. Viola! I was on retreat while at work. Every action of soap and sponge and elbow-pushing-arm, became a contemplative, active prayer of sorts. I was, in the words of Fr. Rohr's, putting to use the most operative word in his organization's title, being a person of contemplation AND action. What I encountered in my heart and mind whilst listening to "Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening" or "The Great Chain of Being: Simplifying our Lives" conference or "True Self/False Self" made its way literally through my interior life and into exterior action.

During this year of prayer and manual physical labor, I made significant changes in my life. I worked to simplify or downsize in all respects of property and ego; I let go of everything I thought I knew for certain; I felt freer and more happy than I had ever been - as I cleaned and contemplated and wrote blogs as prayerful prose for the public. It was a revolutionary year of my life.

I've recently become re-acquainted with Fr. Rohr, as a friend hooked me up with his daily meditations sent via email from the Center for Action and Contemplation. It's exhilarating to re-discover this spiritual teacher/wise counselor and touchstone. As a prolific writer and speaker, Fr. Rohr has many books and CD's published to inspire our lives; he's not unlike the Visitation's co-founder, St. Francis de Sales, or the many holy people who inspire our hearts, minds, souls, and bodies.

In the days, weeks, months to come, I will be re-posting some of Fr. Richard Rohr's words as they so move me; I will be working to apply them, through a Salesian lens, to my own life. I invite you to join me!

Peace to all this day.

Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde,
Vis Companion