One of my favorite places in Italy is Burano, the little island near Venice where lace is made.  All the houses are brightly colored, and most of them seem to be back to back, facing onto canals; it's really a photographer's paradise.

Every once in a while there are alleys between the homes, and tucked into many of the alleys, just above and inside the arched entrance, are wee altars like this one, placed there to bless those who travel through.

I post this one today because in my reading this morning Henri Nouwen is speaking about the importance of blessing: of understanding that we are blessed, of noticing blessings, of listening for blessings, and of blessing others.

It seems to me that this is one of the tragedies of our now primarily secular society: that we no longer fully understand the value of blessings -- or even how blessed we truly are.

I need to run off and get ready for class, but in the spirit of blessing I thought I'd share one of my favorites with you:

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.
And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.
When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

~ John O'Donohue ~
(Echoes of Memory)


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