Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Writing, The Heat and Celestine

Today I did something I've always wanted to do, but was too busy to make time for. It was the first day of a creative writing course I'm taking at a local university. The last time I took a creative writing course was in high school. I'm hoping to deepen my creativity and get motivated to spend more time writing each day. The classroom was air-conditioned or it would have been unbearable. It was a hellish day in New York City and the suburbs. Was it really 104 degrees? It certainly felt that hot. 
I read with interest an online article by David Gibson at Politics Daily titled, "Pope Pondering Resignation? Benedict Visits Tomb of Pontiff Who Stepped Down." Everyone knows Pope Benedict would never step down (unless God suggested it, which is highly unlikely). The Pope has no reason to step down in my humble opinion, but I read the article because it's an interesting question. And I was fascinated to read that Pope St. Celestine V was canonized a saint, even though he did resign from the papacy in the year 1294. He was Pope for only five months.  Pope Benedict visited his tomb recently in central Italy, on the 800th anniversary of Celestine's birth and spoke about his holiness and his love of silence, before a crowd of 25,000 people. He didn't mention that Pope Celestine resigned from the papacy.
Pope Benedict did mention the following which I think is very important, "Silence became the element that characterized his daily life. And it is precisely in external silence, but above all in internal silence, that he succeeded in perceiving God's voice, a voice that was able to guide his life."
I love quiet and solitude, I've developed an appreciation for it, over the years. It's a great vehicle to holiness as many spiritual writers suggest.  Christian meditation and contemplative prayer are deep, fruitful and healing forms of prayer. 
I can see why Celestine didn't think the demands of the papacy were for him. It's a very demanding position as is being a Cardinal or Bishop. I'm glad the Church canonized Celestine even though he resigned from the papacy. Sometimes we have to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit and walk in "darkness" for a while and then God lights the way. Celestine had previously been a hermit, he probably spent many hours in contemplative prayer and quiet, and I would guess he yearned to go back to that peaceful life.