Today I made my way along a number of different roads and routes to Mt. Irenaeus. I haven’t been to the Mountain in a couple of weeks. Last week I found myself in Washington, DC and at a bookstore in Dupont Circle at 11:00 AM. Today, the air was sunny and warm as I pulled off Route 1 in Friendship, New York and turned on to Hydetown Road. I drove very slowly along the the dirt road as I made my way to Mass. Lately I’ve been intentionally driving slower and especially on my way up to Holy Peace Chapel. As the liturgy started and Fr. Dan invited us to listen to the lyrics of Cyprian Consiglio as he sang “This is who you are.” Mass began and I listened to the readings and Fr. Dan’s homily and as rich as all of it was, it was the moment when Fr. Dan related the story of how all were truly welcome in this place. Dan said, that earlier this morning as he had been preparing the chapel for the Eucharist that two members of the Baha’i and Muslim faiths had been here praying and that their presence helped to consecrate this place. He explained that they were neighbors and had been here before. Dan’s complete acceptance of them and their faith tradition reminded me why I drive thirty miles to Mass most Sundays of the year. Thank God for Fr. Dan Riley and for the Franciscan Friars of Holy Peace Friary who open the word of God for us.
All this talk about Islam and Muslims has awakened a hunger within me to know more. One of my favorites is a Sufi mystic, Rumi. Rumi lived in the 13th century and though they were thousand of miles apart he was a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi.
I searched for God among the Christians and on the Cross and therein I found Him not. I went into the ancient temples of idolatry; no trace of Him was there. I entered the mountain cave of Hira and then went as far as Qandhar but God I found not. With set purpose I fared to the summit of Mount Caucasus and found there only anqa’s habitation.
Then I directed my search to the Kaaba, the resort of old and young; God was not there even. Turning to philosophy I inquired about him from ibn Sina but found Him not within his range. I fared then to the scene of the Prophet’s experience of a great divine manifestation only a “two bow-lengths’ distance from him” but God was not there even in that exalted court.
Finally, I looked into my own heart and there I saw Him; He was nowhere else.–Rumi