Reflection Masthead
Issue 115 - The Seen Edge - October 2014

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Lamanai Temple
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Three thousand years before Columbus, the Mayan peoples settled along the New River in Northern Belize, founding the city of Lamanai. Once boasting a population of over 30,000, the oldest ruins date back to centuries before Christ. 
The video below offers a good sense of what our visit was like:
Lamanai Ruins and Boat Ride 2011
Lamanai Ruins and Boat Ride 2011

Past Issues


2-Creating Sacred Space

3-Leaving Footprints


5-Ordered Life

76-Vanier Visit

87-Wondrous Fear, Holy Awe

91-Crater Lake



101-On Reflections 

102-Morning Moments

104-Into Self Into God

107-First Home

108-NBA Championship

109-Not Nice

110-On Freedom 

111-Electronic Dependency

112 Robin Williams


114-Simple Acts

Link to all past issues 


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For our 10th Anniversary (September 25) we took a seven-day cruise to the Western Caribbean. Our reflections in this issue arise from that experience. 
Beneath the Waves

Yes, that is me in the photo - preparing to stick my head under water!

I am not an experienced snorkeler. I am definitely not a good Bill Snorkel snorkeler. I spat out a lot of sea water, and thrashed about a great deal before I began to get the hang of it. But once I did, I was suspended in a magical world!

Fish - scores of fish! - singly or in schools, colorful and quick, all dwelling in the coral reefs of the Roatan Marine Park, off the coast of Honduras. For a glimpse of what my words cannot describe, click here for a brief video from the park.

Many fish came so close I could almost touch them. However, I never entered fully into their realm.  A snorkeler floats atop the water, still breathing air from the surface. The snorkeler lives at the boundary of two realms. Scuba divers go deeper, immersing fully in the aquatic world.

Most of us, however, live our lives immersed in air, seldom, if ever, peeking below the surface of the world's oceans. For sixty years, I missed a lot; I missed a great delight.

Likewise, few of us immerse ourselves fully in the life of the spirit. Few of us can; we must stay at the surface, going to work, raising the kids, and paying the bills. Yet we can be, if you will, be snorkelers of the spirit. We can dip beneath the surface and at least glimpse holy beauty. If we stay only above the surface of life, living fully in the daily grind, there is much beauty we will miss, much delight we will forgo.

As with snorkeling, prayer and meditation is not easy, at first. There may be discomfort, thrashing, even fear that we are in over our heads. Take courage. Trust that breath will come, that you will be buoyed up. Wonder and delight await. 

                                                --by Bill



Immense Horizons


"To a worm in horseradish, the whole world is horseradish," my friend, Marty Benson, OCarm, would often say. The reference, of course, was to people whose world was small, static, and stifling. We all know someone whose world is so shrunken that their whole world fits within their own self-centered skin.

Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan's notion of conversion included a metaphorical use of the term 'horizon;' conversion raises or extends the limit of what one knows and is interested in. Horizons, ontologically, are distant seen edges of the expansive world in which we live.

Nowhere did that prove to be more true than during our recent cruise on the Caribbean Sea. It was a surreal experience, climbing to the top of the ship and seeing a horizon of water surrounding us, no land in sight. Only water, horizon, sky and clouds --- and freedom!  Immense freedom!  As Thomas Merton wrote: "A supernatural instinct teaches us that the function of this abyss of freedom that has opened out within our own midst, is to draw us utterly out of our own selfhood and into its own immensity of liberty and joy."

French Jesuit theologian and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin would tend to agree: "Bathe yourself in the ocean of matter; plunge into it where it is deepest and most violent; struggle in its currents and drink of its waters. For it cradled you long ago in your preconscious existence; and it is that ocean that will raise you up to God."


                                                                 - Jan

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Sincerely,  Bill Howden & Jan Davis
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