Kendal Q. Binmore: A cacophony of silence: ground of the Triumvirate: 3. Anthony Pau Cabrales’ release to God


3. Anthony Pau Cabrales’ release to God

I stumble in disbelief, Lord. Do not pick me up.

Journal of Anthony Pau Cabrales

On the 5th Circuit


           `Cabrales fractured monotheism to survive 9-11. Once God fractured, Cabrales walked into a world inherently fractured by faiths. Jurisprudence of the Suzuki Court, the Voucher Cases, Right to Bear Arms, even Doe v Dawkins of the Superior Court of Alaska, were almost a natural consequence of this private revelation of anguished faith, faith anguished because always many faiths. The road to fracture was torturous: Catholicism was his family, his motivation in law and, later, Justice. He abjured creed but not Church; he embraced catholicism but repudiated surety of faith. His religious populism was memory of boy, grandfather, family in parish church, memory renewed each week throughout his career, as though knelt taking of the Eucharist could leap the years of introspection, could erase the words he must suppress when talking to parishioners when inside the Body of Christ on earth. In the catechism, in the Eucharist, he knew he was small, voice of awed faith as any other, mouth of bread as any other; it was the only way he could face the cases of the Court and his brethren in law, to know he could depart and become small again.


           In his “confessional” journal entry within the “crisis of faith” series, Cabrales severs faith from creed, faith for a brilliant mind, isolated yet determined to act for people who will, could, never know what he was. He records a parish priest’s admonition against questioning creed–creed, not faith, but cruel marker of faith:


“[Your] words are useless to my parish. This parish is my faith. Revelation is in the Mass performed–and in these confessionals. If you want to leave Mother Church, leave. Do not impose doubt on others to make your path secure.”


“Eternity has become a weapon, Father.”


“It was always a weapon. You are the terrorist here. Leave.”


Creed cruel marker which leaves Cabrales neither faith nor creed. In small, dark confessional with only hispanic voice surround, faith sheds creed to leap beyond its birth, this leap all faith really is, ever was:


In this [confessional] booth there is no world. Only apology to grasp, apology to God. If I severe this chain of faith, I will howl. As will those about me; silence is a mercy from the doubter. Professed faith props others, a prop they return, perhaps as altruism unidentified, their own doubts veiled. Soon the issue of personal faith vanishes; only the consequences for others propel us down the well kept road.


In this booth there is no world. I recede into the infinitesimal, neighborless save for the mediated Presence. Neighborless yet tied to uncountable others through a leap of infinity. This is faith. Solitude meaningful through unseen others.


“Padre, eternity is suicide..”


“Eternity is release. I have no absolution for you. Others await this booth.”


Others. Unseen in faith, common or not. (While on the 5th Circuit, at his childhood parish, the “confessional entry,” El Paso, Texas)


Unseen in faith, common or not: this grasp of faith divergent makes a faith catholic.


           In that booth Cabrales confessed to the interrogation of Jesus. Jesus, not Christ, anointed in sure script, anointed by the need of unending retelling; Jesus, Nazereene, public man, fighting Rome by fighting its victims. He entered that booth to confess–a private journal entry; to confess a step in his journey to fractured monotheism. He entered that booth to become, to stay, catholic.


When in this city I attend a poor parish, priest’s head stuffed with unavoidable sins of gut survival, his tongue the tongue of my grandfather, a tongue which supports the Church humbly and silently, just as my racial brethren feed the famished day of business, cleaning its refuse unseen at night. Here are the faithful of necessity, the Church pure, untainted by discourse which creates and destroys sinecures in the name of God. Here God is raw, His priest perpetually numbed by the close Presence.


I always attend this priest when in this city. This Appellate Judge, important cog in legal machinery forcing anonymity, this man of law not his own comes to stand near one who stands near the Presence. Here there are no cases from below, only cases. Here no hierarchy of correct thought, only anguish of right in wrong, wrong in right. Here the close case is never finalized; it ever recurs for fresh decision, each occurrence the Presence of God. In grace there is no fixed right or wrong.


Mumbling the Spanish confessional, the priest is rewarded by a voice which makes fate. He knows my voice, his sigh a laugh. He does not face God this moment, God pleading with humble to angry voice for intercession against His own creation; no, only the sporadically present supplicant who finds comfort a burden.


In Spanish:


“My wayward son is back.”


“I hope to ever return, Father.”


“I do not understand why. You confess things which seem unreal to me.”


“You minister to the ground I walk. But for you, where could I stand?”


“You want absolution for all those faces pushed into the mud so your steps remain clean?”


“Father, does not Church rise on faces blinded with mud?”


A sigh. “Si, si. I ask pardon.”


“Father, I am here because you know. You know the ground supporting us all.”


Silence. Then: “What are your transgressions, my son?”


“I have spoken for Jesus, Father.”


Bubbling laughter from closed lips.


“We all advocate the message. It is God’s grace that we can.”


“No, Father. I made Jesus speak. His voice flowed from my pen.”


“A drama? Such license is no sin these days. Are you desperate for transgression?”


In truth I know not why I do this. My journal entries are private. I know not what I need from ths man I deem more essential to life than I.


“I forced him to confess his error, Father. I forced the Son of God to admit he had been wrong.”


A long pause.


“And what did he say, my son. What error did he confess?”


“He had been wrong to raise the dead.”


“The risen are as angles.”


“Lazarus was not.”


“Jesus loved Lazarus.”


“He left Lazarus.”


“Yes, he left Lazarus. And all those he healed. He belonged to all, he left to heal anew.”


“Father, if there is eternal life, is resurrection a healing? And healing just before death, is that not a theft of eternity?”


“I see the pain of this world, not eternity. The Creed tells me what to do. Would you have me advocate suicide?”


“Healing those who will live, that is a mercy. But those on their way to heaven–is that not tortuous theft?”


Silence. Then:


“God’s kingdom is before us now.”


“The kingdom is not the throne.”


“Hubris to approach the throne uncalled.”


“So we are slaves chained by human pain?”




“How can I ask intercession against the death of anyone?”


“There are others.”


“To slave a man to others?”


“Arrogant man. No one knows the contours of willing sacrifice.” (El Paso confessional, ibid.)


To arise from death, to leave promised eternity, to endure this now all over again, all for someone else. A sacrifice greater than the suicide bomber’s, a rending of others as significant as the suicide bomber’s–or so Cabrales will have Jesus confess. This is catholic, to make your savior abstract ally of atrocity. To this end Cabrales interrogates a story. Not even a single story by a single hand, but a set of stories disparate. Cabrales will take these floating, overlapping isolates and make miracle an atrocity. Piety of the West, a bundle of disparate stories, no different than Suzuki’s American Constitution, capable of transmogrification as is that Constitution, deities made relevant by a few words of men.


           So Cabrales approaches Jesus in the surety of lapsed history forbade that living God. He will use 9-11 as tool of tortuous confession. Words, words evolved to allocate life, death, sorrow, hope, lust, greed, kindness, grace; Cabrales writes while men and women live and die, writes, Judge apart, already unknowingly as trapped as Suzuki in the struggle for law, writes to give a story new portent:


To heal–yes. To mollify hunger–certainly. But, Lord Jesus, why, why raise the dead? They rise–what rises? Am I not my social relationships, a new arm thrust into me with each connection? What of the living when the dead are raised? What does it do to the living, to those connected to the risen dead, and to those connected to those connected? Is this not another way of killing? Do you raise the dead to destroy what lives?


–I was cornered by those who bade me speak. Sickness elided into the death rattle, no difference to the hunger for miracles. At first they said such a one wasn’t dead; later, it didn’t matter. Miracles role forward, pushed by ever greater demands. I asked them not to tell, but they told, they always told. The demands flooded toward me. I had to die to stop it.


And rise, Lord Jesus,–you rose yourself.


–I vanished. I was not where I was supposed to be. I was made into one thing, then not there. I must be somewhere, so you say. So I rose.


And put a stop to the raising of the dead.


–Is not vengeance a raising of the dead? Is not murderous reply the hand of the dead anew? In memory we incessantly raise the dead. You say raising the dead is another way to kill the living. What do you think memory was doing to my land? I showed my people what it meant to have their desire.


And, Savior, they did not turn away; they wanted more.


–Too much, always too much. They said let others pay for their dead. They want their dead now. Raising the dead wasn’t about eternal life, you who are a man made judge. It was about retrieving what was lost. I wanted to show them what that would really bring.


You failed, Lord.


–I provided a solution. I vanished. Tomb empty, I was elsewhere. Tomb empty, I was safely beyond the confines of memory. I became possibility, potential.


But one you raised, he waited in your tomb.


–Yes, judge. He waited in my tomb, so was not in his. He had vanished from the fetter of memory. To displace memory, send it elsewhere.


And Lazarus?


–He continued his life. Backs slouched with the increasing burdens of connection. Lazarus, always Lazarus, was pronounced obstacle to improvement, to progress, to hope. Finally, to set the world aright, he was murdered. You are not meant to embrace the world. In my Father’s house there are many rooms.


Why heal at all, Lord? Why risk resurrecting the dead?


–Hope flares destruction. Resurrection was in the air. I sought the hope of healing, before connections are sundered in death. Before opportunity is birthed by death, opportunity which resents quashing through resurrection. Even so, I warned them to keep things quiet. I warned some to leave their abode. This life displaced by healing, miracle best when safely born otherwhere.


–Sadducees denied resurrection, denied hope. Pharisees tightly controlled hope through the power of resurrection. The despair I saw, fuel for young men drowning in memories not their own, refused controlled hope. I, son of Adam, spawn of you men, provided the only solution available: uncontrolled, sporadic hope through healing, healing which transports from the abode of origin, to refrain from becoming a canker among those who hoped you dead. But you demanded more than my offering. On the cross, crucifixion of ridicule for those healed, you forced so many words into my mouth. You took what I was and made it your salvation, incompatible salvations,–precisely what I wanted to avoid. Even my own resurrection, my escape from your memory, you caught with your words. You made me a Pharisee, a recipe for salvation. You trapped me in your hope.


Lamb of God, I disbelieve you. You proclaimed the End of Days. You forced the issue of resurrection.


–I ask forgiveness. I tried to battle the Pharisees, to break their hold on risen hope.


And so, Savior, you became a Pharisee, one unable to avoid the End of Days.


–And so remain. I am still on the cross, each of me but one ridiculed by each of you. Perpetual resurrection on the cross, floating with nowhere to go, precisely placed in the cross winds of diverse hope, stationary, precisely placed into stillness.


–Now, let me go, judge among men. Put your pen down. What have you gained by your interrogation but the very landscape of despair I sought a path to flee? Put your pen down. There are too many words to surmount. We are all trapped now.


Unless some made a path of words for flight when you were gone.


Savior? Savior? Why are you silent now? (Entry immediately prior to the El Paso confessional)


Son of Man, failed revolutionary, failed by the very desire of the people he would protect. Son of Man, perpetually crucified, we each Roman ridiculing the perfection of healing, he a private End of Days on the cross, end of each of our days, our healing denied as we deny that of others. The Cross, executioner’s tool made jewelry, sacrificial tool so each of us may live, protected from the healing of others. Consolidate the End of Days in one man, so all of us, so each of us, may live imperfect. Catholic beyond price of understanding. Cabrales wants not the singular isolation of that cross. In confessional he begs, not for hope, not for understanding, but for a place to be, a place for return:


“I want to return, Padre.”




“I am Catholic. The power to bar is not mine.” Pause. “Why return?”


“I am catholic too.” Does he hear the small “c”?




“Your cross is heavy.” Pause. “I know.” Pause. “I will be here.”


Such is my absolution, coarsely given, in faith catholic. (El Paso confessional, conclusion)


Catholicism lies in the mercy of imperfect understanding of one’s neighbor. In the false comfort that love, abstract or not, implies commonality, refuge for both priest and Appellate Judge, later Associate Justice. A place to go to, this the only commonality that matters. Church Catholic an edifice of words no mouth may utter in totality. Church Catholic, Vatican protest notwithstanding, is fractured monotheism. Church Catholic is the silent denial of doctrine as well as affirmation of creed. Church Catholic is the inconsistency within the singularly shared endeavor to live. Anthony Pau Cabrales never left that Church.


           There is a remarkable entry, among the earliest in the extant journal, dated about two years before 9-11-01 (autumn of 1999), which anticipates Cabrales’ later particulate theology of fractured monotheism (see section 5, Cabrales’ God, below). An entry of plurality written by a Catholic (but a pantheon of saints invites pluralism), an entry which suggests 9-11 not so much formative as catalytic:


While on the 5th Circuit, vacationing in Europe, near Bonn, Germany.


Shelter of the saint. A chance encounter with a wooden statuette, eyes large in oval face, pain tempered by a sadness released from this world. It stands hands clasped to breast, in greeting or prayer, perhaps no distinction in its solitary sentinel. Recessed deep in a hut, a kitchen pantry in a surround of lit votive candles. Lit, here in this hut adjacent to the wooded Autobahn, unlit votives with matches at entrance way.


A car whizzes by. Occasionally one stops, feet descend from purpose to ground, knees bend to pick a candle, another star alight. Feet retreat, door closes, purpose continues as silence veils its speed. Stars surround this wooden saint, his only light. Does the traveler stop to supplicate protection–or is it pity for the vigil which motivates the suspension of purpose to make a sun held in palm. Swift purpose distilled into small, wavering light, left in anonymity for the anonymous to see, candles summed residue of purpose.


No car stops now. The mist which has clothed my hike is perpetual twilight, votive candles producing shadows on the saint, signs of life beyond his vigil, life come to support his stand, changing artistry unseen by life, save for the occasional retreat of purpose from itself, to place in memory for later use this brush of shadow which leaves no trace.


The mist which has defied my physics these walking hours begins to coalesce–perhaps it’s the approaching night. Drop. Drop. Drop Drop. My skin a telegraph without cipher. Now a drizzle, becoming more. I look around. The only shelter is the saint. I hesitate, afraid to break the seal of the lifeless, yet enter as above my head a drumming, accelerating to downpour, comes, each roof ping a sign of protection, sign of a world unknown drenched beyond. Each drum drop filling a space in hearing, cramming between the other heard drops, until a seamless density arrives, in cacophony so dense music can be discerned. And I become companion with effigy.


Soon the music recedes, quiet always there again noticed, and I find myself again next to wood. But now I know why these lights never fail. I know why none harm this place.


This saint, temporary shelter from the world, is no abode, unequipped for the excreta of life. Yet its sanctuary is as real as the passing cars, cars sometimes stopping to provide light anonymously. This saint has no single purpose; it sits in a confluence of purpose, none its own. So stands faith, eyes deeply saddened, knowing home is but a moment, shelter but a moment.


I could go back, if I remembered the way. But I don’t. I’m not supposed to.


Still, that wooden man climbed into my mind, for shelter, for a moment. Perhaps he’s already left, his storm abated, and I, wooden by his side, could never know.


So stands faith…knowing home is but a moment, shelter but a moment: faith a patchwork of saints housing us in our travels, we housing, carrying them to some other vigil, some other patch, catholicity the travel, the common need of rest and shelter, a network which falters and reforms, itself another form of travel. No consuming oneness here, no End of Days in entirety, no resolution of all circumstance by exiting time. Here, before 9-11, the kernel of the much later resolution of fractured monotheism, entry A Dios, To God (below), written while on the Court, before Suzuki’s appointment. Here the kernel of resolved difference though travel. No One God before us, yet always one god before us, distance insulation from the theologically correct insistence of eternity by the suicide bomber. Distance cannot be jumped; God eternally One diluted into many by space itself.


           Cabrales confronts the suicide bomber by affirming him, rending faith Catholic in reply. And, gratefully for Cabrales, that rending may be found in the acts of Jesus. Here the entry penultimate to A Dios, written while on Court (but before the appointment of Benjamin Suzuki), where Jesus provides escape from his own End of Days (cf Jesus’ interrogation entry, ante):

“Holy ascetic, I have set out to find God. Show me the road.”

“There isn’t any road.”

“What is there, then?”

“There is the abyss. Jump!”

“Abyss! Is that the way?”

“Yes, the abyss. All roads lead to the earth; the abyss leads to God. Jump!”

Nikos Kazantzakis

Saint Francis


You asked us to hide your miracles–not an act of a political Messiah. But life cannot be hidden, growth cannot be hidden. Spite will come, tearing down walls to climb over another’s house. You asked us to flee once healed, to abandon our lives, to cease to be in the community record of travail which keeps the demon spite elsewhere. God’s imperial rule, you said, is already here. Heaven is before us, spread upon the earth unseen. You never left heaven. You have never traveled. Travel is something only the blind do. The abyss, the absence of road, is the absence of travel. Jump, and find you are anywhere, everywhere is anywhere.


Flee once healed. Spite is for the stationary:


Congratulations to those who know where the rebels are going to attack. [They] can get going, collect their imperial resources, and be prepared before the rebels arrive. [Gospel of Thomas, 103]


Be prepared by being elsewhere. Flee pathless:


“A chasm to my right, a chasm to my left, and I standing between the double abyss, on a piece of ground no wider than a footprint.” [Kazantzakis, St. Francis]


A path is just another’s footprint, a place to set your fear. Footprint set on footprint set on footprint–until the first, sitting on nothing, that nothing the cause of fear. Ground no wider than a footprint, so crowded with others jostling for the greatest balance –this is Credo, meant not as abode but resting stop.


Take your healing elsewhere, leave the network which made your loss. Jump! Jump infinitesimally and slam into heaven’s domain. There is no talk of resurrection in heaven; such talk is a knock on doorless wall. Flee with your healing to infect an elsewhere. That is God’s domain: the perpetual flight of the cured. Monotheism? In these flights are the Father. Tell me, how many Gods singular are there?


Whoever knows the father and the mother will be called the child of a whore. [Gospel of Thomas, 105]


Thomas Merton, you saw it, you said it, and even got an Imprimatur to seal the obscurity:


This the mercy of God revealed to us by the secret missions in which He gives Himself to us, awakens our identity as sons and heirs of His Kingdom. This is the Kingdom of God within us. [New Seeds of Contemplation, #6]


Jostling on the trip-wire of Credo, our task not to aid each other in balance, but shove each other off. And this supreme spite, sole command of Credo, becomes our abyss; for in my shove I real backwards, unbalancing myself, plummeting as well. Such is the Gorgon head of God, a head without face, the pure body just down this tentacle, if you can hold on. The point, of course, is to be flipped off. For your own good. Well, someone’s good, in some somewhere.


Come Jesus, take my hand. Let us wrestle ourselves into abyss. Credo will remain. You’ll still be here. And so will I.


Let us wrestle ourselves into abyss….You’ll still be here. And so will I. Cabrales confronts the suicide bomber by denying his material base, not his destructive act. The Nazareene’s miracles were not for accumulation; his mercies were seeds on the land, hidden, forgotten, dying mostly, sprouting occasionally, anonymously, without articulated causal path. It is not the pyre of flesh which enrages, but the conceit of accumulation. Heaven’s domain cannot be hoarded. And eternity is a hoard.


Al-Qaeda in Iraq declares war on Shiites, a suicide bomber detonating himself in a Shia mosque.


Lord, if eternity is in a moment, if immortality is outside time, how can the suicide bomber be wrong? In a moment the world ceases for those so baptized; they step out of the stream and so are eternal. Has the suicide brought his victims to God? Is he wanting only in his inability to bring all to God? Is there really no war, just impatience waiting for the stepping out? How can the Absolute open itself to us but by snuffing us out? We who are afraid of death, how can we not see that the Absolute’s only solace is in fact death?


Cabrales sees Jesus as against the final accumulation of eternity. Crucifixion is no messianic coalescence, but feint allowing others to travel on. Even in resurrection he is gone, perpetually elsewhere, prepared reply to those who would forcibly gift us with eternity.


           Our actions flower from the torturous minutiae of belief. Cabrales, fracturing faith to retain catholicism absent the coercive certainty of Apocalypse, makes Jesus an instrument of minor apocalypse–such is the crucifixion. Quoting from the canon:


Don’t get the idea that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but the sword. I have come

to pit a man against his father,

a daughter against her mother,

and a daughter-in-law against

   her mother-in-law.

Your enemies live under your own roof. (Matthew 10:34-6)



Every government divided against itself is devastated, and every town or household divided against itself won’t survive. (Matthew 12:25)



I came to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze! … Do you suppose I came here to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, on the contrary: conflict. As a result, from now on in any given home there will be five in conflict, three against two and two against three. (Matthew 12:49,51-2)


From sword to conflict in two chapters–an improvement, marvelous example of ambiguity without apparent consequence, words inscribed in the protective isolation of the page, as are these. Cabrales takes what Church has frozen in history and makes it ever present:


Your son was sent not for the message, but for the effect of the message. Throughout life beauty comes of struggle; you are an evolutionist, Lord. Dissolve faith so faiths may come. Dissolve livelihood so hope may come, so the marvelous assistance of strangers may scaffold the world anew. Let hate dissolve with our certainties, [this] the trick of Jesus … [that] hate is superfluous in desolation. Out of debris islands of solace arise; look in delight at what your creatures then make.


Oh, the populations of faiths your son has made! Speciation and extinction so quick even we of instantaneous life fail to notice. But you notice, Lord. Structures not of easy solid body but of outreached hands, so subtle as to go unnoticed by the participants. Subtle beauty only you can discern. Subtle beauty product of faith against faith. Promise of your son fulfilled and lost in the same glance between strangers. This is heaven, and it is indeed on earth, as your son said, in every now that is. (Entry in the Crisis of Faith series, before A Dios, while on the 5th Circuit)


Then the recapitulation indignation made famous after Cabrales’ death:


Oh, the populations of faiths your son has made! These faiths compete for heaven to make. (ibid)


That latent prophet Thomas Merton, dead prophet still awaiting his iconoclastic moment, anticipated this view:


God reveals Himself in the middle of conflict and contradiction–and we want to find Him outside all contradictions! (original emphasis; Merton to J. R., Dec. 1961; Witness to freedom: the letters of Thomas Merton in times of crisis)


Cabrales, writing to none but himself, goes further. Conflict does not reveal God; conflict is God manifest, God in the world:


There is no conflict between you and your creation. Conflict is everywhere; it is what you are. You are all faiths in conflict with each other. You are the denial, the affirmation, of every one. (ibid)


           God is faith dislodged from creed, found when facing the faith of others. So Cabrales’ aphorism: A faith is measured not within the confines of belief, but in the extreme encounter of strangers (from a letter to Associate Justice Rachel Colleen Whitehead, on the full Suzuki Court). To escape our 9-11 Cabrales fractures monotheism; God manifest, the only God we can know, is several.


Your creation has gone astray? How could it not in a world of conflict? A truth so trite is vacuous. Astray is as close to heaven as not. (ibid)


Release from singular certainty embraces even the suicide bomber. In a later entry, moving toward A Dios, Cabrales makes, or forces, the suicide bomber into a harbinger of hope, a planned natural disaster:


Suicide bomber, you are essential to life. Incredulous to the denial of the gift you bring, the sundering of cloth to weave anew. The cloth is taut with far purpose, leaving fear isolate, limbless. This the bomber knows. Regeneration was the only hope; sunder the superhighway which leaves you unnoticed; force the flaying threads to wrap around you in desperate anger turned love. This you have practiced to perfection. How, you cry, how can they not accept the opportunity for renewal? To understand the suicide bomber, look to natural disaster; therein is the hope sought–the hope of recovery. (Kashmir earthquake entry, Oct., 2005)


An earlier entry has Jesus a co-servant with Hurricane Katrina, Katrina an event politics to this day revives:


Your servant comes to sunder our faith. The mundane tragedies of living are insufficient to your need; you require coordinated despair, coordinated oblivion, coordinated rage against the tools of your intercession. We ask why and you provide a weather map. Where the fury of Katrina this day? Look. Out there, always, somewhere that fury. Why were we selected? Why so long without selection?


Your purpose is not ours. You roll through our faith and ask us what to believe. You, Absolute, beyond faith, beyond belief, you ask us what we believe. You know our rage but briefly alights on you before it becomes good works in your name.


Our faiths are asunder. We find so many paths to good works in your name. Faiths grow strong, vying in good works, all in your name. Do you plan the minutia of this miracle? Is it impossible for you not to plan? The raging dead are so brief, even for us. But the miracles of comfort, of hope, of renewal, these human hands linked in chains welcomed and unseen, one hand to another, hope transported via seemingly unending third parties until an unknown one, puny survival of your marvel, becomes recipient.–this hope grows when fed, and remembers. You become other than Katrina; you become the unseen hands through which hope travels.


Our faiths grow and we give thanks. Thank you. Lord, for making us blind to your ways. We are the marvel of recovery; we pull the world with us as we advance. Jesus did not come to annul the wrath of the only God. No, son does not tell father what he is. Jesus shows us how to use that wrath as tool. He does not intercede; he redirects. Out of this beauty comes, and the Wrath allows it. For Father and Son, being beauty, rest their differences there–in the beauty of the human chain both abide as one. (Entry a few days after Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans, late August, 2005)


The suicide bomber is minor Katrina, as much rolling necessity and caprice as that event, as necessary as Satan, that old paradox which can still pay my way in words. To find Satan, fracture God. To live with Katrinas, fracture God. To escape the suicide bomber, fracture God–and run, run to make a new place, run to find God anew. And where you run, there Jesus will be, not in his tomb, but away from all tombs, son knowing his father well.


           Faith as necessary as Satan, Satan as necessary as faith. Once God is fractured, paradox becomes, resolves, into unending process. Gnostics who thought Yahweh an imprisoning deity, Satan as snake in Eden liberator, revealing the possibility of Good and Evil, something Yahweh would deny, deny us knowledge, are not wrong; gnostics who thought Satan as snake in Eden liberator, Satan there the Anointed, Christ in word, are not wrong. Nor are the canonical worshipers of Yahweh wrong, those who would disdain my vowels, trembling hand writing YHWH, name ever beyond our scribbles called knowledge. Each becomes Satan for the other; space itself makes it so. Cabrales is no gnostic; he resolves gnosticism and orthodoxy. He puts us in the strange place of having no one to hate, a place possible only as long as most disagree with him. Cabrales found satori before encountering Benjamin Suzuki. He found it in the unpleasant process of faith. So from the Kashmir entry (op. cit.):


Admit it. Faith thrives on destruction, thrives on devastation, chomp-gulps fear until only morsels remain, morsels isolate from the main meal, collecting a different fate. 30,000 dead in Kashmir,3 million plus displaced, meaning homeless, adrift save for the networks they create. The cloth sundered, threads flay hoping to connect with something, of any color, of any fear, the ideology of desperation’s safe harbor.


Do not condemn the Fates for cutting these threads of life; they do so to keep, remake the cloth whole. Only in cloth is the thread taut in purpose. No one owns their life. The cloth demands subservience to display its beauty.


Taut. Taut denies universal connection for some connections asserted afar. Universal, local connection bloats the cloth; nothing essential, all lapses, devastation becomes endogenous. The threads of cloth ignore their neighbors. So we produce desperation regardless of surfeit.


So, in protest, I am catholic. Deny the taut paths, let others form; deny these in turn. I am catholic, denying Church ascendant, later rebelling to embrace what I turned aside.


The metaphor is strikingly similar to that employed by Henry Mitland (ante), down to the fraying ends of torn, unraveling cloth, perhaps a common metaphor consequent of their common vocation to weave law whole. But in Mitland’s entries on God there is no sense of fractured unity. Mitland focuses on, lives in talk of God, a secularist, an outsider to faith ecstatic or consoling. Cabrales would live with his fractured God, in his fractured God, because of all of those surround who live incomprehensibly within a God singular. It is process, not outcome, which unites these two– and which Suzuki crafts into the Triumvirate. Talk of God can be God, if you know when to stop speaking.


           But talk of God will not bring piety. Cabrales, always catholic in lower case, turns away from neither piety nor the hellion of his own doubt. He accepts the bomber’s monotheism, but only as failure to surpass. The bomber’s final target is monotheism itself, sundered yet still connected, not totally but partially, as though one could travel from some God to some God, but not to all God. To prevent Apocalypse God cedes wholeness; strands of God to God exist, but some so distanced by connective jumps as to be isolate from others. Imagine a world of commonality unreachable. That is Cabrales’ fractured monotheism. Cabrales, ever remorseful catholic, places the burden of 9-11 on his own fractured monotheism. Condemnation, in itself, changes nothing. Place blame where some form of correction is possible; the suicide is gone, we are here. Employing his childhood language adios, good bye, A Dios, To God, he forms his hispanic home piety into a defense against destruction:

God utters me like a word containing a partial thought of Himself.

A word will never be able to comprehend the voice that utters it.

Thomas Merton

New seeds of contemplation, #6


A Dios. To God. To God, away from us. Not away from sin. Away from our control, into an unknown. Not to force others to our view. Not to believe others will come to our view. But to expect–expect–that the releasing act, A Dios, will create something foreign. Something different. Resolution through displacement; victory obscured, not removed, by difference.


To God. God the unresolved, the difference yet to be. From God. The nexus created, from multiple points, from God, is God in conflict with Itself. To God. The resolution which lets God go on. These resolutions are not without conflict. Prior resolutions of God flow together, but not in balance. The mix is contention. Extinction, more or less delayed, is nonetheless ever with us. Resolution to God is, over time, one more way to die. This a monotheism, a monotheism of release. A monotheism with multiple singular Gods which asks only for the staying hand. If God is omnipotent, there is no need of victory. ( A Dios, final “crisis of faith” entry)


Recall one of Suzuki’s entries (while on the Oregon Appellate Court, ante): Omnipotence knows no boundary. Victory and failure are for us, not God. Recall Mitland, writing of Suzuki before they met (ante): God is your ever receding potential, running from us so we may live. And now Cabrales: To God, away from us…To God. God the unresolved, the difference yet to be. This last Cabrales wrote before Suzuki’s nomination. The Triumvirate had converged before it was formed. Such independent convergence remains, is, our last hope. These three were not singular prophets of unique gift; what is essential cannot be owned, this our last hope, perhaps hope more fundamental than any uttered by these three.


           Convergence independent of personality, but perhaps not event. While the journals in their entireties offer no evidence of common genesis, neither do they deny such genesis. I am convinced that the pristine monotheism of 9-11 was the common spur. Certainly so for Cabrales. Having removed God from victory, Cabrales identifies the displacement inherent in A Dios as faith’s greatest gift:


Such is the Peace of God. Peace in movement, in travel, in resolution blissfully necessary beyond our ken. The Crusading Papacy had the germ, displacing local competition afar. But it demanded return, fixed itself into monestrous truth of consumption. Knights traveled expecting to return to what they were. The miracle of the Crusades lies in the homes left, not in the well traveled rampage they became. Their lesson is straightforward: what is released should not return. So God experiments with Itself.


Return is rapacious. Return does not freely give to travel. Control is retained, so victory and defeat. The suicide bomber does not travel, lets nothing migrate beyond his control, freezes his world unalterably. Within victory and defeat there is no catholicism.


Suicide bomber, you regress to the Crusades. You demand return from your flight–not to God, you would take from God, even as you begin from God. You are an experiment monotheism has abandoned, has surpassed. We were once like you, but no more. Or not.


Or not. Travel to God is precarious, self delusional. Travel to God is self examination, not in favor of oneself, but others. To God is benediction enjoyed by others, reward coming from their release. Travel to God is knowledge that “something foreign” awaits.


           Cabrales would not divorce monstrosity from his soul. This Catholic boy, gazing up toward suffering Christ, awed by this steel resolve to endure unendingly beyond all capacity for empathy; this boy called man accepts the intellectual burden of Catholicism, homage to an imaginative effort distilling the rampage of a species into single man. Cabrales would not divorce the suicide bomber from his soul: You are all faiths in conflict with each other. You are the denial, the affirmation of every one (journal entry, ante). God several creates the singular suffering Christ, every faith a laceration for some. Our only hope is in the severalty of God, death mask of Christ goading us to allay this act of God through flight to God not yet manifest. Here God does not flee from us (Mitland, ante); we flee from God, to God. Cabrales fights the suicide bomber by asking how he may release others from such likeness in himself. A Dios concludes:


How to combat you? Perhaps by asking how we might still be taking from God, returning when we should not. This the faith of monotheism: that these free resolutions to God beyond our site [site is, for Cabrales, sight] will somehow quell thirst for the frozen certainty of destruction.


           This no faith of the congenitally helpless, those who in terror know there is no solution in themselves. Nor solution in subservience to a God of frozen bliss. Solution lies in the risk that others unlike ourselves may make, not have, in answer. It is false paradox that the ineffectual are bravest in risk of other; self aware, risk in the only option. That solution will come from the other, if not for us for some somewhere, is a test of our common humanity–the experiment called common humanity. Positing such humanity is, has ever been, perilous, essential, unending. It is not language which sets us apart, but our ability to use language to seed a solution we never see. If globalization is partly responsible for terrorism, we should consider as well that the travel of solution is also so enhanced. Flights to God are rapid and unending; creative hope multiplies as does the destruction called terror, a race in hope that the genesis of terror is dissolved through the “relieving acts” of flights to God. Ah. I, literary critic with guaranteed audience, risk imbibing the delusive necessity of my not quite literary subjects.

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