Desert Day 17: Listen Carefully And Attentively To The Questions …

What is going on in your innermost being is worthy of your whole love …
— Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters to a Young Poet

By slowly converting our loneliness into a deep solitude, we create that precious space where we can discover the voice telling us about our inner necessity—that is, our vocation. Unless our questions, problems and concerns are tested and matured in solitude, it is not realistic to expect answers that are really our own. How many people can claim their ideas, opinions and viewpoints as their own? Sometimes intellectual conversations boil down to the capacity to quote the right authority at the right time. Even the most intimate concerns, such as the concerns about the meaning and value of life and death, can become victims of the fashion of the time. Frequently, we are restlessly looking for answers, going from door to door, from book to book, or from school to school, without having really listened carefully and attentively to the questions. Continue reading “Desert Day 17: Listen Carefully And Attentively To The Questions …”

Advent Day 05: Trust In The Slow Work of God …

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow. Continue reading “Advent Day 05: Trust In The Slow Work of God …”

There Is A Homelessness …

There is a homelessness, never to be clearly defined.
It is more than having no place of one’s own,
no bed or chair.
It is more than walking in a waste of wind,
or gleaning the crumbs where someone else has dined,
or taking a coin for food or clothes to wear.
The loan of things and the denial of things are possible to bear.

It is more, even than homelessness of heart,
of being always a stranger at love’s side,
of creeping up to a door only to start
at a shrill voice and to plunge back to the wide
dark of one’s own obscurity and hide.

it is the homelessness of the soul in the body sown;
it is the loneliness of mystery:
of seeing oneself a leaf, inexplicable and unknown,
cast from an unimaginable tree;
of knowing one’s life to be a brief wind blown
down a fissure of time in the rock of eternity.
The artist weeps to wrench this grief from stone;
he pushes his hands through the tangled vines of music,
but he cannot set it free.

It is the pain of the mystic suddenly thrown
back from the noon of God to the night of his own humanity.
It is his grief; it is the grief of all those praying
in finite words to an Infinity
Whom, if they saw, they could not comprehend;
Whom they cannot see.

—  Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, OCD (Jessica Powers) Carmel of the Mother of God, Pewaukee, WI. More poetry from the author: The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers

A Seed Psalm (Easter Prayer) …

Awaken, you buried seeds
asleep in your earthen tombs!
Rise up with joy to break forth
the hard coffins of your shells!

Your Eastertime has come;
the song of the dove
is heard over the softening land.
Winter has hidden,
and Spring now dances on your graves
to waken the dead.

Awaken, seeds of holiness
buried deep within me.
Rise up to fulfill your destiny
whose time has come.

For sanctity is scribbled
bold within my blood and brain.
Onward and beyond
have I been called
even before I felt the sun
or knew the earth around me.

May spring enchant the saint,
shy and hesitant within me,
and set the rhythm for my sluggish feet
in a dance of holy yearning.

— Fr. Edward Hays from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim: A Personal Manual for Prayer and Ritual