Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Evening of the Visitation (Thomas Merton)

  Go, roads, to the four quarters of our quiet distance,  
While you, full moon, wise queen,  
Begin your evening journey to the hills of heaven,  
And travel no less stately in the summer sky 
Than Mary, going to the house of Zachary. 
The woods are silent with the sleep of doves, 
The valleys with the sleep of streams, 
And all our barns are happy with peace of cattle gone to rest. 
Still wakeful, in the fields, the shocks of wheat 
Preach and say prayers: 
You sheaves, make all your evensongs as sweet as ours, 
Whose summer world, all ready for the granary and barn, 
Seems to have seen, this day, 
Into the secret of the Lord’s Nativity. 
Now at the fall of night, you shocks, 
Still bend your heads like kind and humble kings 
The way you did this golden morning when you saw God’s Mother passing, 
While all our windows fill and sweeten 
With the mild vespers of the hay and barley. 

You moon and rising stars, pour on our barns and houses 
Your gentle benedictions. 
Remind us how our Mother, with far subtler and more holy influence, 
Blesses our rooves and eaves, 
Our shutters, lattices and sills, 
Our doors, and floors, and stairs, and rooms, and bedrooms, 
Smiling by night upon her sleeping children: 
O gentle Mary!  Our lovely Mother in heaven! 

--Thomas Merton, The Evening of the Visitation (1947)

Monday, May 30, 2016

On this Memorial Day

        On this Memorial Day 
     Grant peace to the souls 
     of all those soldiers who died in war. 
     We remember the tears and grief of their families, 
     the pain of mothers, wives, husbands and children 
     Who lost precious loved ones. 

     To build a meaningful memorial to them, 
     we ask God to give us all the will 
     to work for peace around the world, 
     so no more sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, or mothers 
     are slaughtered by the guns and bombs of war. 
     We ask Mary, who held the lifeless body of her son 
     and was pierced by the sorrow of his suffering and death, 
     to grant us the compassion and wisdom to affirm life 
     and honor the dead through forgiveness and peace-making. 
     May God have mercy on the souls of the departed. 
     Grant them peace, O Lord. 
     May we have mercy on the living. 
     Grant us peace, O Lord.
     In your name, we pray. 


Poem source
Image source:  Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, 
overlooking Omaha Beach, Colleville-sur-Mer, 
Normandy, France

The very core of love (François Mauriac)

   Being for every man the touchstone of faith and love, the Eucharist, like the Cross, divided minds as soon as it was announced.  Nothing engages a man as much as does the Eucharist.

   The man who partakes in the breaking of the bread dares to build his house on the very core of love.   He becomes, as it were, Godlike, but regardless of the strength he derives from it, his free will remains. We are always free to disown this immense grace, to abuse it.  The Greatest Love may be betrayed.  Fed on the Living Bread, we nevertheless conceal a part of ourselves which longs for swine’s food.

   The Eucharist engages us unreservedly; it is a pact of love, an alliance signed in the deeper recesses of our being.  All our potentialities are called upon to warrant the protection and fulfillment of this pact.

--François Mauriac, Holy Thursday:  An Intimate Remembrance
Image source

Sunday, May 29, 2016

His sweet essence flowed in me (Carl Winderl)

  God is  
on my tongue, at 
Holy Communion the Host 
comes homes to roost, 
in a Way 
I had but naught 
envisioned; as 
if from the first 
the Vision of Him in me 
were mine, alone 

not unlike the melting wafer 
transporting its substance 
along my throat, pulsing 
through my very veins, to dis- 
solve with- 
in the core of me, until 
His sweet essence 
flowed in me, and I 
in turn pronounced His name 
Lord of All, as He 
lay down His sweet head 
against my breast 
and I kissed the Man- 
na from Heaven on his soft baby 
face, while He nuzzled me 
and I, verily, 
the First of all His miracles, 
was on His tongue. 
--Carl Winderl, God is

Saturday, May 28, 2016

One spirit, one person with Christ (Pope Benedict XVI)

   In the Eucharist a communion takes place that corresponds to the union of man and woman in marriage.  Just as they become one flesh, so in Communion we all become one spirit, one person with Christ.

--Pope Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy
Image source