The May Magnificat

 

Virgin Mary meditation of the holy Virgin Mary by sarah paxton ball dodson 1889
Meditation of The Holy Virgin (1889), art by Sarah Paxton Ball Dodson

 

May is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season —

Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?

Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?

Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?
Growth in everything —

Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Star-eyed strawberry-breasted
Throstle above her nested

Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.

All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Nature’s motherhood.

Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.

Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.

When drop-of-blood-and-foam-dapple
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfed cherry.

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all —

This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.

~ A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ

 

 



“Mother of God, tell me your mystery;

of how your earthly life was spent:
the way, right from the time of ‘Fiat – how you’d be
buried in adoration, Mary!
Say how – in a peace, a silence – you could enter in
to deeps that none but you could do –
bearing the gift of God within.
Secure in God’s embrace keep me I ask.
In me his imprint may He place –
For wholly love is he.”

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.


As The World Turns

 

purple flowers
Photo source unknown

 

Oh, my planet, I am so
in love with you. And you seem to
love me back. We are an item.
Daily, you swerve, slow-dancing
with the sun, seducing me with
new angles of interpretation
so that my peonies manifest themselves
in color swatches, shades shifting
from apricot to blood. And my lawn,
licking up necessary light, grows, greens
into a small hay field to swoon in.
Even the promiscuous dandelions
reflect the generosity of light.

Your seasons’ musical compositions,
themes and variations—apogee, perigee,
the lengthening of days, then nights.
Your planetary rhythms—the same
every year, and every year unique.

Waking, early morning ‘s heavy
shadows shorten and blanch, and then
there’s noon, and then again, a lengthening
to dusk until, complete with stars, dark
wraps me in fleece. By nightfall
in the companion dark, my desire
gives away to dreaming, the way lovers
ease into sleep after passion is spent.

~ A poem by Luci Shaw

 

 

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

The New Season

 

woman and the fountain of love by christian schloe
Art by Christian Schloe

 

Waiting is purification,
is patience quelling desire,
is God’s time permeating human haste.

The crystal droplet
gathers at the curled leaf’s tip
but does not fall.
The mighty wave bounds in
but does not break.

The heart’s new season
pauses on the threshold
of the walled, inviolate garden,
the spring of living waters at its center.

We wait till that authoritative voice
cries once more, “Come forth!
Begin to bud and bloom!
Toss in the breezes of my ardent love!
Be all renewed and filled with light!
Waiting is over—
the hour of fulfillment come!”

Beloved, this is our new season.
Together let us go to meet it.

 

~ A poem by Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.

God Is a Strange Lover

 

Jesus and Mary Magdalene2
Art by Anton Raphael Mengs (1769) at Palacio Real de Madrid, Spain

 

God is the strangest of all lovers; His ways are past explaining.
He sets His heart on a soul; He says to Himself, “Here will I rest My love.”

But He does not woo her with flowers or jewels or words that are set to music,
no names endearing, no kindled praise His heart’s direction prove.

His jealousy is an infinite thing. He stalks the soul with sorrows;
He tramples the bloom; He blots the sun that could make her vision dim.

He robs and breaks and destroys—there is nothing at last but her own shame, her own affliction, and then He comes and there is nothing in the vast world but Him and her love of Him.

Not till the great rebellions die and her will is safe in His hands forever does He open the door of light and His tenderness fall, and then for what is seen in the soul’s virgin places,
for what is heard in the heart, there is no speech at all.

God is a strange lover; the story of His love is most surprising.
There is no proud queen in her cloth of gold; over and over again there is only, deep in the soul, a poor disheveled woman weeping . . .

for us who have need of a picture and words: the Magdalen.

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

Gethsemane

 

Jesus en oracion en el huerto
Oración en el Huerto, art by Vicente López Portaña (1806) Valencia, Spain

 

My Beloved,
I sit quietly
by Your side.

You gaze at me
I gaze at You.

That is all I yearn for,
to be present
and be in Your Presence.

Rabboni,
the Passover Meal  
has finished.
Now You are alone
with the Alone.

This night of grief
has just begun
and is so long. . .
The weight of Your sorrow
is so unimaginable.

Yet, You remain
still
in communion with
Your Father.

Beloved,
the angel is nearby
to give You
strength.

My sweet Jesus,
let me dry Your tears,
let me console Your Sacred Heart
in silent love
till dawn comes.

 

~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christ Is My Utmost Need

 

Christ art by Kristin Miller
Art by Kristin Miller

 

Late, late the mind confessed:
wisdom has not sufficed.
I cannot take one step into the light
without the Christ.

Late , late the heart affirmed:
wild do my heart-beats run
when in the blood-stream sings one wish away
from the Incarnate Son.

Christ is my utmost need.
I lift each breath, each beat for Him to bless,
knowing our language cannot overspeak
our frightening helplessness.

Here where proud morning walks
and we hang wreaths on power and self-command,
I cling with all my strength unto a nail-investigated hand.

Christ is my only trust.
I am my fear since, down the lanes of ill,
my steps surprised a dark Iscariot
plotting in my own will.

Past nature called, I cry
who clutch at fingers and at tunic folds,
“Lay not on me, O Christ, this fastening.
Yours be the hand that holds.”

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

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With a heavy heart, thinking and praying for everyone in France and the whole world today . . .
Notre-Dame de Paris, pray for us!

 

 

 

Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion

 

yelena-cherkasova-the-entrance-of-the-lord-into-jerusalem-undated
The Entrance of the Lord into Jerusalem, art by Yelena Cherkasova

 

 

Cycle C: Luke 22: 14 – 23, 56


Today’s gospel is the Passion according to Saint Luke.


 

One of the priests executed during the Mexican Revolution was Miguel Pro. A famous photograph of his execution shows him with his arms outstretched in the form of a cross. The government took the photograph, mass produced it, and distributed it among the people as a means of both mocking the Church and showing people who was in charge. But within a year, the government banned the photo because it had become an icon of adoration among the Mexican people.

Where does real power reside? Pilate’s statement, “Do you not know that I have the power to release you, and the power to crucify you” is an illusion, for Jesus laid down his life of his own free will. At times, power seems to lie in the hands of the rulers of this world, but in due time, the truth emerges that it lies in the hands of God.

One of the truths embedded in the Passion of Jesus is that the reality of any given situation comes to light in God’s time. What looked like defeat on Good Friday was disclosed as the triumph of God’s love on Easter Sunday. The import of this truth for our lives is that no act of love is ever wasted. Every time we do the will of God, in spite of all appearances, we contribute to the redemption of the world. We may never see the positive impact of our good deeds; nevertheless, if they are acts of Love they are guaranteed by God.

“Love,” writes Evelyn Underhill, “after all, makes the whole difference between an execution and a martyrdom” (55). If the Crucifixion had not been an act of Divine Love, it would have been no more than a routine execution in a remote corner of the Roman Empire.

The same is true with us. Because we are members of the Body of Christ, whenever we unite our actions with Christ upon the Cross, they are redemptive. Love transforms the banal actions of daily life into divine deeds that plant the seeds of God’s transforming love in our world.

 

~ A Meditation by Marc Foley, O.C.D.

 

 

The Sign of the Cross

The lovers of Christ lift out their hands to
the great gift of suffering.
For how could they seek to be warmed and clothed
and delicately fed,
to wallow in praise and to drink deep draughts
of an underserved affection,
have castle for home and a silken couch for bed,
when He the worthy went forth, wounded and hated,
and grudged of even a place to lay His head?

This is the badge of the friends of the Man of Sorrows:
the mark of the cross, faint replica of His,
become ubiquitous now; it spreads like a wild blossom
on the mountains of time and in each of the crevices.
Oh, seek that land where it grows in a rich abundance
with its thorny stem and its scent like bitter wine,
for wherever Christ walks He casts its seed
and He scatters its purple petals.
It is the flower of His marked elect, and the fruit
it bears is divine.

Choose it, my heart. It is a beautiful sign.

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D. 

 

 

cross and purple roses
By artist Debi Coules

 

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Holy Week!