Heaven

Art by Vladimir Kush

The gates of heaven are an allegory and only symbol shapes its guarded door,
nor does the soul plunge headlong into glory without a rumor of a light before.
Though God, indeed, has reservoirs of morning whose unguessed joy we distantly extol,
yet word and choice are altering and adorning:
heaven is something happening in the soul.  

By Jessica Powers, OCD ~ Selected Poetry

 

In a Cloud of Angels

 

Angel art by Nadia Strelkina

I walk in a cloud of angels.
God has a throne in the secret of my soul.
I move, encircled by light,
blinded by glowing faces,
lost and bewildered in the motion of wings,
stricken by music too sublime to bear.
Splendor is everywhere.
God is always enthroned on the cherubim,
circled by seraphim.
Holy, holy, holy,
wave upon wave  of endless adoration.
I walk in a cloud of angels that worship Him.
I walk in a cloud of angels…

~ By Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers) OCD (1905-1988)

 

 

The Wings of God

The Flight of the Soul, art by Orit Martin

The wings that stretched the heavens like clouds
I climbed upon. And long and ardently they bore me in their easeful flight.
They were strong.
Fireless they were…I was a puny burden, no more than dust.
The long, smooth surge I rested on became my final trust.

The heavens’ span and all the wide, thronged space of universes
is to these wings an habitable room, a stretching place for leisurely tours
and comfortable journeyings.
What, now that I have cast myself upon their strength, have I to fear?
And yet my heart is humbled into awe to be so near. 

~ By Barbara Dent, OCDS 

 

In The Arms of My Beloved

 

‘Jesus comforting a girl in loving embrace’, Art by Unknown Author

Easing myself into the peace
I slip over the brink of sleep,
into your arms. I lie there
my head against your breast
one hand at your heart’s steady beat
the other crooked behind me
and all is quietude and still repose.
Your arms enfold me. They make a rampart
holding all my fears at bay.

Your breathing is the universe
you recreate each second through your love.
You are that mighty Word resounding
to make creation dance and sing in procreation.

Wedded for the first time in my life,
blessed, consecrated, vowed and ringed,
I now belong with you, love’s circlet
mutual and pledged with sacramental grace.
Cherished and safe, cradled and defended
by the stronghold of your promise
I hold out in my trusting hand to you
all my love throughout eternity.

Lovers always say “for ever”…
and then betray each other.
But we have made our deathless troth
that enemies cannot destroy nor many waters quench
nor catastrophic earthquake turn to rubble.

Our “for ever” opens up eternity in us
where I lie cradled in your quiet arms
your steadfast heartbeat here beneath my hand
so that I believe, and trust, and render up my all
into your care whose dower is to me the universe.

~ By Barbara Dent, OCDS ‘The Marriage of All and Nothing’  

 

 

Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love

Tomb of Saint John of the Cross ~ Photo taken by me in Segovia, July 2017

 

I recently came back from a trip to Spain and visited the Monastery of San Juan De La Cruz, Discalced Carmelite Fathers in Segovia.  The Monastery stands next to the Shrine of La Fuencisla. St. John of the Cross is buried here.
The church has a single nave with side chapels. The marble and bronze mausoleum of St. John of the Cross is in the side chapel of the Evangelio.

There I read the most beautiful prayer by St. John of the Cross “Oracion del alma enamorada” Prayer of a soul taken with love….

You will not take from me, my God, what You once gave me in Your only Son, Jesus Christ in Whom You gave me all I desire.  Hence I rejoice that if I wait for You, You will not delay. With what procrastinations do You wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart? Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth.  Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners.  The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul?  Yours is all of this, and all is for you.  Do not engage yourself in something less, nor pay heed to the crumbs which fall from your Father’s table.  Go forth and exult in your Glory!  Hide yourself in It and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart.

Heart To Heart

DESCENDING INTO THE HEARTHere’s something to reflect upon and pray with on the feast of the Sacred Heart. “When we say to people, ‘I will pray for you’, we make a very important commitment. The sad thing is that this remark often remains nothing but...

Art by Stephen B. Whatley, ‘The Sacred Heart of Jesus’

In Your heart I live, O my Lord
In Your heart I trust
In Your heart I hide
In Your heart I seek
O my Beloved,
In Your heart I dream
In Your heart I wish
In Your heart I place all my longings.

My Jesus, King of my heart
In Your heart I hope and love and see
O my Beloved,
Lover of my soul
In You I rest alone
You are my peace
You alone suffices
You are my all
In You and in Your silence I find my way.

~ My Carmel, A personal reflection

 

I Will Remain With You

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, art illustration by Jennifer Rivera

This Heart of the Trinity,
Beats for us in a small tabernacle
where it remains mysteriously hidden
In that still, white host.

That is your royal throne on earth, O Lord,
Which visibly you have erected for us,
And you are pleased when I approach it.

Full of love, you sink your gaze into mine
And bend your ear to my quiet words
And deeply fill my heart with peace.

Yet your love is not satisfied
With this exchange that could still lead to separation:
Your heart requires more.

You come to me as early morning’s meal each daybreak.
Your flesh and blood become food and drink for me
And something wonderful happens.

Your body mysteriously permeates mine
And your soul unites with mine:
I am no longer what once I was.

You come and go, but the seed
that you sowed for future glory, remains behind (Mk 4,26; Jn 12,24),
Buried in this body of dust.

A luster of heaven remains in the soul,
A deep glow remains in the eyes,
A soaring in the tone of voice.

There remains the bond that binds heart to heart,
The stream of life that springs from yours
And animates each limb (1Co 12,27).

How wonderful are your gracious wonders!
All we can do is be amazed and stammer and fall silent
Because intellect and words fail.

~ A poem, by Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) 1891-1942, Carmelite martyr, co-patron of Europe. 

 

 

An Encounter

Robert Hagan - Garden Moments

Art by Robert Hagan, Garden Moments 

My Beloved,

Come and visit me in my garden,
the flowers are wild and unkempt,
but they like to grow freely in your space,
breathing from your air and soaked in your warm rays.

Come and stay my Beloved,
the birds greet you with reverence,
and I am still, sinking everything in.

My garden is your abode.
It’s our meeting place…Oh how much I thank you my Jesus!
I thank you for this space filled with the joy of you.
This is my place of retreat, where I come to learn all your mysteries
and rejoice in your unfailing love.

My Rabonni, your eyes seek me and I encounter yours in an unending song of praise!
How do you love me so much?
How do you seek me so much?
I am breathless…my heartbeat stop at your majesty.
I close my eyes,
and I lay in your arms,
and my garden transforms into an eternal bliss of me in you and you in me.

~ My Carmel, A personal reflection

A poem by a Carmelite nun

I made a garden for God.
No, do not misunderstand me
It was not on some lovely estate or even in a pretty suburb.
I made a garden for God
in the slum of my heart
a sunless space between grimy walls
the reek of cabbage water in the air
refuse strewn on the cracked asphalt….
the ground of my garden!
This was where I laboured

night and day
over the long years
in dismal smog and cold…..
there was nothing to show for my toil.
Like a child I could have pretended:
my slum transformed…..
an oasis of flowers and graceful trees
how pleasant to work in such a garden!I could have lost heart
and neglected my garden
to do something else for God.
But I was making a garden for God
not for myself
for his delight not mine
and so I worked on in the slum of my heart.Was he concerned with my garden?
Did he see my labour and tears?
I never saw him looking
never felt him there
Yet I knew (though it felt as if I did not know)
that he was there with me
waiting……He has come into his garden
Is it beautiful at last?
Are there flowers and perfumes?
I do not know
the garden is not mine but his……..
God asked only for my little space
to be prepared and given.
This is “garden” for him
and my joy is full.
 
~ From the book, ‘To believe in Jesus’ by Ruth Burrows, OCD
Darren Haley 'Spring Chickadees':

Art by Darren Haley ‘Spring Chickadees’