Ascending

Christopher Paolelli 

He cowered on the ruined balcony. Shriveled into a crouch, he screamed wordlessly at the inferno that was devouring the known world.

Sal called encouragement to him, but he wouldn’t listen or couldn’t hear. So Sal started toward him, cautiously, one shaky step at a time. Then something went wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. In a moment the balcony was gone. And so was the boy. [Read more…]

Essere

Where are my words?
They’re lost and confused
Where is my verse?
It’s banal, reused.
What is my language?
Look not to your tongues.
What must I do?
Don’t speak from your lungs. [Read more...]

Out, Out, Brief Candle

Lauren Brannon

But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet – and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.
—T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

I worshipped a teacher, and I almost failed his class.

For straight-A Lauren in junior high, this was the most utterly unthinkable thing in the world. Now, for jaded, trying-to-keep-her-grades-decent college Lauren, it’s one of those “it figures” ironies of life. [Read more…]

Flight

Seek ye first the Kingdom of the Lord—
 So I was taught, and hastened to obey;
 I watched the fields and rivers fall away;
 Above the soaring mountaintops I soared,
 Through Heaven-vaults alight with sun outpoured
 On luminescent golden clouds of day;
 And far below the sparkling oceans lay,
 And world-waves, washed forever, rolled and roared. [Read more...]

Why Can’t He Be You?

Eve Tushnet 

“Oh, Nina, you haven’t signed up yet—can you take one of the,” and Dorrie was turning the clipboard toward me with her usual unhappy smile, “morning slots?”

“Sure. Where is this place?” Cigarette. Cigarette. Cigarette!

“It’s a Planned Parenthood on 17th Street. There’ll be a carpool if you want.” Cigarette, dammit! I signed up for 10 A.M. and headed outside as fast as I could. Open pack, fish out lovely lovely cigarette, between the lips and hunt for the lighter and suck and oh, thank God!

Smoky dark gray chemical taste. Already the stress of the morning was falling back into the past. Oh, brilliant, beautiful. Oh frabjous day.

Then, of course, I realized that I’d really signed up for ten in the morning on a Saturday. [Read more…]

Leaving Song

Katy Willis

Now is the winter of my discontent
  To be reformed, transfigured into spring?
  I cannot seem to hold to anything
That by this sudden blossom is not rent.
I leave a love behind, unfathomed still;
  I have a hope before me, waiting yet;
  And trapped so, where no boundaries are set,
I find a faith, an unexpected will. [Read more...]

G.K. Chesterton and the Use of the Imagination

Dale Ahlquist 

The purpose of the imagination is to make us more like God. Sounds like something a serpent might say. But it’s not. That really is the purpose of the imagination. To make us more like God. After all, our imagination is a gift from God. It is perhaps one of the greatest gifts God has given us. It not only separates us from the beasts, it allows us to create new worlds of our own. Our imagination gives us a kind of omnipotence. There is almost nothing that we cannot do within the infinity of our minds. The Creator has made us in His own image. That is, he has made us creators. Our creativity is re-creation. And yes, it is recreation as well. It is restorative and rejuvenating. It is a pleasure. It is peace. It is a gift that we have abused, but perhaps even worse, it is a gift we have left unused. [Read more…]

Many Faces, One God: Many Languages, One Prayer

John Rogers

I.

Some years ago, I volunteered at the San Miguel school where for the past ten years the LaSallian Brothers have run a low-cost middle school in the center of Chicago’s most violent area, giving Latino children from low-income families the opportunity to receive a quality education. San Miguel is run out of an ancient parish building, all brick walls and tile floors. Classrooms are cavernous and musty, ripe with the scent of old chalk and cleaning agents. Windows dimmed with years of dust and grit overlook the school’s tiny parking lot, which is framed by a rusty chain-link fence. The dilapidated building sat unused for years until the Brothers moved in, and as time has passed, art classes have brightened it with murals and paintings. One such work of art is a ten-foot image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, painted in vibrant blues, greens, and yellows, watching lovingly over the main stairwell. [Read more…]

The Edifice

As soon as you enter, nothing is the same—
 A fact, perhaps, you knew before you came
 Inside. The shape alone, from down the street,
 Signals some fundamental and complete
 Transformation from what has come before,
 In motion by the time you touch the door.
The door—here, too, something seems amiss
 If known conventions be applied to this.
 Unlike the tidy portals near and next,
 Of chrome and glass, exquisitely Windexed,
 The knotted oak leaves outside witness blind,
 But those who enter know what they will find.

[Read more…]

The Great Mystery

  Ephesians 5:21-33

You stand in black and white, as clear a word
As if I saw you printed on a page;
The book is closed; the world is now your stage,
The prologue-blessing given by a third;
The script you know by heart: the truth conferred
Upon you by Creation, that great sage
(A truth daunted by neither youth nor age),
Shown forth, imprinted, never to be blurred. [Read more...]