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...]
The townsfolk left their houses to behold Atop the Umbrian hill a shining fire That wreathed and wrapped the church’s starlit spire And speared the sky with red and glowing gold. So, heedless of Assisi’s midnight cold, They rushed upon the conflagration dire To quell the ruin of that blazing pyre Lest God’s own house be razed to ash and coal. [Read more...]
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...]
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...]
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.
… Who delights to scatter such masterpieces
over the place where we spend our brief time of exile.
—St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul
So I looked up from The Story of a Soul and
Put Therese and the Child Jesus to sleep.
And felt the quiet wash over my brain.
Everyone on the bus was drowsing in their naps,
Light danced on the leaves caught on the
Movie screen of the bus windshield. [Read more...]
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...]
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...]
Amy Lemoine Stout
“Anna! Stay with your mother! Stay with your mother!”
The panicked shrill of a woman’s voice outside her window awoke Ms. Anna Braun of 37 Pine Street as if God himself had spoken into her ear. Heart beating wildly, she leaned up against the window. At the corner Anna could see the little girl who shared her name, dressed in a pink jumper, bouncing off of the city bus and skipping along the sidewalk while her mother scrambled to hold her hand. In her raven hair the little girl wore a blue bow that was faded and frayed and with every bounce it was slowly falling out of her sea of curls. [Read more...]
Editor’s note: This article was originally published during Christmas of 2005.
We buried a giant last Easter. John Paul the Great’s death, more than any in recent memory, reminds young Catholics that we stand on the shoulders of spiritual giants, pedestals from which we can view the glory of lives well-lived and imagine the trials and triumphs that await us if we follow their example. They not only remind us of our history, but they point the way forward and give us a glimpse of that eternal Vision in which every tear will be dried and every eye fixed in peace. [Read more...]