Little Hours

K.K. Adams

Lying heavy in my bed
I hear the murmured
whimper of a son
lauding his hunger
in the darkness
and, opening one eye,
see the hour—3 a.m.

I will arise,
hoisting my heaviness
out of the warmth
of my bed,
to keep this vigil,
to be a comforter,
to invite another in.

A Visit to the Tate

Bo Helmich

This spring, on the final afternoon of a sojourn in England, I wandered the banks of the Thames, coming at last to the Tate Britain, home to one of the largest collections of William Blake’s art. Was it irony or grace to find his work there, in the heart of the city whose sins and afflictions were so grievous in Blake’s time? Gone now are the infamous “dark satanic mills” of England’s early industrialization; gone (or at least hidden from sight) are the “marks of weakness, marks of woe.” Prosperity has largely replaced poverty, and the streets no longer feel “charter’d”—controlled repressively by the English crown.

After two weeks of rain I had happened upon that rare English joy: a sun-washed afternoon—a magic time for strolling and browsing, for hopping on and off red buses more or less at random, for happily spending all eight kinds of coins that the Brits carry about in their pockets. On such a day it would have been a shame to go indoors were it not for the promise of great art, and the inspiring assurance one receives as a gift from the old masters. [Read more…]

A Call to Prayer

Joy Wambeke

“For the poor souls in purgatory,” I heard my father mutter through clenched teeth. Through the shadows of the upstairs hallway, I could often see my father in my parents’ darkened room, his hands wound around his foot or grasping his knee. He always got ready for work at Sydney harbor in the dark so as not to wake mum. It was his habit to offer the inevitable bumps into furniture for the dead not yet in heaven.

It would be fair to say that mum and my father believed in God. [Read more…]

Sanctification: A Comedy of Error

Br. Bruno M. Shah

I. Playing A Part

During the first days at the seminary, the Master of Students gathers the newly arrived to discover what practical talents are available for the community’s benefit. (We blithely refer to the house’s chores as “privileges.”) Each of our sixty men has some share in the work of home—maintenance—this brother is handy with electrical equipment, that brother has a background in carpentry, this brother is literate in computers, et cetera. Well, this brother claimed that he could cut hair. And for an order that vows evangelical poverty, getting haircuts for free is what philosophers call a “useful good.” [Read more…]

What Thomas Saw

J.B. Toner

for J.R.R. Tolkien

Dark seas by night, a howling, weeping sky,
A morning’s mists upon the far dim strand;
Then faces, smiling faces, welcome hands,
Great saints and heroes of the world gone by,
Old friends, lost loves, all people dear and fair,
Then Mary—Mary, mother of us all—
Then nail-marked hands and lips once stained with gall,
Now smiling, smiling, up the crystal stair,
The Dove, the Dove, alight with joy and flame—
Then Him, Whose tears will wash away all wrong,
Whose word cries out to each of us by name,
Whose laughter makes us pure and wise and strong
To enter halls where sorrow never came,
And life itself—and life itself—is song.

Teresa

Sarah DeCorla-Souza

You called yourself a pencil in the hand
of God. You were slick like an arrow, sharp,
poignant with truth. Like Mary to our Martha,
you chose the better part, washing the sick and half-
dead, even when your prayers seemed to crumble
like ash, and your God turned blank and silent. [Read more…]

Book Review: Reflections

Jonathan Potter

Reflections
Poems by Ruth Asch, with art work by James Tyldesley
Saint Austin Press, 2009
136 pp.; $10.00
ISBN: 978-1901157468

When I first opened Reflections, Ruth Asch’s extraordinary first collection of poetry, I did that bad thing readers are not supposed to do: I turned to the last page. The little poem, poised there on page 129, stared me in the eye, smiled, and then kicked me in my reviewer’s shin just hard enough to smart a little and make me grin at the task ahead of me. [Read more…]

The Red Door Society

Clay Reherman

To many, the phrase “hard times in America” brings to mind stark images of the 1930s: Ecological and economic disaster, powerful storms following close upon one another, high crime, starvation, despair, societal depression in every imaginable degree and mode. We may thank Mr. Steinbeck for this mental association: His painting of the “dust bowl days” in The Grapes of Wrath has imbued three generations with a notion of what it’s like when a nation is visited by the Angel of Death.

1934

Most Americans in those days had an idea that a sentence of doom could be carried out from above, below, or somewhere. While the 1920s had been exceedingly prosperous and “liberating” to most classes of people, there was still an honest fear of God left in this country: Like a thief in the night, the Angel of Death snuck up on folks, and even a proud craftsman like Garv Atwood could be left holding the bag.
[Read more…]

King Saul

Michael Doyle

“Twenty minutes, Saul. You promised,” she says from the other room. A weak cry follows and then her weary voice again, “Hush now, hush… Daddy’s going any minute. Belly’ll be all swollen soon, then sleep, sleep.”

Eighty push-ups. Not too bad. Saul rises to his feet and faces the mirror. Only the table lamp is on because he looks more chiseled that way, his skin smooth again. He brings his wiry arms in toward his bare chest, admiring the oily sheen that clings to his body. He bites his lip, clenches his fists, then holds his hands loose by his side. Try to be loose tonight. Jaw loose, fingers trembling. [Read more…]