Drowning

John Rieping

Blue water spun about as I stared up
as if the foam and sky did duel that day
only to lose when darkness drank their cup
while in my limbs all fight did drift away.
I did not think of death as I sank down
Instead my thoughts took in this splendid doom
—a noisy blue glass swirl bereft of sound
that dimmed too fast, as beauties often do.
A shadow passed before my mind did fade
and I reached out to waken in the light:
My father’s leg had cast a saving shade
and I—though gone—held it with sleeper’s might.
Years pass, and now I drown in fears.
They captivate, but God is no less near.

John Rieping is a 1999 philosophy graduate from Mt. Angel Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon, and a journalism alumnus of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. He currently works as the copy editor of The Madera Tribune daily newspaper in Madera, California.

Good Friday

Kathryn Husing

The black sky’s wind carries a sorrowful cry;
The seamless garment cast away by lots.
While the Father’s promise turns to a lie,
And Judas hangs upon a rope and rots.
	Hell’s angels rejoice: God dead on a cross:
	On this day all man’s hope is lost. [Read more...]

The Priest Hole

Eleanor Bourg Donlon

We have made a league… cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons.
—St. Edmund Campion,
executed at Tyburn on 17 June 1582.
Written to the Lords of her Majestie’s Privy Council.

The sky was clear save for a small cluster of clouds—more ornamental than brimming over with sinister purpose. The sun was discreet; he did not ostentatiously command the scene, but neither did he make a timid entrance and huddle close to the horizon. The leaves rustled and made merry in the trees. Nature lay complacent and unknowing in the brisk autumn air of an English countryside. [Read more…]

Communion of the Saints

Shannon Berry

On the first of November, All Saints’ Day, my boyfriend Kim and I drive nearly an hour away to an ecumenical bonfire on the southern shore of Lake Superior. Two Lutheran girls from the university I attend as a graduate student cram themselves into the miniscule, low-ceilinged backseat of my Toyota, as I try to carefully maneuver the bumpy country roads and the new fallen snow. I apologize in advance for giving them headaches. As we drive, we talk about hometowns and courses and the difficulties of getting students involved in our various organizations, ours the Catholic campus ministry, theirs the Lutheran. The conversation surfaces but never dives; we stay in the safe territory of small talk. [Read more…]

The Gift

Brendan A. McGrath

“Credenti omnia convertuntur in Christum…”
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

Offertory

It wasn’t what I’d imagined. No diamond that would have rested on her finger like a bud upon a twig, ready to flower in the evening. No darkened pearl concealing a faded, otherworldly light that had once glimmered with a lunar enchantment. It was just a simple, gold band. I measured it: nine-tenths of a centimeter wide, with a diameter of a centimeter and seven-tenths. It wasn’t particularly lovely—it had lots of scratches, and “smudged” was the first word that came to mind. [Read more…]

Then We Shall Know Fully

Maria D. Byers

On a January night I saw
stars, roaring lanterns, thunder
in the massive silence
of an echo-holding sky
above a fragile world, half woven of
frosted roots and grasses;
and the cold field swayed, glittered vaguely,
oblivious to the universe’s
swelling scale of sounds,
never apprehending the unheard noise
surging over the mute and thousand throngs. [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…]