Hallowed Be

Reserve not for me this chalice
For my horizon runneth over
Between the redrawn corners
And the penciled sketch marks
Between the tangled questions
And the patterned notebook
A seashell imprint
Pressed upon the patchwork stars
Not one a resting place
Nor one a constellation
A myriad of catch breaths
At each occurrence of the tune
In, 1-2, out, 1-2, in time,
In time, all manner of things shall be
If it only be your will, let the sky fall
Gently, and in time

(16 October 2017)

IMG_20171019_144236858
Along the route home from my university sometime last year, the first glimpse of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Gotta love them hills.
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Pathways

Cracks in the sidewalk grin
Surfaced like a shell
Beating the lifeblood of a city
Across your freckled soul

What is a sidewalk but a
Slantwise fable of crooked roads
A path so straight my boots slide
Down into the cracks and grimace
At the comfort and inertia

Sapling roots its way to freedom
A miracle amidst the loose gravel
And a warning to me: you are not
A sapling, my love. You are
The sun that hits me as I pass
Between brick wall redwoods
You are a downpour beating across
The windows and running through
The sidewalk cracks to find the sea

A city sheds its skin and calls
My weary feet to search this Georgia mountain
‘Til I find the glimmer of its Christmas lights
Its storefronts and streetlamps
A front porch with a spare key
And a peaceful endurance
As miles stretch behind us
And marathons ahead

(21 December 2016, edited 2 July 2017)

File Jul 02, 3 44 41 PM
Sunset along W. Main Street in my hometown.  Guess the time of year from the ghost decorations?

It’s a strange feeling to invent a title for a months-old poem just to avoid the shame of naming it something like “Another Poem I Wrote Months Ago”.  But let’s just pretend it was always a part of the whole.

After all, for better or for worse, we humans are quite skilled at pretending.  Which is why it is always the duty and the struggle of the mind to sift through the illusions of the workaday world in search of truth.  Countless ways of achieving this have been proposed up and down the centuries.  But I rather think it benefits particularly to heed Christ’s teaching when he says, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth” (John 8:31-32).  “And the truth will make you free,” He says next, lest anyone should wonder why truth is important.

One might still ask what it is we’re being freed from, and to them I would say… just read John chapter 8.  It’s worth it, I promise you.  (Okay, short answer, it’s sin, but there’s lots and lots to ponder in that chapter, and I encourage you to read it.  Good good stuff.)

Happy Sunday to you all.  God is good, and never ceases to bless His Creation, and I pray you may continue to live in His truth by the strength of His grace.  🙂

Pax vobiscum.

Come Holy Spirit

When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled,
they were all in one place together.
And suddenly there came from the sky
a noise like a strong driving wind,
and it filled the entire house in which they were.
Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire,
which parted and came to rest on each one of them.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to speak in different tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

Acts 2:1-4

This past semester, I took a course in Catechetics which required me to read and summarize the entirety of the Catechism’s teaching on Christian prayer.  I won’t tell you how long I procrastinated on the assignment, but I will tell you that, though strenuous, there is a great richness of knowledge to be obtained by this manner of study.  One of the most spiritually beneficial things I gained from it, however, was being reminded of just how integral and foundational the working of the Holy Spirit is in our life of personal prayer, and indeed our life as Christians on the whole.

The Holy Spirit has always been, to me, the most beguiling figure of the Holy Trinity.  Often we hear or read the Father’s words to us in Scripture, and the innate human tendency is to imagine a face to go with this voice, even if it’s nothing more than the stereotypical majestic and humongous old guy in a cloud.  Christ Himself took on human form when He descended from heaven to proclaim the Kingdom to us.  But the Holy Spirit?  I rarely imagine Him as human.  The imagery the Church has inherited falls more along the lines of a dove, the wind, tongues of fire, an invisible, silent, but no less powerful or divine Spirit on whose behalf the Father speaks (Matthew 3:16-17).  Not the kind of being we easily imagine ourselves having a relationship with.

But the Holy Spirit is, nonetheless, clearly important to our life of prayer, as St. Paul reminds us, “for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26).  And, as we hear in the readings for this Sunday, “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:3). “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?” Paul asks us (1 Corinthians 6:19).  This Holy Spirit is not some cosmic force we have to go wrangle or summon by some elaborate means every time we want to pray.  The Spirit quite literally dwells within us, every moment of every day.  This means, for one, that we ought to act like temples of the Holy Spirit.  But it also means that we need never fear that God doesn’t hear our prayers.  If He is within us, His ear is inclined much closer to our supplications than the Tempter might want us to believe.

If ever we need a reminder of just how powerful the Holy Spirit is in the life of the Church, we need only look back to the day on which it first received this Spirit and came into existence.  This Spirit which dwells within us is the same Spirit which caused the believers in Jerusalem to speak in tongues.  And not just in a couple different languages, but a pretty substantial bunch.  This is the same Spirit that Christ promised would guide the Church “into all truth” (John 16:13).  And it is the same Spirit we receive in Baptism, the Spirit who brings each new believer into life in Christ.  It’s a lot to wrap one’s head around, but God does tend to be supremely generous in His goodness, so far beyond our wildest dreams, so far beyond our understanding, but still absolutely true.

Take a moment to thank God for the gift of His Holy Spirit which guides you in prayer this day.

Lectionary readings for Pentecost Sunday:
Acts 2:1-11 | 1 Cor. 3b-7, 12-13 | Jn. 20:19-33
You can find these all in one place here.  Pax vobiscum.  🙂

Four Witnesses: A Book Review

Four Witnesses | Rod Bennett
Ignatius Press (2002)

Imagine: living among the first Christians.  What must that have been like?  How must it have felt to hear the preaching of Peter or Paul or encounter a passerby who knowingly traced the symbol of a fish in the dust at their feet?  How terrifying, when the Roman persecution of those professing the name of Christ began in earnest? Continue reading “Four Witnesses: A Book Review”

Twilight / Dawn

Thus turns the world to sleep
Like the thoughts, revolving
Behind my eyelids
                  I see you, there
And I shut them so much the tighter
For I hear a thousand voices
Intone so bright a chord
I know I could never quite dance
Suitably, to such a song.
Thus I clench my fists around
Every word
           and they fall,
Broken, to circumstance
And to some future skyline,
Forgotten like a picture book.
How could I ever dream of days
Filled with anything but despair
And false wells to drown in
Except...  You.
                 All,
                 except for You.
You are
        a singularity,
                      a ray: simplicity
Ebullient and towering and glorious
And altogether baffling
For countless are the days
I've spent, floundering in puddles
Of my own design, silencing
The whispered corners of my mind.
Still,
       even now
You do not forsake me
And still,
           the words I claim are rubble
They all will fade to retrospect
As dust, beside You.
                     Heard softly,
Your words are all that I shall ever need.

Not the prettiest type in the world, but until I find a better way to preserve the structure, it’ll suffice.  🙂

Ooh, I need a song to leave y’all with, don’t I…  So here’s a song about the Transfiguration.  Because, why not have a song about the Transfiguration?  So there you go.  And it’s pretty.

Good old Sufjan never lets us down…

I hope that wherever you may be this evening, dear reader, that you are feeling the peace and joy of Christ that thaws every winter into spring.  (Maybe it won’t for a little longer if you’re up north.  But He will.  Just you wait.  😉

Peace to you, now and always.  Stay classy.

Data-Determinism

“In the information age, we have embraced the language and priorities of technological intelligence to the exclusion of more visceral and emotional ways of understanding human existence.”

– Bill McGarvey

read more (americamagazine.org)

In a world where technology is quickly establishing itself as a sort of pseudo-religion, articles like this one stand out as particularly timely and on point.  Source: America Magazine (a publication I highly recommend).


MLA source citation (good practice for college students…)

McGarvey, Bill.  “Data-Determinism.”  America 28 Sept. 2015: 40.  Print.