Life after Epiphany


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Sonnet of Self-Dedication

Otherwise entitled: “Prayer of a Postulant.” This was written during my Postulant year – but the themes hold true even out here in lay life. Perhaps even more than at the time of writing.

– – – – –

King of the deep, Lord of the storm
Command mine raging heart be still
To ponder Your Incarnate form
To contemplate Your holy will.

Now stir me up with zeal for souls
and send me out to push the plough
To run t’ward the Eternal Goal
Then live the Everlasting Now.

Yet in my weakness, Lord, I fall
Please help me humbly stand again
Would that for love of You, my all
Be in Your service wholly spent.

Saviour, King, Beloved, Friend:
Totus Tuus, till my life’s end.

– – – – –

(A dusty sketch from October 2011)


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12 generous women

At this very moment, the twelve novices with whom I used to live in community are professing public vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. They are on the other side of the world from where I live, so I am unable to be present to celebrate with them. The best that I could do was to go to Mass for them earlier today, and to be up now, at this crazy hour, thinking of them, praying for them, and making a note in my blog about it to mark the occasion.

When I was a religious sister, my name was Sr. Catherine Thérèse. My patronesses were Catherine of Siena, and Thérèse of Lisieux.

One of my patronesses, St. Thérèse, wrote a stirring poem of deep significance to myself and my sisters, entitled The Melody of Saint Cecilia. I have included an extract below that I think is fitting as my sisters approach the altar today:

“Your union, spotless, chaste, shall win great souls to God
Souls that no other spouse than Christ shall seek on earth
And near His heavenly throne, when life’s hard path is trod
There you shall see them shine, in saintly joy and mirth”

Cecilia, lend to me thy melody most sweet:
How many souls would I convert to Jesus now.
I fain would die, like thee, to win them to His feet;
For him give all my tears, my blood. Oh, help me, thou!

Pray for me that I gain, on this our pilgrim way
Perfect abandonment that sweetest fruit of love.
Saint of my heart! oh, soon, bring me to endless day;
Obtain that I may fly with thee to heaven above!


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dulce et decorum est

The Poet quoth the Roman:

“Dulce et decorum est
pro patria mori”
Were “Patria” Your Kingdom,
the Truth this mayhap be
and yet, if mori happens
though not for love of You
it makes these words sheer vanity
and renders them untrue.

– – – – –

(A dusty sketch started in November 2012, completed September 2013)


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on poetry

brief musings, most –
but half expressed;
their potency in the reception.

a glance at all the words address,
good food for deep reflection.

and is it art?
for those that study – aye.

yet not for we
the faithful scribes,
notating thought and feel in shorthand

the talent lies not in telling;
artistry resides in receiving.

– – – – –

(A dusty sketch from 28 Nov 2009)

commentary
this piece is not intended to proffer the view that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I believe that beauty is a transcendental, an objective reality, and the extent to which beauty can be apprehended is in the extent to which one’s perception corresponds with that objective reality. What this poem intends to convey is best encapsulated in the last couplet, written after the pattern of a Hebraic Parallelism, if you will. Most of the skill is required and applied at the level of receiving/beholding/interpreting. In this world of ours, groaning under the oppression of modernist ideology, it is a notable achievement to be able to perceive truth, to be able to apprehend reality. I suppose my need to include this addendum attests to my belief that our ability to identify truth is under attack and needs all the help it can get.


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Gethsemane

Your human nature gripped by fear
Though union’d with Divinity
You grasp at root, at dust, at stone
Lord Jesus, on Your knees, alone.

The night so still, an eerie glow
interrupts shadows cast by the moon
No wind to sift through leaves below
Stark silence since the upper room.

As moments pass, chest heaves in pain
You see the wrong that I will do
Yet endure gladly for my stain
To draw my heart nearer to You.

Allow me, Lord, to come and help
You get up off Your knees
To wipe the blood-sweat off Your face
Your agony appease.

Not e’en one hour I wait with You
Now on Your knees again
I drift to sleep whilst You pour out
Your heartfelt plea for men.

Though spirit willing, flesh is weak
And my will, weaker still
You make me know its You I seek
that You alone fulfil

The night wears on and You, O Lord,
begin to tire from grief
Tormented by our hardened hearts
our sins, our unbelief.

I would not dare to interfere
with Your foretold redemptive act
But let me walk the way with You
At least in prayer if not in fact.

Now others to the garden come
Your victory will soon be won.
You freely choose the bitter cup
To torture and death You give Yourself up

Taken by thugs, betrayed by a friend
Your death: our bond with Father, mend.

– – – – –
(A dusty sketch from 16 October, 2011)


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from an age ago…

seasons change

does the sun resent the clouds, when they come out to play?
for the sun needs to vacate its playground in the sky sometimes;
and as it does and the aspect changes,
the sky weeps.

i listened, anticipating the answer, in hope.
anticipation perhaps obscured His response?

will he resent my choice, if i go another way?
no tears, i hope – not him, nor me
nor that tug inside that they oft accompany.

i pray the truth will make us free.

– – – – –

                                (A dusty sketch from Friday, 1 December, 2009)


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prequel: crossing seas

i always knew
and never did

He wants me, me? me!
not for what i can do,
but who i can be, no, who i am.

soon, I leave Dorothy’s sun-scorched sands behind
white-washed home under star-spangled banner, perhaps, to find.

words describe the scenario, all falls short of the meaning.

– – – – –

                        (A dusty sketch from Friday, 26 November, 2010)