Resurrection Bread: A Holy Week Poem

This week, in the lead-up to Easter, my personal thoughts about the Resurrection found themselves expressed in the form of a sourdough starter that I was growing from scratch. Each day I wrote a five-line reflection on the process. While Jesus’ death and resurrection is of a scale far bigger than anything growing in aContinue reading “Resurrection Bread: A Holy Week Poem”

40 Days of Mercy Week 6: Mercy at the Cross

As we move closer to the time of remembering Jesus’ death, this week’s poem comes from Ukrainian-born poet Anna Akhmatova, whose poem sequence “Requiem” explores the grief that she and others witnessed of the height of Stalinist rule. One striking image that Akhmatova returns to continually throughout the sequence is that of a mother mourningContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy Week 6: Mercy at the Cross”

40 Days of Mercy Week 5: Mercy out of dust

I’ve wanted for a long time to write a series of reflections on the poetry of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Nelly Sachs. That will have to wait for another time, but this week’s poem comes from a sequence of hers called “In the Habitations of Death”, where imagery of death, dust, longing and encounteringContinue reading “40 Days of Mercy Week 5: Mercy out of dust”

Ordinary Wednesday: Waiting for fruit

The gap between Easter and Advent has seemed especially long this year. Perhaps this is because of the discipline I’ve undertaken of writing a weekly reflection throughout all of Ordinary Time, perhaps the slow drag of lockdown. But this year I have felt every week of Ordinary Time as though it should be over andContinue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: Waiting for fruit”

Ordinary Wednesday: I am not a calm blue ocean

Something I have been thinking about a lot this year is how to be what rabbi and psychologist Edwin Friedman called a “non-anxious presence”. Friedman observed that tight-knit communities like families and churches often had such complex networks of relationships and emotional histories that addressing one relational issue was often difficult because of all theContinue reading “Ordinary Wednesday: I am not a calm blue ocean”

Peace and the Thorn

“Mellow out,” they say. If I only could. Adolescent patient quoted by Dr Michael Piechowski Three times, the Apostle, says he cried,yet three times denied:within his side the unnamed thorn remained.To fester? To infect? No, to be the site of grace,for only this reply came: My grace is sufficient; in your weakness will my powerContinue reading “Peace and the Thorn”

Lost Things

In a house wheredaily I lose, misplace or breakwhat really, in eternity’s view,means little, yethas power to make or break my day,I understandthe urge to ask Saint Anthony wheremy keys are, or my glasses, orany other easily hidden thing.God in heaven is surelytoo busy with the business of soulsand perhaps too quick to point outContinue reading “Lost Things”

Christmas Day: Let all the earth rejoice

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.This will be for the Lord’s renown, for anContinue reading “Christmas Day: Let all the earth rejoice”

Advent with the Prophet Jonah: Christmas Eve

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat,the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them…They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters coverContinue reading “Advent with the Prophet Jonah: Christmas Eve”

Advent with the Prophet Jonah: Day 25

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tellContinue reading “Advent with the Prophet Jonah: Day 25”