Category Archives: Poems

A Sacramental

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It is Advent
and I am cleaning out the desk.
I find expired coupons,
obsolete proofs of purchase,
useless how-to manuals.

Beneath unopened instructional cd’s
and old, unframed photos
a gem is gleaming and I open it:

May Christ and all the angels linger long
in September’s slanting light;
gathering around your nebulous charity
that once again said ‘yes’
to becoming
the vessel for life
and loving those who become; 

May the days that seem impossible
be few and fleeting.
May the forgiving be creative!
The Beauty Immense.

These verses fall
out of the cardstock
and into my lap,
a precious gift,
a visible sign of invisible grace
carrying me through
another birth,
another recovery,
another disorienting,
treacherous leap into
motherhood,
God getting to me
through the careful crafting of words
and friendship,
his presence made manifest in love
shared and received
like the sacramentals of daily living,
the bread and wine, the coffee and cake, the letters and poems,
the words that feed and give, restore and reawaken.

I find jealousy, greed, and vanity,
envy, pride, and selfishness
stacked and piled high on this old soul.
It is Advent
and I am uncovering a gleaming gem.

 

About the Poem:

The letter in this poem is five years old.  It inspires me each time I uncover it.  My dear friend, Cynthia, sent it to me after the birth of my third child.  If you’ve never received a letter like this, write one, and send it out into the world.  If you’ve ever received a letter like this, write and send at least ten of them!

Cynthia blogs at The Mad-Eyed Monk.  Visit and be inspired!

Of Food and Grace

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I love that Jesus is fearful.

He climbs the mountain and sits down.
The needy crowd follows him and sits at his feet waiting
and he heals them, speaks of their suffering,
tells his disciples his heart is sick.

He fears they will collapse for lack of food.

Could he assuage their hunger
as he heals their ills?  He doesn’t.
He uses real food.
I use real food.

This must be the oneness of divinity and humanity.

What about when you swirl the hot pan with oil,
when you peel, slice, and chop the sweet onion,
when you sauté everything you have prepared and marinated,
is it not real food?

This is sacramental.

We are hungry children, a needy crowd.
How fearful we are when everyone is waiting
for us to provide and heal.  And yet we feed
and heal and love through this sacrament of bread and fish

of food and grace.

Advent’s Beginning

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Greetings, Kind Readers,

As you know, every once in a while I share some prose.  Here’s the most recent work from my other site, thecatholicyogi.com that I thought was fitting for this site, too.  I hope you enjoy.


 

Today is the second day of Advent, a holy season of anticipation, preparation, and by the end, we hope, a readiness.

It is easy to get caught in a whirlwind of perfectionism in which we strive to meet unrealistic expectations of our own making or those of others.  It is even easier to strive and then compare ourselves and our families to everyone around us, including those halfway around the globe.  Are my spiritual traditions better or worse than my neighbors’ traditions?  Am I teaching my children less effectively, less ideally than my friend is teaching hers?  The perfectionist/comparison trap yields only two results, both unwelcome:  placing ourselves above others, or, putting ourselves below others.  Tons of judgment.

Image result for christmas tree

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali outline ten ethical principles, yamas and niyamas, or social and individual observances.  One of the yamas that might help with this perfectionist/comparison trap is aparigraha, or the practice of non-attachment.  This non-attachment extends to more than the material objects we surround ourselves with, but to all of our inner and outer experiences as well.  We can become attached to anything and everything, such as the results of our hard work, or the outcome of situations and circumstances we struggle to orchestrate.  This attachment is also described as a “hunger” or a “craving,” and we can crave the bad things as well as good.  We can strive to have the most tastefully decorated house on the street, give the best gifts, host the most entertaining parties.  At times we even hunger after noble things like becoming an excellent yogi, or a good Christian, or a Catholic saint.

 

While it is wonderful to have the passion and energy for virtuous pursuits, it does no one any good if we constantly judge ourselves as “not living up” and make every one of us miserable in the process!   If we can practice letting go of our attachment to any particular outcome or result, we give ourselves a great gift of grace.

Perfection comes in the fullness of time.  We can’t rush it or control it or demand it.  All of us ripen at different stages and in different seasons, and none of us will reach perfection this side of death.  But if we practice even a bit of non-attachment throughout this holy season, we might just find a contentment that feels like heaven.  And not only will we have a more restful and happy spirit throughout the holidays, we will have souls ready to celebrate the birth of Christ, our Lord and Savior, through whom our perfection comes.

Image result for advent candles

 

The inspiration for this post came at church the week before Thanksgiving.  I picked up a copy of The Magnificat Advent Companion, a small book of blessings, daily scripture, reflections, and prayers, and inside the front cover I found a poem by Rita A. Simmonds.  It is simple and profound.  Enjoy.

This Advent

Prepare a Christmas list.
Don’t tell lies about what you want.
Go outside
and ax the dying tree,
watch it crash in the snow
leaving behind brown and green needles both.
Clear the cupboard of expired soups and noodles
old antibiotics
stiff marshmallows never melted,
and give away
the fresh box of cereal
the olives and canned tomatoes
flour, salt and sugar.
Don’t stuff a turkey
that’s already stuffed.
Make room in the refrigerator
for fresh fruit.
Clear your closets.
Give away blankets and boots
jackets and gloves
that no one has worn.
Confess the cobwebs
and skeletons
past celebrations
have kept and ignored.

Image result for christmas nativity

May we all be blessed with holy simplicity this Advent season.
Happy Practicing!

The Catholic Yogi

*All photos via google images.