Tag Archives: Advent

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.

One Season Out of Many

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“Love is patient.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4

Greetings, Kind Readers,

I posted this over at thecatholicyogi.com, but I felt it was fitting for this space, as well.  I hope you enjoy the prose in the midst of all the poetry.

It is a new year in the Christian Church calendar, and a new season is coming for all. We are practicing Advent at our house these days, the season of preparation. We are attempting to sweep out the dust and junk to make room for pretty trees and bright lights; we are readying the house for wonder and magic, renewal, peace, hope, and joy. The kids ask, loudly and with great passion, “Why do we have to clean before we decorate?!” Living long enough, we realize it just doesn’t feel quite right to decorate over dirt. So, insted of getting overwhelmed, we take our time, picking up, putting away, wiping this, and shining that. We have weeks ahead of us, and not everything must be completed in a day.

All this physical work is the manifestation of the spiritual discipline going on inside, successes and failures. The kiddos roll their eyes at me when I talk about sweeping out our hearts. “Sweep out our hearts!” I exclaim as I sweep through the house. “Sweep out the anger! the whinning and pouting! the self-pity!” Of course, I am exclaiming these things first to myself. See, the children are a miraculous aid in undestanding, and in the daily practice of loving and being loved. Without them I am nothing, and my spiritual practices lie dormant at best, absent at worst, devoured by self-centeredness. But with the little ones at my feet I am mindful of them and the presence of God.

Advent is four weeks long. I tell the children we will clean out our heart of all the negative stuff that has collected in our absent-minded way of moving through the days, and each week we will decorate our hearts with virtue. My husband has chosen Patience, Understanding, Kindness, and Honesty as the qualities our family will cultivate for Christmas, gifts we will give to each other, and so to Christ.

Certainly, as members of Humanity, as Christians, and Yogis, we are called to grow these goodnesses in our hearts and spread them all year, daily living mindfully, living and practicing the presence of God. But seasons help us focus. So today, join us in practicing patience and long-suffering. Its well is deep and full.

Happy Advent, Happy Practicing!

“The word mindfulness is not used [much] in Christian and Jewish circles because mindfulness is a Buddhist word. But what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is to be aware of everything you do every day. Mindfulness is a kind of light that shines upon all your thoughts, all your feelings, all your actions and all your words. Mindfulness is the Buddha. Mindfulness is the equivalent of the Holy Spirit, the energy of God.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh