Sunday, February 28, 2010


Dear children,
Go quietly into the morning.
Feel the breath of the sky over your little bodies.
Walk with wide steps. Look everywhere.
The light touches everything.
Be like the birds of the trees and call on each other.
Fly with the flock. Nestle when it rains.
Sing like you were born to do.
Be on your way.

Dear men, dear women,
Go silently into the afternoon.
Give names to all the birds and animals.
You will know the words to use.
You will know them because they will sound like the sea
And they will feel like sunfire.
Keep a room for an unexpected guest,
For the ways of life are strange and uncertain.
Be of good cheer, for clouds will always keep moving.

Dear elders,
Go deeply into the night.
Take pain, take rage,
And everything that time cannot assuage.
The helpless tears shed for defeated peace
Fall on the face whose sight will give release.
And when your names are spoken with desire,
Behold the sound unending -- feel your souls ascending,
Becoming birds of fire.

Before the Transfiguration

You dawned on me while I was null and void: your light
Too strong for sight, you knew a moonchild I would be,
Mourning with the day, retreating into the mind,
Dry fruit beneath a heavy rind. Aloft, away,
That is where your messengers went to leave a word.
I overheard in part, illiterate and poor.
And it was odd -- while falling to the sun-kissed earth,
A fetus in stillbirth, I saved the life of God.
I would believe at first, but now it's best to do,
Invoking you, offending in the faith. I leave
No hope, no fear: I do not love, but yes, I could;
It is very, very good for me to be here.
O come around, my saintly visitors of night;
This time I might remember what you prophesy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Solitary Thoughts

"Alone at last." No, hardly last. It has been first, second, and always next. You think this is the way to holy solitude?

Go away only if you bring the world with you. Otherwise, stay where you are and drop everything.

There you go again, hiding your face from the strangers, the neighbors, and even your housemates. At this pace, they will never know you. What if salvation depends on saying hello? Or being said hello to?

When you sit in your room by yourself, eat by yourself, work by yourself, and sleep by yourself, you bring no one closer to solitude. Even the monks have each other. Even the hermits have the sun and the moon and the earth and all its creatures. Thank God it is impossible for you to dream by yourself. The communion of saints, living and glorious, haunts you from depths below your being and brings you closer to solitude.

From behind the door in the room where you have prayed, you wait until the people are gone, and then you go. And you have the nerve to look down upon honest atheists?

Stop thinking about the people you do not love: look at them. And stop looking at the people you watch thoughtlessly: you love them falsely.

You crave attention? Go tell it to the person you want least to see.

You survey your spacious life with satisfaction, as if congratulations were in order, as if you were proud of the achievement: getting yourself enough room to breathe. Sinner, repent! We all must breathe that same air.

The next time someone shows an interest in you that awakens in you a longing far out of proportion to that interest, you will know what it feels like for God to receive your prayer.

Monday, February 22, 2010

To an Infant

I marvel at you, and it is for nothing you have done.

You are the proof that love creates life. Try as we might all our lives to disprove it, we cannot. We can only unprove. Forgive us when we forget who you are.

I am happy you are being loved. I hope you will always be so loved. Forgive us when we don’t want you to be loved. That’s going to happen a lot.

I am sorry for the world of violence we are throwing you into unaware. I am sorry for all the ways we will teach you how to sin and to believe your sin is good.

You are a reality whose sanctity should never be trifled with, even when one day you yourself will act in a manner unworthy of the mystery of yourself.

You are awakening. May your awakening awaken the rest of us.

May it be a pleasure one day when you discover who you are, and our pleasure to observe your recognition of the fact.

I hope your life is challenging but not impossible. I hope your life is strenuous but not a strain. Let it have tension but not anxiety. Let it brim with vitality but not violence.

May you succeed at being a human being. May you be free to choose your own form of suffering.

Do not be dismayed if you and I fail to make a connection. Do not be discouraged if one day we can no longer speak to each other. You will have family beyond your blood. You will have brothers and sisters in the spirit. The household of God is great, and we do not have to live in the same room. What we cannot forgive of each other, what we are unable to unbind, God will release for us.

I just wrote the word “God.” You do not know who God is. That is all right, because neither do I. Go on dreaming anyhow, and I will go on praying anyhow.

Many things will go wrong, and you will know emptiness, failure, and pain. You will lose, and you may lose it all. For all that, there are things that remain. Every word that comes from the mouth of God remains. And though I do not understand how or why I say this, I believe that what has been spoken once cannot be unspoken. You are a word not spoken by human lips. You have been Spoken.

Someday, when you have grown in years and strength and wisdom, you will look upon an infant and remember things you do not know. When you do, be kind to others and to yourself.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Small Thoughts

"God himself will set me free from the hunter's snare." Stop hunting yourself.

"Today is holy to the Lord your God." It is always today.

"On my bed I remember you." Rise, pick up your bed, and walk.

"On you I muse through the night." See me in the morning.

"Your love is better than life." You know not what you say.

"On my bed I remember you." Your bed is too small.

"Let the praise of God be on their lips and a two-edged sword in their hand." No justice, no God.

"He was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil." Into the desert, not into temptation.

"Be with me, Lord, when I am in trouble." So said your adversary.

"The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart." Let it speak. Let it bleed.

"When he had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry." He survived.

"On my bed I remember you." Forsake all others.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Near Sleep

You are always awake when no one else is around. You are always awake at night. That is good, but there is another friend than the darkness.

You must learn to wake when the light arrives. The light is your first friend and always the newest.

You have been dreaming into the heart of the sunrise. You must awake into the sunrise. Do not wake feeling sad and lost, as you do.

Be awake, be watchful. You cannot pray asleep.

Watch for all. You do not watch if you look upon only one person. Love all. You do not love if you love only one person.

Look around, and let yourself be looked upon by a thousand fiery eyes.

When you must rest, pray that your rest be brief. Pray that God looks upon you from below and above, from beyond and within you.

See, listen, share. Work, watch, pray.

You are the final reason for the light God let be. Let yourself be illuminated.

In the world you are always near asleep. When you nearly wake, you will be near heaven.

Monday, February 1, 2010

When You Go

O God forgive me when you go
O God forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
I fear what I don't know
O God forgive me when you go

Mother forgive me when you go
Mother forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
The love I did not show
Mother forgive me when you go

Father forgive me when you go
Father forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
I reaped but did not sow
Father forgive me when you go

Brother forgive me when you go
Brother forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
You will make it on your own
Brother forgive me when you go

Sister forgive me when you go
Sister forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
A lifetime left alone
Sister forgive me when you go

Lover forgive me when you go
Lover forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
You will laugh again and grow
Lover forgive me when you go

People forgive me when you go
People forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
The kingdom I brought low
People forgive me when you go

O God forgive me when you go
O God forgive me when you go
Forgive me when you go
There's so much I don't know
O God forgive me when you go.