Praying with Poetry

Explore Faith suggests a process for praying with poetry. Several poems are on the site, but the method will work with any poem. Here’s the process next to “Otherwise,” by Jane Kenyon. One of the steps suggests journaling responses to various prompts, including “If I were to paint a picture about this poem I would include [in] my work of art”¦” Have you ever prayed with poetry or works of art? What has been your […]

The Red Machine on the Wall

Greg Kennedy, SJ, shared an Advent poem on the igNation blog. Here’s a taste. We’ve all taken numbers from the red machine on the wall. Above, red periods on a screen combine into figures that put our time in its place; we wait and wait efficiently.

Possible Answers to Prayer

A poem by Scott Cairns: Your petitions—though they continue to bear just the one signature—have been duly recorded. Your anxieties—despite their constant, relatively narrow scope and inadvertent entertainment value—nonetheless serve to bring your person vividly to mind. Your repentance—all but obscured beneath a burgeoning, yellow fog of frankly more conspicuous resentment—is sufficient. Your intermittent concern for the sick, the suffering, the needy poor is sometimes recognizable to me, if not to them. Go here for […]

Why We Pray

A thoughtful poem by Philip Chircop, SJ: We pray today and every day not to change the mind of God but to change our mind that we may wake up and choose life over death blessing over curse We pray today and every day not to change the mind of God but that we may awake from our slumber and see, bidding farewell to our dangerous myopic visions dropping our blinders Go here for the […]

What Tears Mean

Every once in a while a great writer describes an experience that you know is universal and is nearly beyond words.  This short reading by Frederick Buechner is one of those times.  It reaches a deep place where wisdom dwells.  (Click here to watch it on YouTube.)  H/T to Jon Sweeney.

Love Calls Us to the Things of This World

In his book The Ignatian Adventure, Kevin O’Brien, SJ, mentions a poem by Richard Wilbur in his discussion of the Contemplation to Attain the Love of God at the end of the Spiritual Exercises.  Its title is “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World.”  It’s about dwelling in the spiritual heights, but then, finally, coming back to earth to get the job done. The eyes open to a cry of pulleys, And spirited […]

Who the Meek Are Not

Mary Karr is an Ignatian-influenced former atheist, recovering alcoholic, and one my favorite poets.  I’ve written about her before.  This poem is entitled “Who the Meek Are Not.”     Not the bristle-bearded Igors bent under burlap sacks, not peasants knee-deep     in the rice paddy muck, nor the serfs whose quarter-moon sickles     make the wheat fall in waves they don’t get to eat. My friend the Franciscan     nun says we misread that word meek in the Bible verse […]

Great Things Have Happened

At Mass last Sunday, Dennis Dillon, SJ, ended his homily with this poem by Alden Nowland.   It’s titled “Great Things Have Happened.” We were talking about the great things that have happened in our lifetimes; and I said, “Oh, I suppose the moon landing was the greatest thing that has happened in my time.” But, of course, we were all lying. The truth is the moon landing didn’t mean one-tenth as much to me […]

Finding God at O’Hare

In March, my wife and I missed a connection because of congestion at O’Hare airport. We vowed never to fly through O’Hare again if we could avoid it. But after reading the poem “Transportation” by Kristen Lindquist, I might reconsider. Everyone in O’Hare is happy today. Sun shines benevolently onto glorious packaged snack foods and racks of Bulls t-shirts. My plane was twenty minutes early. Even before I descend into the trippy light show of […]

John O’Donohue on Noticing

I hadn’t known about the priest-poet John O’Donohue until I read this post by Michelle Francl-Donnay.  The poem “A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted” might have been inspired by the Examen. Take refuge in your senses, open up To all the small miracles you rushed through. Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free. Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That […]

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