Daniel Berrigan at 90

Daniel Berrigan, SJ, celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday.  We older folk remember him as a charismatic anti-war activist in the 60s and 70s.  He was a powerful advocate for non-violence and social justice for many years. He is also a poet of some renown.  Here is one of his lyrics. Miracles Were I God almighty, I would ordain, rain fall lightly where old men trod, no death in childbirth, neither infant nor mother, ditches firm […]

Good Friday, 1613, Riding Westward

From the poem of that name by John Donne: Could I behold those hands, which span the poles And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes? Could I behold that endless height, which is Zenith to us and our antipodes, Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is The seat of all our soul’s, if not of His, Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn By God for His […]

The Musician

A poem for Good Friday from “The Musician” So it must have been on Calvary In the fiercer light of the thorns’ halo: The men standing by and that one figure, The hands bleeding, the mind bruised but calm, Making such music as lives still. And no one daring to interrupt Because it was himself that he played And closer than all of them the God listened. –R.S. Thomas

Annunciations All the Time

My wife disturbed my Advent bliss a couple of days ago when she showed me a poem. I had been sailing along smoothly, humming “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” lighting the Advent wreath, and reading Isaiah’s prophecies. Then Susan handed me “Annunciation” by Denise Levertov. These are the lines that troubled my world. Aren’t there annunciations of one sort or another in most lives?                               Some unwillingly undertake great destinies, enact them in sullen pride, uncomprehending. […]

Prayer on the Run

I can pray as I bake this pie peeling the apples rolling the dough sprinkling the sugar making it right. This is my work of love, Lord. Bless the ones who will partake who will taste and be glad. Bless them, and bless me, too. I can pray as I search the stores which scarf or book or teacup says her name? bears her colors? Will it help her remember Grandma or have a little […]


i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth day of life and love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any-lifted from the […]

Mary Karr’s Conversion

The poet Mary Karr has just published a new book, Lit, in which she talks about her conversion to Catholicism as well her struggle with alcoholism.  She mentions in a recent interview that the Spiritual Exercises were an important part of her spiritual awakening. That’s all the excuse I need to mention Karr here, because she is one of my favorite poets.  Here’s a sample: Disgraceland Before my first communion, I clung to doubt          as […]

To Live in the Mercy of God

by Denise Levertov To lie back under the tallest oldest trees. How far the stems rise, rise before ribs of shelter open! To live in the mercy of God. The complete sentence too adequate, has no give. Awe, not comfort. Stone, elbows of stony wood beneath lenient moss bed. Read the whole poem here.

Billy Collins

I wasn’t surprised to find out that the poet Billy Collins is a Jesuit alum (Holy Cross ’63).  There’s a distinctly Ignatian tone in this quote: “I feel now that my sense of the spiritual is directly connected to my sense of wonder, my ability to be amazed by the fact of my existence in all its vital impermanence and by the spectacular environment I wake up to every morning. I am guessing that this […]

1 2 3 4