The reality of the messy Nativity

I’ve said this before: the story of the Nativity lives in everyone’s heart. The story of the messy first Christmas is your story: you know what it is like to lose control, to deal with the unexpected, to put your life in danger for the sake of others, to be uncertain about the future andContinue reading “The reality of the messy Nativity”

Compass

i’d like a compass with you at the north and my sisters in the west   i’ll keep it in my pocket and take it out for direction when i can’t remember the skin i’m in or the rhythm of my own song   to the south are the mountains, pink rhododendrons and sweet teaContinue reading “Compass”

Marked

 Most days, our schedules are clogged with avoidance: We’d rather ignore the inevitable smudge of human decay.   This morning though, Ash Wednesday, we step into lines and confront the truth of pain.   We allow strangers to mark us with a message of paradox.   Remember, you are dust. To dust you will return.Continue reading “Marked”

Black cloth

Red broth, steaming soup, vegetables just picked, now my lunch; I slurp life in. Phone rings Sister Laura on the line, “Sister Rita is dying. I’ll put the phone to her ear. Say what you’d like. She can’t talk, won’t respond. Say your good-bye.” A pause. My lungs expand, mind races, I search my heartContinue reading “Black cloth”

Hearts wide open: in the sky, on earth

Happy Feast of St. Clare! The following prose-poetry is dedicated to her. This past Monday I drove north, from Kansas City to La Crosse, through lush fields of green growing up towards the sky. As I moved, my eyes focused on the constant road. It was an all-day drive after a two-month pilgrimage of study,Continue reading “Hearts wide open: in the sky, on earth”

For those who long for a life of meaning

I am a Franciscan, yet much of Carmelite spirituality resonates with me. Perhaps it’s because I am inspired by the depth of the tradition. Maybe it is because the wisdom offered reads like poetry. Or, it could be because the beautiful images and metaphors feel right to my meandering heart and mind: Flower, Castle andContinue reading “For those who long for a life of meaning”

Call for creative communion

  I nearly skipped the liturgy. I almost didn’t head out into the cold night. After two full and exhausting days at the Festival of Faith and Writing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I wasn’t sure if I had any energy to interact with another person, especially any of my literary heroes. Yet, I made myContinue reading “Call for creative communion”

On the good days

On the good days, I am conscious of the discoveries. This life under COVID-19 has been full of new and beautiful discoveries, both inner and outer. I recently read that while our outings to restaurants, shopping malls and amusement parks have all decreased dramatically, our visits to public parks has increased exponentially. This is certainlyContinue reading “On the good days”

Freedom songs

Selma has been on my mind lately. With the passing of John Lewis, my social media feed has been flooded with photos of him standing at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge, stories of his constant bravery and even videos of him dancing or crowd surfing. We have lost a legend. And my mindContinue reading “Freedom songs”

Ordinary mystery

Now we are in ordinary time. Alleluia for the sunset each day. Alleluia for sniffing wilted lilac blossoms. Alleluia for pauses in the rushed, packed scheduled life. Christ comes to us is the cracks of our life, in the common mystery: Slicing orange cheddar for a quick snack, the sweetness of a fresh mandarin, theContinue reading “Ordinary mystery”

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