May 31, 2013 is the Feast of the Visitation. About one week after conceiving Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, and at the conclusion of a 4 day journey, Mary arrives at the home of Elizabeth and Zechariah. We present two reflections: 1. Theological, 2. Poetical.
“John (the Baptist) was ‘filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb’ by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.” Catechism of the Catholic Church #717
The Quickening of St. John the Baptist – Written in 1949
On the Contemplative Vocation
Why do you fly from the drowned shores of Galilee,
From the sands and the lavender water?
Why do you leave the ordinary world, Virgin of Nazareth,
The yellow fishing boats, the farms,
The winesmelling yards and low cellars
Or the oilpress, and the women by the well?
Why do you fly those markets,
Those suburban gardens,
The trumpets of the jealous lilies,
Leaving them all, lovely among the lemon trees?
You have trusted no town
With the news behind your eyes.
You have drowned Gabriel’s word in thoughts like seas
And turned toward the stone mountain
To the treeless places.
Virgin of God, why are your clothes like sails?
The day Our Lady, full of Christ,
Entered the dooryard of her relative
Did not her steps, light steps, lay on the paving leaves
Did not her eyes as grey as doves
Alight like the peace of a new world upon that house, upon
Sings in the stone valley like a Charterhouse bell:
And the unborn saint John
Wakes in his mother’s body,
Bounds with the echoes of discovery.
Sing in your cell, small anchorite!
How did you see her in the eyeless dark?
What secret syllable
Woke your young faith to the mad truth
That an unborn baby could be washed in the Spirit of God?
Oh burning joy!
What seas of life were planted by that voice!
With what new sense
Did your wise heart receive her Sacrament,
And know her cloistered Christ?
You need no eloquence, wild bairn,
Exulting in your hermitage.
Your ecstasy is your apostolate,
For whom to kick is contemplata tradere.
Your joy is the vocation of Mother Church’s hidden children –
Those who by vow lie buried in the cloister or the hermitage;
The speechless Trappist, or the grey, granite Carthusian,
The quiet Carmelite, the barefoot Clare, Planted in the night of
contemplation, Sealed in the dark and waiting to be born.
Night is our diocese and silence is our ministry
Poverty our charity and helplessness our tongue-tied
Beyond the scope of sight or sound we dwell upon the air
Seeking the world’s gain in an unthinkable experience.
We are exiles in the far end of solitude, living as listeners
With hearts attending to the skies we cannot understand:
Waiting upon the first far drums of Christ the Conqueror,
Planted like sentinels upon the world’s frontier.
But in the days, rare days, when our Theotokos
Flying the prosperous world
Appears upon our mountain with her clothes like sails,
Then, like the wise, wild baby,
The unborn John who could not see a thing
We wake and know the Virgin Presence
Receive her Christ into our night
With stabs of an intelligence as white as lightning.
Cooled in the flame of God’s dark fire
Washed in His gladness like a vesture of new flame
We burn like eagles in His invincible awareness
And bound and bounce with happiness,
Leap in the womb, our cloud, our faith, our element,
Our contemplation, our anticipated heaven
Till Mother Church sings like an Evangelist.
Filed under: Poems
God’s Fatherhood as I see and sense it.
by Sister M. Linus Coyle
At night, alone, with the Lord and Mary,
I look up to the Fatherhood of God
How many children again that day, O God,
willfully torn from a mother’s womb
deprived so brutally of its own life
with all the hopes that life possessed
but unable to encounter or to develop
that purpose for glory God had created!
Each, a child, yes a child:
never to know or to teach;
never to choose or to give;
never to belong or to accept;
never to be loved or to love others;
never to trust or to offer hope;
neither to find nor to show goodness;
neither to praise nor to thank God for
beauty with happy, joy-filled smile
with human voice or song,
and all the while fulfilling God’s plans
to be glorified within this personhood.
No, Christ had no chance to enter, nor to
achieve His Father’s plan within.
… and I weep for them, for all of us.
For life would never know that which was God’s desire
for those whom they’d companion or generate.
Lord of mercy, Lord of love,
forgive and transform all hearts,
this day, this night. Amen
God the Father, holding Christ Crucified in His arms (embroidered image) (detail)
Sister M. Linus Coyle belongs to the order of the Sisters of the Presentation. She receives our e-newsletter and sent us this poem/reflection on the dignity of each unborn child conceived in the image and likeness of God and on the sadness we all feel because of abortion.
God’s Language of Harmony
by Sister M. Linus Coyle
I looked into the mind of God,
His Will residing in the Son.
I looked into the heart of Christ,
and saw His Will fulfilled.
I looked into the Will of God
and saw its breath of Love.
I looked into the depth of Love
so Spirit shadowed from above.
This led me to each human child
Where God’s glory-hopes of love are fed.
And then I knew God’s fatherhood
as cherished image of His Son;
for life within a mother’s womb
would share Life’s weaving loom
freedom to begin again
in YES to life from Him.
The breath of Love might cherish yet
A life Christ entering would become
Sister M. Linus Coyle belongs to the order of the Sisters of the Presentation. She receives our e-newsletter and sent us this beautiful poem/reflection on the dignity of each unborn child conceived in the image and likeness of God.
A Chapel Dedication
Today the Mystical Body of Christ is enriched
And this Archdiocese made more fruitful
The Holy Spirit unleashed God’s bounteous gifts
To bolden Christ’s witnesses ever truthful.
A Church, exquisite in splendor, yet humble
Frail in human stature, enflamed by Heaven
Not burning as others might suppose, rather
A light on a hill, in a valley, for a Mission.
Incense smoke ascending, wafting throneward
By the breezes of prayer, and Dedication.
A quake felt thro’ and beyond the Church wall
A Grace quake tumbling out the doors to Creation.
Forty odd miles away it overswept me
This soothing tsunami of light and compassion
The Woman in her pangs of birth is enlivened
Her young scholar soldiers of Peace to fashion.
Good neighbors and great almsgivers did gather
With Aquinas and a saintly host on this day.
The founders had ardently desired fruition,
Of pleasing Him, to Whom true homage we pay.
George A. Peate
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
T. S. Eliot
(#4 of ‘Four Quartets)
People are interested in their roots. Origins have become the rage. We learn from the past. Yet, humanity today is afraid of the womb, that place of secret origins and momentous beginnings. Humanity today – shackled as it is by “political correctness” – is no longer able to think clearly about any controversial subject. Because the pro-abortion lobby has gained political control of human “reproduction”, and fears to lose control, It obstinately refuses – absolutely refuses! – any possible link between the womb and the nursery, between the unborn baby’s ultrasound image and the newborn baby’s first photograph. The pro-abortion lobby defines them as two different species: the unborn as a growing subhuman entity and the born baby as a baby human being.
But humanity needs humility and truth. And when we contemplate our first tenuous months in the womb of our mother, we see how tiny we once were, how dependent and vulnerable and unable on our own… (Indeed, our futures too, in old age, may draw comparisons…) From the moment of conception a person, an identifiable (that is, unique and growing) human being exists and journeys forward. This amazing new unborn life beckons and calls out, first to his/her mother, then to the world…
The open-minded scientist who studies prenatal life moves from marvel to mystery to Miracle! If he or she completes the “exploration”. If “exploring” gets side-tracked, as it so often does, by “political correctness” – read “bowing to the pro-abortion lobby ” – then the opportunity to “know the place for the first time”, to sense the Miracle, is lost.
The sense of awe and wonder which should surround the unborn child in the womb must be fostered. You and I must encourage it! The future of humanity depends on it! If our culture and society forsake the unborn child in his/her beauty and dignity, then forsaking respect for all human beings will not be far behind.
We must encourage exploring-with-dignity-and-proper-intention of the world of the unborn baby. The womb must always be a welcoming place and the unborn child must always be welcomed in it. In this way we will “know the place for the first time”, and know that it is a sacred place for a holy purpose and its occupant is created in the likeness and image of God.
January 22 In America
It’s “that day” again.
Like any other day except…
From the bench they attacked us,
Those Solomon impostors
Knowing not when to cease.
Their wisdom aborted, their justice inept.
Morality’s sweet milk tainted-
The sacred standard of life succumbed.
Even the children seem lifeless today.
But on the horizon lies March twenty-five.
The feast of all hope and Christ alive!
His Incarnation to answer “bad justice” –
God’s Child is with us!
And in nine months only
We can embrace this tiny mercy.
December twenty-five, I will bend my knee
With the true wise men three,
Not to man’s injustice, but to a little baby.
By George A. Peate
Filed under: Poems
My love my treasured one are you
my sweet and lovely son are you
you are my love my darling you
Unworthy I of you
Your mild and gentle eyes proclaim
the loving heart with which you came
a tender helpless tiny babe
with boundless gifts of grace
King of kings most holy one
God a son eternal one
You are my God and helpless son
My ruler of mankind
This is a carol from the Hebrides (The group of Islands of the West coast of Scotland)