On this page I am glad to make available various writings from the previous years, from select poetic reflections to complete books.

Content

Books

Sheltered Within Her Heart: 33 Days to Deeper Entrustment to Mary
Icon of the Father: 33 Days to Entrustment to Saint Joseph
Creating a Home for the Word: Beauty and the Renewal of Heart and Culture

Poetic Reflections

Christ/Bridegroom:

You beget me in the ineffable silence of eternity;

Father, from you I am and in you I subsist,

finding in you all my joy and delight

enraptured in the beauty which I see

in your face—the beauty which you give me.

All I am is from you, all I am is yours.

All you are you bestow on me

to possess as my own,

truly mine but only as your gift.

This loving donation reveals to me

the very depth of your love,

the love which passes between you and I

as a silent breath or a gently dancing flame,

or a kiss of two in love.

This breath, this amorous fire,

as he flows, leaps, dances between us,

uniting us in mutual embrace,

nothing other than our shared love,

is loved by us both and

loves us both in return,

a single flowing of the divine substance

united as a single charity

in threefold act, Father, Son and Spirit.

Begetter, Begotten, two together

breathing-forth the One between us as

reality and very act of unity.

Forth from us Three this love flows

in superabundant plenitude,

forth from the floodgates of Godhead

most pure and sublime, radiating,

reflecting, emitting into the abyss of

what was once the darkness of naught

the luminous and lightsome glory of love.

Numerous glimmering stars, singing of our

mutual beauty in which they share;

planets spinning in reverential harmony,

singing their share of the divine music

which is ours; on earth, made for our

especially beloved one, a copious profusion

of grace and loveliness in plants, animals,

earth and sky, seasons, days and nights.

In the gentle fall of the summer rain,

the sky flashing with the

glory of lightning beams,

thunder telling of our majesty and power,

and in the hush of freshly fallen snow,

blessing through its pallor the purity of Truth,

in the hopping, playing, the singing of sparrows

on the branch, none of which

falls to the ground

without you, Father, seeing.

In each glory which we have made

is seen the Glory of the Unmade Maker.

In each image is placed the magnetism

which urges the mind to rise to the Imageless,

to return once again to the One from whom

the many flow in ceaseless and glorious array;

as armies set for battle leave and return again

to the home they are sent to defend,

or as the waves flowing up from the deep

to return once again

to the place from whence they came.

All these things we made, my Love,

to ravish the heart of her, the Bride

whom we hold most dear, the Bride

who through her loveliness

ravishes our Heart.

We furnish her with beauty

through the very splendor of our gaze,

and, wounded, captured by this beauty in her,

which is our very gift,

we are thus moved to give,

to pour out further beauty,

indeed, to wed her to ourself.

In calling her to return,

to share in the very mutual self-gift,

the self-emptying donation,

the loving and joyful acceptance,

which I share with you and you with me,

and the Spirit between us equally,

at first we were frustrated by the pride

which, setting itself against humble love,

chooses the abyss of nothing rather than

the Abyss of Life.

And yet, in movement sublime

we willed that I pass into the world

which we have made,

that Creator become creature,

that all power take on the weakness of the weak

to bestow the strength of the Strong.

This one, our beloved, most lovely in our eyes,

yes, most lovely;

she moved me from my throne

to wed her to myself, to raise her in my arms,

to share with her my kiss,

to bring her to yourself

so that she may share with us

the single breath of love,

the Spirit of us both.

To do this I became a child, exchanging glory

for humiliation, riches for poverty, and bliss

for suffering—yet a suffering suffused by joy,

Light penetrating the darkness deep within.

This descending love, Father, reached its

height on the wood of that tree which,

mirroring the tree of sin,

becomes the Tree of Love and Life.

On this, my throne,

our marriage bed, our nuptial mystery,

I give to her myself

and eternity enters time

while time steps into the eternal.

I open to her my Heart, broken by her

sins and lack of love, yet moved by my

love which stirs me to mourn for her.

In this mourning she discovers true joy,

mourning in contrition her own sin and

turning to be healed in the very salve and

water which flow from this opened Heart.

She enters in and my Heart becomes hers.

I press her to my Heart, pulsing, beating,

loving, bleeding, that hers too may love,

and, wounded by the wound of love,

alone, find true health.

Health in the love, which,

wounding, alone leads to life.

Oh, my beloved bride whom I love,

the love of my Heart is yours;

you have ravished me, my love,

my sister, my bride; you have ravished me.

Now I want, as the very purpose of

my love, to ravish you in myself,

in the Embrace which is shared between

my Father and myself. I take you as my

own that you may say “Father” as I say it,

that you may experience his goodness

as I know it to the full,

that inebriated with the drink

which I drink, which he drinks,

and the Flame of our loving Breath,

you will find your joy in loving.

For to love is to drink and to

drink is to love. So, in this life,

my bride, drink of my Blood,

that I may abide in you and you in me,

that as the Father and I are one

so you too may be.

I await only, my dearest one,

I await only your “yes”, your

I do” which to my ears will

fall so sweet.

Withhold not from me,

will you, that which I most desire?

But in that loving surrender which you

once refused, say now to me,

those sweet utterances for which I yearn.

Bride:

O my Love, my divine Bridegroom,

you have given yourself to me,

in such ardent love, the vehemence

of which enfolds me in such majesty,

that my heart, moved so deeply,

almost bursts with the words you want.

I desire with every fiber which

constitutes this being of mine,

to return to you that love which

from you first radiates.

Yes, to become through my love

a perfect radiance of your light,

a perfect image of your love,

a mirror of your splendor,

transformed through this sweet

contemplation of your face,

from glory unto glory even to

the Glory which is divine.

Lost in you as a drop of water,

falling into the ocean, is lost,

or consumed as a speck of dust,

dropped into flame is turned to flame,

yet not at all lost or consumed,

but simply awakened thus to fullness of life—

so taken into yourself, I desire,

more than anything, all my shame burned

away in the Furnace of your love,

pure and luminous as your true bride,

fitting to share with you the nuptials

of eternity, to become one through

this union in the unity of the Father,

the Son and the Spirit blessed.

From you I came and to you,

O holy Trinity sublime, I desire

to return.

Humbled thus through love,

exalted in you I shall be,

with the exaltation and glory

which is nothing other than

the radiating immensity of

overwhelming love.

O Love, most desired,

Love which is my Love,

in loving you I desire,

made wholly love, to live

the life of love and with love alone

my joy, in you to find my rest.

Christ/Bridegroom:

Beloved, this rest I burn to give you,

this rest I proffer to your hands.

Stretch them out to receive it,

in the love that stretched me out

upon the Cross.

Arms thus out in that loving gesture,

true love will be your own.

Yours, yes, but only as my gift,

so no longer living alone, I will live in you.

Through this abiding of my life in you,

in turn you will live in me the very

life I live, this eternal donation of

complete Love passing between

my Father and I in the gentle,

yet fervent, ineffable silence of eternity.

Burn gently,

little flame.

Lit from the Furnace of eternal Love,

kindled from the warmth

which you touch in this Bread of Life,

inflamed by the sparks

which touch you in the sanctuary of the heart.

Enfolded in the Word

which is all aflame with love and joy.

Burn gently,

in this fire so intimate, so pure,

that you can no longer feel it,

cannot see, cannot touch.

It penetrates so deeply to the core

that it imprints itself upon the heart,

beyond the reach of your senses, your mind;

and yet it overflows here too

to transform and illumine these.

Yet the light of this fire

is so deep in you,

that it often hides in the darkness.

The warmth of this love

is so far within,

that it leaves the exterior exposed to chill.

Do not worry, little child.

Simply abide,

and a deeper light will begin to shine;

remain still in hope and longing,

and you will discover the warmth

of a deeper joy.

It surges up from deep within,

it inundates all you are, so delicate.

This mystery is like a woman

bearing a child in her womb.

All her energy is directed here,

such that she is cold

so that all warmth may enfold the child.

And yet from her womb she feels,

radiating out, a deeper warmth,

the warmth of love, intimacy.

So too, bear this mystery within—

shelter, revere, adore,

my eternal Son, begotten in your flesh;

allow him to be in you still,

a child, a spouse, an image of my perfect love.

And let him shine,

through the transparency of pure and clear glass

which is the poverty of your loving heart—

upon each and all.

The poverty of empty hands,

littleness, dependency, need—

you see, child? This is all that I require,

in order to reflect in you

the light of eternal Love.

A candle burning without ceasing

in the presence of the Holy One

silent, still.

A sanctuary lamp,

witness to Emmanuel,

God-with-us.

I.

My Father, those eyes of love

gaze upon me so intensely,

eyes of goodness and of grace,

eyes that, looking,

bestow the beauty that they see.

I am—because you see me,

and I am exactly as you see.

The goodness you desire,

you yourself beget in me;

the radiance of my countenance

is only a reflection of your own—

of that face, which, shining brightly,

always gazes out: upon your Son.

Son, my only-begotten One,

the radiance of your countenance

wounds my deepest Heart:

for in the face, I gaze deep within,

in the eyes, I read the Heart.

And in your Heart, my Son,

I see indeed only one,

your Heart and mine.

One Heart, for mine flows from you,

an effusion of Love,

like water flowing down

from the heights, cascading,

dancing, upon the depths of water below—

yet how can words express how this water

flows up again to you, united with the Source,

in the very act by which it comes forth?

Acceptance, reciprocal surrender,

these are one, Father, between you and I.

Ah, yes, you give me beauty,

so that I may be Beautiful—

Ah, yes, I am captured by your Beauty,

to give myself to you!

My Heart is drawn by Love’s magnetism

to communicate all to you, my Son.

And mine, by receiving,

cannot but pour itself out again to you.

A glance, a single moment’s look,

communicates all, my Love.

Seeing once, I see through and through,

and this moment lasts forever—

an eternity of love.

Seen once, I am seen forever,

known, I am known entirely,

and I know you, Father,

even as I am known.

Known, my Son, in this Love,

this Look, this Gaze,

exchanged between you and I,

in our Communication of self,

where, given, received,

we are, and will be,

in the single moment of eternity, one:

in the Spirit of Love who belongs to us both,

in whom, together, we belong.

II.

My Father, these eyes of love,

mine and yours, gaze out—

upon a world—and, looking,

they create.

In gazing, in a single glance,

which is never-ending contemplation

and radiant, unceasing delight,

we clothe in beauty the creatures

whom we have lovingly made.

Clothe, yet not from without alone,

for eyes of love always look within.

My Son, you see that the most precious

of my creatures,

the children made to share

in our own image and likeness,

in the radiance of that Beauty, given—

have not seen in what lies true love:

ah, look, my Son, they desire not to receive!

They think they must grasp,

must make beauty, goodness,

as if it were their own,

as if—ah!—as if it were not pure gift.

I look, Father, but in them

I still see beauty, hidden,

but enduring and true.

Who can take it away?

Beauty, but buried deep within

the shame of the fallen heart.

Come, Father, let us go to them,

you and I, and our Spirit too.

Let us seek them out,

let us dwell within,

after making them again our own,

and open up,

in acceptance, in reciprocal surrender,

those hearts enclosed in fear.

Yes, my Son,

I am drawn by the magnetism of love!

Ah! how my Heart aches for them

as yours does as well.

Go, you first,

draw near to them,

and I will be in you.

Draw near and walk among them,

love them as you have been loved by me.

Give the Spirit whom I have given to you;

pour him out

as he has poured forth into your Heart,

eternally,

cascading, like an immensity of water,

falling,

into the poverty of the human heart.

And he will prepare a place for you,

for me,

to dwell there among them,

to pitch our tent in their very place of exile,

pilgrims in a strange land,

so that,

already, in their very place of wandering,

they may be citizens of the blessed homeland,

children,

in the mansions where we dwell.

The abode, Father, which is your very bosom,

that blessed embrace of love!

I go, that they may return here to this place.

III.

The dust of our roads,

kicked up by the feet of God—

what is this marvel?

The water drawn from our wells

to quench the thirst of the eternal Fountain!

He is here among us,

eating at our table,

laboring at the same burdens as we.

He feels the same hunger,

fasting,

the same thirst,

parched by the desert heat.

What is this?

Tempted to turn stones into bread,

to show a display of power,

to fall down in adoration before the power of evil

so as to share in its domain?

No, but he is different.

He is bound by the same limitation and weakness,

yet is free from our chains—

a free Man in a world of slavery,

born to set us free.

More than this,

there is something deeper,

don’t you see?

A power goes forth from him,

not like what the world calls power.

Those who draw near,

they feel it,

those who are simple, weak,

they know.

It is love they feel,

and mercy,

the compassion burning in the Heart of God,

aflame in the Heart of this One

who is present among us,

a child of his mother,

a brother to us all.

The Father of eternal glory

is reflected in his face;

the Bridegroom of all,

the same who led us through the desert

so many centuries ago.

He is here.

How can eternal and infinite Love

be contained by the limits of time,

by the boundaries of our space?

He rises early, very early in the morning

to go into the hills to pray.

Exhausted, he falls asleep

on a cushion in our boat!

Then, awaking, a single word of his

stills the elements which no creature obey.

Who then must this be?

There, in his eyes,

is a mysterious glimmer,

a piercing gaze, which looks,

not to judge or condemn,

but to love and to accept.

Do you not feel?

He does not look to discern

whether there is anything lovable in you

for he already knows what he will find there—

but he looks to awaken the beauty

slumbering deep within.

I know, I, who have leaned against his breast.

I have felt there mysteries unspeakable,

I have seen things unseen,

touched what cannot be touched.

Who can read this Word,

written into the lines of our history?

Who can hear his voice,

echoing in the wind as it rustles in the trees?

Before our world was,

HE IS.

Our whole creation is like a parchment

on which is written one word:

Son.

For when our God looks upon us,

what does he see?

He sees the image of his well-Beloved,

the One begotten of him from eternity to eternity.

We are all like a scroll held in his hand,

like the blood that flows through his veins,

surging from and returning to that precious Heart.

We are all...ah, what wonder...

a bride he has made, and come,

to espouse lovingly to himself.

This precious Body,

yes, it is the body of every man and woman.

The two shall become one flesh,

God and humanity,

in the Body of the Son.

What is this?

This Body sweats drops of Blood!

What?

It is by fierce scourges rent.

Look at him—no, look away!

Ah, what can one do?

Run, hide? Stand and pray?

This is my body, broken, rent.

But this is the Body belonging to the Son of God.

Power of love, here mocked

and condemned to indignity.

Here, silent like a lamb led to slaughter,

the Word who never ceases to sound.

Listen...

can you hear his silence speak?

Carrying that terrible burden

up the hill of our death.

Do you feel the beams

pressed against your shoulders,

yet, at the same time,

lifted from you?

What he carries, he takes from us.

What we carry, it now belongs to him.

What exchange is this—

the Innocent is condemned,

tortured, crucified,

that the guilty may go free?

Love enters into the abyss of our lovelessness,

and, as a lamp on a lampstand,

is raised aloft in our darkness.

Healing rays of love,

heartbeat surging right up against our own...

This narrow, suffocating heart

within my breast,

expands on contact with his.

Yes...through union with him

I am again made innocent, pure.

Ah...nails pierce the sacred flesh!

This meek lamb gives hardly a cry,

but see the tears streaming down his cheeks?

All of humanity is gathered here.

We all watch this spectacle,

played out before our eyes.

It is something we always knew,

yet something we never knew,

nor could have even imagined.

The ugliness and pain of our sin,

we see...but disarmed

in the outstretched arms of Love.

Yes, raised up for every eye to see—

in this way he descends into the depths,

the depths of our hearts,

where he makes a home,

wedding himself to our creaturely poverty,

yet overcoming the poverty of sin

and transforming it into the poverty of love.

IV.

My Heart yearns, dearest Father,

that they may be with me where I am.

I have come among them—

here I am now,

yet I have not left your side.

I taste the bitter drink of sin,

but from your bosom, the Wellspring of Love,

I never cease to drink.

Your face, Father, is veiled to them,

not because you hide it,

because they have lost the ability to see—

and I must go beyond the veil

that through love it may be rent,

granting them to see again,

as they are seen by us, lovingly,

learning thus, in us, to love.

Yes, so we have desired,

and so I desire now.

This is a sanctuary of mystery

so awesome, so amazing.

Love alone can taste it,

how One can experience in his Heart

both suffering and joy,

the pain of separation

yet the union which nothing can tear asunder.

I surrender to you here,

affixed to this Cross,

breathing forth my last...

this breath, dear God!

It is our Spirit, filling the lungs of humanity.

It is the flame of love

thawing the heart frozen by sin and fear.

It is the light of Love

illumining the darkest place.

Yes, they can know

immersed in the immensity of love—

this mystery of pain and joy…

more, they can know

the joy deeper than every pain or strife,

which I have known before them.

For in me, I have opened up the path,

the way of love,

which penetrates every substance

and transforms it into itself,

which floods all with the fountain of eternal joy.

For you gaze, Father,

with those piercing eyes of love,

and, even when our eyes grow dim,

that glance of love sees as in brightest day

and carries us, as a child in its mother’s arms,

tranquil and secure,

resting against her bosom,

into the fullness of your embrace!

V.

Ah, my Son!

Today I have begotten you.

Now: the Today of eternity

and that of time

meet...

As the Light of your gaze,

Father,

pierces the depths of the tomb,

the depths of the place of death

and gives life,

the Dawn from on high shining upon creation,

breaking the bars of hell,

shattering the chains that bind,

illumining the tombs of those who sleep.

I rise, Father,

I come to you!

And in my Heart, my flesh,

I carry every person!

You stand with them, my Son.

In you, Love abides in the very fabric

of redeemed creation.

Your Heart beats silently, gently

and mine in You—

in the depths of every heart,

in the slightest stirring of the breeze,

the whistling of the birds,

the voice of man, woman, child.

The sunrise, casting its rays over the earth,

the tender warmth, the golden hue:

this is the gaze of my Son,

victorious over death,

coming as a Bridegroom from his tent

to take his Bride unto himself—

to bring her to you, my Father,

enfolding her in my arms,

so that she may be where I am,

to behold my glory that you have given me

in your love for me

before the foundation of the world.

That she may share,

fully and completely,

in the radiance of this single glance of love

that passes for all eternity

between you and I,

in this knowledge and intimacy

which is ours in the Spirit of Love.

Right here, in the midst of this

silent dialogue,

she abides...

I in you, and you in me,

and she, in us both,

one...in the bliss of eternal Love.

I.

I look upon your face, my Son,

upon the abyss of your mystery,

which is so deep that I could lose myself in it

were it not but a perfect reflection

of the abyss that I am.

Behold! today I have begotten you,

in this ceaseless day of eternity,

which has no dawn and no dusk,

no beginning or end,

but is endless fullness of life and of love.

But indeed, it bears within it such richness,

such abundance of grace,

that all the hues cast by the rising sun

across the morning sky,

lighting up the earth with brilliance,

and all the dancing colors streaking across heaven,

filling the air at the closing of the day,

all the changes of seasons and times,

all forms of weather—thunderclap,

lightning-beams, the gentle dripping of the rain,

the wind, the calm, the heat and the gentle cool—

are all like so many reflections

of that single light,

undivided, pure,

which passes eternally from me to you,

and from you to me.

Like gathering moisture which distills

into a single drop,

upon the edge of a leaf in the early morning dew—

so love distills,

my Father,

as the gift of creation.

The whole ocean of divinity,

majestic, immense,

the roaring of the waves,

so great, yet so calm

that they cannot be heard by mortal ears,

becomes but a single drop of water,

falling.

The single mystery becomes refracted light,

the One, many and multifaceted.

Yet abundance, too, becomes so small,

the infinite and uncontainable,

veiled in forms of flesh, plant, animal, and earth.

Yet man and woman, above all, my Son,

in our image we create,

breathing into them our Spirit—life.

How can a tiny mirror

reflect the whole expanse of sky?

However you position it, won’t it reflect but a part?

They reflect, dear Father,

not by way of containing

as a glass contains water,

or even as the shores contain the sea—

but as gazing eyes contain the sky

with its immensity of stars,

or as a glance of love

enfolds in the heart’s embrace

the mystery of the beloved.

II.

My Son, they reflect this image, this likeness,

because I breathe upon them

the Breath that passes eternally between you and I,

and when I look,

I imprint upon them

as light waves caught within the eye—

the image of my Beloved One.

It is in you, Son, that I alone create.

But they are, Father,

more than a passing ray of light

succeeded by darkness,

or a glance which the mind soon forgets.

I dwell among them: the enduring Word of God.

Dwell, Son:

be the Word made flesh.

Yes! The light is more

than a mere reflection upon the glass.

Knit together in the womb,

spirit, flesh, sinews, and bone,

a Son is conceived in time

by a lowly mother—a Son

who is begotten from all eternity

by the eternal Father.

Born, in a single moment,

in a poor and lowly manger,

you who are born eternally

in my sheltering bosom, so full of love.

This is my body,

taken from her who reflects the light of love,

radiantly refracted in so many ways

throughout the history of the world,

concentrated again in her,

like a single intense beam of light,

sealing a marriage between God and man.

A scroll with writing on both front and back,

a library with more books

than the world could contain,

is now contained in that soft flesh

of a little child.

I AM.

III.

A silent glance, a look of love

between mother and child,

shares in that eternal glance

between you and I,

my Son.

Here is more than words can express,

however much time or ink one has—

yet less.

Deeper within,

in the depths of love,

less is more.

Less, my Father,

less I will be,

deeper, further into their lives,

until all words and activity

the whole life of a man—

reaches but a single point:

LOVE.

The Spirit is breathed silently

from that failing, broken body

upon a Cross.

Ah...

This says all...

And yet...

And yet, my Son.

The undivided light

breaks forth anew,

to gather from the four corners

into the fullness of the light’s embrace—

the eternal Breath of Love

between you and I,

silently.

Father,

all becomes a single gift,

accepted from your hands,

and given, in this flesh of mine,

to those whom you have given me.

All of life, the whole of man,

yes—the whole of God—

distilled, my Son, to a single point,

where less is more,

where All is contained within the least,

a bit of bread, a drop of wine:

This is my Body,

this, my Blood...

Holy Trinity, God of Love,

I accept the love You have for me,

this Love pouring forth from Your inmost Heart,

this Love ever burning within You

the flames of perfect acceptance

and mutual surrender,

the joyful fire of intimate communion,

embrace of consummate love!

I accept in trust and simplicity

this Love that enfolds and penetrates me,

as it flows out to flood the entire world,

to inundate, fill, and save each and every heart.

Jesus! I accept the gift flowing

from Your Crucified and Risen Heart.

I accept Your embrace of loving compassion,

and I in turn embrace You

in compassion and in grateful love.

Accepting, Lord, this all-encompassing Love,

I lovingly surrender all I am to You,

to the Father and the Holy Spirit too.

Inundate all of me, my inmost heart,

its every silent movement, its every stirring,

its every beat

to beat in Yours, and Your Heart, Jesus, in mine.

Fill my mind, my every thought,

with Your presence,

transfigured, transformed in pure love,

and may my will, too,

be perfectly conformed to Yours,

one, in You, with the will of the eternal Father;

may my every affection, desire, and experience

accord entirely with You,

so that I may not only will, but thirst,

with all that I am,

seeing, thinking, feeling, yearning,

in every moment,

as You and the Father see, think, feel, and yearn

in that blessed intimacy that You share eternally,

as one.

Live freely and fully, Lord, in my very body,

in my every slightest movement,

my breath and my heartbeat deep within,

in word and silence, in solitude and community,

in work and deed, in stillness and repose,

in every gladness and every sorrow,

in suffering and in joy

in the joy and peace of love

that is deeper still,

burning in the heart of all things

and enfolding each and all of us,

yes, deep within my breast!—

in the unceasing prayer, the hymn of love,

rising from my inmost heart, filling all I am,

and receiving, unreservedly,

the outpouring of Your Love,

flowing forever, freely,

from the Trinity’s embrace!

Let it be in me, wholly, entirely, now and forever,

in everything, as You desire, my God, my Love…

Flood and inflame, possess and transform,

shelter and embrace,

in the tenderness of sweet love,

in gentle mercy, loving compassion,

in Your own compassionate Heart, Jesus,

and the compassionate Heart

of our heavenly Father,

and the ardent passion and gentle breath

of the Holy Spirit!

Enfold me—and every heart!—

embrace the entire world,

and draw us, my God,

into the inmost heart of Your eternal embrace,

into the depths of Your life

of love and blessed communion,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

forever and forevermore. Amen!

The glare of city lights

made to illumine our lives,

not only securely marking our steps

and giving security from the stranger

but casting their glare to heaven,

blotting out the light of the stars.

To see the night sky again

(have we perhaps forgotten it?)

I must leave the bustle of the city,

it insecure security, its anxious, feverish control,

its insufficient self-sufficiency,

and step out into darkness.

Alone in the remote countryside

the desert of the heart—

the city left behind,

and the car, too, left by the roadside,

I walk out into the emptiness of a field,

turning my gaze upward.

And what I see is not empty.

All my life spent filling

this empty space in my soul

with chaff blown by the wind,

with rubbish destined for the trash-heap,

or even with light and warmth of good things,

yet which cannot ward off

that deeper darkness and chill.

Glistening stars in the night sky,

they were hidden by the light to which I clung.

The gentle sound of wind, whistling in my ears,

the breeze caressing my face,

like a hand of one who loves.

The meek sound of nature,

the gentle cooing of a dove,

the chirping of crickets,

the howling of wolves in the distance,

all only deepen the sense of silence,

of being enfolded in earth’s arms.

Yet enfolded thus, it is as if she raises me,

offering me in her hands, to heaven.

I feel, in this way, what is meant

by the truth that I am summoned

to love the earth, yet to despise the world.

All this beauty, this sound of silence,

this peopled-solitude, is blocked out

by the noisiness and ruckus of the world.

Yes, a deeper voice is speaking still,

announcing a word inarticulate, yet clear;

a silent voice, yet radiant, sure,

clearer than any other I have heard.

The deepest voice speaks within,

more interior to me than I am to myself,

silent word of love echoing within my heart.

To hear it I must enter in and become silent too.

The noise of the world, deafening

in its intensity, with very little to say,

in its proximity, pressing in upon my ears,

a closeness which has penetrated

even into the “inner room”

where one prays in secret to the Father.

This is the new prayer, fashioned by us

our old idols made of wood or gold—

now with lights and sounds, complex interface.

Yet even in this is hope,

for is not every sin, really,

the heart’s desire for prayer gone awry,

seeking fulfillment in a place

where no true rest in found,

rather than in the intimate dialogue

for which the heart is made?

Thus, I can ask every desire which leads me to sin:

Where is your true home?”

And I can direct you gently back to him.

Gathered from fragmentation,

the multiplicity grasping here and there,

into the unity of the heart, virgin, poor,

where I learn again to be silent, still,

to receive the gift of love ever welling up

from within this deepest, sacred place,

from him who dwells within.

I am wounded by the gift of love

a healing wound upon my heart!—

this heart yearns, and gasps,

and pines for him again,

drawn out, as it were, from within my breast,

reaching out to touch, to feel, to know

the one Beloved of my heart.

O my heart, why do you run

from that which you most deeply desire,

why do you avoid that

which alone brings you true health?

Perhaps you simply do not know

the abyss of longing hidden within,

covered over, suffocated,

by so many paltry things.

From youth you have been given so much

that you have lost the ability to truly desire,

to say “Thank you” when you receive,

thus being awakened to desire and receive anew,

to be drawn out of yourself

by the gift that you bear within.

Or perhaps you are afraid

of the nakedness of love, of empty, open hands

which cannot simply close over the gift

as a possession under my control—

or of the pain, which, at times,

makes itself felt even in a heart as numb as mine,

the pain of unfulfilled desire,

of a mystery, a joy in hope, and hope in joy,

which is bigger than I can understand, or grasp.

It hurts to be truly alive,

when one is not possessed of true life,

and thus, it pains to love—

yet this is a suffering unlike any other,

an “already” and “not yet” meeting and kissing,

wounding me with gratitude and desire

in the same, single instant,

to receive and to give myself, utterly,

in a moment so full, so rich,

that it cannot be grasped or contained,

yet mysteriously contains me in its arms,

like clouds descending on the mountains,

gently shadowing earth in their soft,

impalpable embrace:

the destination present

in each moment of the journey,

hidden, yet breathing out

the breath of life and joy,

and drawing all towards the fullness yet to come.

And he went about doing good.”

This is true of you and of all your saints, my Lord,

who humbly walked in your footsteps.

But what am I, dear God—

living this little, insignificant life,

trying each day to pray, to love,

to let light possess, and shine in and through

the tiny heart within my breast?

It often seems not only little, but unimportant,

vain and empty, in comparison

with the richly-laden actions of your saints.

I am tempted to ask:

who in my life do I really benefit,

what fruit, indeed, do I bear?

Indeed, which heart can I say

that I have truly, wholeheartedly loved

as you have first loved me?

I have empty hands,

which not only have nothing to offer,

but which have done little or no good,

in the face of a world aching with need,

crying out for the God it does not know!

If you yourself have drawn me here, my God,

to the place where there seems

indeed to be nothing,

nothing but naked hope, prayer,

and hidden desire,

impalpable even to myself,

then let it be, simply, as you will.

Even if it does good for a single person,

draws a single one closer into your embrace,

it is more than a thousand times worth it.

If it brings joy to you,

or reflects your radiant light,

allowing the love to flow, which yearns,

unceasingly, to flow like this,

then it is more than infinitely repaid.

I offer my little, tiny, infinitely loved self,

without reserve, for the sake of all, to you.

Even if I do nothing, offering no more

than a poor and hidden heart,

let me only live each moment to the full

in the love that you yourself desire,

which you alone make possible

by pouring your own love into me.
This is the test for a little child’s heart:

to find the greatness of love in the littlest thing,

to embrace the whole world

from my hidden room.

Why have you asked this, my God,

this path of the littlest, the least,

when you could have asked something else

when you could have used me in ministry,

in preaching, teaching, in care for your poor,

in giving the sacraments, in so many ways?

Instead you lead me into the dryness of the desert,

to be silent and still,

not to receive divine revelations,

carried to the world,

or to be a healer of souls who flock to me,

but simply to abide before you

with open, empty hands,

trusting that, through this poverty,

the immensity of your mercy flows out

upon our dry and thirsty world,

to touch, to heal, to satisfy

the hearts which yearn so much for you.

This, I know, within my heart,

is indeed the best there could ever be;

the dryness of the desert sands,

the quietness and starkness of solitude,

indeed conceals abundant springs

and creates space for meeting and embrace.

The human heart, it is true,

desires to be great and noble

(and this is not bad),

to achieve something beautiful,

and yet the path marked out before me

is that of lowliness and humility

as what is truly great.

Much deeper yet, the heart desires,

insofar as it can, to help the persons

who so deeply need—my God—need you!

Yet again, here too, there is nothing

but to be a little child,

which is everything.

Avoiding all that sparkles in the eyes of man,

becoming more little, more dependent, each day,

is the blessed, inconceivable grace

of being simply a “little brother” to each and all,

a brother so humble and so small

that my brethren, encountering me,

experience only the comfort and joy

of your tender closeness, your gentle mercy…

For here we are all sheltered in your Heart,

knit closely together, Jesus, in your arms.

Little heart, when you feel

that you cannot take any more,

when the path before you is hemmed in by thorns,

when you feel, indeed,

that all good things crumble

both within and without—

and you cannot find your way,

cannot take even a single step;

when this single present moment

itself seems to have burst asunder

in anxiety and despair,

dearest child, now is the time

not to forge ahead by force,

to bolster strength and grasp for control,

to seek to understand, to regain victory and light,

but to simply place your hand in mine,

your eyes closed,

and to walk, step by step, as I lead;

indeed, to let me carry you forward, trustingly,

for, I assure you,

I am worthy of your complete trust.

You will see that light breaks forth

in the darkest night,

like dawn casting rays

across the early morning sky;

yet this light begins to shine,

not in some far off place,

but from within,

through the cracks of your broken heart,

through the veil, which, stretched thin

through suffering and pain,

lets the pure, gratuitous radiance

of the divine sun shine through,

illumining and warming the heart, even if unseen.

The broken and contrite heart, my love,

humiliated down to the lowest place,

is brought here not to be cast off, condemned,

but is at last liberated

from the shackles of the fallen self,

given wings, in self-forgetfulness and in joy,

to fly freely, in lightness of heart,

in the confidence of a child, beloved,

through the misery of this broken world,

never stopping until at last in the final embrace

for which the heart, love-wounded,

never ceases to long.

Indeed, my beloved, this heart within your breast

which you feel is so wretched, a failure,

unable to cope with even

the simplest events of life,

the littlest of the little, the least of the least—

is open precisely in the lowliness of this poverty,

open, not so much like an empty tomb

(yet even this gestures to resurrection),

but like a womb of love,

receptive to the fruitful light,

or arms open to a lover’s embrace,

lovingly surrendered;

so that the two, at last,

may become one, as both desire:

you abiding in me, at every instant, and I in you,

making our home in one another,

a single dwelling, yours and mine,

which I have built for you, my love.

I know that your heart yearns, little one,

to create something beautiful, a testament of love,

a reflection, in the dimness of this world,

of the radiant beauty of my own eternal light.

I know the longing within to give birth without,

the desire to create, sharing in eternal creativity.

I want you to know, beloved, and to feel

that the greatest masterpiece I desire for you

is the unspeakable beauty which is you yourself.

You, the one whom I infinitely love, are the icon,

transparent to my shining glory,

enfolded in my grace,

a blaze of fiery light bursting through the eyes,

a figure whose countenance,

whose heart, whose life

is a reflection of the life, the heart, the face

which is my own.

As an icon on wood and canvas is born

in fasting of the body and of the eyes,

which see no longer merely

in a human and natural way,

but gaze at inaccessible light, made accessible

in the creation I have taken

and espoused unto myself;

as the icon is a union of the Cross’s wood,

the cloth of the tomb in which I lay,

and the image of the glory of the Resurrection,

so too, you need not despair or be afraid

when the path on which I lead you winds, mysteriously,

over trackless ways,

and the night that enshrouds you

is the most absolute of desert fasts,

allowing you no taste or refreshment

for body, heart, or soul.

Every event and circumstance of your life,

my child,

is nothing but the gentle touch

of my Artist’s hands,

my brush pressing up

against the canvas of your soul.

All things—arising even

from the broken world around you,

from the body’s infirmity,

even exasperation of the soul,

from the brokenness which has scarred the heart,

from the struggles

of a burdened and afflicted mind,

and not only these, but the gracious delights too,

the glimpses of splendor and love

which warm the heart,

the breaking of the sun’s rays

over the horizon at dawn,

the gratitude of sitting down to a simple meal,

the companionship of family, friends,

and love of neighbor—

all these are only tools of the craft

which I employ to fashion you,

not things which separate you from me insurmountably,

or vain and empty realities,

like candles fading away.

Listen closely, and you can hear;

hush, and you can feel,

the heartbeat of the most wondrous thing,

present deep within,

the truest, most authentic reality,

enfolding all the rest:

aflame in the inmost heart of all things:

our eternal Joy.

What does the artist ask of his art to do,

except to remain pliable, receptive,

under his master hand?

And you, my child, are not lifeless matter;

only walk forward, your hand in my own,

in the process of your own transformation,

embracing, in love, the gratuitous gift of sanctity,

and offering your willing, heartfelt docility,

springing from the loving trust

and the trusting love

which I never cease to awaken

within your inmost heart.

Look into the eyes of my icon-face,

and you will see,

consider carefully,

and you will know what I desire.

Eyes of holiness and eyes of glory flash out

from the midst of a body

which has suffered and been spent,

becoming in this way, not empty or void,

but transparent for the divine happiness

to shine through.

Look in these eyes, child, and see

(look with these eyes, which can also be your own)

they gaze so piercingly beyond the narrowness,

aflame with love’s ardent longing,

ablaze with contemplation,

a yearning repose and restful activity,

the Fire of Joy, passing, forever,

between my Father and I.

I.

As a mother carries a child within her womb,

resting, beloved, just beneath her heart,

so too, in love, I carry, dear God,

my brothers and sisters here within my soul.

The woman feels within herself

the child’s slightest movements.

This presence alive within her

irradiates her being with joy.

Yet she also knows that this child

causes her suffering by its neediness,

for it drinks unceasingly from her being

for its very life.

Yet she can hardly call this “suffering,”

for it is penetrated through and through by love.

Someone is not a burden

when they are so clearly a gift.

In the heart of one loving and interceding

the sap of life also is drained,

yet never depleted,

for love begets love, unceasingly.

To let one’s every moment

be eaten up by them and by their need

is only to find oneself enriched.

For how could giving, really,

ever be a loss?

It is only the flowing out

of Love, through love, to love,

and the flowing back of all,

through love, into the Love you are.

To bear the world within the heart, dear God,

listening unceasingly for its heartbeat,

pressed up here close against my own.

To rejoice in this heartbeat, lovingly,

even when it is one of pain and longing.

For to bear another’s burdens

is always a mystery of joy.

This is because it is intimacy,

the truth of unity which we seek,

and also because, in all truth,

it is not we who carry any burden,

but you, my God, who carry us,

like a mother bearing her child in her womb.

II.

When a woman gazes lovingly

upon her newborn child,

filled with awe and spontaneous love,

delighting in the one within her arms,

she is praying, even if she does not know.

In gratitude at the gracious gift,

in wonder before the mystery,

the heart immediately reaches out to you,

expanding.

It opens like a flower to the morning sun,

its petals wet with gentle dew

glistening in the light.

This mystery of joy, amazing,

was born from those birth-pangs,

another mystery, full of awe and pain,

yet also of mysterious joy, unexplainable.

The whole being is harnessed

in giving birth to something beautiful…

and yet this person who is now a mother

is, and has always been, a child.

Indeed, perhaps she is now more a child

than she has ever been before,

or at least she knows it now,

this gift that she has received

and still receives, unceasingly.

To pray in the prayer of compassion,

my loving God, is to share in this love too,

for the human heart also is a womb,

bearing the reality of Love within

and giving birth to it without.

Yet it also bears the world, growing,

to be born more fully

into your own perfect life of love.

This mystery alive within my heart

is the birth-pangs of all creation,

both mine and theirs,

enfolded within your Love.

III.

I lie here in the darkness

with my forehead to the floor,

my heart close to the ground,

beating.

Here it feels, secretly,

the heartbeat of all creation.

She is often called mother-nature,

but this is not quite accurate.

It is true that she is silently mothering

the fields and the flowers,

giving birth anew to beauty

with every passing day.

And it is true also that

from her dust our flesh has been taken.

Yet she is not, ultimately, our mother,

for it is not from nature that we have sprung.

From your Heart, eternal God,

where we are begotten in your Son,

from the womb of Trinity-Love

from which we are born:

this is the source of our being

and the fountain of all motherhood

within this world in which we live.

The human heart also is a womb,

yes, this heart within my breast.

It does not matter that I am a man,

since before you I receive as a spouse.

And when I abide here before you,

carrying within myself this heartbeat,

silently remaining, hiddenly surging,

which I have received from them,

their pains, their hopes, their aspirations,

I am silently mothering, in this solitude,

the joy, the intimacy, the life

which you desire to give.

Gazing upon the immense beauty, Father,

that you have imprinted upon us

in the gift of human sexuality,

an incarnation of your own glory,

of the intimacy between you and your Son

within the embrace of the Spirit of Love,

the question arises also:

how is virginity a fulfillment of this gift?

I know and feel it, clearly,

deep within my own heart,

but to express it is much more difficult.

It is a mystery so awesome, so amazing,

yet I am afraid it is so little understood.

People often tend to think

that the choice for a life of chastity

is forced upon one from the outside,

or, at least, that it is embraced

merely as a “means,”

allowing the space for pastoral service

and the availability to others, unreservedly.

It is all of these things, sure,

but it is so much more than this.

And it is certainly not forced from the outside,

this I know without a doubt.

For me, it has sprung up, spontaneously,

with ever greater fullness, from within.

How can I express what I feel

when I gaze upon your beloved daughter,

beautiful and radiant with your image,

and joyfully let go of her,

entrusting her into your hands?

It is one of the purest joys I know,

this poverty of empty hands,

this obedient reception of your gift,

this virginity of heart and body

which is aflame with wondrous fire.

To reverence, in deep awe and love,

the sanctuary of mystery in every person,

finding and embracing it, my God,

in and through you alone,

in a way not less profound, but more,

foretaste, in faith, of the new creation yet to come,

when we shall all be one in your embrace.

Yet this, too, is but secondary,

this gazing with a chaste and loving gaze,

contemplating with spiritual eyes

the glory of divinity veiled in human flesh.

The primary, all-enfolding gift

which has drawn forth this gift in me

which has summoned me

not only to remain a virgin,

but to become a virgin more,

returning to this sacred place—

is the invitation to intimacy, my God,

with you in the deepest of nuptial love.

What is this...to say that I am your spouse?

Yet it is, simply, true.

It is like the three chosen disciples

ascending Mount Tabor with your Christ,

stepping away from all the things below

to be alone with him…

and to see his glory shining,

and your voice echoing from the cloud:

This is my Son, my Beloved.”

It is like Mary Magdalene

coming to the tomb in the early morning

to anoint with oils the body of the Crucified,

only to find him risen, gently calling her name,

and to cast herself at his feet, grasping them,

which she washed with her tears

and her hair before.

It is like this gift which she made, contrite,

yet full of hope and trust in him,

when she broke the alabaster jar,

spilling out, recklessly,

what could have been used in so many other ways.

But you rejoice, dear Jesus, in this gift,

for your Heart is so sensitive—so thirsty!—

for the love that we can offer you,

yearning to welcome us into your embrace

and to give yourself entirely to us.

This chaste transformation and union,

offered to every heart in every state of life,

is so awesome, so amazing, God.

Everything else within this world,

truly, pales in comparison with it.

The inmost heart and spirit

are aflame with ardent fire,

kindled from the furnace

of your own eternal Love—

most often veiled in lowliness and humility,

present in the poverty and imperfection

of our world,

but here nonetheless, fully, as your precious gift.

And even the body is not cast aside,

for you have made this, too, my God,

for yourself, and fulfill it in an awesome way.

This, perhaps, is the most difficult

of all to express…

what is intuited in the silence and solitude,

in the depths of prayer, in simple work,

and, indeed, maybe most profoundly of all,

in the pain and exhaustion of chronic illness,

enfolding the flesh and mysteriously

making it a gift.

What? What could this possibly mean, my God?

How does this fulfill, in a deeper way,

what is expressed in nuptial union,

when the body is the vehicle of gift

between two persons, one within your love?

...To gaze silently upon the Crucified

is to begin to understand.

What gift of the body

has ever been as great as his?

What acceptance of the other

has ever reached this degree?

What fruitfulness has there ever been

that bursts forth so purely and abundantly?

Indeed, what beauty, breaking forth,

can compare to this overflowing love?…

weaving together the hearts of all

in the gift of the Body and Blood of Christ,

passing beyond the veil of death and shining out,

radiant, in the light of the Resurrection.

THE CIRCLE AND THE CROSS (PART 1)

I.
If anyone would follow me,
he must deny himself, take up his cross,
and walk behind me, step by step.
What does this mean, my Jesus?
Is the Christian life, this joyous way,
really one prolonged crucifixion?
No, the truth of pain and suffering,
the way of humiliation and of death,
has been transformed from deep within

by the presence of your love.
It has been stretched thin, like a veil,
to show forth the light of Love, inside,
and to reveal, indeed, that pain does not,
ever, have the last word to say.
Now we can recognize in it
the same truth that is alive in your joy,
indeed, we can find your joy alive in it.
Yes, it is one single reality
pulsating as the heartbeat

of every moment:
the childlike acceptance

of a beloved Son
and his trusting surrender

to the Father who loves him,
opening out to enfold us

within this same exchange.

What is the meaning of the Cross,
then, if in the end all is only love,
and love alone counts in your loving eyes,
alive both in joy and in suffering, the same?
It is because the
circle is not the cross,
yet we have become spherical in sin:
closed in upon the fallen self,
a world isolated and unable to receive or to give.
But the cross is open out, unboundedly,
in every direction, yet meeting at a point:
the sanctuary of the heart

which receives and gives,
a place of intimate exchange and cherishing.
There, as you abide in the heart of our pain

in the depths of our hearts, isolated in sin,

in which you have come lovingly to dwell—
your Heart burns like a Lamp of Love,
drawing all to yourself and welcoming it within,
and giving yourself anew,

to penetrate into what is ours.
The enclosed sphere, therefore, is opened,
bursting forth from within in the power of love,
stretching out to accept and to surrender,
in the Love that has touched

and possessed the heart,
and ever summons it deeper into this mystery
of blessed and holy exchange of life and love.

II.
Prayer, fasting, almsgiving,
the way of self-denial,
is not a denial of the true self,
but a renunciation of the lies that enslave,
to return from exile to the sanctuary within,
and to open this sanctuary out in love.
Denial has no meaning in itself,
but only for what it makes possible,
for what it allows us to affirm.
Fasting turns the heart from fragmentation,
a fragmentation which is not true reaching-out,
but really a collapsing in anew
to the circle of the fallen self.
Yet to turn away from this whirlpool
is to turn to the orbit of Love, drawing,
to allow oneself to be led, in prayer,
towards the One for whom we thirst
and who thirsts to satisfy our thirst with himself.
And touched by love, deep within,
perhaps hidden, almost unconscious, but true,
the heart opens out to give, to share,
freely, the gift that has freely been received.

The path lies open before every heart,
the way of life or the way of death,
and you have entrusted to us the choice.
And yet there is a still more beautiful truth:
you have set up your tent in every place,
not yourself becoming darkness,
but dwelling as light,

there even in the darkest place.
When we strive to overcome the darkness
which plagues our broken and wounded hearts,
you are present already,

there, loving and cherishing,

drawing us ever into the fullness of the light.
And when, indeed, we do not even strive,
but ignore or run from the too-difficult truth,
you are still there nonetheless,
the God of Life in a place of death,
rejoicing not in the death of the living
but yearning to awaken life anew,
and to perfect it, making it blossom
even in the soil of the arid, dying heart.
Reborn, even at the threshold of death,
such a heart, passing by way of death to life,
bears your Paschal Mystery, dear Christ,
in their very flesh and the story of their life.

Who can be so tender yet so strong,
except our almighty and loving God, alone?
Who can call us so deeply into mystery,
yet be so ineffably close, in each moment,
making us completely at rest

in the joy of childhood?
My God, how wondrous you are,
amazing in the story that you write,
this Romance unimaginable,

progressing day by day,
as the pencil of your love slowly wends its way
through the history of each and every life.

III.
If the beauty of love is seen
in the form of the cross,
reaching out and welcoming within,
then is there no enfolding circle
containing all within itself?
Oh no…indeed, there is.
True life is not a continual striving
for something which lies always beyond,
but a repose in blessed and intimate embrace,
not static and unmoving,
but in the joy of mutual, eternal gift.
Yes, this is true life, unending,
which we taste already in this passing life:
a cross contained within a circle,
the mystery of the sacred Host.

And this mystery divine, my God,
is our foretaste of the mystery enfolding all:
the reality of your own encircling arms,
eternal Father, embracing your beloved Son,
and sharing with him that eternal Gift,

the Spirit of Love.
Here we are, most awesome and loving God!
Right here in the center of this embrace,
enclosed, now and eternally,
within the perfect bliss of your life of Love!

ישוע

THE CIRCLE AND THE CROSS (PART 2)

I.
A cross enclosed within a circle;
opening-out

within the embrace of sheltering arms,
my God, this illumines life so much.
A child in his mother’s arms,
loving spontaneously

because he is loved;
the invitation to discipleship,

touching the heart,
not as a mere command or a task,

but as a romance,
a wondrous adventure,

Love awakening love.

Our tendency, my God, so deeply-rooted,
is to separate the cross from the circle,
and to embrace task outside the realm of gift.
But you call us back from this empty grasping,
whether in the profligacy of sin
or in the self-righteousness of the elder brother
(a beloved son who lives, every day,

as if he were a slave)
and teach us to reach out, rightly,
in response to the Love ever enfolding us.

II.
Integrity of heart and life,
this beautiful reality for which we yearn,
feeling often, with a sense of shame and guilt,
that we are so disintegrated,
not living as we would like,
but doing the very things we hate.
Yet it is not up to us alone
to break beyond the obstacles
that draws us down, in narrowness,
but rather to open our eyes, our heart,
to the arms of Love embracing us.
Then, as a cross within a circle,
all of our own efforts find their place.

To be a beloved one within Love’s embrace,
this is primary, the true reality of every moment;
only then does our own
doing find its place,
and not as a rolling snowball
blindly following its own course,
but as the heart’s receptiveness
to the Beloved’s beauty,
which touches and awakens the heart
each and every day, every moment, anew.
When the eyes of the heart

ceaselessly contemplate,
gazing out in order to welcome deeply within,
the form of the cross is already impressed,
deeply, upon the inmost soul.
The circle from the beginning, indeed,
bears in itself a diameter:
only draw the lines across
and you have a cross.

God’s love penetrates through and through,
like a seed in the soil of the earth,
blossoming forth and reaching out,
responding, unceasingly, to the sun,
radiant in warmth, light, and beauty.
This is life, my God, gratuitous gift,
purely given, unconditionally,
yet calling forth to ever greater love,
so that we may receive anew again,
until at last we receive, completely,
in the torrent of your delight, eternally.

III.
Our world is full of so many people
who wend their way along its many paths,
the flashing of traffic lights and computer screens,
the noise of buses, cars, and railway trains.
Each heart is searching for something,
following a certain desire,

knowingly or unknowingly.
Some have voiced it to themselves,

even to another,
but some are led, almost blindly,

by unconscious drives,
the inner person lulled and almost put to sleep,
while the flesh and senses

pass from one thing to another.

Restless nostalgia, alive deep within each of us,
for something we do not have, perhaps have lost,
or, indeed, have lost so long ago, yet never knew.
Yet it is still impressed upon our inmost heart
as a sketch without paint or pigment,
only hinting at what it could some day be.
Or like a seal of wax upon parchment,
with the insignia of the One to whom we belong.
Perhaps best of all, it is like an engagement ring,
promise of something wonderful, full of hope,
needing only to be moved

from one hand to another,
placed there by the One who loves us

more than we can imagine.

IV.
Is there a way for this feverish activity,
within this world of ours, to find some rest?
Is there a way to
be, and simply to abide,
on this globe that is always turning,
people like ants scurrying across its surface?
What if one could draw so near
that the ant-sized person unveils something more:
an immense mystery larger than the entire world?
Then there is a glimpse of rest, pure abiding love,
where there is no longer the need to do,
but simply to love, cherish, and embrace.
Yet all doing then, losing its burning fever,
is replaced by another, purer fire,
one kindled by contact with the other’s heart.

The heart within my breast

is then no longer drawn
by this interior hollowness and need
—but by a deeper need and longing nonetheless.
The change is like the sinful woman at the well
who comes driven by so many struggles,
yet leaves driven, so much more powerfully,
by a deeper longing, yet a deeper joy and repose.
The heart-strands are stretched and expanded,
precisely by being woven together

to those of others,
stretched out in the form of a cross,

to brother and sister,
and upwards, especially,

knitted to the Heart of God.

The seed of love and encounter is implanted
as true life in the place of the inmost heart,
and after three days it rises anew, radiant,
bearing wounds, now become glorious, pure.
The human heart, stretching out, here and there,
finds itself enfolded already, always,
by the encircling arms of eternal Love.
It is led back then, to a blessed repose,
taste of the endless joy to come,
and within this repose of intimate embrace
it finds others also contained,
and reaches out, without departing,
to touch them and to hold them,
lovingly, close to itself…

within the God who holds us close.

ישוע

THE CIRCLE AND THE CROSS (PART 3)

I.
Abba, Father, let it be,

this unspeakable mystery.
Draw me, Father, beyond this superficiality,
to the realm where all is gift,
where my heart, touched by your Beauty
within everything, yet beyond them all,
is enfolded in the dynamism of your own eternal Gift.

This is simply to allow my life,
a tiny point, an intersection of so many things,
to reach out and make contact again
with the all-enfolding circle of your Love.
Thus my life becomes a eucharist
within the mystery of your beloved Son,
a cross enclosed within a circle
—the passion of love, fidelity, prayer, work,
enfolded within the passion of the Trinity’s eternal Gift.

We glimpse this, do we not, my God?
That, in this very land of exile

and fragmented love,
we are actually not far from your embrace.
What is necessary is not to ascend

to some distant height,
but simply to open the mind, hands, and heart
to welcome the Love enfolding us on every side.

Yes, the invitation to intimacy and joy

is always here,
pressing up close against my heart.
The challenge lies not in external things,
but in these eyes, the receptivity of this heart.
And, my dear God, in Christ you have shown,

so wonderfully,
that our blindness is so easily illumined

by your eternal light.
Pour it out, therefore, loving Father, into us.
Grant me to see: to see and to love,
loving because touched by the Beauty

that is yours,
the Beauty that is infinitely

lovable, holy, and pure.

II.
Within this circle of your love, dear God,
everything, every moment is sanctified.
And here there is simply no “cost,”
no calculation of what is entails to receive or give.
Heart to heart, speaking,
Beauty touching, wounding,

and drawing the heart—
this is everything, my God.
To begin to consider and weigh the cost
is already to step away from childhood,

from the gratuitous, all-encircling gift of Love.

For this is the true meaning of sacrifice
—simply to allow the cross to stretch out
to reconnect with the Circle,
to allow the Circle

to express itself within the cross.
It is nothing but an expression of love

within this world,
alive in acceptance and reciprocal gift,
penetrating and transforming

both suffering and joy alike.
And in this way, indeed, my God,
we can rejoice in the “cost” of gift, its value,
as the martyrs rejoiced in the opportunity
to bear witness to the immensity of your Love,
and as Christ rejoiced to draw the lines across,
enfolding us within the Circle

of all-enfolding Love.

III.
The Son can do nothing on his own
—he is utterly weak, dependent, poor—
and precisely for this reason he can do all things,
what he sees you, Father, doing,

guiding him hand in hand,
Heart in Heart,

in the Beauty of your paternal Love.

So it is with us, my God,
who are touched by the light
shining through his radiant breast.
Leaning against this loving Heart

within his breast,
as he gives himself in the Holy Eucharist,
we glimpse, beyond the cross, and enfolding it,
the ravishing beauty of the Circle of your Love.

And we are asked only to live,
in childlike simplicity and trust,
within his own childlike relationship with you.
Thus the eucharist of our own life becomes
an unceasing acceptance of your gratuitous love,
and the flowing forth of this love into us,
spreading out to others in every moment too
—“love one another as I have loved you”—
and, finally, its surging back to you, my God,
to rest forever

in the encircling arms of your embrace.

My beloved child, I rejoice

to hold you in my arms.

This is my only desire, enduring,

for every person too.

Do you see, I truly desire nothing else,

opening my Heart,

than to hold you here, each and all,

pressing you to my breast,

carrying you, in this way, to my loving Father.

There, held in my arms, a child, a spouse,

you experience the love of the Father as I do,

you know his goodness and beauty

in the same way as I.

You breathe, together with me, and him too

indeed, allow us to breathe through you,

vibrating you through and through,

thrilling your heart—

the Breath of the Spirit whom we eternally share.

I have granted you the gift of sharing, in faith,

in this mysterious communion

in the depths of the soul,

yes, in the concreteness of every moment of life,

reposing already now

in each day and each moment,

in the love for which you long

in fullness at the end.

Repose here, beloved child, this is all that I ask.

Allow yourself to be loved, cherished, embraced.

Nothing finds fullness of meaning

outside of this love,

all finds the fullness of its beauty and radiance

precisely by flowing from here and returning thus,

yes, abiding here always,

never departing from this space.

And you know, child, you feel deep within,

that this loving embrace, asking nothing else,

yet awakens in your heart a yearning,

expanding out in love:

that this same joyful embrace

will enfold every heart too.

Thus, within the very furnace of joy,

unbreakable, sure,

a fire of compassion also begins to burn.

Within the homecoming of love

into the Beloved’s arms

where you also find your deepest self,

purified, restored,

blossoming from within

by my own gratuitous gift,

enfolded within my mystery,

my most intimate embrace—

here you also find the heart’s yearning awaken

to share this beautiful love with each and with all.

For this intimate embrace, dearly beloved,

is both a sanctuary of intimacy between you and I

unspeakable solitude, ineffable encounter,

silence of love, where I gaze on you,

the only one, ravishing my Heart—

and yet also the place

where you are least solitary, alone,

for in me you find yourself drawing close, also,

to every other person, every child of God.

The fire is enkindled deep in the heart,

yes, a fire engulfing you

in its embrace through every thing,

drawing you both deeper within,

and thrusting you out

two movements, really one and the same—

to immerse yourself

in the Abyss of the Trinity’s embrace

and to give yourself in compassion

for every longing heart.

Love inconceivable, Love divine,

Love so immense and majestic,

yet so near.

You wrap me close, dear Father,

in the most intimate of embraces,

pressing me close to you so gently,

in every moment and through every thing.

Every moment of my life,

here and now and always, God,

is a single romance of this love, so amazing,

a love beyond all other loves, yet embracing all,

a love bestowing goodness and beauty

on all there is,

and, through the mystery implanted here,

within them,

drawing them all back at last to you.

This, Father, is the joy I know,

the joy that I cling to in faith, holding me,

and to which I look in hopeful expectation

consummation,

when the veil of this life is at last rent:

to abide, pressed close against your Heart,

enfolded, in Christ, within your loving arms.

And there also I find my brother and my sister,

my most intimate friend, each and every one,

pressed against my heart, and me, against theirs,

seeing and feeling, they in me and I in them,

your own loving presence, so deeply alive.