Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wet and Dry

Just back from four days, husband and wife alone, in the wild and wonderful, silent and serene, relaxing and rejuvenating mountains of West Virginia. While there in a friends' ski chalet (Windlanding) of the Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley, it rained gently and generously. While Carol caught up on some much needed sleep, Emil went out early in a morning and became part of a rain fall and the first of the Fall colors in the wooded surround.

Prayer was his conditioned inclination, and a creative expression of what he was experiencing appeared as a poem in his journal. The first half of Emil's poem is shared with you below the photograph his much loved wife took on some previous nature joint expedition.

Rain and wind - play a tune - on the leaves.

It's a dirge - that tells how - my heart grieves.

So much time - have I spent - on what's wrong.

Now the woods - that are wet - sing my song.

Rain drops fall - just like tears - I have cried.

Gust of wind - are the sads - I have sighed.

But there's hope - that smells sweet - in the air.

Fresh and clean - in my life - is my prayer.

When he got back to the chalet and shared coffee with his wife, he picked up her guitar and rendered the poem to music. Emil and his guitar-talented friend, Kevin, hope to recored this new song at Bias Studios in Springfield, Virginia. Perhaps in a year or so it will appear as a track on their second joint CD of original inspirational music. Their first CD project, "Come Into the Presence", is in production now and will be released some time in September.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Here is a photo of me taken on an overcast day by my wife at Half Moon Bay, California. This image captures a valuable moment and appears also on the cover of my book, "Personalizing the Psalms".

It was a blended time for us of visits with friends and of cultivating silence together. One aspect of this experience of sitting on the seawall and gazing out over and beyond the Pacific for me was to recognize Silence as Woman - as expressed in the following poem:

Silence is the teacher of how to speak.
She gives you strength when you are weak.
Silence is the icon of your own beauty deep.
She awakens your soul from self-centered sleep.
Silence is the ticket that gets you into the show.
She will even escort you to the very front row.
Silence is a lover who takes you to her bed
and makes love to your soul rather than your head.
Silence is a book written by the spiritually wise
who will help you find truth and avoid worldly lies.
Silence is the music made in heavenly spheres
that strums and drums away all of your fears.
Silence is the mother of new life in truth
Mary is God's fountain of eternal youth.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


While out for a local neighborhood walk this morning, I saw the very first sign of leaf color change. This sign of what is to come left me thinking about what is about to leave all around me. It reminded me of a poem I once wrote about "Leaves" and a photo that my wife took on one of our Maine meanderings. So I thought I would share it today.

I wonder if you have a similar or quite a different take on the philosophy of life that my poem attempts to articulate.

Grasping at life
leaves you
Gasping for breath.

Lusting for things
leaves you
Lasting with nothing.

Rushing in time
leaves you
Rashing in stress.

Fretting inside
leaves you
Forgetting who you really are -

the beloved of God!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wrong Turns Turn Right

Perhaps I've taken
many a wrong turn.
It's clear to me
I've been slow to learn.
But that's okay in
God's long range scheme.
Each must awaken
from the waking dream.

Expectations, evaluations, judgements and plans

are blown away by the Spirit like shifting sands.

Performance and control do have their place,

but they are useless in the spiritual race.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Being Stirred by God

I was just reading a friend's fun blog (see Liz, one of my followers) and rather much enjoyed her series of photograph-accompanied haiku poems. This prompts me to render a haiku on my site today for you. It is only right that this one attempt to express the theme of my blog.
Haiku poetry
is one way to express one's
being stirred by God.

The Holy Spirit, as far as I can determine from talking with other folks on the journey, stirs each of us in a rather unique manner. My experience tends to be multi-dimensional. There is a physical sensation in the chest cavity along with a kind of emptying of thought patterns and an easy emergence of creativity that is other-oriented in love. Perhaps you would be willing to attempt to describe your own (undescribable) being stirred by God. I hope so anyway.

Friday, August 14, 2009


Isn't it amazing sometimes how we can become identified with certain things? After prayer this morning, I just thoroughly enjoyed sipping coffee and solving the USA TODAY crossword puzzle. This routine got me thinking about how each of us has to pick and choose between how we spend our time and where we give our attention. But then, it is not always a choice. Sometimes it's a habit, or perhaps even a helpless obsession. Whatever the case at the moment, our attachments tend to change as life's experiences accumulate. Each of us is in a process of emerging, and at this point in mine, I am so very much enjoying the grandfathering of three little girls. I've tried to express this phenomenon in my poem, "Attachment". I hope you enjoy reading it and I would love to respond to whatever comment the poem may engender in you.

Original attachment is the umbilical cord;
but that gets severed by the deliverer's sword.

The clinging next is to the mother's breast;
for continuing nourishment and all the rest.

After weaning there's dependence for staying alive;
and bonding comes as a natural drive.

At this point there comes a fork in the flow;
the bonding should stay, but dependence must go.

If not, an unhealthy orientation can arise;
consequences of which can later be a surprise.

Secure attachment helps a person mature;
whereas distorted ones render you insecure.

Attachments of this ilk carry a burden of sorrow;
and project complications from today to tomorrow.

Corrective action can eventually be taken;
but not without one's core to be shaken.

A symptom of trust is calm internal modulation;
as well as handling externals with good moderation.

So do what you can to help mothers of babies
make attachment secure and not about maybes.

The final test of the healthy and secure attachment
is the capacity of a person for holy detachment.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Eucharist

Today marks the 35th anniversary of the Diocese of Arlington, of which my wife and I have been participants since October 1976. In honor of this significant event, she and I were at Saint Thomas More Cathedral last evening to pray solemn vespers as a faith community and socialize at the reception. We will return this evening for Mass with Bishop Loverde and another faith social event. This causes me to think about the centrality of Eucharist in my life, a dimension for which I once expressed poetically. The title for the poem is simply "The Eucharist" and was published in my workbook, "Eucharistic Spirituality: Poems, Prayers, Parables".

The Eucharist in the Monstance
we worship and adore.
We leave from Adoration
a little better than before.

The Eucharist in the Tabernacle
helps in an emergency.
Communion to the sick and dying
opens doors to Eternity.

The Eucharist on the Altar
Hoc est enim Corpus Meum.
Sacred food for the Faithful
celebrating with Te Deum.

The Eucharist I have eaten
is a mystery of Love come true.
May the Jesus who is in me
recognize the Jesus living in you.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

True, Honest, Genuine and Authentic

One of the attributes of healthy spiritual life I have come to appreciate is the connectedness of friends who share in a manner that is True, Honest, Genuine and Authentic. In fact, this is the title of a poem I wrote I now share with you and hope that it encourages straightforward social interaction in your life as well as in mine. The poem tries to express the process of becoming True, Honest, Genuine and Authentic.

Look and see what's really there.
Listen and hear the unspoken prayer
that waits patiently behind the noise.

Look without a preconceived notion.
Listen without your own emotion
distorting the truth and losing your poise.

Look at the beauty between the turds.
Listen to the silence between the words
that tells you what takes away joys.

Life is real; not pretend and show.
Love is real; it surely does know
the Way and the Truth without toys.

On this day the Church celebtrates the memory of Saint Frances de Chantal. As a married woman and mother of six children, she experienced the infant death of two of them and then the accidental death of her husband. She did not try to escape from this reality. Instead, she entered directly into it as it was, believing the God was there in her Reality. When she tried to express this to the sisters in the convents she founded, she spoke of the "martrydom of love" and the suffering that entailed. In my mind, she was a living icon of what is True, Honest, Genuine and Authentic.

Wishing you an authentic response to this day's ups and downs.

Getting Closer

Here's a poem I wrote that seems appropo to share on this first day of my blogging. Entitled, "Getting Closer", it speaks quietly of yet another step along my path of life as I begin embracing the blog experience. Perhaps it will speak to you as well.

The wheel of my life
goes round and round,
repeating the patterns
originally found.
In all of this sameness
a difference is showing,
as my soul emerges
towards God in a growing.

I actually published this poem.
It appears on page 31 of my book,
"Poems to Develop Contemplative Prayer".

If you'd like to dialog on this poem, so would I.

If you are interested in the book itself,
I could get a copy to you.

Whatever the case,
may your life journey continue getting closer
to the who you really are.


Here at Panera Bread in Lake Ridge, Liz Holmes has just initiated me into this new electronic experience -- and I am so grateful.