Posts tagged ‘lent’
In today’s first reading from Joel we are asked,
Even now, says our God, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning.
There are many more ways to fast that could actually be more meaningful that limiting our consumption of food. So, for these first few days and the first week of Lent I will offer different ways of looking at a Lenten Fast.
Today: Let us fast from anger and hatred. Give those you live and work with an extra measure of compassion.
Today’s Lenten poem from Education for Justice is by Kathleen O’Toole.
The Magdalen, a Garden and This
She who is known by myth and association
as sinful, penitent, voluptuous perhaps…
but faithful to the last and then beyond.
A disciple for sure, confused often with Mary,
sister of Lazarus, or the woman caught
in adultery, or she who angered the men
by anointing Jesus with expensive oils.
She was the one from whom he cast out seven
demons—she’s named in that account.
Strip all else away and we know only
that she was grateful, that she found her way
to the cross, and that she returned
to the tomb, to the garden nearby, and there,
weeping at her loss, was recognized,
became known in the tender invocation
of her name. Mary: breathed by one
whom she mistook for the gardener, he
who in an instant brought her back to herself—
gave her in two syllables a life beloved,
gave me the only sure thing I’ll believe
of heaven, that if it be, it will consist
in this: the one unmistakable
rendering of your name.
Source: “The Magdalen, a Garden and This” by Kathleen O’Toole from America
Magazine Vol. 186 No. 11 (4/1/2002).
The Apostle Peter, the fisherman, plays an important role in the drama of Good Friday. Today’s poem from Education for Justice is entitled “Simon Peter” by John Porch.
There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
Yes, four which I do not understand.
The way of an eagle in the air,
The way of a serpent on a rock,
The way of a ship in the heart of the sea,
And the way of a man with a maid
—Prov. 30:18, 19
Contagious as a yawn, denial poured
over me like a soft fall fog, a girl
on a carnation strewn parade float, waving
at everyone and no one, boring and bored
There actually was a robed commotion parading.
I turned and turned away and turned. A swirl
of wind pulled back my hood, a fire of coal
brightened my face, and those around me whispered:
You’re one of them, aren’t you? You smell like fish.
And wine, someone else joked. That’s brutal. That’s cold,
I said, and then they knew me by my speech.
They let me stay and we told jokes like fishermen
and houseboys. We gossiped till the cock crowed,
his head a small volcano raised to mock stone.
Who could believe a woman’s word, perfumed
in death? I did. I ran and was outrun
before I reached the empty tomb. I stepped
inside an empty shining shell of a room,
sans pearl. I walked back home alone and wept
again. At dinner. His face shone like the sun.
I went out into the night. I was a sailor
and my father’s nets were calling. It was high tide,
I brought the others. Nothing, the emptiness
of business, the hypnotic waves of failure.
But a voice from shore, a familiar fire, and the nets
were full. I wouldn’t be outswum, denied
this time. The coal-fire before me, the netted fish
behind. I’m carried where I will not wish.
Source: “Simon Peter” by John Poch from America Magazine, Vol. 188 No. 7
Today on Holy Thursday we remember, not only the Last Supper, but also Jesus agonizing vigil in Gethsemane. So today’s poem from Education for Justice is by Mary Oliver.
The grass never sleeps.
Or the rose.
Nor does the lily have a secret eye that shuts until morning.
Jesus said, wait with me. But the disciples slept.
The cricket has such splendid fringe on its feet,
and it sings, have you noticed, with its whole body,
and heaven knows if it even sleeps.
Jesus said, wait with me. And maybe the stars did, maybe
the wind wound itself into a silver tree, and didn’t move,
the lake far away, where once he walked as on a
lay still and waited, wild awake.
Oh the dear bodies, slumped and eye-shut, that could not
keep that vigil, how they must have wept,
so utterly human, knowing this too
must be a part of the story.
Source: “Gethsemane” from Thirst, by Mary Oliver. Boston: Beacon Press,
Today’s Lenten poem from Education for Justice is by Denise Levertov.
O Taste and See
The world is
not with us enough
O taste and see
the subway Bible poster said,
meaning The Lord, meaning
if anything all that lives
to the imagination’s tongue,
grief, mercy, language,
tangerine, weather, to
breathe them, bite,
savor, chew, swallow, transform
into our flesh our
deaths, crossing the street, plum, quince,
living in the orchard and being
hungry, and plucking
Source: “O Taste and See” from O Taste and See by Denise Levertov. New
York: New Directions, 1964.