Today’s Lenten poem from Education for Justice is by Jessica Powers.


Prayer is the trap-door out of sin.
Prayer is a mystic entering in
to secret places full of light.
It is a passage through the night.
Heaven is reached, the blessed say,
by prayer and by no other way.
One may kneel down and make a plea
with words from book or breviary,
or one may enter in and find
a home-made message in the mind.
But true prayer travels further still,
to seek God’s presence and God’s will.
To pray can be to push a door
and snatch some crumbs of evermore,
or (likelier by far) to wait,
head bowed, before a fastened gate,
helpless and miserable and dumb,
yet hopeful that the Lord will come.
Here is the prayer of grace and good
most proper to our creaturehood.
God’s window shows his humble one
more to the likeness of His Son.
He sees, though thought and senses stray,
the will is resolute to stay
and feed, in weathers sweet or grim,
on any word that speaks of Him.
He beams on the humility
that keeps it peace in misery
and, save for glimmerings, never knows
how beautiful with light it grows.
He smiles on faith that seems to know
it has no other place to go.
But some day, hidden by His will,
if this meek child is waiting still,
God will take out His mercy-key
and open up felicity,
where saltiest tears are given right
to seas where sapphire marries light,
where by each woe the soul can span
new orbits for the utter man,
where even the flesh, so seldom prized,
would blind the less than divinized.

Source: “Prayer” from The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, edited by
Regina Siegfried, ASC, and Robert F. Morneau. Kansas City, MO: Sheed &
Ward, 1989.

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