When hoped for should become a plan

I’ve long wanted to collaborate on a book with my daughter. Actually, I’d love to collaborate on a book with any of my children or grandchildren or all, but this one in particular has always been quite the natural artist. Her illustrations based on her interpretation of the point in my prose would go far to say better, the little I have.

As one of many such gifts over the years, she drew a beautiful pastel portrait of Mary with a crown of stars above, horns under, and the soft, regal, voluminous folds of her garments — above and around her welcoming hands — appearing more wing-like than we might think. I know that Mary must look serious, but the one glaring imperfection was indeed her mouth. She looked almost dour. So dour, in fact, that I secretly tried to improve upon it.

There was also the gift of a portrait she’d done of the Man of Sorrows, crowned. She finished off the thorns, each and every one of them, with black and thus shiny ink seemingly visible from Pluto — the one glaring imperfection.  There was no way to improve upon it, there all in black and white and framed in black wood.

Eventually, it dawned on me that here is a real artist. What she applied — what she let stand, what she framed and with what she framed it — is the imperfection we bring to the holy.  What we see, that we don’t like, is our effect on the holy.

After all, what mother can smile or look beatific when any one of her children is in dire danger?  How could a loving Saviour bear as crown the purposely unnatural-to-God — the hardened, deliberately misformed, dead unfurled leaf affixed to Him by the thankless thoughtless — without it coloring His whole likeness?

For too long, her main canvas has been her skin — for tattoos. I’d really like to improve them, and I never will, but she needs to see where her greatest talent is, and I need it to speak for me.



While praying at San Damiano, he noted what seemed a strayed yet sizable rock, there at the corner of the little church’s altar. He excused himself and picked it up, knowing there was some Reason for the seeing. Holding it up as if an unframed portrait, he saw the notch at the top, saw how it rendered the stone heart-shaped.

When he got back to his brothers, whose eyes were ever upon him, he laid the stone on a blessed cloth, bending over it as if writing on the ground. He had each brother come forth to also apply the pigment he’d mixed together, until they had covered the heart in a brick red.

Then, he gave these first 3 a small branch portion, after laying down his own branch below the heart, so that eventually they’d formed a framed Heart.

At this, the Poverello knelt and wept bitterly.  He took away his branch, snapped it in two (one long piece, one shorter) and wrapped them in twine for a necklace. His brothers had understood. One by one, each removed his own branch and snapped it in two similarly, until all bore the now holy Tau around their very necks.

They processed the stone, wrapped in its cloth, into the little church and placed it on the altar. Following his lead, each brother opened a corner of the linen until the heart was free to all, again, and there they knelt in this newest of life-long vows.


You will, I will

O, the weddings, the feasts, the high holy days
of life, and these, too —
the palls of the sick, dying,
crippled, deaf, blind, widowed..
See, my friends
have come out, today;
these very stones would hail me
if not!
Do they get it at last,
do they know the reason for an ass’s foal,
slow and long journey into Jerusalem,
and not that my days are so numbered?
Will they be tenacious for me
–or against me. I know, but they don’t
and would never believe it.
Poor Simon Peter..
Yes, I will rejoice today with them!
I have the day, but my hour to deliver them
like new children into the world
like Eve from out of Adam’s side
has long been with me..
o, how I long for this to be


For our love of them,
and you, Mother,
I have set my face like flint..




Today’s prompt: Calm

Recently on a drive home from work on a road lined with farm fields and ponds, the crystal clear night was astoundingly cold — but even more astoundingly bright. I looked up beyond my misted fog of an exhausted existence and smiled as if seeing a faithful friend. It was another half mile or so before I realized I was singing– and what I was singing..

It’s the one song I wish might play on every battlefield.





(A re-blog) Entering Advent in Hope: An Advent Credo by Daniel Berrigan, SJ — Interrupting the Silence

“It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss— This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination, […]

via Entering Advent in Hope: An Advent Credo by Daniel Berrigan, SJ — Interrupting the Silence