Sunday, April 28, 2013

Worship Him With Dance...


In memory of Frank Schiavo, Jr.


In a circle

in the corner

of the sanctuary

the dancers

lifted arms and faces,

bowed reverently, rose,

offering gifts of praise to God.

Tintinnabulating timbrels

and tambourines,

their satin ribbons streaming,

swirled with shirts and skirts,

a kaleidoscopic rainbow.

Ineffable ecstasy

shone in countenances,

sparkled in dark, dancing eyes.


Parked at a row end

in the congregation,

Frankie sat

strapped securely

in his wheelchair,


his spirit whirling

in the dance.

Joy softened his face

into enthralled expressions

as praise

flowed fluently

from upturned lips.



perceiving the desire

written in his radiance,

a young man whisked

his wheelchair

into the dance.

Circling, circling,

spinning, spinning,

wheeling worshipfully,

spiritually spiraling

upward, Heavenward,

an Elijah in a chariot

driven by horses,

their manes ablaze,

Frankie danced

his holy dance

before the Ever-Living God.


Maude Carolan

This poem is in memory of Frank Schiavo Jr., a member of Beth Israel Messianic Worship Center, who went to be with the Lord several years ago. He worshipped the Lord with all his might even though he was confined to a wheelchair. Frankie loved this poem. A framed copy hung on the wall above his bed.

This poem was originally published in Sensations Magazine.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

We All Need Sweet Serenity



Plainsong at Vespers

sung by a handful of Episcopalian sisters

in a little convent chapel in New Jersey,

whisked me back a few decades

to a summer weekend

at Weston Priory in Vermont,

to celebrate the Feast of St. Benedict;

whisked me back to my Catholic Charismatic days,

when I was willing to travel anywhere

to participate in vibrant congregational worship.


At the priory

I witnessed what many never see,

monks dancing in a circle,

their slow, graceful sweeps

billowing white hooded frocks

in the gentle breeze.

They sang fresh, mellow songs

that were wending their way

into contemporary liturgies.


The monks invited a few of us

to join their sunrise worship.

We quietly gathered in a rude garret

with a wide many-paned window

that offered pre-dawn darkness.

Sitting upon pillows strewn on the floor,

we melded with the stillness.

One by one the Benedictines entered

with their prayer books

and sat meditatively.

After a time

they softly read Scripture,

prayed, and chanted mellifluous praise.


Suddenly, a brown field mouse

scampered among us,

flitting betwixt and between.

No one stirred at all.


Beyond the panes

blackness gave way

to the rising sun;

streams of warm glow

dissolved the morning mist

above a placid pond.

Splashes of magenta and lavender

petunias drenched in dew

emerged at water's edge.


Maude Carolan
I've posted this poem today to lead my readers into a few moments of serenity. This has been a difficult and heart-wrenching week for all of us. We all need some quiet time for prayer and reflection. Now is as good a time as any...


Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Poem about Mary of Bethany



Lord, I’ve come to curl up

close to Your sandals

like Mary of Bethany

my ears primed

to absorb each word You speak

I’ve tuned out concerns

that would pull me

from this footstool

and will not be bothered

by deeds or distractions

that would drown Your voice

If Martha insists

on doing busy-work

she must do it alone

for nothing is more important to me

than sitting right here

right now, with You


and I will wail

at Your sacred feet

like Mary of Bethany

when my strength falters –

I shall wrap my quivering arms

around Your sturdy ankles

allow my tears to run in rivulets

down Your dusty feet –

stir You to weep, too

till resurrection happens


but especially, Lord

I long to anoint Your precious feet

like Mary of Bethany

and come with all that I have

as she, bearing nard

for I, too, yearn to soothe

with pure, lavish fragrance

the calloused heels and soles

toes and arches

I, too, know well –

the very feet that carried Good News

to my ears and heart –

beautiful feet, bleeding feet

pierced through for me

I shall unpin my hair, humbly

like Mary of Bethany

take Your dust

as diamonds, upon me

I desire to be, unto you, Lord

a sweet aroma


and if I be scolded, as was she

by one who couldn’t possibly understand

so be it

so be it


Maude Carolan Pych



The above poem is part three of a trilogy of entitled, Three Marys. The first poem of the trilogy is about Mary, the mother of Jesus; the second, about Mary of Magdala, was published here last week.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

After the Resurrection...



It’s no wonder

Mary of Magdala

traveled with Rabboni

and the twelve

and helped

support His mission

She was a woman on fire

with love and gratitude

a woman freed

of seven snarling demons


It’s no wonder

despite trepidation

she watched at a distance

as they nailed her Great One

to a wretched cross

cupping her ears, wailing

at each resonating hammerfall

No wonder

she drew near

as He hung

in the agony of dying

for being there

was better

than not being there


Mary, bereft

looked upon her Rabboni

as they took Him

from the beams

laid His powerless Body

in the tomb

and rolled a great round stone

across the entrance

separating Him from her

before the sun went down

that Good and terrible Friday


and it’s no wonder

she was back at dawn

the morning after Sabbath

with other ministering women

carrying spices

heedless of whom

would roll the stone away

But the tomb was open

and the women trembled

as an angel astounded them

with talk of rising



Mary ran to the apostles

but it’s no wonder

she returned

to grieve near the tomb,

wanting to be

where last He was


A stranger, the gardener?

inquired of her weeping

"Sir," she implored

"if you have carried Him away

tell me where you have put Him

and I will get Him"






Astonished, she reflexively

reached for Him…


"Do not cling to Me"


He told her


"for I have not yet ascended

to My Father"


Oh, it’s no wonder

it was she He entrusted

to bring the news

to the brethren

No wonder

she ran, stumbling over rocks

and potsherd

dashing through brush

and brambles

raising tufts of dust

eager to exclaim

breathless with jubilation


"I have seen

the Lord!"


Maude Carolan