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...


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