Tag: prayer

Featured blog: Daryl Madden

Daryl Madden is another poet/blogger whose work I enjoy, and whose writing has sometimes inspired my own work.

I am sharing this poem for you to enjoy.

I was especially taken by the final verse:

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Let roots of faith

Grow deep this day

In deserts rain

Through shades of gray.

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Here is the whole poem, called “Dawnings’ Gray

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Slow the dawning

From the night

Horizons glow

Of black and white

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Soul is seeking

Colors, employ

The empty scene

Devoid of joy

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Still a prayer

Spirit appeal

Inspiration

To reveal

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Let roots of faith

Grow deep this day

In deserts rain

Through shades of gray.

Dawnings’ Gray — DarylMadden

The Journey Must Be Made

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The journey

Must be made

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Following the mystic star

In prayer

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Delusion

And deceit await

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Yet faith

Is being born

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And presents

Now

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Crying

There.

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“The journey must be made”

Inspirers: St. Teresa of Avila

teresa1

I came across St. Teresa of Avila through her book “The Interior Castle“, and it revolutionised the way I thought.

The soul’s beauty and capabilities are so immeasurably great” she writes.   For me, that said that I mattered, that what was inside was precious and valuable, that God cared.

soulsbeauty AVILA

The soul is like a castle“, she writes.  In a short blog post I can’t do justice to how she elaborates on this image but I find such illumination in the way she writes about inner conflict, distractions and temptations in prayer (in the outer rooms, where the “lizards” enter and cause problems…!). 

I find it so uplifting how she writes about the “inner rooms” of the castle, where the soul is sometimes caught up in prayer and adoration, in unity with God.

soullikecastle AVILA

I have gone on to read part of her own autobiography, a modern biography of her life and some of her other writings.  But for me, “The Interior Castle” still provides a profound and spiritually inspiring read whenever I return to it. She is remembered throughout the world on 15th October.

I have called this sequence of seven poems, inspired by her writing, “The Castle of St. Teresa”…

The Castle of St. Teresa

I.

The soul is like a castle

made of clear crystal

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And there are

many mansions

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God delights to dwell

within this paradise

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Its beauty is beyond

all comprehension

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And no matter how theological

our minds

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We cannot fully apprehend

the sacred image of God.

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II.

God dwells in the very centre of being

where the most secret things pass

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Where differences seem most indistinguishable

between spirit human and divine

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In the timeless immaterial

reality of transformation.

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III.

I know that place

where the lizards scuttle

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And the soul strains each spiritual nerve

for holiness

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But if I have a soul

as beautiful

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As the crystal castle

May it be cleansed

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And full

Of light.

IV.

God always calls

            such is his love

No matter how much

            we fail him

He always calls

            us to draw near.

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V.

The soul could give no shade

if it were not growing by this spring

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The soul would produce no fruit

without its living waters

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It is the spring that flows

throughout all living being

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The spring of life

For all.

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VI.

Enter the castle

By prayer and reflection

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Inhabit each room

Through divine meditation

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The door of life

Opens

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And before

Is the way

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Of wisdom

Of love

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And of the soul’s

Eternal salvation.

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VII

Think of the soul

As a diamond

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Whose many

Facets

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The light

Of God

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Enters

Reflects

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In fascinating

Glory

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Transforming

An ordinary

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Human

Story.

Spiritual Reflection: Openness is Enough

Why him,

why him,

why him?

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Because it seems

God chose

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One so foolish

and so poor

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To show that

only openness

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To God

Is enough.

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I wrote those lines inspired by Francis of Assisi.

Openness is enough: openness to life in all its richness, openness to others, openness to God.

The practice of mindfulness is a good way to develop openness to life.  Many people in the west today live life so quickly that they forget to actually experience the here and now.  It is possible to live in future, and also to live in the past; but to live in the present takes a special form of attention, mindful of detail, of both pleasure and pain, of both self and others, of both inner and outer worlds.

Listening is a way to be open to others.  Many of us talk so much that we forget to listen.  We are full of our stress, our worries, our feelings.  But if you round and round inside a bubble you just end up…trapped in a bubble!  Better to burst the bubble, step out, and listen to those around you.  Openness is a discipline, a way of loving others, a grace.

Prayer is a way of being open to God.  When we pray we put ourselves into perspective.  God is bigger than our momentary concerns.  We make space in the silence to listen and to think.  We acknowledge our finitude, our limitedness, our need of grace.

We can all be “chosen” in the way that Francis of Assisi, and others who have followed the spiritual way,  felt chosen by God.  It was part of Francis’ humility that he often described himself as “foolish” and “poor”.  It means we feel a sense of belovedness, a personal sense of meaning, of being loved by God.

Openness, then, can develop your sense of self-worth, that you are loved just for being a being created by God, living in an amazing universe.

Openness is enough.

Inspiring Poems: “By a sunbeam I will climb…”

I love the way this poem begins with the way every day of our life begins: with the opening of our eyes…

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I cannot ope mine eyes,

But thou art ready there to catch

My morning-soul and sacrifice:

Then we must needs for that day make a match.

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morningsoul MATINS HERBERT

This poem, by George Herbert, one of my many “inspirers”, then moves deeper, and explores the human heart:

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My God, what is a heart?

Silver, or gold, or precious stone,

Or star, or rainbow, or a part

Of all these things, or all of them in one?

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My God, what is a heart,

That thou shouldst it so eye, and woo,

Pouring upon it all thy art,

As if that thou hadst nothing else to do?

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whatisaheart MATINS HERBERT

The poem is called “Matins” (an old word meaning morning prayer).  Each morning brings the day, each day brings the sun, and this has got to be the greatest line in the poem… “By a sunbeam I will climb to thee.

Teach me thy love to know;

That this new light, which now I see,

May both the work and workman show:

Then by a sunbeam I will climb to thee.

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byasunbeam MATINS HERBERT