It Smells Like Love

The five bells began to ring. Their sweet notes grew in size as they floated over the snow-covered neighbourhood. A squirrel, more interested in gathering food than hibernating, stopped in its tracks to listen. The voice of the bells seemed to call for the neighbourhood to awaken from its mid-winter slumber.

The morning sunlight struck their eyes with a sharp intensity as they left the church. Shading his eyes with his hand on his brow, Roman searched for his children finding them playing in the freshly-fallen snow. Taking the hand of his wife, Olenka, they began to walk slowly to the family car parked a few blocks away. Roman found it hard to believe that ten years had passed since they first walked out of St. Vladimir’s Church as husband and wife. The time had gone by so quickly. Olenka squeezed his hand telling him that she wanted to look at him. Roman gazed upon her and thought how beautiful she was, even more beautiful than on their wedding day. How can that be, thought Roman. Olenka’s smiling eyes of blue spoke again to Roman of her love for him.

Their children’s laughter broke the embrace of their eyes. Roman called out, “Children, it’s time to go! Baba will be waiting for us!” Hurriedly, they ran to the car. Olenka was busy brushing the snow off little Ivan’s coat and leggings as Roman cleared the snow off the car’s windshield. Andrew, their 9-year-old-boy, got into the car and claimed the seat behind his father. Helena, 7, decided to sit in the middle of the back seat so she could look after little Ivan, something she loved to do. As Olenka closed her door, Andrew asked his father, “Daddy, will Baba have some fresh bread for us?”

“I certainly hope so,” replied Roman.

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The Lady of Combermere

 

Under her outstretched arms do I stand,
Nestled in her reach, I place my head,
her touch, motherly and gentle.
I begin to speak of some friends, in various places,
bound and wounded.
Other’s knotted hard knocks give way to my own bounded bindings.
Everything gets told because she has the gift of easy listening.
One simple word,
Rejoice!
and that she echoes
from the store of treasures in her heart.

July 1, 2018
Michael Winn


Photo by Eunice and Becca at the faith and peanut butter blog.

The Adventure of Washing Dishes

 

by Catherine Doherty

What can a person do who tries to love God tremendously?

Everything, from turning the lights off to save electricity to refraining from getting new clothes all the time, to not being picky about food, to going where God calls you.

Once I know God’s will, I am going to try to do it perfectly. My heart swells and I say, “This also, Lord, for love of you.” I know very well its redemptive value.

Here’s another way of putting it: I have empty hands. I consider that I have to bring something to the altar to offer at my next Mass.

What can I bring? I can bring clothing washed with great love, understanding full well that because of my attention, these clothes have redemptive value. I can bring hours of conversation or letters written with attention to details.

It never occurs to me that I can possibly separate anything from love. For example, I will speak of washing dishes. If I have the attitude that this is a beautiful little thing that I can give God, then washing a cup becomes an adventure. Do you get the picture?

Every little thing should be done perfectly, completely connected with God. Otherwise, it ceases to be interesting. It has no sense and no being.

No matter what their job, everyone has to do little things. But for us at Madonna House, doing them with our whole hearts is of the essence of our vocation.


Adapted from Grace in Every Season, (2001), January 10, pp.26-27, available from MH Publications.

Years Ago

 

Years ago, beyond my memory,
my father stood with his arms outstretched.
With his words of encouragement,
I reached for him,
and, with exhilaration in eyes and breath,
I took my first steps —
from infancy to childhood.

Years ago, faded in my memory,
my father stood with his arms outstretched.
With his words of encouragement,
I looked to him,
and, with exhilaration in eyes and breath,
I caught my first fish by myself —
from childhood to adolescence.

Years ago, recent in my memory,
my father stood with his arms outstretched.
With his words of encouragement,
I embraced him,
and, with exhilaration in eyes and breath,
I departed on my own journey —
from adolescence to adulthood.

Years ago, still fresh in my memory,
my father stood with his arms outstretched.
With his words of encouragement,
I imitated him,
and, with exhilaration in eyes and breath,
I trusted and submitted to the One-Who-Is —
from adulthood to sonship.

Love… love… love, never counting the cost.

Present now, no need for my memory,
my Father stands with His arms outstretched.
With His words of encouragement,
I bow before Him,
and, with exhilaration in eyes and breath,
I desire and ask for the enlarging of my heart —
now and forevermore.

July 19, 2015
Michael Winn

Pericopes

 

separated, cold, unhung
sit the images
shattered
floating, drifting
with effort, with cause
each seeking to be the Whole
in its own right.
my Author weeps with salty, solicitous streams
of His inner Self.
Reconciliation of the mass,
of that once bountiful state of creation,
seems inconceivable;
yet, the pericopes of the Masterswork
pursue their identity, missing
the moment
of that which is yearned and feared
in the same Breath.

February 4, 1989
Michael Winn

The Stillness of the Voice

 

Oh, how my heart yearns
to hear the stillness of the Voice
that speaks to my inner soul.
My longing seems unanswered.
He comes and the absence is
full of completeness. I Am
beckons to my cries of anguish
and comforts my coldness.
The warmth of the Light is
the food for my travels. I
wander yet am led.
I Am, he is the life of my soul.

January 10, 1988
Michael Winn

St. John’s Night

 

by Thomas Merton

Now where the hills of Languedoc are blue with vineyards
Swimming to the brows of the low ridges brown as shells,
A thousand villages begin to name your night with fires.

The flames that wake as wide as faith,
Opening their fierce and innocent eyes from hell to hill
In the midsummer nightfall
Burn at the ageless cross-roads these their
Pagan and converted fires.

All the dark shocks of the fair summer’s harvest
Rise up in the deep fields
Where for two thousand years, St. John,
Your fires are young among us:
They cry out there, loud as was your desert testimony,
Out at the crossing of the vineyard roads
Where once the wheat sheaves wept with blood
In warning to the sickles of the manichees.

And in our hearts, here in another nation
Is made your deep midsummer night.
It is a night of other fires,

Wherein all thoughts, all wreckage of the noisy world
Swim out of ken like leaves, or smoke upon the pools of wind.

Oh, listen to that darkness, listen to that deep darkness,
Listen to those seas of darkness on whose shores we stand and die.
Now can we have you, peace, now can we sleep in
Your will, sweet God of peace?
Now can we have Your Word and in Him rest?

Prophet and hermit, great John-Baptist,
You who brought us to the door-sill of your wilderness,
You who have won for us
The first faint savor of the word’s desertion:
When shall we have to eat the things that we have barely tasted?
When shall we have your own vast loneliness’s holy honeycomb?

You hold in your hands, lo! more than Baptism:
the fruits and three virtues and the seven presents.
We wait upon your intercessions:
Or die we without mercy on the rim of those impossible shores?

Kindle, kindle in this wilderness
The tracks of those wonderful fires:
Clean us and lead us in the new night, with the power of Elias
and find us out the summits of the love and prayer
That wisdom wants of us, oh Bridegroom’s Friend!

And take us to the secret tents,
The sacred, unimaginable tabernacles
Burning upon the hills of our desire!