the risk of birth

This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.

That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn-
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.

When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn-
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.


-Madeleine L’Engle


For the New Year

“For the New Year, 1981”

I have a small grain of hope— one small crystal that gleams clear colors out of transparency.

I need more.

I break off a fragment to send you.

Please take
this grain of a grain of hope so that mine won’t shrink.

Please share your fragment so that yours will grow.

Only so, by division, will hope increase,

like a clump of irises, which will cease to flower unless you distribute
the clustered roots, unlikely source—
clumsy and earth-covered—

of grace.


-Denise Levertow

why can’t I remember this truth…

“This is the feast where we celebrate the commonplace blessed and transformed by the flesh-taking of God.  Straw and manger bed become a throne, ox and ass the gracious hosts, and humble, fumbling humanity the honored visionaries who come to look and, what is more, to see and understand.  The old tensions between sacred and mundane ease, merge and grant us peace.  It is our chauvinism, not God’s, that contrast the earthy to the heavenly and finds it ordinary, banal, and unimaginative.  The divine contradiction is that we find him where we least expect it.  The human condition: our peak experiences, and especially our sorrows, our successes and especially our failures, our “in loveness,” but especially our struggling human relationships this is the manger bed, these the places where we will know him, the Word in human vesture.”

-Gertrud Mueller Nelson “To Dance with God”

an advent prayer

God of promise,
Make us ready for Your coming.
Help us to quiet moments of contemplation.
Help us to see awesome beauty in one another’s eyes.
Help us to hear and resound to the cries of the poor and the oppressed.
Help us to breathe in the wonders of nature.
Help us to walk along that path that leads to You.

Help us to know the only truth that will save us.

Help us to serve You until that day.
When we meet face to face.
Help us to grow closer to You with each passing day and to love you.

Come, Lord Jesus!


-Carmen L. Caltagirone


Moments of great calm,
Kneeling before an altar
Of wood in a stone church
In summer, waiting for the God
To speak; the air a staircase
For silence; the sun’s light
Ringing me, as though I acted
A great role. And the audiences
Still; all that close throng
Of spirits waiting, as I,
For the message.
Prompt me, God;
But not yet. When I speak,
Though it be you who speak
Through me, something is lost.
The meaning is in the waiting.



I wait

with quickened hope
for crooked paths
to straighten,
with tough-soul’d
while blinded
keepers of the keys
shut out
God’s own.

(If such a thing were possible.)

I wait,
and will not be

For tiny shoot
of Jesse tree
took root in me
to love
give sight
set free.

-Sr. Christine Schenk

Advent Antiphons

From Mary’s sweet silence,

Come, Word mutely spoken!

Pledge of our real life,
Come, Bread yet unbroken!

Seed of the Golden Wheat,
In us be sown.

Fullness of true Light,
Through us be known.

Secret held tenderly,
Guarded with Love,

Cradled in purity,
Child of the Dove,


-Sr. M. Charlita, I.H.M.