Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

Igitur si conresurrexistis Christo quae sursum sunt quaerite ubi Christus est in dextera Dei sedens quae sursum sunt sapite non quae supra terram mortui enim estis et vita vestra abscondita est cum Christo in Deo. (Col 3:2, Vulg.)

Therefore, if you have been resurrected with Christ, seek then those things which are above where Christ is sitting at God’s right-hand; taste those things which are below the earth, not what is below the earth. For you are dead and your life… your life is hidden with Christ in God. (Translation mine)

My words and thoughts do both express this notion,
That Life hath with the sun a double motion
The first Is straight, and our diurnal friend,
The other Hid, and doth obliquely bend.
One life is wrapt In flesh, and tends to earth.
The other winds towards Him, whose happy birth
Taught me to live here so, That still one eye
Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high:
Quitting with daily labor all My pleasure,
To gain at harvest an eternal Treasure.

George Herbert, “Our life is hid with Christ in God” (1593–1633)

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In the fiery heavens
are now two bodies:
one of the resurrection
and one assumed.

In bodies anew
we meet them there,
see face to face,
known and knowing.

Our faith will close,
our hope made whole;
save lasting charity,
in the city of love.

With bright new eyes,
we see their face:
the Virgin immaculate,
her Son still pierced.

With angelic hymns
of incorporeal song,
our bodies made new
and Mary’s still whole.

C.H. McCants, “Heavenly Bodies” (2012)

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Urbs fortitudinis nostrae Sion;
salvator ponetur in ea
murus et antemurale.
Aperite portas et ingrediatur gens iusta,
custodiens veritatem
vetus error abiit: servabis pacem;
pacem quia in te speravimus.
sperastis in Domino in saeculis aeternis;
in Domino Deo forti in perpetuum. (Isa 26.1b-4, Vulg.)


The city of our strength is Zion:
the Savior will erect in it the wall and rampart.
Throw open the city-gates
and let the just nation enter,
one who guards the truth.

The old transgression has passed away;
You will guard the peace;
a peace we have hoped for,
because peace is in You.

You have hoped in the Lord in ages eternal!
In the Lord God, steadfast forever! (Translation mine)

Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Effetti del Buon Governo in Città or “Effects of Good Government in the City” (c. 1338-40)

‘O fortunati, quorum iam moenia surgunt!’
Aeneas ait, et fastigia suspicit urbis. (Aen. I.437-438)

“Lucky are you, whose walls now rise!”
Cried Aeneas, as he surveyed the summits of the city. (Translation mine)

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Speravit anima mea in Domino.
custodia matutina usque ad noctem,
speret Israel in Domino
Quia apud Dominum misericordia
et copiosa apud eum redemptio
Et ipse redimet Israel
ex omnibus iniquitatibus eius. (Ps 129.5-8, Vulg.)


My soul has hoped in the Lord;

As the watchman looks through the night for daybreak,
let Israel hope in the Lord.

Because with the Lord there is mercy,
with Him redemption abundant.

Let the Lord ransom Israel
from all its iniquities. (Translation mine)

Alfredo11, “Night Watchman” (2009) (artist’s website)

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Scribantur haec in generatione altera,
et populus qui creabitur laudabit Dominum.
Quia prospexit de excelso sancto suo;
Dominus de caelo in terram aspexit:
ut audiret gemitus compeditorum;
solveret filios interemptorum:
ut annuntient in Sion nomen Domini,
et laudem eius in Jerusalem. (Ps 101.19-22, Vulg.)


Let this be written in the coming generation:
“and a people yet created shall praise the Lord:

because He has looked out from His lofty sanctuary;
from heaven the Lord has surveyed the earth:

to hear the cries of prisoners,
to free the children of the slain,

that they might declare the name of the Lord in Zion
and his praise in Jerusalem.” (Translation mine)

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If you want to ask
a question, the chairman said,
begin by giving us
your name and address.

So the old gentleman
seated near the back
of the auditorium,
when it came his turn, said
he was Louis St. Laurent
and came from Quebec;

and we all of us laughed:
because that’s who he was
and it was the kind of little joke
one expected of an elderly
former prime minister;

but the next time
he said the same thing

and the time after that,
said it quite simply

and it became obvious
it wasn’t meant to be funny,

wasn’t meant to be anything
other than courteous,

like his holding open the door
for whoever happened to reach it
at the same time he did

and never lighting a cigarette
without offering the pack to
the person in front and the person behind
and the persons seated
on either side of him.

“The Old Gentleman” by Alden Nowlan, from Selected Poems (1996).

Rembrandt van Rijn. “An Old Man in Red” (1652/54)

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People who live by the sea
understand eternity.
They copy the curves of the waves,
their hearts beat with the tides,
& the saltiness of their blood
corresponds with the sea.

They know that the house of flesh
is only a sandcastle
built on the shore,that skin breaks
under the waves
like sand under the soles
of the first walker on the beach
when the tide recedes.

Each of us walks there once,
watching the bubbles
rise up through the sand
like ascending souls,
tracing the line of the foam,
drawing our index fingers
along the horizon
pointing home.

“People Who Live” by Erica Jong, from Becoming Light.

Pablo Picasso, The Old Fisherman (1895), Museu de Montserrat, Barcelona

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The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Bring knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to GOD.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from GOD and nearer to the Dust.

Waste and void. Waste and void. And darkness on the face of the deep.
Has the Church failed mankind, or has mankind failed the Church?
When the Church is no longer regarded, not even opposed, and men have forgotten
All gods except Usury, Lust and Power.

T. S. Eliot, from The Rock

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Blessed the man who does not follow the counsels of the wicked,
or stand in the paths that sinners use,
or sit in the gatherings of those who mock:

His delight is the law of the Lord,
he ponders his law day and night.

He is like a tree planted by flowing waters,
that will give its fruit in due time,
whose leaves will not fade.

All that he does will prosper.
Not thus are the wicked, not thus.
They are like the dust blown by the wind.

At the time of judgment the wicked will not stand,
nor sinners in the council of the just.

For the Lord knows the path of the just;
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Psalm 1

The Apse Mosaic at San Clemente, (13th cent)

“The cross of the Lord is become the tree of life for us.”

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Praise the Lord.

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.

Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.

Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures for ever.

He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.

He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.

(Ps 111.1-5)


εξομολογησομαι σοι κυριε εν ολη καρδια μου
εν βουλη ευθειων και συναγωγη

μεγαλα τα εργα κυριου
εξεζητημενα εις παντα τα θεληματα αυτου

εξομολογησις και μεγαλοπρεπεια το εργον αυτου
και η δικαιοσυνη αυτου μενει εις τον αιωνα του αιωνος

μνειαν εποιησατο των θαυμασιων αυτου ελεημων
και οικτιρμων ο κυριος

τροφην εδωκεν τοις φοβουμενοις αυτον
μνησθησεται εις τον αιωνα διαθηκης αυτου

(Ps 110.1-5, LXX)

Holy Thursday, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

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