Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Provincial Blog

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“From the abundance of his spirit [the poet] pours out secrets and mysteries rather than rational explanation” (Prologue, The Spiritual Canticle).

“In contemplation God teaches the soul very quietly and secretly, without its knowing how, without the sound of words” (Chapter 39, The Spiritual Canticle).

In the spirit of St. John of the Cross, this blog reflects on the contemplative experience and the poetic experience, sometimes separately and distinctly, sometimes in common, as mutually enlightening.

I will also post to this blog, from time to time, my own poetry, with a short interpretive note attached.

~ Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD

The Hours ~ 4 Poems – Part 1

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Conjuring Up the Eternal – Part 6 of 7

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Conjuring Up the Eternal – Part 3 of 7

III.Speaking of DeathInto the box of the black-eyed menace I go,Its coffin lid, like heaven itself, slammed shut.Steep cliffs loom large at each of its four wallsWhere vultures wait their turn in silence.I nod off.  Who knows whether, if I sayI've come here seeking life and wisdom,With these gifts, or with neither, or with someKind of hellish madness, I will return?  NoMatter.  I follow
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Three Poems for the Coming of Spring – Part 1

I.Another Spring PoemIt cannot be otherwise than with these white-cappedDogwoods loitering here and thereAmid the thin lances of the pine trees aimedAt the sky.  The glass bottomBoat of the heavens floats slowly by overhead,While here below azaleas swirl like schools of fish.Yes, life teems, thick as a coral reef.A distant stretch of field lies strewnWith wriggly dandelions.  And here close
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Poems for the New Year – Part 5

V.Intimations of SpringIt took a thousand years, but at last a new warmthWorked itself free.  Slicing through alleyways no biggerThan a man's fist, this first hint of spring soon picked up speed,Veering left and right like stampeding cattle,Bumping against doors and shutters and jostling wind chimes.The clatter sent pigeons soaring skyward like fireworks,The day's cloud cover parting before them. 
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Poems for the New Year – Part 4

IV.On Being BaptizedIn time I learned how to write of the sea.  Or, better,Of the wave that carried me out to sea.  Its warmChurning sound called me to the window.  I looked outAnd, behold, there it was, the wave gathering in the distance.I watched it roll in, utterly spellbound by the sight.Should I call to it, I wondered?  But before I could speakIt raised a cry of its own. 
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Five Advent Poems – Part 1

I.The World a Chapel (1)We live amid song, and it’sUsually joyful.  The sun comes up,Birds cry out, we’re startled by it.Can it be that the world itselfAwakens us?  That it's been granted this powerOf its own, renewed each dayAs night passes like the shadow of GodAnd we return to ourselves?  We wake,We hear the windBrushing the windowpane, a tree limbIn its hand, like the
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Meeting the Sacred

--written at Marylake MonasteryThe moon rises, as if the disk could fill the black cave,Its entrance, then the topography of the place, Flowing out along paths that cross the lake:“No more weepingThis evening,"It says, its beauty keeping.How simple the saint I possess like anOld boat, whose love spans the whole lake,How easily its voice treads the water:I echo off the shorelineAnd sit under
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An Invocation

        Recently I gave the invocation at one of those fundraising banquets, you know the kind.  For what it's worth, here's what I said—with changes, making my words more generic and anonymous.  You can take for yourself from the prayer as much or as little as you want, probably more of the latter than the former.        Some years ago I
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The Main Course--What is Contemplation? (Part Two)

St. John of the Cross        I've somewhat lost my train of thought in these reflections on the topic of contemplation which I've been pursuing, or have meant to be pursuing, in this blog.  No matter.  I'm not going to go back and try to recover it.  Instead, I'll forge ahead.        What, then, is contemplation? 
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An Intermezzo

For thus says the Lord,The creator of the heavens,    who is God,The designer and maker of the earth,    who established it;Not as an empty waste did he create it,    but designing it to be lived in:I am the Lord, and there I no other.        —Isa 45: 18        Jesus of Nazareth is God’s
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Poetry - 4th in a series

ContemplationAwash with a shallow stream of light, the chapel bracesTo witness the Spirit come forth at this hour.He rides as though over stones polished smoothAnd shimmering with wakefulness,The sound that of a swift gallop under rain.  He does not stop.I offer him the setting sun of my sadness,Whose shadows lean in, trying to make themselves his own.If only he could find his way to me across
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Poetry - 3rd in a Series

Nightfall    1.The moon is full, wedged in at the top of the hill.Its floodgates open, and the goldenLandscape of day recedesReceiving a river of innocence and awe.A silver age follows, An age of journeys into the night.Tall trees sway and wave us on, stirred by the wakeful dead.There is something miraculousIn the way we do not doubtThese moments are truthful and good.   
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