Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Poet and Contemplative

“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

Reflections on Holy Week – Part 3 of 4

Image by kholisrevenge from Pixabay     The Gospels tell us another resurrection story.  Death becomes a passage no longer strictly into, but through and beyond our personal isolation and abandonment into a state of complete communion in the Spirit (as in esprit de corps).     At the moment of death the question that has haunted me throughout life becomes
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Reflections on Holy Week – Part 2 of 4

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay    What happened to Jesus’ body after his crucifixion?  The gospel speaks of resurrection, of his being raised from the dead.  That’s the word we Christians use, referring to a transcendent, divine victory over death.    Jesus is here with us.  He is here in his body, his humanity, his historical self.  He
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Good Friday

Veneration of the Holy Noose began at 3:45And lasted a total of 20 seconds.  Only twoFrom a church full of worshippers stepped forwardTo kiss the rope and genuflect before the slowlySwaying, twisting corpse.  The rest stayedIn their pews, put off by the spectacle,Unwilling to engage in the travesty.    *Canyons roar in the wind.  Trees creak sadly.Waves throw themselves
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The Hours ~ 7 Poems – 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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Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 4

IV.Good FridayHis journey into the final end of it began in earnestWhen his voice first choked, spitting out a salty red brine.They had fed it to him like thick soup, ladling it upFrom deep inside his body.  In his stomach,His throat, his mouth, all the way up,It had burned like tears.  "Death will free me of it,"He'd hoped.  "Then this moment of dying will have becomeOne with my flesh." 
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Five Advent Poems – Part 4

IV.At the Deathbed of St. John of the CrossAnd when you died, we felt your hands trembling in ours; or was it our handsTrembling in yours?  The night had won through to us and stoopedAt the door like some beast come home to its cave; we heard itPurring contentedly--the fireplace ablaze, logs aflame.Maybe it was just your last, strangely tender breathing we heardSpread through the room like sleeping
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