Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Loyola

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 67 which calls on God to bless all people.

O God, be merciful to us and bless us,
show us the light of your countenance and come to us.
So may your way be known upon earth;
   among all nations, your salvation.

Psalm 67: 1-2

This psalm is notable for its inclusiveness of nations outside of Israel. Most psalms focus inwardly on Israel’s needs, hopes and memories. But Psalm 67 calls on God to gather and bless universally:

May the nations be glad and exult
    because you rule the peoples in equity;
    the nations on the earth you guide.


For this reason, Psalm 67 has been called “the missionary psalm”, and is such a fitting prayer on this feast of St. Ignatius who founded a community which has carried the faith throughout the world.


As we pray our psalm today, we might examine how our own faith reaches out, includes and blesses others.  

Our final verses today point back to our first reading from Leviticus. While the math and calendar counting could get me pretty mixed up, the message is clear. It is a Jubilee message:

  • Stop. 
  • Take a good look at your life and the harvest of your years. 
  • Be grateful.
  • Be just.
  • Share. 
  • Bring others into your bounty because it all belongs to God, not you.

When we do these things, Psalm 67 becomes our prayer:

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, 
for you judge the peoples with equity
and guide all the nations upon earth.
Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has brought forth its increase; 
may you, O God our God, bless us.
May you bless us,
and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe of you.


Poetry: This Is My Song by Lloyd Stone and Georgia Harkness

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine;
this is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine:
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.

My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine:
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.

May truth and freedom come to every nation;
may peace abound where strife has raged so long;
that each may seek to love and build together,
a world united, righting every wrong;
a world united in its love for freedom,
proclaiming peace together in one song.

Music: Finlandia, Opus 26

The above poem is sung to the tune of the final hymn in this work by Jean Sibelius. I think you will enjoy this beautiful video, especially the young ducks about midway through. Be sure to click the little arrowhead under the right side of the video to read the great history of this musical composition.

Memorial of Saints Martha, Mary, and Lazarus

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 84 – one of the loveliest.

My soul yearns and pines 
    for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
    cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
    and the swallow a nest
    in which she puts her young–
Your altars, O LORD of hosts,
    my king and my God!

Psalm 84: 3-6

The image of God’s dwelling places raises so many possibilities for prayer:

  • Mary, the dwelling of Jesus as he completed incarnation 
  • Eucharist, Christ’s continuing dwelling with us
  • Ourselves and all creatures as dwelling places of God’s spirit

Thinking of a dwelling place, many characteristics come to mind. Foremost for me is hospitality. We must be welcomed into a place in order to dwell there. We must be comfortable, cared about, and appreciated. We must feel at home.

We’ve all been in homes that make us feel this way, and hopefully our own home offers such hospitality to us and others. I think this morning of three old friends now at home with God. They were the sisters of a beloved pastor with whom I worked. We got to know them well at the time of his death and continued our friendship until they too died.

We often visited their old but perfectly appointed little home. And their hospitality took very evident forms: a prepared pitcher of Manhattans in the fridge, little snacks that we might have mentioned we liked, lively conversation, and the sharing of life-making stories – with a few secrets sprinkled in between.

I think that’s the same kind of hospitable home Mary, Martha, and Lazarus offered Jesus – a tasty meal, some good wine, and the sharing of life, laughter, and tears.


When we open our hearts to be dwelling places for God, we too can share the bread of life, the wine of experience, and the certainty of love with our infinitely hospitable Creator.

What immeasurable gifts! Having received them from God, may we offer them to others especially those who find them nowhere else.


Poetry: Dwelling Place – Henry Vaughan (1621-1695) who was a Welsh metaphysical poet, illustrator, translator, and physician

John 1:38-39 

What happy secret fountain, 
Fair shade or mountain, 
Whose undiscovered virgin glory 
Boasts it this day, though not in story, 
Was then thy dwelling? Did some cloud, 
Fixed to a tent, descend a shroud 
My distressed Lord? Or did a star, 
Beckoned by Thee, though high and far, 
In sparkling smiles haste gladly down 
To lodge light and increase her own? 
My dear, dear God! I do not know 
What lodged Thee then, nor where, nor how; 
But I am sure Thou dost now come 
Oft to a narrow, homely room, 
Where Thou too hast but the least part: 
My God, I mean my sinful heart.

Music: Dwelling Place – John Foley, SJ

(If the video says “Unavailable”, click on “Watch on YouTube” to get it.

Friday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Friday, July 2, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 106 which is a prayerful inventory of Israel’s long story with God. In today’s liturgy, the psalm follows a similar Genesis recounting of the story of the Abraham-Sarah family.


These two readings remind me of my own family as we have gathered, in our many configurations, over the seven decades of my life. For many early years, I was the listener to the old tales and legends. Gradually, as new generations were born, I became a guardian and teller of our history.


Psalmist 106 is a teller of Israel’s many ups and downs to the place where they now find themselves. By remembering both the darkness and light, the calms and the storms, our psalm testifies to God’s faithful and enduring mercy.

Blessed are they who observe what is right,
    who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people. 

That testimony encourages the listeners that this faithful God can be trusted now and in the future – to abide, forgive, renew, and call believers. 

It holds out for us a heritage of fidelity promising to bless the generations with whom we share it.


If you sat down with your life at the table of holy memory, what would your stories be? What storms and rainbows mark your journey? How would your psalm of memory and gratitude read? How is your faith life transmitting this heritage to the next generations?

Visit me with your saving help,
That I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    rejoice in the joy of your people,
    and glory with your inheritance.


Poetry: Naked Truth – A Jewish tale retold as a poem by Heather Forest

Naked Truth walked down the street one day.
People turned their eyes away.
Parable arrived, draped in decoration.
People greeted Parable with celebration.

Naked Truth sat alone, sad and unattired,
“Why are you so miserable?” Parable inquired.
Naked Truth replied, “I’m not welcome anymore.
No one wants to see me. They chase me from the door.”

“It is hard to look at Naked Truth,”Parable explained.
“Let me dress you up a bit. Your welcome will be gained.”
Parable dressed Naked Truth in story’s fine attire, 
with metaphor, poignant prose, and plots to inspire.

With laughter and tears and adventure to unveil,
Together they went forth to spin a tale.
People opened their doors and served them their best.
Naked Truth dressed in story was a welcome guest. 

Music: Heritage of Faith – Babbie Mason (lyrics below)

The patriarchs of old
The saints that now are gone
To their great reward
Held fast to the struggle
Persistent through the years
Forging through their fears
They fought to change their world
For the sake of the gospel

May their love for Jesus
Never go unnoticed
May they spur us on to all
That lies before us
This heritage of faith
This legacy of love
We must pass to our daughters
Hand down to our sons
We must raise the standard high
And proclaim the name of Christ
That others may know the way
And this heritage of faith

In my heart I hear the call
That echoes from the cross
Where the sacrifice for man
Was freely rendered
It's the call to stand for right
Keep the faith and fight the fight

Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga

Monday, June 21, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 33 in which the human family remembers and gives thanks for God’s creative omnipotence.

Following upon our reading from Genesis, our psalm moves past Eden to the practical world of the psalmist. It is a world where centuries have passed and human beings have progressively made a mark on Creation – for good or for ill.

God has watched the progression, blessing or redeeming it in Mercy:

The One who fashioned together their hearts
is the One who knows all their works.

Psalm 33:15

The psalmist reminds us that all Creation generates within God’s power. To cooperate with that infinite grace, we must wait, listen, trust, and deepen in holy understanding:

Our soul waits for the LORD,
who is our help and shield.
For in God our hearts rejoice;
in God’s holy name we trust.
May your mercy, LORD, be upon us;
as we put our hope in you.

Psalm 33:20-22

We are not the actors. We are simply the instruments of God’s gracious unfolding in the symmetry of Creation – both in the cosmos and in the delicate blossom of our own hearts.

How is God growing in the world today within my life?


Poetry:The light shouts in your tree-top, and the face – Rilke

The light shouts in your tree-top, and the face
of all things becomes radiant and vain;
only at dusk do they find you again.
The twilight hour, the tenderness of space,
lays on a thousand heads a thousand hands,
and strangeness grows devout where they have lain.
With this gentlest of gestures you would hold
the world, thus only and not otherwise.
You lean from out its skies to capture earth,
and feel it underneath your mantle’s folds.
You have so mild a way of being.
……………………………………………They
who name you loudly when they come to pray
forget your nearness. From your hands that tower
above us, mountainously, lo, there soars,
to give the law whereby our senses live,
dark-browed, your wordless power.

Our gifted Mercy artist, Sister Judy Ward, has created greeting cards using some of my designs. This “Sunrise Tree” is one of them. If you would like to purchase any of Sister Judy’s beautiful work, you can connect with her here. She’s nice to talk with on the phone.


Music: Awaking Moment – Joe Bongiorno

Thursday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 111 which enumerates and celebrates the joys of relationship with God. The psalm is offered within the “faithful assembly”, that covenanted community who long to be faithful to their ever-faithful God.

One way to strengthen that commitment in ourselves is to reflect on God’s splendor, generously flowing into our lives:

  • in the amazing mystery of our own lives
  • in the blessing of those we love and who love us
  • in the unbounded beauty of nature 
  • in the wonderful gifts of human creativity that convince us of God’s Presence within us
  • the gift of sharing faith in community, however small or large, which fortifies our spirits in life’s challenging tides

Poetry: Christine Robinson – Psalm 111

Hallelujah!
I will give thanks to God with my whole heart--
in silence and in company.
God’s deeds are great—
   I will study them.
God is compassionate and gracious
   I will remember
God speaks in the heart—
   I will listen
God’s hands work faithfulness and justice
   I will follow
Awe of God is the beginning of wisdo
   I will praise God forever.

Music: Mozart – Vesperae de Dominica – Confitebor Tibi Domini (Psalm 111)

Confitebor tibi Domine,
In toto corde meo;
In consilio justorum,
Et congregatione.
Magna opera Domini,
Exquisita in omnes voluntates ejus.
Confessio et magnificentia opus ejus;
Et justitia ejus manetIn saeculum saeculi.
Memoriam fecit mirabilium suorum,
Misericors et miserator Dominus.
Escam dedit timentibus se.
Memor erit in saeculum
Testamenti sui.
Virtutem operum suorum
Annuntiabit populo suo.
Ut det illis
Hereditatem gentium;
Opera manuum ejus
Veritas et judicium.
Fidelia omnia mandata ejus,
Confirmata in saeculum saeculi,
Facta in veritate et aequitate.
Redemptionem misit Dominus
Populo suo;
Mandavit in aeternum testamentum suum.
Sanctum et terribile nomen ejus:
Initium sapientiae timor Domini;
Intellectus bonus omnibus
Facientibus eum.
Laudatio ejus manet
In saeculum saeculi.
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper.
Et in saecula saeculorum. Amen

I acknowledge you, o Lord,
With my whole heart;
In the council of the just
And in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
Chosen by all His desires.
I acknowledge as well the magnificence of His deeds;
And His justice endures
From generation to generation.
He has made memorials of His miracles,
A merciful and compassionate Lord.
He gives food to those that fear Him.
He will remember forever
His covenant.
The power of His works
Will be announced to His people.
So that He may give them
The inheritance of the nations;
The works of His hands
Are truth and justice.
All His commandments are faithful,
Confirmed from generation to generation,
Made in truth and fairness.
The Lord has sent salvation
To His people;
He has given His convenant for eternity.
Holy and awesone is His name;
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
All who practice it Have a good understanding.
His praise endures
From generation to generation.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, 
as it was in the beginning, is now, and forever, 
and for generations of generations. Amen

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

May 31, 2021


A “Women’s Feast”?

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of the Visitation, when a newly-pregnant Mary travels to be with her shockingly pregnant older cousin, Elizabeth. Although a universal feast, it is certainly a feast for women to treasure.

The Carmignano Visitation, a unique masterpiece by one of sixteenth-century Italy’s greatest painters, Jacopo da Pontormo (1494-1557)

The Gospel is replete with the quiet but powerful understandings women share with one another:

  • the haste to support one another
  • the blessing and bolstering of each other’s faith
  • the shared joy to cause a baby’s leap in the womb
  • the desire for mercy and justice for the suffering
  • the “staying with” until need’s end

Of course, men too experience many of these holy sensibilities, but today most certainly invites women to celebrate the gifts of God within their bodies, minds and spirits.

Perhaps we might pray on these things while watching this movie clip of the imagined scene:


Poetry: Two poems to honor the two blessed women of this scene

The Visitation by Joyce Kilmer
(For Louise Imogen Guiney)

There is a wall of flesh before the eyes
Of John, who yet perceives and hails his King.
It is Our Lady’s painful bliss to bring
Before mankind the Glory of the skies.
Her cousin feels her womb’s sweet burden rise
And leap with joy, and she comes forth to sing,
With trembling mouth, her words of welcoming.
She knows her hidden God, and prophesies.
Saint John, pray for us, weary souls that tarry
Where life is withered by sin’s deadly breath.
Pray for us, whom the dogs of Satan harry,
Saint John, Saint Anne, and Saint Elizabeth.
And, Mother Mary, give us Christ to carry
Within our hearts, that we may conquer death.


Visitation Villanelle by Sarah O’Brien

She came to me, the mother of my Lord,
and grinned with amazement at the sight.
All creation with me seemed to roar.

Grey haired, belly swollen like a gourd,
I stood to kiss her in the morning light.
She came to me, the mother of my Lord.

Her voice, as she crossed the threshold of my door,
rang through my womb –  from a great height,
all creation with me seemed to roar.

The baby leapt – tethered only by the cord.
The joy coursing through us! I shouted outright.
She came to me, the mother of my Lord.

Already she faced her share of the sword
She who believed all God said would be, might –
All creation with me seemed to roar.

Blessed one! With your yes you moved us toward
the home we long for, and all things made right.
She came to me, the mother of my Lord.
All creation with me seemed to roar.


Music: Also two selections for this wonderful Feastday:

Ave Maria (Schubert) sung in German, as Schubert wrote it, by the incomparable Marian Anderson


Magnificat (Bach)
Imagine composing this powerful first movement based on only a single word: “Magnificat

Sixth Sunday of Easter

May 9, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98, an exuberant celebration of God’s predilection and fidelity toward Israel. But at the same time, it is a call to recognize God’s love for ALL Creation:

The LORD has made his victory known;
has revealed his triumph in the sight of the nations

Psalm 98;2

If we read the whole psalm, we might imagine all Creation assembled like a magnificent choir and orchestra – something like a supersized Mormon Tabernacle Choir. As the psalm progresses, the choirmaster-psalmist incorporates successive components into an awakened awareness until there is one universal melody of praise.


First, in a theme we met recently, the call to a NEW song:

Sing a new song to the LORD,
who has done marvelous deeds…
..remembering mercy and faithfulness
toward the house of Israel.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the victory of our God.

Psalm 98: 1-3

Next, the vocals and the instruments 

Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth;
break into song; sing praise.
Sing praise to the LORD with the lyre,
with the lyre and melodious song.
With trumpets and the sound of the horn
shout with joy to the King, the LORD.

Psalm 98: 4-6

Then nature’s  “orchestra”

Let the sea and what fills it resound, the world and all who dwell in it!

And even the suggestion of tambourine dancers along the river’s edge

Let the rivers clap their hands
the mountains shout with them for joy,
before the LORD who comes,
who comes to govern the earth,
To govern the world with justice
and the peoples with fairness.

Psalm 98: 8-9

This inclusive psalm serves our other readings so well. The early Church in Acts has folded the Gentiles into the chorus.

Then Peter proceeded to speak and said,
“In truth, I see that God shows no partiality.
Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly
is acceptable to him.”

Acts 10: 34-35

And Jesus gives us the underlying truth that, in his Love, we are ALL part of this cosmic symphony:

“As the Father loves me, so I also love you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
“I have told you this so that my joy may be in you
and your joy might be complete.

This is my commandment:
love one another as I love you.

Poetry: Shoulders – Naomi Shihab Nye

A man crosses the street in rain,
stepping gently, looking two times north and south,
because his son is asleep on his shoulder.
No car must splash him.
No car drive too near to his shadow.
This man carries the world's most sensitive cargo
but he's not marked.
Nowhere does his jacket say FRAGILE,
HANDLE WITH CARE.
His ear fills up with breathing.
He hears the hum of a boy's dream
deep inside him.
We're not going to be able
to live in this world
if we're not willing to do what he's doing
with one another.
The road will only be wide.
The rain will never stop falling.

Music: OK – it’s not the Mormon Tabernacle 😀 but it captures the spirit for me! I hope it puts you in the rhythm too, beloveds!

Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Easter

May 5, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 122 which celebrates the beauty and stability of Jerusalem as a symbol of God’s enduring faithfulness to us.

I rejoiced because they said to me,
    “We will go up to the house of the LORD.”
And now we have set foot
    within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Psalm 122:1-2

Think of the peace this psalm brought to its reciters – the kind of peace we seek in a confusing world.

The disciples in our passage from Acts sought the same kind of peace. As the early Church – the “New Jerusalem” – developed, and diverse converts joined the community, everyone had an opinion about that development. We all know what that’s like! 😉


Many of us have been in discussions about how to use church/community resources, respond to new initiatives, or celebrate liturgy. While it’s great to have expanded energy in the discussion, it can be exhausting, particularly if some opinions are uninformed by prayer, justice, or humility.


The real issue for the early Christians wasn’t simply circumcision. The core challenge was how to remain true to the Gospel as it met the first of many generations of interpretation. To do so, they returned to the “compact unity of Jerusalem”. They held fast to the roots of Jesus’s teaching.

Jerusalem, built as a city
    with compact unity.
To it the tribes go up,
    the tribes of the LORD.

Psalm 122: 3-4

The topic of circumcision has long since been resolved by gathering the community in prayerful discernment and humble obedience. But as the ages pass, the Christian community will forever be called to return/remain in the “Jerusalem” of Christ’s teaching.

We do so by continually returning to the roots of the Gospel. That’s what it means to live in radical faith.

Remain in me, as I remain in you.
Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own
unless it remains on the vine,
so neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine, you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit,
because without me you can do nothing.

John 15: 4-5

May we constantly grow
in our love, understanding,
and obedience to the Gospel
so that we more fully contribute
to our community of faith.

Poetry: Palm Sunday by Malcolm Guite

Now to the gate of my Jerusalem,
The seething holy city of my heart,
The saviour comes. But will I welcome him?
Oh crowds of easy feelings make a start;
They raise their hands, get caught up in the singing,
And think the battle won. Too soon they’ll find
The challenge, the reversal he is bringing
Changes their tune. I know what lies behind
The surface flourish that so quickly fades;
Self-interest, and fearful guardedness,
The hardness of the heart, its barricades,
And at the core, the dreadful emptiness
Of a perverted temple. Jesus, come
Break my resistance and make me your home

Music: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem – Herbert Howells

Lyrics:

O pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
They shall prosper that love thee.
Peace be within they walls
And plenteousness within thy palaces.
Psalm 122 vv. 6, 7

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

April 27, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 87 which is both a celebration of and a longing for God’s Presence as symbolized for the psalmist in Jerusalem, Zion, the Temple.

His foundation upon the holy mountains
    the LORD loves:
The gates of Zion,
    more than any dwelling of Jacob.
Glorious things are said of you,
    O city of God!

Psalm 87: 1-3

For the psalmist, who is in exile, Zion was the visible expression of God’s exclusive relationship with Israel – the longed-for Kingdom.


In our reading from Acts, the concept of God’s Kingdom takes a larger shape. Jewish Christians, scattered in persecution, began to share the Good News with Gentiles. Barnabas blesses this sharing. He and Paul spend a year in Antioch teaching these new Christians who will not have the same devotion to “Zion”.


So where is “the Kingdom” now?

Our Gospel shows us Jesus, walking in the Temple portico one winter morning. He stands amidst the very symbols extolled in Psalm 87. He points his listeners, who are still resistant, toward the only true “kingdom”, one he has described before:

Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luke 17: 20-21

We know from the Beatitudes that the “kingdom of God” belongs to the poor and the persecuted:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven…..
……Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.


Perhaps there is a touch of biblical irony in the fact that our poor and persecuted psalmist, exiled from beautiful Zion, already possessed the “kingdom” within! But, without the benefit of Jesus’s teaching, it seems he didn’t realize it.

Do we realize it? 


Prose: from Hans Küng

(For my spiritual reading recently , I returned to an old favorite Hans Küng, a revered Catholic priest and Vatican II theologian who died earlier this month. Word of his death took me back to my 1960s heady theology days.🙏😇)

Here are two relevant quotes to our thoughts on “the Kingdom” today:

The meaning of the church does not reside in what it is but in what it is moving towards. It is the reign of God which the church hopes for, bears witness to and proclaims.

Hans Küng: The Church

The kingdom of God is creation healed.

Hans Küng: On Being a Christian

Music: The Holy City, Jerusalem sung by Jessye Norman

Monday of the Second Week of Easter

April 12, 2021

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 2 which poses an eternally recurring question:

Yesterday I read that it was the 21st anniversary of The Belfast Agreement. This is also known as the Good Friday Agreement, because it was reached on Good Friday, 10 April 1998. It was an agreement between the British and Irish governments, and most of the political parties in Northern Ireland, on how Northern Ireland should be governed. The talks leading to the Agreement addressed issues which had caused conflict during previous decades. The aim was establish a new, “devolved government” for Northern Ireland in which unionists and nationalists would share power.


But at the same time I also read another current article:

For nearly a week, crowds of Protestant and Catholic youth have provoked one another through the gaps in the wall, video footage from journalists at the scene shows. Stemming from decades-old tensions referred to as “the troubles,” the reignited violence has been, in part, caused by Britain’s exit from the European Union.


On any given day, we could take these stories and substitute the names of other countries, each struggling through cycles of strife, attempts at peace, and recurrence of violence.

The psalmist’s question echoes and the answer, over the ages, remains the same.

Why do the nations rage? They rage from the abuse of power, money, and human dignity.


What is the antidote to this recurring rage? Our psalm tells us it is simple – not easy – but simple. We must take refuge in God, govern our lives by God’s desire for good for every person, every creature.

Every war leaves our world worse than it was before. War is a failure of politics and of humanity, a shameful capitulation, a stinging defeat before the forces of evil. Let us not remain mired in theoretical discussions, but touch the wounded flesh of the victims. Let us look once more at all those civilians whose killing was considered “collateral damage”. Let us ask the victims themselves. Let us think of the refugees and displaced, those who suffered the effects of atomic radiation or chemical attacks, the mothers who lost their children, and the boys and girls maimed or deprived of their childhood. Let us hear the true stories of these victims of violence, look at reality through their eyes, and listen with an open heart to the stories they tell. In this way, we will be able to grasp the abyss of evil at the heart of war. Nor will it trouble us to be deemed naive for choosing peace.

Pope Francis: Fratelli Tutti #261

Poetry: Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm to-night,
The tide is full, the moon lies fair
Upon the straits; on the French coast the light
Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand,
Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay.
Come to the window, sweet is the night-air!
Only, from the long line of spray
Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land,
Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in.

Sophocles long ago
Heard it on the Aegean, and it brought
Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow
Of human misery; we
Find also in the sound a thought,
Hearing it by this distant northern sea.

The sea of faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth's shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night.