PEP Newsletter

Ideas For Your Parish

_______________________________________________________________________                                                                                                                               September, 2022

Touching the Spirit

              There are many ways in which a parish can stir people’s souls, either through music, scripture readings. Preaching, presentations, outreach projects, community gatherings.  One that is not often used is the reading of poetry.  In June, 2021, I had the pleasure of directing a gifted poet in an eight-day individually guided retreat.  Her name is Ashley Cleveland, a teacher at a charter school in Kansas City, MO.  She shared with me this poem she had written earlier. She also took the picture of a sunset over Niles Pond at Eastern Point Retreat House near Gloucester, MA. 

                                                       The Gift

Is it possible that my brokenness is                                                                    to me.

              truly beautiful to You –                                             But I wish it wasn’t for I’d find it.

That those parts of me hidden from                                                                    simpler if You asked something

              all others                                                                                  of me –

              even myself                                                               if I’d a task to do, a method that guaranteed

are what You most wish to see                                                             I’d win You over.

              embrace                                                                     But I believe You promised I’ve

              kiss softly                                                                                already won –

as if they were delicate like eyelids                                                       though I don’t remember competing,

              rather than hard                                                                       crossing the finish line to cheers

              as a callous?                                                                            and applause.


Can it be true that it is my weakness                                       Yes.  This is much more difficult

              You want most –                                                                                   than earning Your love –

That my competence just gets in the way                               for You have found me desirable in

              of surrender                                                                             my ugliness

              and humility                                                                            capable in my ineptitude.

which You offer to me like                                                     And what do you ask in return?

              precious jewels                                                                        That I accept this acceptance

              that which we covet                                                                this gift

rather than discard for lack of                                                               this affirmation –

              appeal, inability to                                                     That every inch of me is divinely inspired,

              dazzle?                                                                                   every moment sanctified,

Yes.  This is what I think You’ve said                                                               and You are all –