Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Abraham Heschel
acceptance
Advent
Angel Gabriel
angels
Angelus
Anointed
Arkansas
art
artists
autumn
Baptism
Beale Street
beauty
beginning
birth
Blessed Virgin Mary
blessings
blog
blogging
camaraderie
care of soul
Carmel
Carmelite
Carmelite spirituality
Carmelites
Christ
Christmas
church
city
clouds
cold
comfort
communion
compassion
Compline
conscience
consolation
contemplation
contemplative
contemplative experience
contemplative prayer
contemplative spirit
conversation
conversion
cornfields
creation
creation story
creatives
creativity
Creator
Cristian life
crucifixion
Dallas
dawn
death
deep listening
desire for God
detachment
discipleship
distractions
Divine Beauty
Divine Mercy
doves
dreams
Easter
Easter Triduum
Eden
Einstein
Elijah
Emmaus
encounter with the sacred
engineering
eternity
Eucharist
expression
expressive sounds
faith
flux
freedom
fullness
future
gathering
God
God the Father
God the Son
God's blessing
God's creation
God's desire
God's ecstatic essence
God's faithfulness
God's gift
God's gifts
God's glory
God's Kingdom
God's love
God's magnanimity
God's mercy
God's movements
God's presence
God's providential care
God's purpose
God's righteousness
God's word
God's world
Good Friday
Gospels
grace
gratitude
gratuitousness of God
grief
growth
healing
heaven
holiness
Holy Infant
holy longing
Holy Saturday
Holy Spirit
Holy Thursday
Holy Trinity
Holy Week
Holy Wisdom
homily
hope
horizon
human voice
humility
hymn
imagery
images
Incarnation
interiority
interpretation
invocation
Jerusalem
Jessica Powers
Jesus
Jesus Christ
John of the Cross
John the Baptist
journey
journey to God
joy
Judah
knowledge
lake
Lauds
Lent
letting go
life
literary works
Little Flower
Little Rock
Liturgy of the Hours
living for God
loneliness
longing
loss
love
love for God
Magi
March
Mary
Mary Holy Mother of God
Marylake
meditation
Memphis
mercy
metaphors
mission
monastery
moon
morning
mortality
music
mystery
Nativity
natural sounds
nature
new life
New Year
night
nightfall
nostalgia
omnipotence
Our Father
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Sorrows
parable
Paschal Mystery
Passion
path
patience
peace
perseverance
pine forest
poetry
prairie
praise
prayer
prayer life
presence of God
promise
promises
Providence
Psalm
purpose
questions
RB
rabbits
Rachmaninoff
rain
raven
rebirth
receptivity
reflection
reflections
relic
religion
religious formation
resonance
Resurrection
Reurrection
Rock-n-Roll
Sabbath
Sabbath rest
Sacrament
Saint Francis
salvation
science
scripture
seasons
self-forgetfulness
shopping
silence
simplicity
sky
soil
solitude
solstice
sorrow
soul
Spirit
spiritual discovery
spiritual experience
spiritual healing
spiritual journey
spiritual life
spirituality
spring
springtime
St. John of the Cross
St. Paul
St. Teresa of Jesus
St. Therese
stillness
study
suffering
summer
sun
sunset
surrender
symbols
thankfulness
thanksgiving
the arts
the Cross
The Living Flame of Love
The Lord's Prayer
The Lord's Supper
the world
Theory of Relativity
thinkers
time
transformation
trees
trust
truth
unfolding
union with God
veneration of the cross
Vespers
Victory
waters of Baptism
winter
wonder
work
youth


“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

Seven Conversation Poems - Part 2

     II.From Youth to AgeI wrote poem after poem.  Amazing the energy I had then,Where today there remains only the balmy stirringsOf music floating like low clouds over lush grass.    *Is it true that anger now moves me as love once did?Is it true that I have grown that old?  I speakOf righteous anger, of course.  For me there’s no other kind.It’s
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Seven Conversation Poems – Part 1

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Three Genuflections - Part 2 of 3

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Three Genuflections – Part 1 of 3

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God’s Time

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Holy Thursday

Take this, He said—this tear-swollen ocean.  This skyThe size of a receding star and all the dark around it.This field of dandelions, their countless fists raisedIn imitation of the sun, worshipping its warmth.This whiskey-colored forest floor distilled from tonsOf pinecones.  This poem that St. John of the CrossUsed to called his Eine kleine Nachtmusik—“goodFor fanning cedars and little
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Prayer in poetry

The Our Father Thrice Told    1.Father of all, who watch over all,Though Your name catches in our throatsWhenever we call to You,Yet You are near to us, we know,And gladness fills our days.May sunlight fall gently upon the earth;May thick grass obediently spring up.You have given us the need of bread—Give us fields to till, harvests to reap.We sin, as do our comrades,Yet we seek no
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The Ghost of Summer

~winter, MarylakeSplendor is part of it, but an elusive part, the partOf Your absence.  The scar and sharp ache of itBitter and unallayed, caught in the jutting densityOf today’s cold and early darkness.  Your brief visit,A lone sunbeam at noon, revived old memories—Golden oldies jittering among dust motes that hoverIn the air while the hour’s subtler urges wax nostalgic,Then slink
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The Hours ~ 7 Poems – Part 7 of 7

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The Hours ~ 7 Poems – Part 6 of 7

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The Hours ~ 4 Poems – Part 2

II.Noontime:  Sext~The Angelus    The Lord watches over you,like one who shades you from heatHe is right there, at your right hand.            (Ps 121:5)The pealing bell, each chime shaped into a ball,Rides the air like soap bubbles.  "It's a splendid gesture,Overlaid with the colors of the rainbow, as if a flockOf butterflies spread
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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 4 of 7

IV.OtherworldlinessFor long years, or so the Anchoress confessed,The sooty black bricks of night encased her onEvery side.  And yellow smoke rose like incenseEach morning.  "One would think I livedIn a chimney," she sighed.  Yet the smell of peasAnd carrots, of beans simmering in a pot,Spiraled slowly upward on invisible wings,While the pulp she squeezed from meaty applesMerited the
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Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 2

II.A Contemplative in LentHow many times did I promise you everything,The wind shaking loose the sweet fruitOf sunrise or sunset, of snowfall in winterOr rain in spring?  How many times, andYou said nothing?  How often did I whisper,"It's me," waiting to receive an answer,And received none?  Yet I will try again this year.Yes, I will promise again to mold my soulInto a clod of soft black
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Five Poems for Lent and Easter – Part 1

I.To JerusalemI joined the little band of followers to fight the good fight,To stand face to face, toe to toe, with the Temple's faceless,Toeless tyranny.  For too many years the pleas of my peopleHad hurled themselves out over the wide land, only to beBaked and dried under the white sun like a mule's corpse.How often I braced myself to receive full-on the high tide ofThe news of the coming of
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Poems for the New Year – Part 1

I.The Turning of the YearWho is it that, this past spring, wrote haiku about pine trees, howIn them is found a life that grows suppler with age?  Or who, this summer,Spread wide his arms in song, pulling back the dark curtain of nightAnd letting the morning dew luxuriate like a vapor?Or who, this autumn, stepped out upon the soggy earthWhere its fertile powers shot upward into reds and yellows? 
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Three Christmas Poems – Part 3

III.The Fourth of the MagiAnd I took to the road on footWhere tree limbs bent low, clawing at me.Beasts lurked in the shadows, beasts I'd never seen before,And owls hooted even at noon.They say wild men haunt these placesClothed in prickly boar's hide.On their heads sit wreaths with leaves the size of a giant's hand.Some, it's rumored, grow tailsThat sprout an inch a yearFor each year of their madness. 
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Five Advent Poems – Part 3

III.Our Lady of GuadalupeIs it true that you were here, that you once stood where stone sits coldlyOn stone?  That your feet drew the chill about them like slippers?You left leaving no footprints behind, except when, yearAfter year, we kneel to press our lips to the ground, our flesh to this clay,Our hunger to your agelessness.Is it true you neither smile nor frown, riveted as you areTo the uncertain
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Five Advent Poems – Part 2

II.John the Baptist - Winter MeditationsIf You Lord had been here to hear my cryAnd give breath to my roaring,Your love wrapped in thick leather straps about my heart,Then I wouldn't now need You quite so much to call my soul backFrom its weariness.  Oh, silence to silence I advance towards blindness.My eyes are sunken, sunless, the eyes of winter. *Day has passed over into night.  Chill
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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 attended
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Prayer and Sabbath Rest - Part 2

        (3)  "The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments."        Here is a truth we must continually remind ourselves of.  Information is power.  So we crave it, we seek it.  It gives our work, and therefore our persons, the edge over others. 
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Prayer and Sabbath Rest - Part 1

        You might think I've been on sabbatical these past few months, and you'd have good reason, given my absence from this blog.  But I haven't.  Nonetheless, I have been learning something in my absence, something valuable.  And here's what I've learned.  It's difficult to keep a blog going when you're on the road for long stretches of time. 
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What is Contemplation? -- a Recap

        There are, I think it safe to say, only a few out there in cyber-land who've been wondering what's become of this blog these past couple of months.  Maybe it's dried up under the summer sun and withered on the vine--or so a few of you might have been wondering.  Well, be that as it may, among the possible few who perhaps have been so wondering I
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The Stars in Winter

I have joined their number, they who once said, “O winding staircase,That empties into the sky, you are my prayer this night.”The dark that peopled the streets and parks, the room grown still,It fills my eyes as sleep comes from afar, from across the sea.You were here with me, you always were, you never left.What did you whisper throughout the day, what secrets for survival? To see the sun set
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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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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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Setting the Table—Part Three

        St. John of the Cross has little to say about poetry itself or the process of its composition.  What he does have to say is almost exclusively to be found in the prologue to his commentary on The Spiritual Canticle, where he discusses, briefly, the sources of his inspiration and the manner of his poetic expression.  For example, in the first paragraph
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