To our Lady of Lourdes

High above earth’s wastes of mire,
‘Mid the scintillating stars,
You shine with the fairest fire,
Purest daughter born of ours;
Once a veiled light in our midst,
Now a beacon from the height,
Would you thin our murk and mist
From the heavens with your light?

No, your light is love’s warm flame,
Living, potent, surging out;
‘Twas on its account you came
Through the shadows round about:
To a hollow bare and bleak,
In the year’s gray, dreary time,
Sickened souls you came to seek
And heal with your light sublime.

By your humble messenger,
Frail flesh housing strength of grace,
You caused slumb’ring hearts to stir
From the night with piercing rays.
Those who hearkened and drew near
Found, at your feet, mercy’s spring,
Heav’nly water running clear,
Poured for flesh’s suffering.

But still more, your burning soul
Yearned to cure their spirits’ ills,
By love’s fire to make them whole,
Cleanse their hearts, make straight their wills.
Your bright hands reached down to pull
Men out from sin’s foul night,
Tear them free, and see them full
Of your Son’s celestial light!

Still you labor ceaselessly
For your children in the night,
O bright Queen, may I too be
Cleansed and healed and set aright!
So let me, like Bernadette,
Bear your blessed rays afar,
That all lost souls may come yet
Where your Son is, where you are!

The Home-lights

As wanderers in weary dark
Look up to see the glow
Of lamps in windows of their town
And feel its nearness so,

Or sailors on long voyages
Strain eyes for their own land,
And hail with joy the twinkling port
That tells them ‘tis at hand,

So I, when wand’ring weary as
Some soul on road or foam,
Look out into the evening sky
To see lights of my home.

For there it is, where I belong,
And where I look to be;
A worn traveler here, I lift
Eyes thither eagerly.

For wheresoever I go here,
‘Tis never truly far
From my true home; so I recall
When I behold a star.

No rolling dark of stormy clouds
Can stain or smear their glow.
Their fair power safeguards my heart
From ugliness below.

No dark of sorrow on the way
Can their beauty obscure,
And lights of joys inflame me to
Look upward more and more,

Up to the splendid lights of home,
The guiding glow sublime,
The fullness of all radiance,
Rest past the road of time.

For there—let it set me alight—
He is, Who fills my heart,
My great Beloved Lover Who
Is all my joy, my part.

There, too, my Mother sweet and fair,
Star-lily bright and pure,
And all my blessed brethren who
Have gone this way before.

All this I see when I look up
Into the evening sky,
And feel fresh strength to love and live,
For I live and know why.

When earthly sun veils o’er the lights,
I’ll hold them in my mind,
That they may light me from within,
Help me my way to find.

To reach my shining home at last
No toil will I spare,
Nor other wanderers to aid,
Till all reach fullness there.

I’ll See You Soon

When last I saw your face,

When last we spoke, and laughed, and sighed,

We told each other, “Yes, I’ll see you soon”—

But now the miles sprawl out wide,

The cruel dividing space.

 

Now Practicality,

From her unyielding lofty seat,

Stirs all our heartstrings in a bitter tune,

Decreeing that we may not meet,

For space bars you from me.

 

In sorrow now I look

Across the misty sea of Time,

Straining to see our next meeting ahead,

But from the ocean only climb

Dim phantoms tempest-shook.

 

Naught’s certain on these waves;

On them I cannot rest my heart;

What floats on Chance too often sinks like lead.

And yet while we remain apart,

My pain still healing craves.

 

A heart must have a rock,

A solid place on which to rest.

Is there no cure for restless spirits’ ache,

No stay for hearts too sorely pressed

By wind’s rush and wave’s knock?

 

A voice I now hear call,

Not from the waves, but o’er them high:

“Recall you not that I too, on the lake,

Knew stormy waters rising high,

And bade the tempest fall?

 

“I know the storm you face,

The turbulence of chance and change,

Shaking and stealing what you hold so dear.

To Me your tears are nothing strange,

The state of all your race.

 

“A rock of rest you seek—

Know that you have this refuge sure.

I am the rock unchanged; the beacon clear

Is my Heart’s fire, burning for

The weary and the weak.

 

“Take courage; know you this:

Your voyage harsh will not be long,

One day’s brave sailing, and your coast you reach,

Splendors unshaken—o, be strong!—

And you’ll find those you miss.

 

“So while you ride the waves,

Keep near to Me, your rock, your light,

And I will keep you, bring you over each

High swell, mad gust, dark shade of night.

I am the One Who saves.”

 

One moment through the storm

I glimpse a flash, a piercing glow,

A gleam from high hills of eternity,

And Him Whom we need faith to know,

For we see not His form.

 

‘Tis fleeting, yet its ray

Burns like the lightning through my soul,

Not chasing sorrow’s dark away from me,

But firing me for a goal—

This, this will constant stay.

 

The sea remains the sea,

And fierce the voyage I must make,

But its tumult will not make me afraid.

Though wild swell may steal or break

All we know presently,

 

We are not of the sea,

But boldly press on toward the land,

Given to us by the great promise made

By Him Who could on water stand

And from it sets us free.

 

So storms of grief shall cease

Ere long, for it’s not long we sail;

My dear, I tell you—yes, I’ll see you soon.

Our blessed Beacon will not fail;

‘Tis He is our sure peace.

 

Then let our hearts be strong

Upon the course that forward lies,

Our gaze fixed on our homeland past the moon;

For when we look through Heaven’s eyes,

‘Tis never really long.

 

What Does It Really Mean to be Pro-Life?

Originally appeared on Catholic Stand

The March for Life has just passed. The shouts, chantings, and ever-creative handmade signs are still vivid in many minds, images vibrant with pro-life passion. I’ve been to the March several times, and in other years have assisted spiritually from a distance. Every year, I see much that’s beautiful and inspiring—many souls full of dedication, courage, and love, giving me hope for the advancement of the “culture of life.” Of course, this kind of action isn’t limited to the penultimate week of January; it’s at work all year.

Unfortunately, I’ve also seen much less encouraging things within the pro-life crowd. The desire to save the unborn, noble as it is, can become so consuming that it blinds one to other persons in need, who also deserve concern and help, and to evils in the world or in oneself. Furthermore, when passion is not purified and directed, it easily degenerates into hate and vitriol. Demonizing those who support abortion becomes too easy a temptation. Politics, ever a divisive and emotional subject, explodes into the discussions. Too often, it’s not long before those who should be friends or at least allies end up turning on each other.

Need this be so? Of course not. We are called to defend life—but not by doing the things just described. It’s not hard to see that this kind of behavior is really detrimental to the pro-life movement.

Thus, we might benefit from considering: what does it really mean to be pro-life?

Read More

Don’t Miss the Magic of Childhood

Originally appeared on Catholic Stand

Every year around this time, I notice a widespread, often implicit idea that Christmas is a particularly special time for children. Of course, this attitude follows logically if the occasion consists only of emptying packages and stockings under an explosion of lights and tinsel. Decorations and presents generally become less exciting as we grow older.

On the other hand, if one understands Christmas as anything more substantial—certainly for Christians rejoicing in the newborn King, but even for those who view it simply as a day to celebrate values like kindness and family—one should be able to take joy in that as an adult, instead of regretting the diminished excitement of the sparkling wrapping paper.

While this problem seems especially pronounced at Christmastime, it exists all year. Adults talk about the “magic” of childhood, and wistfully remark on its fading as they mature. The ability to greet life with wonder and delight seems to be widely considered the exclusive property of the under-age-twelve crowd.

This line of thought may be understandable, but does not work long-term. Nature shows us that children are meant to become adults; this is fulfillment, not degeneration, for them. From the added perspective of faith, God made humans to grow up. Lamenting His design for us hardly makes sense.

To offer a more effective, helpful response to this issue, however, we should first consider: why do people feel this way, and need they feel so?

Read More

Advent

Quietly the frozen earth
Pregnant with its seedlings lies;
Quietly the waters rest,
Still and reverent in their ice.

Fluting birdsong now is stilled,
And the insects’ rasping choir;
Softer voice of plaintive wind
Sends its calls to heaven higher.

Autumn’s flaming glories now
Have dropped, faded, from the trees,
Which in plainness penitent
Raise gray hands in skyward pleas.

They echo sweet, solemn tunes
Of the organ and the bell,
Taking up our rising cry,
“O Veni Emmanuel!”

Now atop a purple stalk
Blooms a single fiery glow;
Soon another answers it,
Then the rose light burns to show

That this still and silent time
Brings a beatific reign;
Blest are all whose lamps are lit;
You who wait, wait not in vain.

You who’ve watched through darker night,
Trustful hearts awaiting Him,
See your waited Dayspring come,
Brightening skies that were dim.

You who wander in the night,
Who know not for whom to wait,
See the Son who brings a light
You could not anticipate.

You who shrink like beaten curs,
Thund’ring wrath for sins to flee,
See redemption come for you,
Like the dewfall, tenderly.

Set the fourth light burning now!
Brighten lamps and tune your strings,
Branches bring and winter flowers,
Find all fair and gladsome things;

Pray with hearts more earnest now,
Bright, hot, quiv’ring, like the flames,
Watching eagerly for Him
Whose Name is above all names.

All lights but reflect His light;
Every hope from Him derives;
Gladly we our watch have kept
For this time—when He arrives!

Consecrated Virginity: The Obscure Glory

Originally appeared on Catholic Stand

Consecrated virgin: To many, the phrase sounds outlandish, not only unfamiliar but unsettlingly strange. To most of the world outside the Church, it means a crazy woman who has promised to renounce marriage for an unfathomable idea. Even to many Catholics, such a woman looks like a puzzling quasi-religious, taking vows but not entering an order. The subject evokes blank looks or dubious, fumbling responses, as I’ve found from my own experience. Some even suspect that such women may simply be too lazy to look for the right religious community, living their lives by a sort of half-measure.

Some of this confusion may be understandable. A consecrated virgin doesn’t look different from a laywoman, as a nun in a habit would. She lives in the world and supports herself; she wears ordinary clothes and is not called any special title like Sister. Her way, however, is based on a special calling. Her whole life is sacred to Christ, and she serves Him in a way that nuns cannot. Hers is a life of love for Him, and she follows Him wherever He asks her to be.

Read More

Notice: Quasi-Hiatus

Dear readers of Gilded Weavings,

I’ve come to an unfortunate but, I think, necessary decision. During the next couple months, I hope to focus on acquiring some new skills and experience, which will mean that the posts here will, not cease, but be considerably less frequent. I hope to be back at full strength sometime around the New Year. (Note: I am no less available for freelance editing work.)

Meanwhile, to anyone looking for good reading, I highly recommend Nachtstürm Castle, a brand-new novel by rising author Emily Snyder, and would also suggest staying tuned for her Presumption, slated to come out early in December. I’m only just discovering Ms. Snyder’s work—her talent is truly remarkable.

May God bless you all in this loveliest time of the year.

Yours truly,

Sarah Elisabeth Therese

The New Country

Yester-eve I left the quiet plain,
The path washed out by a night of rain;
Now past the mountains, a dawn bursts clean,
Glowing in glory, golden and green.
I know not what hides in the trees and grass
Spread below me now, where I soon will pass,
But with springing step now I run to meet
Moss and roots and thorns all beneath my feet.
For inside my soul burns a pure white star,
Summons, strength, and joy, kindled from afar,
Promising me sure that my home is there,
Of which I hear whispers in sky and air.
So now whether pathways be rough or smooth,
I run on in strength of a singing truth:
That the rush of wind, and the burbling stream,
And the glow of leaves in a stray sunbeam,
And the clouds above and the stones below,
And all things wheresoe’er I may go,
Are my Love’s unceasing pledge and call,
And His word is joy, for He is my all.

Purgatory is Not an Insult

Originally appeared on Catholic Stand

As All Souls’ Day approaches, homilists may find themselves tiptoeing around discussion of Purgatory. Advising people to pray for their deceased family or friends can be difficult. Many perceive this as an insult to the departed, contending that their loved ones are surely in Heaven already and need no prayers.

Much of this mindset is based on emotions rather than intellectual decisions, and so calls for a tactful, gentle response. Part of the problem, however, arises from misunderstandings about Purgatory. Those unfamiliar with Catholic theology often seem to confuse Purgatory with Hell. Even in Catholic circles, popular assumptions imply that genuinely good people always go straight to Heaven, while Purgatory is for the mediocre souls not quite bad enough for Hell. Another phrasing of this idea is that, to compare these states to school grades, Heaven is an A, Purgatory a C, and Hell an F.

None of this is even remotely true.

Read More

Page 1 of 6

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén