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Poem of the Week

17 Aug

This is a prayer-poem written by a woman mystic of the 1200s, Mechtildde of Magdeburg, from the book Praying With The Women Mystics by Mary T. Malone (Columba Press, 2013).

Why Not Soar?

You have the wings of longing.
You know the pull of hope.
You feel the flowing of desire.

So why not soar?

Fish cannot drown in water.
Birds cannot sink in air.
You cannot fall from my sight.

So why not soar?

Woman, I have adorned you.
Woman, I have delighted in you.
Woman, I have made my home in you.

So why not soar?

Be as the dove, I soar in her.
Lighten your heart, I soar in you.
Uplift your being, be an Easter song.

Why not soar?


 

If you long to pray and talk about God with others, why not begin a Sunday by Sunday group? This form of sharing is so simple that anyone can lead a small group. Go to goodgroundpress.com to find out more.

Poem of the Week

11 Aug

August 15 is the summer feast of Mary.

Read this poem aloud to bring back to your heart all the ways we have learned to praise the Mother of God and our mother.

Lines for a Feast of Our Lady
by Alice Smith, CSJ

What shall be added to your praises?
The lip-worn, love-worn, heart-worn phrases
centuries out of choir and cell
and field and vineyard praise you well.
Like bells over the spinning earth
hour upon hour they tell your worth.
You are the Mother of Delight.
Over the sea you are the bright
star shining.  You are the ivory tower,
the ark of gold, the immortal flower
blossoming on a mortal root,
the good tree bringing forth good fruit.
You are the cloud raining the Just One.
Fair as the moon and bright as the sun,
out of the desert light of day
terrible as an army in array,
you come—the Gate of Heaven to heaven’s gate.
What can be added to your state?
The vast, uncountable choir of voices
down aisles of centuries rejoices;
in endless litany proclaims
the fertile flowering of your names.
Hell will not thank you nor death raise
its voice.  Only the living praise.
Then shed your grace upon the mind
that we here in these deeps may find
the words we seek, that like a vine
with strong roots in the soul may shine
the litany that climbs and grows
upon the lattice of the Rose.


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Poem of the Week

4 Aug

Gate A-4
by Naomi Shihab Nye

Wandering around the Albuquerque Airport Terminal, after learning my flight had been delayed four hours, I heard an announcement: “If anyone in the vicinity of Gate A-4 understands any Arabic, please come to the gate immediately.” Well— one pauses these days. Gate A-4 was my own gate. I went there.

An older woman in full traditional Palestinian embroidered dress, just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing. “Help,” said the flight agent. “Talk to her. What is her problem? We told her the flight was going to be late and she did this.”

I stooped to put my arm around the woman and spoke haltingly. “Shu-dow-a, shu-bid-uck, habibti? Stani schway, min fadlick, shu-bit-se-wee?” The minute she heard any words she knew, however poorly used, she stopped crying. She thought the flight had been cancelled entirely. She needed to be in El Paso for major medical treatment the next day. I said, “No, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late, who is picking you up? Let’s call him.”

We called her son, I spoke with him in English. I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane. She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it. Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and found out of course they had ten shared friends. Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian poets I know and let them chat with her? This all took up two hours.

She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life, patting my knee, answering questions. She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies— little powdered sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts— from her bag and was offering them to all the women at the gate. To my amazement, not a single traveler declined one. It was like a sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the mom from California, the lovely woman from Laredo— we were all covered with the same powdered sugar. And smiling. There is no better cookie.

Then the airline broke out free apple juice and two little girls from our flight ran around serving it and they were covered with powdered sugar too. And I noticed my new best friend— by now we were holding hands— had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing, with green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.

And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought, This is the world I want to live in. The shared world. Not a single person in that gate— once the crying of confusion stopped— seemed apprehensive about any other person. They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.

This can still happen anywhere. Not everything is lost.


If you are concerned about the spiritual growth of the young men in your life, these two books can help you. Click on the covers to read the table of contents and sample chapters. These classic works are from youth ministers, teachers, counselors, and parents.

Visit goodgroundpress.com for other teen & Confirmation resources, or call Lacy at 800-232-5533.

Poem of the Week

28 Jul

Plums, berries, apples, cherries, sweet corn, cucumbers, tomatoes. Write your own poem about them. Enjoy the colors and flavors of summer.

Write a poem on the refrigerator about something in your fridge.

 

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

William Carlos Williams, 1883-1963

 

 

 


The Sunday by Sunday issues for October and November are waiting for you!  Go to our website—goodgroundpress.com—to read a sample issue. Imagine how Sunday by Sunday can bring faith-sharing around the Sunday Gospels to your parish, your adult groups, your family and friends. Our September issues are available free if you wish to use them to distribute to interested people. Call Lacy or Sister Therese at 800-232-5533. We can help you decide what you need. Thank you.

Poem of the Week

21 Jul

The Stems of Flowers are the Pillars of the World
by Ellen Murphy, CSJ

Tempered by weather
welded by sun rays and metallic rain
the stems of flowers rise, poised,
erect as pillars they hold the world up.

Light-power, stronger than stone or steel
channels through leaf-scrolls
along each live green column
direct to its capital flower
joining the sky.

Each inevitable design
is a tenuous reminder
of the pillar of inner worlds: fidelity.
How it grows erect from a heart’s rectitude,
the seed selecting elements for growing
true to its form
draws cell  by cell to its quality,
color, texture,
reaches its height.

Indispensable for the holding up of the world
as stems of flowers, the heart’s fidelity.
The delicate stems of bluebells, true to themselves
are pillars of the universe, as you are,
as the rose and the gladiola,
lilac-bole, apple tree, oak and sequoia,
their protein strength gently holding
the world to its height, to its life-sheltering.


 

Living Like Francis Today is a short-faith-sharing book of Francis’ spirituality. Get a copy and find others to reflect with you on how to live his values today. View a sample chapter. $4.95. Order online or call Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533 to place your order.

 

 

Poem of the Week

13 Jul

The Lake Isle of Innisfree
By William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.


Sunday by Sunday brings you the Sunday gospel each week. Visit our website at goodgroundpress.com to see how Sunday by Sunday can transform your life.

Can You Make A Prairie?

7 Jul

Emily Dickinson could say it with a few words and rhythm. Memorize this poem and say it to yourself at odd times, when you have a break in the action. It may induce revery. Or a prairie. Or…

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
And revery.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few.

Emily Dickinson


Cosmos Cards are a simple and touching way to tell the story to those near and dear to you. Each of the 25 postcards has a fact about one of God’s creative moves. These cards are ready to mail as a postcard for someone who needs a regular reminder that God is with him or her. $15 for all 25 cards. Click here to order online or call Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533.

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Follow the Cat

30 Jun

Take a hint from your cat about enjoying summer. Sleep. Sit. Enjoy. Repeat. Happy Fourth of July.


Looking for summer reading material? Visit goodgroundpress.com and check out our book selection.

The Summer Day

22 Jun

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?


Cosmos Cards are a simple and touching way to tell the creation story to those near and dear to you. These cards are ready to mail as a postcard for someone who needs a regular reminder that God is with him or her. Or use them for meditation alone or in small groups. $15 for all 25 cards. Call us at Good Ground Press at 800-232-5533 or click here to order online.

Poem of the Week

15 Jun

 

St. Francis of Assisi is loved by Catholic and non-Catholics. Environmentalists claim him as their patron saint. Jorge Bergoglio added Francis to the list of papal names. Poet Galway Kinnell, a son of Ireland, finds Francis blessing a sow in the hog pen. Enjoy Kinnell’s poem. Find what makes Francis tick, and can inspire you, in Living Like Francis Today. Click here to read a sample chapter.

 

 

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;  
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;  
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch  
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow  
began remembering all down her thick length,  
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,  
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine  
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering  
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.

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