Beginning

Sometimes it is in disobedience that true obedience is uncovered, the way cleared only when we can let go of tightly gripped partial truths about God, about ourselves, about the world.

At my last experience of sacramental confession in the Roman Catholic Church, I was filled with joy as I confessed the sin of idolatry, a sin against the first commandment: Thou shalt have no strange gods before me. The strange god was one of presumption, that I knew how to worship God, through all the ages-old liturgies of the church, especially the Mass.

What became clear to me by the grace of God was my own ignorance. I knew nothing and came to rejoice in the not-knowing. Lip service to mystery, even the acting out of it in mediated worship was not enough. Recognition of the relationship between Creator and creature wanted addressing. God made a way for me to begin again, that One having pulled the prayer rug out from under me.

The following poem was written during that period.

My Retinue

Raise up the story of your grave past

from beneath the stone foundation

of your first house

where blocked in living cement

you lived like an anchoress

attached to a church

closed in and fed

by an unseen hand

through an opening in the wall.

You survived the enclosure

until the iconoclast of your own desire

dismantled that wall

stone by stone

and you stepped forth

finding yourself full grown.

From stones of stories set aside

build a foundation for another house,

where I will come and keep you, my retinue.

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