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By October 16, 2005 No Comments
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To the Blessed Sacrament exposed
Wafer thin slice of light–the local point
of all the universes, every sun;
the point of all that matters in deep space,
matter and anti-matter, dark and grace;
all that beneath the Son is done, not done,
all opposites made neighbor and conjoint.

Jesus, you are where Word and silence meet,
where mystery and molecule are fused.
You are both bread and hand; both truth and way
for all eternity and every day.
You wait–to be adored, and to be used–
love radiant from your opened hands and feet.

You are all this, and yet you wait for me–
how can I bear this gift, this sacrifice?
How can it be so simple, so profound
that all my blessing lies in this bright round;
that for my life you paid the greatest price–
became so bound to set my spirit free?


O God of glories without number–why
would you delight in me, this almost naught?
I give my fellow creatures little thought–
this rusted frond, this iridescent fly.
How can you hold the sun-blazed nightly sky
in the same grasp in which a pebble’s caught?
Indeed, indeed, indeed, what have you wrought?
Stretch my skull-limited capacity!
In prayer you gently help me realize
how I am dazzled by sheer quantity:
all answers that would limit you are lies–
you make both atom and infinity.
You are, beyond all images of size;
and in your image I must simply be.


A meditation on the last days of retreat

The time comes to return to life’s demands.
Peter went fishing, I will have much to do.
Jesus, you fed them breakfast on the sands;
as I face my stacked up mail, be with me too.
You know I love you–Jesus help me keep
that love as real as in these gifted days.
Show me how you would have me feed your sheep–
to live your love in act as well as praise.
Perhaps for Peter, assuredly for me,
ministry takes the slower answering;
I am quicker to say I love you, than agree
to the self-denying care of nurturing.
But with you, and in you, the net will overflow;
the sheep will be fed, wherever we may go.

Ellen Stephen, OSH, is past President of Corporation of the Convent of St. Helena in Vails Gate, New York, where she currently serves on the Leadership Council and as Sister for Vocations. She spent a recent sabbatical in North Wales, where she devoted the time to spiritual retreat and writing. These poems are part of a longer group titled “Poems at Saint Beuno’s: During the 30-Day Spiritual Exercises.”