Poetry

The Chapel of Resurrection

Introduction to the poem:
The Church of the Immaculate Conception near the Piazza Barberini in Rome is the site of one of the Capuchin Bone Chapels. It is composed of 5 chapels: the first chapel reminds the visitor that, “As you are now, we once were and as we are now you will be.” Then there are three chapels each composed focusing on one major bone type… the femur, skull, and pelvis. The final chapel, the Chapel of the Resurrection, has at its center a picture of the Resurrection of Lazarus rather than a picture of Christ’s Resurrection.

The Chapel of the Resurrection

Bone Church

david hirt poem pdf-page-001

The poet, Br. David Hirt, OFM, Cap., professed his perpetual vows in July of 2013. He graduated with an AB from Wabash College, received an MFA from Wayne State University in Scenic Design, graduated with an MDiv from CTU
in 2013 and is currently doing the summer Christian Spirituality Program at Creighton University. After graduating from CTU he spent a year and a half at St. Lawrence Seminary High School as a Spiritual Director and Campus Minister and is currently the Activities Coordinator at St. Ben’s Community Meal in Milwaukee. He is a poet and an artist.

Fifty Days and a Little Fire

A Poem by Marci Madary

Fifty days and a little fire-page-001

Marci Madary, CTU DMin. student, fell in love with poetry when she was a child and began writing poems during her teenage years.  In her undergraduate studies, she majored in English education.  Marci is currently an Affiliation Co-Minister with the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, but still enjoys reading and writing poetry to express who she is as a woman, mother, and child of God.

On Dying (a poem)

In honor of World Poetry Day, we'd like to share this poem by CTU Student, Neil Conlisk, Carmelite Pre-novice.

On Dying

I know this place
I’ve been here before,
It’s something about
The rug and the door.

I’m leaving this town,
My presence is fading,
Like handfuls of sand
Thrown to the wind.

My head’s underwater,
My nose on the ground,
But something inside me
Hears a sweet sound.

Punished by banquets
Of beauty and bliss,
And sweet berry wine,
And good angel’s kiss

Thank you, Neil, for sharing your poetry!

Thank you, Neil, for sharing your poetry!

 

And given this poem’s topic, Theophilus, along with the Student Representative Council (SRC), would like to extend a quick invite for at an upcoming lecture we’re hosting at CTU. Herbert Anderson, former professor at CTU, will speak on his new book, The Divine Art of Dying: How to Live Well While Dying on Wednesday, April 8th at 4pm. Save the date!

CTU_FLY_Anderson_2015_FNL

 

CTU_FLY_Anderson_2015_FNL

Chiaroscuro

Chiaroscuro

by: Clifford Douglas Hennings, OFM

Weary my soul no longer friend, stay your embrace no more

A ramshackle such as is me,  is at the ready to disembark

To depart this ship of memory, thrashing in an ocean dark

And to step into that land long now seen, and kiss its gentle shore

In this time, my twilight hour, I do now name you friend

Long I dubbed you enemy, against your press I did defend

 

But Lo, you know, healing were the days and years of yore!

The dawning age of youthful dreams, thoughts of you I had none

A shadow cast and never seen, for having always faced the sun

A heart alight, green with glee and leaning into the fore

By quick expectancy, seeing neither starboard, port nor stern

Brilliant were the waters then, with passion mine eyes did burn!

 

Yet in the high-light hours of day, came a tempest’s rolling roar

Ahead it drew before the light, throwing gloom, arousing fear

Against the squalling of its breath, valiantly I fought to steer

Straining for victory and pressing on, ever clutching to my oar

I saw the fright of shadows then, and new my fate to be

And saw the swells of water then, swallow many into the sea

 

But Woe!, I said full throatily, this affront means War!

I steeled myself, prepared my arms and set my face like flint

To cast my bones as iron shod, resolved to remain unbent

Yet vain were my labors made, when nearing the endless bore

Alas, I did not see you then, did not know your subtle way

How your casting shadows made, a contrast for the day

 

How the gleaming things of light, always you they wore

Your darkness ever follows them, beauty wears you at her feet

And all the burnished sights of day,  in the end you they meet

For how confused  a world would be, so made without your score

A puzzled dash of colors thrown, senseless and undefined

And so for life to win its fame, with you it is entwined

 

It took the years for me to see, to find your hidden lore

Now I see your shadow caste, from a mountain out at sea

The sun behind its highest peak, and no more long to flee

Readied to quit this feeble ship, and breach its veiled shore

Name my life by these final hours, you my constant kin

And tell my tale of dread and joy, as it has always been!

 

Cliff Hennings, OFM

Cliff Hennings, OFM

Clifford Hennings, OFM is a solemnly professed brother of the Order of Friars Minor in the Province of Saint John the Baptist. He is a third year student in the Master of Divinity program at Catholic Theological Union.

Happy New (School) Year!

Welcome (back) CTU students!!!

The Theophilus Journal would like to invite you to get involved in the vibrant CTU community this school year by submitting to both the Journal and the blog!

To submit your academic work from this past year to the Theophilus Journal, you can look online for the submission requirements and then submit your work by October 1st!  Email the Editor-in-Chief, Matthew Dougherty, at Theophilus@ctu.edu with any questions you may have.

To submit other material to the blog, whether it be a poem, a Scripture reflection or homily, some photography, a reflection on your summer ministry or current ministry, or anything else school- or ministry- or spirituality-related, email the blog’s curator, Melissa, at melissa.carnall@gmail.com.

One of our new students already did just that! I hope you’ll follow suit!

To start off our new year, here is a poem by new student, Neil Conlisk:

Familiar Courts

Father, companion,
Source of all rivers.
Your blessings are pleasant,
Your courts are familiar.
Who would reject
The host of the pillars?
He’s risen again
and remembered forever.

Hope Arisen

Below is a poem by Mdiv student, Clifford Hennings, OFM. To read another poem by Clifford, click here.
sunrise

A Lake Michigan sunrise (credit: Melissa Carnall)

O what a new day, the sun picking up and the darkness falling

Bristling rays paint colors clean and the earth shrugs the dew.

Early melodies fill the air and charm the wind to dance anew

And I greet it with a quieted soul, still and reverent to its calling.

The dreams that caged this restless spirit have now dropped away

Fleeing with the somber moon to leave me with this day.

What approaches is a mystery, and yet its promise so enthralling .

A time to find that which my heart has for a lifetime sought

The cache for which by heavenly grace I have so sternly fought

Is glimmering in the dawning light, to it my soul is crawling.

To cast aside this awesome promise and fritter away the time

Would be to rebuke what lies ahead, a covenant sublime.

Yes that ignoble deed would be an action most gravely galling

To the righteous hand that has shaped  beauty by a word

And wrongly call the breath of life, a curse idly slurred

So yes I say to the risen sun I will heed the master’s calling.

I will chase what eternal providence has so kindly borne for me,

Starry eyed with arms outstretched, enraptured and wholly free

Another Medium

This is a spoken word poem that Melissa, a rising 3rd-year Mdiv student,  performed recently at an open mic night. Unfortunately, the video from that night was too dark, so this is actually a  re-creation of her performance that night…please still pardon the quality of the video 😉 The poem was inspired by her field education experience this past school year as a chaplain intern in a hospital. Melissa is a chaplain intern again this summer at another hospital in Chicago doing her Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8XQ2arqIn4

Another Medium

I got a B minus in art in the 4th grade.
I didn’t get another B for 10 years
And I gave up any hope of being an artist for more years than that.
I had tried and been found wanting,
So I would leave the art to the artists
And I would stick with numbers and then eventually with words.
Words could be my medium.
They can be inserted passionately into space
And their absence can adopt as much meaning as their presence
They can speak life or indict injustice
They can explain, and qualify, and be understood.
Unlike my 4th grade art that couldn’t explain itself.
That couldn’t cry out in self defense–
I was trying.
Words. Words. Words could be my medium of choice
While I pondered the possibility of me
An artist.

An artist
I pondered another medium too.
Alongside my precious words, I found another art form that awakened my soul.
That worked with words but also with silence
And that used the 64 colors of the Crayola box
With the 65th color of the breaking of a heart
And the 66th color of the vulnerability of a hospital bed
I feel my words get jealous as I get acquainted with this new medium
But don’t you see, words?
I still love you.
I’m using you right now.
Together we’ll create our art, with this medium of words and silence
And color and breath and heartache and joy.
Our medium is life itself.

I tried out this medium recently.
Furtively, like an imposter, I painted and composed and mixed words.
I stood silently at hospital beds in utter confusion
And in awe of the vulnerability of our human condition
Masked more easily for some.
I entered into the pain of rejection with our sisters and brothers with mental illness.
I crossed myself with fellow Catholics
And waxed rather nonpoeticly when asked deep theological questions.
And I fumbled words of español and uttered honest prayers for our searching.
My heart swelled in the swirling of the graced mystery
I thrived on the poetry of it all.
Or so I thought.

Then I couldn’t leave the room
I felt trapped by his presence
And then trapped by my mistake.
And my iron ran low
And my frustration ran high
And suddenly, my new medium appeared as a fraud.
I was kidding myself.
There’s nothing poetic about ministry, about life.
He was tired of life
And I was just tired.
And my iron ran low
And my frustration ran high.
And my new medium appeared as a fraud.

I wasn’t an artist
And life wasn’t a poem.
I was bumbling and tired and life was a mess.
But outside my own willing
I’ve felt the beauty amidst the mess
The graced mystery swirls and I’m not strong enough to resist
Love has captured me.
So sooner rather than later
The romantic in me can’t deny the canvas being painted
And I want to be a brush.
Coaxed back to art with empathy and concern,
Iron and friends, the trust of my patients and the brushstroke of the Artist.

In my art with a patient
I thank God aloud that God has created her in God’s image.
So she can consider her dignity and worth.
And since art is meant to stir in us
Is it lacking in humility to say
It stirs me to consider that I am created in the that image
Of our artist-God too?
I am a brush and a pencil, a painting and a poem.
Art and artist.
Words and image and life and pain and beauty.
Our medium is life.
Maybe I am an artist after all.

 

This poem was originally posted on Melissa’s blog, like sunlight burning at midnight.

Haikus from Honduras

By Ali Kenny

Three weeks after the wedding, my husband and I flew to Honduras. This was not our honeymoon destination, but rather, the start to our first 13 months of marriage. Since July 2013, Pat and I have been living in an intentional community of six (all women save Pat), speaking broken Spanish, raising 106 orphans in our jobs as godparents, and eating an obscene amount of beans. Needing a creatively quick outlet, I began writing haikus about certain experiences, both humorous and less so. Please enjoy on behalf of all associated with Amigos de Jesus and myself.

School Walk

7/26/13

The three-legged dog

nipped at your ankle. Did he

want it for himself?

A Healing

8/7/13

Grandma was an old

mermaid, beached in blue, bought

by a loud prayer.

Blanca

8/14/13

She saw a coral

snake by the children and took

a rock to its head.

Operation Smile

8/28/13

I have never seen

a palette such as this; eye

in cheek, face value.

Dorm Activities

9/9/13

You pierced your ears

on a black, metal bunk bed;

infected flowers.

Expectations

9/26/13

My fulfillment is

sharp and hard like rocks in the

bag of my belly.

Reality

10/2/13

Why do the children

smell like cheesy toe-jam? The

water is filtered.

A Girl’s Story

12/9/13

The police killed my

mother. She was walking on

birds with a vengeance.

Madrina Dream

12/17/13

I saved you all from

aliens and prostitute

showers. It’s my job.

Another Saturday

1/17/14

The boys were playing

marbles by a dead vermin;

rigor mortis rat.

My Husband

1/21/14

I am a sixty-

cent laborer, flea-bitten

man with a Masters.

Acumen of a Well Worn Traveler

By: Clifford Hennings

To whom do your feet belong,

on whose ground does your journey lay?

Whose seal does your forehead bear

and whose light guides your travel’s way?

In whom does your heart find rest,

and swoon at the sovereign’s voice?

To whom does your hand stretch out

and at whose triumph does your soul rejoice?

I see two ways which we might go,

the first is dark and its scene austere,

The lane is narrow with twist and turn

Peril lurks if you should from it veer

The second cuts through open range,

Verdant and smelling of sweet perfume

Its grass softens your easy gait,

While eyes feast on countless bloom.

To answer which might you choose,

should seem a simple task I’m sure,

But what of where these passages end,

and in whose company important all the more!

You take the first for an empty tomb to find

And pilgrim along with a godly friend

Take the second for an barren heart to get

Alone with no one to help it mend

Give back to Caesar that which is his,

and to God in Heaven what is His by right.

Yet if you should covet the bullion of men,

I fear its shimmer will haze your sight

The richest path holds neither gold nor fame

But boasts a cross, a most blessed tree

Strength is found in stooping low,

Wealth is gained in generosity.

Glory earned in shouldering the beam,

Honor in putting the weak ahead.

Virtue found in searching wisdom,

Power borne from being led.

Drop your bags of earthly charms

and give to God what belongs to Him,

What is His I tell you is your very self,

Craft your life a gracious hymn.

Do this child of mercy’s home,

And you shall know Heaven’s gate,

Follow the way kings scarcely trod,

And at the entry will Beauty for you wait

Make your home the place unseen

And teacher be the prince of peace

Forget the baubles which envy holds

And cling to Him that shall never cease.