Poetry Sunday at CWG

Sometimes we forget that some of our greatest saints were artists and poets in addition to their sanctity.  Theresa of Avila is one of those (t 1582).  Like her Interior Castle and other writings, her poetry causes me to think in a way that I wouldn’t have done on my own.

 Seeking God 

Soul,you must seek yourself in Me
And in yourself seek Me

With Such skill,soul,
Love could portray you in Me
That a painter well gifted
Could never show
So finely that image.

For love you were fashioned
Deep within me
Painted so beautiful,so fair;
If,my beloved,I should lose you,
Soul,in yourself see Me.

Well I know that you will discover
Yourself portrayed in my heart
So lifelike drawn
It will be delight to behold
Yourself so well painted.

And should by chance you do not know
Where to find Me,
Do not go here and there;
But if you wish to find Me,
In yourself seek Me.

Soul,since you are My room,
My house and dwelling,
If at any time,
Though your distracted ways
I find the door tightly closed,
Outside Yourself seek Me not,
To find Me it will be
Enough only to call Me,
Then quickly will I come,
And in yourself seek Me.

About KathrynCunningham

Kathryn is a retired junior high teacher. A convert with a love for the Church she believes that its teachings have a viable application for today's world. She writes practical theological for the people in the pews believing that they have as much right to good catecheis as our youth and converts. Her writings appear on Catholic web sites and local Church publications. She has even been published in a diocese of Australia and most recemtly Zenit. Kathryn holds a Master's in Theology and is a certified spiritual director. Learn more about Kathryn at: www.atravelersview.org
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3 Responses to Poetry Sunday at CWG

  1. Don Mulcare says:

    Kathryn! Hello again,

    During my early education, poetry was something we had to memorize. It was an assignment. There was no connection to life or spirit.

    Much later, a Marist Brother visited the classroom. His approach went something like this:

    “The curriculum says we have to cover poetry. I know you hate it, but we have this block of time to kill, so let’s have some fun.”

    He recited a Limerick or two that made us laugh. Then the Brother had the class make up their own Limericks. The kids shared and usually laughed at (i.e. enjoyed) each others’ creations.

    The Brother then shifted from Limericks, which took one form, to rhymes and other verse, each with its own form.

    Again the class tried their hands at each form. The shared results may not have been as funny or as beautiful, but they brought the students into a greater understanding of the creative process and the soul of poetry. The students had dropped their respective guards.

    Finally, the Brother read a very serious piece of poetry. The class, all boys, listened with a sense of appreciation and then attempted to imitate the intent of their teacher. At the end of the unit, each member of that class had grown in appreciation and respect for poetry. They could see poetry all around them. At this point, the actual unit on poetry began. The tilled soil welcomed seeds of learning. Acquisition and appreciation replaced memorization.

    This was a long time before Rapp, so none of these kids went on to top the charts with their verse.

    Kathryn, thanks for accenting the spiritual dimensions of poetry. The psalms might come into focus here. There was a story about a theological debate involving Thomas Aquinas. His contribution to the debate was the extended version of the Latin hymn “Tantum Ergo.” As the story goes, Thomas won the debate and everyone just had a party. Poetry works wonders.

    Looking forward to your next contribution.

    God Bless,

    Don

  2. Thanks again Don. The leadership of CWG decided some poetry would be a good piece to have. Poetry communicates in a way nothing else does. I am also thinking about your jr hi comment. Those kids don’t really read on their own. I guess if I were to write for junior high kids it would be in the context of some kind of catechetical program. I’ll be praying about it, thank you for your insights.

  3. Don Mulcare says:

    Kathryn,

    How about a poetry “contest” that would get the kids praying and writing about religious themes? The payoff for the contest could be the publication of these poems in a Catholic newspaper or journal. turn the kids into Catholic Writers.

    Be sure of prayers.

    God Bless,

    Don