All that has gone before

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A wise and dear friend wrote me from her cloister for the feast of the Epiphany. By God's providence, our lives, with their changes and chances, have been intertwined for over twelve years. Reflecting on the mystery of my call to Tulsa, she says:

Do you you know the poem The Wise by Brother Antoninus, O.P.? It is a favorite of mine and I thought of you as I read it today. All that has gone before in your life was not so much a search, but a preparation. What you have been called to fits perfectly.

I thank my friend for her message. Here is the poem:

The Wise

Miles across the turbulent kingdoms

They came for it, but that was nothing,

That was the least. Drunk with vision,

Rain stringing in the ragged beards,

When a beast lamed, they caught up another

And goaded west.

For the time was on them.

Once, as it may, in the life of a man,

Once, as it was, in the life of mankind,

All is corrected. And their years of pursuit,

Raw-eyed reading the wrong texts,

Charting the doubtful calculations,

Those nights knotted with thought,

When dawn held off, and the rooster

Rattled the leaves with his blind assertion---

All that, they regarded, under the Sign,

No longer as search but as preparation.

For when the mark was made, they saw it.

Nor stopped to reckon the fallible years,

But rejoiced and followed,

And are called "wise", who learned that Truth,

When sought and at last seen,

Is never found. It is given.

And they brought their camels

Breakneck into that village,

And flung themselves down in the dung and dirt of that place,

And kissed that ground, and the tears

Ran on their faces, where the rain had.


3 Comments

Oh yes, Father.

Thank you for publishing this.

Hi Fr. Mark: I have several questions: what is the name of the Pere Muard biography you refer to in the saints and angels category? From whom did the idea originate that the saints choose us? Thanks!

Mary, The title of the biography is "Le Père Jean-Baptiste Muard" by Dom Denis Huerre, O.S.B. It is in French. The idea that certain saints choose us was Father Muard's conclusion based on his own experience. He lived an extraordinary "friendship" with Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque and declared her the secondary patron of the monastery of La-Pierre-Qui-Vire.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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