from Peter Poppleton on May 1, 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
The high and holy feast of Pentecost is upon us. For many of us, this day enkindles memories of our first encounter with the person of the Holy Spirit. For some this was decades ago and for others it was yesterday. In either case we remember the Holy Spirit turned each of our worlds upside down. What a wonderful and personal event!
And if that was the only visitation “it would have been enough”. But it hasn’t been the only visitation and much has occurred in our lives. Just within the last two months the Holy Spirit came upon our teens and children at their respective retreats. Sharon and I had the privilege of hearing the teens recount their experiences during the closing session of the retreat. We were moved when they spoke of “consolations and desolations” and we knew they knew what these spiritual states of being meant. Equally amazing were the testimonies of (dare I say) Eucharistic miracles in which they experienced the presence of Christ, removing doubt and propelling them further along on their walk with the Lord. What a blessed and holy life we share as brothers and sisters!
In the early days of the renewal and covenant community we never “counted the cost”. “Were not our hearts burning” with the personal experience of Jesus as Lord! And in the midst of those days the world that many of us knew spiraled more deeply into relativism, secularism, and moral decay. The contrast between our burning hearts and the world’s decline caused us to ask, “How shall we then live?” And the Lord drew us into community. Today we are challenged to clearly ask, “How shall we then live for the Church and for others?” May we grow in our corporate understanding of what this means especially since many in the world are lost and in deep need of healing! May we be stripped of all that impedes the action of the Lord’s grace in our lives! May we be bearers of the victory of Christ for others and live the Light that was visited upon us! May we learn from the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis, what it means to live in humility and simplicity so that nothing impedes the action of the Lord among us!
Sometimes it is the deep awareness of the downward spiral of the world that moves us to call out for grace and renewal in order to set ourselves at the service of the Gospel. Ultimately we serve out of love for Christ, but the path to that total surrender and love for him often follows a purgative path in the world. The following poem is a bit bleak, but it takes us into an unchecked spiral of the world and into a very purgative path. May this not be visited upon us! [NB: This is not prophetic – only the intuitive movement of poetry.]
Come, Holy Spirit! Blessed Pentecost to you all,
Your brother, Peter
Leaving the center of town
They took some of us into their keeping.
The stake-bed truck
Held it’s own on the road.
Our heads swam in the heat while
The crows overhead wondered what would become
Of our skeletal remains.
Back in town songs played
In the middle of the park while oblivion
Ran round and round:
“They should have know better, with their
Catatonic Catholic stares,
They should have known better.”
How long does despair last?
Will the moon turn blood red
While the cock crows
And ancient dreidels return to spin?
They lean to one side
The songs continued to play in the park.
Some had anticipated drama
And it went on and on into the afternoon.
The sun set.
The moon rose.
An elderly priest
Disguised as a janitor
Walked across the park
Whispering the Our Father
Directly into the face of demons.
And far down the road
The Holy Virgin gathered ashes
Safely into her keeping.
Peter Poppleton Poetry
Summer 2009, 2012