Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Place Within

I'm not a poet. I'm not even a great lover of poetry. But occasionally I think I should be. Or someone hands me a book of poetry and says, "You really need to read this!" A friend told me this was one book of poetry worth trying.

The Place Within is collection of poetry to be set next to your Bible or in your prayer corner. I'll be taking it with me to Adoration. The poetry reads more like reflections, wisps of prayerlike impressions.

Many of the selections are short and can be tied to specific Scripture stories/people such as: Jacob; The Samaritan Woman; The Samaritan Woman Meditates; Simon of Cyrene; Her Amazement at Her Only Child; John Beseeches Her; First Moment of the Glorified Body; Magdalene, etc. I recommend reading the Gospel passage and then the applicable poem.

Pope John Paul II has also written about places in the Holy Land and experiences of conversion. The are two longest pieces are entitled "Songs of the Hidden God". They completely lost me at times and yet I found them very beautiful even so. I couldn't help thinking the reader was supposed to feel a little lost or overwhelmed by the flood of images, all the while looking for the "You" with the capital "Y" because the search for God is reflected in the symbolic difficulty one has in figuring out the meaning of so many seemingly random sensory images. I think I may need to slow down a bit more the next time I try to read these particular selections. In fact the entire book invites the soul to step out of time and space and enter The Place Within where He dwells that He may speak and we may hear.

Here is a selection from the title poem, The Place Within. It is located in the grouping, "Journey to Holy Places" so we may presume the Holy Father is probably writing about a visit to the place of Our Lord's execution and burial but he combines that with the even more meaningful and beautiful journey within the human body/heart/soul through Communion, prayer and our fiat.

'My place is in You, your place is in me. Yet it is the place of all men. And I am not diminished by them in this place. I am more alone--more than if there were no one else--I am alone with myself. At the same time I am multiplied by them in the Cross which stood on this place. This multiplying with no diminishing remains a mystery: the Cross goes against the current. In it numbers retreat before Man.

In You--how did the Cross come to be?

Now let us walk down the narrow steps as if down a tunnel through a wall. Those who once walked down the slope stopped at the place where now there is a slab. They anointed your body and then laid it in a tomb. Through your body you had a place on earth, the outward place of the body you exchanged for a place within, saying, "Take, all of you, and eat of this."

The radiation of that place within relates to all the outward places on Earth to which I pilgrimage. You chose this place centuries ago--the place in which You give yourself and accept me.' 1965

Check out my books on Goodreads!

No comments:

Post a Comment