Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Sacred Fountains of Inspiration

Last week I walked the streets for the first time with Felix Barba, a charismatic Catholic who is mature in the faith. He's passionate with bold ideas, and so I joked that he has "the soul of a poet".  He replied that he had a teacher once that used to call him, "The Poet".  We had some interesting encounters (more about that in a different post), though we spent a great deal of the walk lamenting the state of the church in the U.S.  It is a sleepy church, a comfortable church, cold to the burning heart of Jesus in the Eucharist and in the poor.  It is largely indifferent to sinners.  In short, a church of little poetry. Meanwhile, the blood of the martyrs flows in distant continents...!

Sometimes it's necessary to share your frustration so as to be reassured of your sanity (after all it is the world that has gone mad, not us), but I doubt we'll spend much time complaining on future walks.  We know that God has a better use for us, and we know something that Georges Bernanos knew:

"One can only reform the Church by suffering for her; one can only reform the visible Church by suffering for the invisible Church. One cannot reform the Church's vices except by pouring out the example of the most heroic virtue. [...] Can I say--in the hope of being better understood by some readers--that the Church does not need critics but poets? When there is a crisis in poetry, what is important is not to denounce the bad poets or even hang them, but to write beautiful verse, to reopen the sacred fountains of inspiration."

Some readers may marvel at all this talk of 'poetry', but it is something St. Francis and his followers understood. Sometimes poetry can be captured in a photo.  Do you see the poetry in the friars of Toca de Assis?

Or listen to this friar singing Aquinas's classic hymn, "Adoro Te Devote" and witness the Christian brotherhood:

The Brazilian friars of Toca de Assis see God's poetry in service to the poor, in real fraternity, in the tonsure and traditional habit, and in kneeling to receive our dear Jesus in the Eucharist.  They have reached into "the sacred fountains of inspiration", and they have born much fruit.  May they always walk and rest in God's Spirit!

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