There fared a mother driven forth
Out of an inn to roam;
In the place where she was homeless
All men are at home.
The crazy stable close at hand,
With shaking timber and shifting sand,
Grew a stronger thing to abide and stand
Than the square stones of Rome.
For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done.
Here we have battle and blazing eyes,
And chance and honor and high surprise,
But our homes are under miraculous skies
Where the yule tale was begun.
A Child in a foul stable,
Where the beasts feed and foam,
Only where He was homeless
Are you and I at home;
We have hands that fashion and heads that know,
But our hearts we lost – how long ago!
In a place no chart nor ship can show
Under the sky’s dome.
This world is wild as an old wives’ tale,
And strange the plain things are,
The earth is enough and the air is enough
For our wonder and our war;
But our rest is as far as the fire-drake swings
And our peace is put in impossible things
Where clashed and thundered unthinkable wings
Round an incredible star.
To an open house in the evening
Home shall men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
–G. K. Chesterton (1915)
What we do is very little, but it is like the boy with a few loaves and fishes: Christ took that little and increased it. He will do the rest. What we do is so little we may seem to be constantly failing, but so did Christ fail. He met with apparent failure on the cross. But unless the seed fall into the earth and die, there is no harvest. And why must we see the results? Our work is to sow. Another generation will be reaping the harvest.
Dorothy Day: Selected Writings
Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared with love in dreams. Love in dreams is greedy for immediate action, rapidly performed and in the sight of all. Men will even give their lives if only the ordeal does not last long but is soon over, with all looking on and applauding as though on the stage. But active love is labor and fortitude…
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Every time I open my mouth my teeth reveal
more than I mean to. I can’t stop tonguing them, my teeth.
Almost giddy to know they’re still there (my mother lost hers)
but I am embarrassed nonetheless that even they aren’t
pretty. Still, I did once like my voice, the way it moved
through the gap in my teeth like birdsong in the morning,
like the slow swirl of a creek at dusk. Just yesterday
a woman closed her eyes as I read aloud, and
said she wanted to sleep in the sound of it, my voice.
I can still sing some. Early cancer didn’t stop the compulsion
to sing but
there’s gravel now. An undercurrent
that also reveals me. Time and disaster. A heavy landslide
down the mountain. When you stopped speaking to me
what you really wanted was for me to stop speaking to you. To
stifle the sound of my voice. I know.
Didn’t want the quicksilver of it in your ear.
What does it mean
to silence another? It means I ruminate on the hit
of rain against the tin roof of childhood, how I could listen
all day until the water rusted its way in. And there I was
putting a pan over here and a pot over there to catch it.
The earth has yielded its increase;
God, our God, shall bless us.
God shall bless us;
let all the ends of the earth fear him!
Lord our God, bless us, that the world may be blest. Help us, that the whole world may be helped. Grant us your mercy in Jesus Christ, who laid down his life for the whole world. May it soon be revealed that your kingdom stands and will bring our age to an end, a good and blessed end. Grant your blessing on every aspect of our lives, on all the concerns and requests we have on our hearts, and help us to praise and thank you every day. Let your will become known everywhere in spite of the horror and blasphemy, so that even the dying may glorify you and all who have to suffer may praise and thank you because they see your face and recognize your light. We want to entrust everything to you, Lord God. We await you. We rejoice and thank you, for we know your will shall be done. We know and believe that your name shall be glorified. Amen.
–Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.
–Thomas Merton, Letter to Dorothy Day, quoted in Catholic Voices in a World on Fire