Prayer Before Dawn at Easter

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Prayer Before Dawn at Easter

May the light of Easter
come to the dark woods
where I now wait
in this arena of brightening birdsong,
and rise in me in a new way

that I may bring the brilliance
of resurrection—
hope, renewal, promise,
eradication of brokenness—
to a beautiful fruition
in my next thought.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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For One Who Is Unable to Leave the House

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For One Who Is Unable to Leave the House

When the world has folded in
and left you stranded in your own home,
may you remember that you are not alone.
While you are not living as freely as you once did,
may you remember that you are held
in the earnest circles of prayer, 
by someone who may not know you,
and yet loves you, dear Child of God.
May you be free of the harsh filter
that would narrow your vision into pain and criticism
so that you see in your past a trail of fruit and wonder,
God’s goodness as it has unfolded throughout your life.
Even now, as you live with loss, may the angels
soften your sitting, your resting, your dreaming
and open for you the flowers of beautiful thought,
reminding you that you have gifts yet to give—
kindness, love, and the enduring leaning toward God.
 

 

This poem is dedicated to those whom I know and love who are no longer able to leave their house freely and are living within the space of their home. It’s also my prayer for everyone I don’t know who suffers the loneliness and isolation of having an illness or injury that keeps them from participating in the life they once had. May you be blessed.

~Cheryl

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Swan Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash.

Mother and Child Photo by Cheryl Racanelli. San Alfonso Retreat House.

 

 

 

 

Prayer for Those in Darkness

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Prayer for Those in Darkness or Despair

O Beautiful Mother upon a Cloud
with your mantle of sky,
adorned with pearls of light,

Lift me from despair and darkness
into the brilliance of your gaze.
Keep me lifted
in mind, body, and spirit,
supported by angels
guided by stars,
that I may move fully
into your presence
and receive the gifts I need.

With deepest devotion,
I thank you for every
miracle granted.

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Recently I visited the historic Saint Lucy’s Church in Newark, New Jersey. Built in 1925 by Italian immigrants, the church has all the beauty and splendor of a cathedral. Marble columns, murals painted by Gonippo Raggi, statues of all sizes and types, and marvelous stained glass windows that tell the stories of faith, sorrow, and triumph.

I was particularly taken with two very different statues of Our Lady of the Cloud. One statue rendered Mary in a beautiful sparkling mantle. The other was surrounded by lights. Although I’d never heard of this name for the Blessed Mother, I felt called to pray to this beautiful woman of light and hope. After a quick search, I learned that Our Lady of the Cloud refers to the appearance of the Blessed Mother to a small village in Ecuador in 1696. She appeared on a cloud in the sky above the village.

I also found a standard Catholic prayer to Our Lady of the Cloud, but it didn’t fit. I tried for a week or two to write something broad and beautiful, devotional and deep. In the end, I went off the track and wrote something spontaneous, simple and real.

Although the prayer is written in first person, when I say this prayer, I’m also praying for all persons in despair or darkness.

Any time I’m feeling overwhelmed, even by ordinary circumstances, this prayer is a reminder for me to look up, be held, and say thank you.

Wishing you beauty and bounty this Thanksgiving.

With love,
Cheryl

 

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St. Lucy’s Church, Newark, NJ

 

My Poetry Book Is Now Available!

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I’m so happy I can share my work with you in a new way! My book of poetry, 59 Prayers, is now available in print. 59 Prayers is a collection of poems that blossomed from the union of my writing life and my spiritual life. It’s not a book of religion or sanctioned prayer, but an exploration of love, doubt, suffering, and joy.

As some of you may know, I’ve been on a long healing journey. During that time, when so much stillness and solitude were required, poetry became a lifeline. The writing process enabled me to transform negative energy and amplify positive energy. I chose to examine ordinary events through the slow lens of poetry. I created poems that made me feel better. And I have always hoped that the poems would make you feel better, too.

59 Prayers includes some poems that have appeared on this blog as well as other poems I’ve written from the same sea of experience. Some of the poems in 59 Prayers come from a place of struggle or questioning, others from a sense of communion or divine presence. Some of the poems offer blessing for special occasions or life events, such as marriage or interviewing for a job. Others seek to find meaning and beauty in an imperfect world. It’s my hope that you will find the book to be an experience of blessing and healing.

Thank you for following my blog and supporting my work. The world needs more love, and this is one way I’ve chosen to contribute.

Blessings,

Cheryl

 

59 Prayers is available for purchase on Amazon.

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Let Time Be Shy

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Let Time Be Shy

Do not chase time,
driving too fast
to the next of too many
destinations

Unload your calendar
from your right shoulder
Sip coffee on your patio
in the cool morning hour

Let time come out
like a fawn from the whispering greens
Do not reach or try to squeeze it
into your travel mug

No, keep your coffee
in a porcelain cup
Ask nothing
See everything

Time will lie down and stretch out before you
on the sun-ripening earth,
a sentient deer
with nowhere more important
to be.

 

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the dream breaks down

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the dream breaks down

in this interminable uncertainty
comes the melting of belief and structure
so little remains to hold on to
I have often said and secretly feared
the prayer of letting go, of shedding
it is sometimes impossible to discern
the useless or even broken
the shapes form like pillows around my head
I am too sleepy to think
that even one of them
is unnecessary, or even harmful
it all feels so soft

and then I remember the feather I found today
a slip of white among the green blades
perhaps to remind me that I am sheltered
by a wreath of angels
or maybe that I would be fine
if I were to throw away
the whole downy collection under my head
I would be fine
after the long night
of tossing in discomfort

because in that night a light
will cross the waters of anxiety
to wherever I am in my mind,
such as now, on a rock beside a midnight lake
beside a shadowed mountain
that is kissing the orange moon
nothing with me, no pen
and at this age my brain
can no longer make copies of itself
if I were to write a poem in the air
it would surely be lost

and that is what the feather meant:
write poems without pillows
or pens, under the arc of the moon,
sheltered always, whether your brain
remembers or not

 

 

For a New Way of Being

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For a New Way of Being

On this day, the people will begin
to remember their humanity.
They will search for the Self
that matters, a Self unconcerned
with accumulation
of anything that does not
raise the spirit,
a Self that reflects a wisdom
not available
in the media or marketplace.

Look into their faces
and pray for their remembering
and their healing.
Then find a new place
where your own remembering
can unfold,
because that is who you were really
dreaming and praying for.
There is no other
to hate or heal.

Love yourself
for wanting to change, wanting
to help, wanting to hope,
for believing in harmony
and kindness.

Watch courage spring up
like wildflowers
along the better road.
Gather what you need,
and bring to the dark edges
of charred thought
the wild, rippling color of change.

 

Need a friend?

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To Offer Friendship

Today I will be a friend.
I will reach out to one person
and invite them into my heart.
I will open the gate and let them
enter as they wish, at their own pace,
or even not at all, if that’s their choice.
I will offer love and the space
of stillness and curiosity.
I will bless their life with secret words.
If they harm me or never come back,
I will still have been a friend
and I will be ready for my next chance
to offer belonging.

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