May 15, 2023
by Larry Gillick, S.J. 
Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
click here for photo and information about the writer

 Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
 Lectionary: 291 

Acts 16:11-15
Psalm 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
John 15:26 - 16:4a

Celebrating Easter Home

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An Easter Blessing

Easter Joy in Everyday Life

As a quite young, in many ways, Jesuit, I composed a poem and declaimed it to our wonderful English professor. It was a kind of love-sonnet with all kinds of images and colorful words. Fr. Waters listened respectfully and then spoke devastatingly to my budding-poet heart. “The problem is, Gillick, you obviously have never been in love and so you cover that up with fancy words. Go back and ponder what love is and then write and speak from your heart.”  I think that was the last time I ever wrote anything more than a four-line posey.

I did recover. He was correct!

The Gospel Reading for today’s Eucharistic liturgy is from the Divine Poet assisting the hearers to keep pondering the poem of life, of love, of accompaniment. This poem is from Love Itself. Here is the poetic problem. The more interior something, like love is, the less it can be expressed simply or clearly. It is beyond words or ideas; it is to be loved and received outwardly.

Jesus is telling His disciples, poetry-learners, the meanings for them of His personal poem, His life and their’s. In short, He comforts them by assuring them that He will not leave it to them, to interpret the whole thing by themselves. The Author will send a Spirit. The author loves the whole Poem and will labor constantly to have it received, but never totally grasped, understood or boring. The promised-Spirit will guide and protect the Poem from being misused or modified. There will be those who think they know the whole meaning of life’s poem and their interpretation will move them to try to destroy any other ways of living the poem. They will kick some out and kill others, but the Spirit which the Poet will send, will continue writing, declaiming and living. There will always be images, verbs, non-rhymings, mysterious phrases and the Spirit faithfully encourages the listeners, the readers, to allow the Interior of the Poet to be received, even when not totally understood.

As an elder Jesuit now, who does know what love has been in his life, has not attempted writing a love-poem since. The more there is love in my life, the more I wish to live it rather than give it away in frivolous and picturous words. God continues writing our personal poems and sends the Holy Spirit of Creation to live its verses rather than try to absolutely exausts its meaning. The more intimate an experience is, the less it can be exactly or accurately conveyed. The more someone wants the explanation for God or Jesus or our own life-poem the less they are really interested in reading as intimacy, but rather as something to react to rather than respond in their own reading of their own poem. The Spirit still is urging God’s Divine Poem, Jesus, to be received as mysterious and lived as a gracious revelation. Early in the first chapter of John’s Gospel, he writes that everything was created in Him, (Christ) and without Him nothing was created. So Christ is the fullness of the Divine Poem and each of us is a blessed word, image, verse within and of that Poem! This poem can seldom make sense or rhymes either. One more famous quotation from Father Waters in his poetry class still sounds in my head, simply, “Gillick, read the text!” 

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