An Invitation to Happiness

PoppiesWe haven’t had any poetry in ages and no Mary Oliver for some considerable stretch.  Shame on me… and time to put things aright.

These lines are from her poem “Poppies.”

But I also say this: that light
is an invitation
to happiness,
and that happiness,

when it’s done right,
is a kind of holiness,
palpable and redemptive.
Inside the bright fields,

touched by their rough and spongy gold,
I am washed and washed
in the river
of earthly delight—

and what are you going to do—
what can you do
about it—
deep, blue night?

You can read the entire poem here.

Bonus – Ignatian Inspiration Calendar

404624_LARGEI’m happy to tell you that we are offering you a free 2014 Ignatian Inspiration Calendar.

Regular readers might have fun guessing the people from whom I chose quotes.  No points for Mary Oliver, of course, because she’s a given!

All you have to do is email me [] with your name and mailing address.

It’s okay if you live outside the USA; we can mail internationally.

But this offer definitively closes on December 10th and will be on a first-come-first-served basis until supplies run out.


Week of Gratitude – Mary Oliver

General Map of the WorldWhen it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
— Mary Oliver

Did you seriously think you were going to get through a week of gratitude quotes without at least one reference to Mary Oliver?

I love the idea of being “married to amazement.” I remember visiting a college friend who had become a Cistercian monk. He was so happy and excited to see me – he was childlike in the best of ways: open, enthusiastic, happy and delighted by not very much.

Our vocations do not call us to the radical simplicity of the Cistercian abbey, but, in so far as is reasonable and possible, I hope that we are able to open our minds, spirits and hearts to wonder. To be able to see things fresh and new is a great gift to receive.

As for “taking the world into my arms,” I’m right there – at least in theory. Truly embracing the world means taking on its sorrows and wounds as much as its beauty and majesty and that is something that requires more courage than I normally have.  But I do always want to embrace our world.  Given to us by God, it is lovely beyond compare.

Praise God.

When Death Comes

earthWe haven’t had any Mary Oliver in a long time. This is one of my favorites, When Death Comes:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Read the entire poem here.