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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Father’s Incantations

(Ambulatory, Chapel, and Stained Glass Windows,
Chartres Cathedral, France
, photo by QT Luong, found

On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his priestly ordination, Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) wrote about his gratitude to his father:

“I had not yet made my First Holy Communion when I lost my mother: I was barely nine years old. . . . I was left alone with my father, a deeply religious man. Day after day I was able to observe the austere way in which he lived. By profession he was a soldier and, after my mother’s death, his life became one of constant prayer. Sometimes I would wake up during the night and find my father on his knees, just as I would always see him kneeling in the parish church. We never spoke about a vocation to the priesthood, but his example was in a way my first seminary, a kind of domestic seminary.” ~ John Paul II,
Gift and Mystery


O sweet master, with how much peace
Your serene wisdom fills the heart!
I love you, I am in your power
Even though I will never see your face.

Your ashes have long been scattered,
Your sins and follies no one remembers.
And for ages you will remain perfect
Like your book drawn by thought from nothingness.

You knew bitterness and you knew doubt
But the memory of your faults has vanished.
And I know why I cherish you today:
Men are small but their works are great.

~ Czeslaw Milosz (1911-2004), Polish poet, essayist, and translator, and winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature

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