Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Making Our Lives a Poem

In the Taegu diocesan bulletin a priest introduces us to a poem by  Sister Lee Hae-in:  "May my prayer to you be like a  poem/ May all my days by resting in you/ become more pleasing with the passage of time/ like the words of a poem/ At times unsuitable words were used/ May I  have the courage to get rid of them/replaced by the beautiful words of a poem I want to live by."

From a very early age, the priest has been attracted to poetry. Reading poetry was, for him, he says,  like taking  a bath, his spirit was refreshed. It was like washing away the  accumulated dirt on the soul, his head and heart becoming clear. His desire is that his life be like a living  piece of poetry.

The Korean poet Ku Sang said "Poetry has to be  part of society." Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese artist, poet and writer (1883-1931) had this to say about poetry "There are beautiful poems given to us / When we are able to sing those poems / we have God's sufficient protection." The paralyzed Korean poet Lee Sang Youl said in one of his poems "Let  Brahms' music flow in our lives/ and let us fill our lives/ with the paintings that show/ the passion and leisure of Gauguin." There needs to be poetry in our lives, the priest says. When we are able to live like a piece of poetry, we will have the leisure and passion to live a more fulfilling life. Poetry is beautiful, aromatic and gives light; it charms and has zest. Is there anything better than that?  he asks.

At the ordination of priests in the diocese he had the occasion to be present at one of the ordination ceremonies.  In his talk to the priests he used the poem of Sister Lee and  told the priests to make their lives like a poem: as beautiful and as fragrant as a poem, and to get rid of anything that is unnecessary in presenting the beauty of our lives.  He asked them to be like a poem: simple, with nothing unnecessary. It is then that we will have a beautiful piece of poetry, often having to become small and poor, sitting in the last place. The best living poem, the one with the most fragrance. has been the life of Christ as given to us in the Gospels.

The article concludes with his hope that this ideal will also be the dream of all of us: to become a living poem as  Christ has been. There are many who are living, he believes,  this kind of life in the world today. He wants Christians to hold this up as an ideal. We don't want to be giving off the aroma that comes with an improper attachment to the world, but the aroma that comes from a closeness with Jesus and the Gospels.

Jesus came to give us extraordinarily high ideals: "Be perfect like your heavenly Father." You can't beat that as an ideal. We all fall short, obviously, and the solution is not to jettison the ideal, but to keep on working and expecting help from the one who loves us and gives us help. As Catholics, the ideals are high but the mercy shown can be described  as equally high,  provided we don't give up on our ideals. And we should not forget that the results  wash away the dirt, giving a new fragrance to the  gift of  life we  have been given.

No comments:

Post a Comment