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Woe to You If You Fear Men More than God

Stepping out of the tub after my shower
those words came back and I understood
they were meant for me as well as the church
to which I had spoken them years ago in print.
Lodged at my typewriter down in the cellar.

I wrote an article about charismatics
coming out of the closet within the church
accused of fanaticism, extremism, fringiness
the last the worst to most who feared ostracization
for the expression of their experience of the Spirit.

These charismatics, like frightened lemmings
heeded not the warning but hurried, hurried
to the right of the church, which tipping already
from right-wing fervor, threatened to capsize
the Bark of Peter, wildly out of balance.

Run to the Master: Jesus wake up!
We’re shipping water badly and threaten to sink.
Will he rise as he did in Galilee
to rebuke the waters and winds of excess
or will he turn to us as to the apostles
exhorting courage and rebuking our little faith?

The danger of overcorrection is great
and needs to be guarded against,
but better excess in the life of the Spirit
than care in pleasing men.
Woe to you if you fear men
more than you fear God: Woe to you.

--Judith Robbins
Whitefield, Maine

Christos Anesti

Driving home from the Easter Vigil
wet from nuptial water
I am as full as a harvest-filled
silo with some kind of grace.

The Cree say hummingbird feathers
open the heart I have seen one
fly down and touch its beak into the waters
and like the pool of Bethesda
they stir and release
jasmine and sandalwood
I feel the fast flutter of its tiny wings
against my breast and I say
Come you who are heavy with burdens
Come to this water at the Sheep Gate.

And the water parts
a column to the right
a column to the left
I see all those I have ever prayed for:
Those I love and some
whom I have never met
standing in white robes
broken chains at their feet
and I do not know if it was thunder
that rolled the stone
from His tomb
or the force of the water rolling back
or the sound of a lightyear
of hummingbird wings beating
against a million human hearts.

--Jacquee Dickey
South Bend, Ind.

Green Light

(While impatiently waiting at a red light)

the last day
of the year,
while crossing
the multi-thoroughfares
of New Delhi -- in a mini-taxi,
to save money -- I met
a beggar woman
and her unseen child
wrapped at her
under a dirty shawl.

She begged
while we stopped
at a red light
caught in a maze
of a thousand
modern vehicles
contented passengers
from the New Year’s
holiday outings.
I didn’t give anything,
out of principle,
surely I am the principal.
the onward beckoning
green light.

Mother Mary,
does she
with her baby
this winter night
welcome the New Year?

-- Fr. Charlie Law
Kathmandu, Nepal

National Catholic Reporter, June 2, 2000