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Issue Date:  February 27, 2004
Along the Way

I have at times condemned the good
that came to me
And sometimes I have made another
bear a cross
At times I stood and watched them
struggle to their feet
At times I sat, a man, and judged
a woman’s loss.
But sometimes I’ve been forced to bear
a stranger’s cross
Or volunteered my veil to cool a
fevered face
Winced to watch them fall again;
helpless watched them pass
And wept for those of whom no
others wished a trace.
Then, too, I grow impatient with
His stumbling pace.
I have for fear the truth stripped bare
with my bare hands
Have high the hammer raised and held
the nail in place
Have pointed at a sufferer and called
Him bad.
And yet if this be so then I may hold
Him too
With love lay Him to rest and hope
His words are true.

-- J.J. Hayes-Rivas
Staten Island, N.Y.

Covered Bridge, Maine

Sometimes, in a dream, I cross the bridge.
I meet others inside the bridge,
having come up from the Bowery for a new life.

For sure, the world thinks we are ghosts
or if not ghosts, misfits.
But in crossing from one side
of the bridge to the other,

we see him, moving among the deer
and the broken rows of birch.

~ ~ ~

He often takes a shortcut
walking the waters before ice out
his hands reaching deep into his pockets
to give us bread or fruit,

and we, eager for the good news,
listen as he speaks,
the woods suddenly still,

the deer edging close
to lick his wounds.

-- Mary Ann Meade
Conshohocken, Pa.

Lent Awaken Us!

Let us disturb
the sleeping dogs,
burn clean
the worldly clinging,
tattoo our ashes.

Withdraw a stone’s throw
to pray,
Ask for this promise:
Lightning is the warp and woof
of our flesh.

-- Jacqueline Dickey
South Bend, Ind.

National Catholic Reporter, February 27, 2004

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