Our Lady & the Light


December 9th, today, is the feast of the Immaculate Conception. This icon of Our Lady was a gift given by my grand-aunt, Sister Killian, to my parents. Sister Killian was a Columban missionary sister, an Irish nun who spent most of her life in missions in the Far East.  http://www.columbansisters.org/ I once had the privilege of staying at her convent in Ireland for about 10 days. At the time, I was a graduate student in Ireland. On a fellowship at the University College Cork, I was tasked with grading stacks of matriculation essays – literally over a thousand essays to read and grade in ten days! Sr. Killian offered me a place of little or no distraction, to accomplish this task.  Thus I stayed at the Order’s convent by the Irish Sea, in County Wicklow, and cherish my time there. I had good laughs with the sisters; I hope to tell more in the days to come.

In honor of today’s feast day, I asked a friend of mine in Taos, Will Howard, if he had a Marian poem to share.  He’d confided with me a year or more ago that he had a practice of writing devotional poetry.   Well, being the talented guy that he is, Will went off and penned a fresh poem in honor of Mary. It’s in the spirit of Advent, and the waning of the light.

I’m grateful for our spiritual friendship. One’s relationship with God is private and interior in one respect, but there are ways to connect and support each other on the journey. Thank you, Will, for this beautiful poem.   I chose the Pacific Sunset below as an attempt to complement your words.

The Light Is Dying

by Will Howard

The light is dying, slowly dimming,

Ebbing into darkness,

Like a sigh,

Shadows fall across the hills of Nazareth.

Darkness strengthens, shadows lengthen,

Slowly, minute by minute changing,

The sun descends,

Spreading out in fiery yellow, orange, and red.

Alone in her room,

Mary sits and waits,

Pondering in her heart.

Her mind sinks deeper into prayer,

With each breath,

Deeper into stillness,

Searching, not expecting

Simply present,

Making room

For the coming of the Light

Within her.

Sunset with leaves


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