First Friday of Lent

I look at my sin like a middle schooler looks
at the drama of his life
with a somber and apocalyptic certainty,
his heart rent, life spent at a stray word,
world crushed under the weight
of one girl’s rejection, one failing grade,
one mistake (pick any one).

And the Father looks down at me
a little bemused at my gravity
as any father rightfully would be.

“Look at me,” he urges.

I trudge before him
eyes downcast
because I do not want to look,
but his are bright eyes, warm-with-delight eyes:
delight at the sight of his son.

He laughs with a father’s disconcerting disconcern.
“That’s what you’re so worked up over?”
“I thought you would be mad.”
“Son, I’m just happy you told me.”

His embrace is my home and he grants me permission to stay there
and to gaze into the brilliant depths.
His peace is like wine or a fire that burns in me
but does not consume.

How often I wish I could bring every one
of my brothers and sisters back to him,
one by one to those eyes
which would brim with tears
to see again his daughters, his sons
who so long had spurned his affection:
to see them take their rest
in the home that had always been theirs
though they, like I, had forgotten!

How often I wish my heart would burst open
with light that it could not contain
spilling out through every seam and crack in it
so full would it be of the father’s candescent love!
a light to pierce the clouds and bathe and warm them!
how often I wish
they would

How often my little light flickers dimly
like the red lamp winking
in the tabernacle of my heart.

How often I forget whose son I am
and in whose arms my home is.

How often I must return
to look into those eyes
and yet again

This is day 10 of Labia Munda, a series of forty poems during the forty days of Lent. 


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