One way poetry can orient us as a spiritual practice is in connection with the sacred calendar of the liturgical year. The spiritual community that formed around the incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus has long found rhythms in the course of the year—beginning with Advent a few weeks before Christmas, moving through Epiphany to Lent, then Holy Week and Easter, Pentecost… and then the long season in between, known to many as “Ordinary Time.” This is where we find ourselves now, in the days and weeks between the “big” pieces of the story. There are, of course, ways of marking time within these days, too, and we continue to mark the moments of Jesus’ life on earth at various times. For example, this Sunday is the Feast of the Transfiguration, and marking it makes space for us to lean into that particular piece of the story—and the ways it grounds our own. There have been many poems written throughout the ages reflecting on each of the various moments in Jesus’ life (and how they connect with ours!), and they can be a rich source to lean into as we mark time. There are even some writers who have specifically collected their poems as a way of entering into sacred time—Malcolm Guite’s “Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year” and Jan Richardson’s “Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons” are two wonderful resources for this. It can be deeply grounding to regularly enter into the story through the reflectiveness of poetry at various points along the path. How do you mark sacred time? Are you drawn to these rhythms of the liturgical year? Does it feel life-giving to regularly include poetry in your spiritual practice (whether in this format, or in other rhythms that orient you)? Do you have a loved poem that seems to usher you deeper, past the surface observation of a feast or fast day and into the heart of it all (into your heart, into God's heart)? Share your favorite liturgical poem or resource in the comments!

Posted by Jamie Bonilla at 2023-08-02 14:24:31 UTC