To graze sacred cows

Voices of children
heavy with mirth, with laughter
mingle in the air and cascade
into my ear, punctuating my prayer.
The lush green park
of their rejoicing
holds a mirror to my soul,
the playground of humanity,
in which he slinks.
The enemy of all.
Who drowns our silent music
with the noisiness of sin
and disturbs solitude
by grazing sacred cows,
their lowing, a hallelujah
to fallen faith.
But in the cool of the day
there walks the saviour,
barefoot, brazen,
scant regard for the trickery,
the deceit, the lies.
And I see Him.
All at once I am nothing
yet because I see Him
I am everything
as He demands.
The mirror shatters
and with it
the illusion
of the false self,
with cultivated superficial
prayers to the god of ego.
And all is undone
as life becomes
a true hermitage
of Holy Joy.

(Written: 2.VIII.19)

(This poem is inspired by Thomas Merton’s work on the false self and his understanding of contemplative prayer, as truly practiced, as opposed to merely being quiet)

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