New Year's Day 2017
For this New Year
I have no life-changing resolutions,
but sharper recognitions.
Adorning the year
with precise and proud resolves
would set a limit
of calculated time,
to mitigate improvement,
or sharper techniques
for providing for oneself
a greater command of life.
Brother Alfred Vincent, OFM Cap.
I Sing of Brother Alfred,
Nay not a song but a saga,
for Alfred was a Viking.
Our brother Alfred was a warrior
who was seeking the little way.
By his stature he would have been a recruit
for King Arthur his patron saint.
For Alfred the Great was considered a saint by some,
so Brother Alfred was following the sometimes saint
as a warrior who was fighting the Danes
who were invading England.
Alfred the Great fought them to a stand still
until they lived by the Danelaw.
Our Brother Alfred was actually a warrior,
in the war we called the Korean Conflict in the 1950’s.
Combining gifts and effort
the human stock produced a perfect person,
John, beyond temptation,
providing plans and strategy
for overcoming the enemy.
The perfect John proclaimed
a greater was on the way,
who baptized beyond perfection,
with a gift of Spirit,
that made this human perfection a mere mire,
a perfection of not choosing evil.
He is gone,
and we do not know the destination,
though we quickly think of going up,
only this was at eyelevel,
like the displacement of dew,
or absorption into higher being.
We call the event of his going Ascension,
thus adding a feast
the Jewish calendar never contained.
Evaporation grants us the scope
to search and construct
and find the Teacher’s touch
in these provisions of the Comforter;
to hear a rabbi’s voice
in one another’s pronouncements.
When Mercy flows as a downpour,
without letup, in stint or volume,
what happens to the excess,
the Mercy left unused?
Does it drip below to a basin
where it gathers more of sunshine
to make its spray more crystal
and mindful of diamonds,
or deeds of brighter face,
to await the one
who next is drawn
to beauty and to light
and Mercy’s seductive song?
In this Holy Year of Mercy
we pay tribute to the Holy Year of Faith,
about the year of thirty-five,
when Paul and Barnabas
packed up the Torah and all the scrolls,
the Prophets, Psalms and Books of Kings, the history.
Regis Schlick, OFMCap.,
84 years of age,
as slim and tiny as his years were long and stout,
has left a major gap
in gatherings at St. Augustine Friary.
He came to us just seven years ago,
retired from active ministry,
though he found enough ways to serve,
that he appeared to hold an assignment.
As small as he managed to remain,
his raucous cough betrayed his location,
that and his loud and exuberant greetings