Saturday, December 22, 2012


   I first published this poem in an Advent series I wrote for the National Catholic Reporter. I also included it in my book, The New Dance of Christ--Discovering our Spiritual Self in a New, Evolving World.  (Amazon)  My book describes the creation of the universe in  Biblical/Evolutionary terms, shows why the old "Dance" of Christianity died, and then presents a new vision for a spirituality in and for today's world, in terms, e.g., of women's spirituality, art and poetry, science, and education. 

                                                      A GENESIS CAROL

                 In the beginning was the word, "Become."
                     And the atom became.
                 The atom,
                     Spinning, whirling, whizzing, buzzing,
                     Hissing, sizzling, fizzing, fusing,
                 The snapping, crackling, popping breakfast of the universe.

                 Electron sparks in swirling motion,
                     Shimmering halos of devotion,
                     Circling, circling round their center,
                     Never colliding, never exploding,
                     Never intruding, never imploding,
                 Dancing, dancing; do-si-do and change your orbit,
                     Hear the call and dance the song.
                 Become!  Become!  Become!

                 In the center of the dance, the proton yoke,
                     Egg-stuff of the universe, embryo of life,
                 Atom's Eve, a-move and a-dance to her own special tune:
                     Up quark, down quark, strange quark, charm quark,
                     Muon, one-step; gluon, two-step;
                     Photons.  Neutrons.  Life fantastic!
                 Dance!  Dance!  Dance!
                 Become!  Become!  Become!

                 Deep beneath the throbbing heartbeat of the dance
                     There lives a peace,
                      That glows within the heart of every atom's pure alloy,
                 A virgin, pregnant peace, that in a silent, holy night
                       Transforms the dance into a healing psalm of joy.
                 Become!  Be loved!  Be whole!

                 And in response the universe explodes in cosmic bloom;
                     Stars skip to grand polyphony
                     Through pinwheel galaxies in newborn skies,
                 And holy antiphon abounds from sphere to sphere.

                 While oceans sing and mountains chant
                     Their Gloria's to God on high,
                 Man and woman dance to life:
                     Rising, growing, working, loving,
                     Wedding, birthing, dying, rising,
                 Caroling the universe's song of praise,
                 I am!  I am!  I am!

                 The blessed offspring of Your fertile Word,
                      Crescending proclamation of Your love,                
                 Loud, macrocosmic praise of boundless One,
                     And softly allelu-ing cradle of Your Son.

                                                                                                       Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 15, 2012


   On Christmas Day we celebrate that moment in history when God's creative, healing love overcame our natural, space/time incompleteness, and opened us to eternal completeness and wholeness.

   The space/time universe, by its very nature, is incomplete.  Everything about it has a beginning and an end.  Everything and everyone eventually dies.  Earth was born 4.5 billion years ago and will die a natural death in 5 billion years.  No matter what amazing progress we can make, no matter how much our scientists and philosophers can learn about us and the universe, no matter how much we evolve, no science, no philosophy, no merely human effort can ever overcome our radical space/time incompleteness.

   Christmas gives us a deep and wondrous insight into God's creative, loving intentions for us.  From all eternity, God intended that we would not be restricted to our natural, space/time incompleteness.  What we could never do for ourselves, he would do for us.  And he would do it personally, in the flesh, in the person of Jesus.  Putting himself directly and explicitly on our terms, God took upon himself our incompleteness and opened the way for us to overcome not only our failings and sins, but death itself.  As the Christmas carol says, "Man can live forevermore because of Christmas Day!"

    Because we exacerbated our natural incompleteness by committing sins, Jesus had to endure a horrific crucifixion before he rose, in his humanity and ours, to eternal completeness and life.  We commemorate his sacrifice at another time of the year.  At this time of year we bow in humble gratitude and joy that God has invited us to an "eternal, family Christmas reunion," with him and one another.  So we carol our thanks and praise, embrace one another with the special affection and love that God has shown us, and wish one another a Merry and Blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2012


   Many years ago, when I was in college, I wrote this ballad, taking the idea from a short movie I had seen.  I offer it to you, my readers, along with my Christmas greetings and my prayer for wonderful blessings for all of you.

                                               A CHRISTMAS BALLAD

Across the moonlit desert sands                     "Hold on!" said the proprietor,
   The mission bells were ringing,                       "I can't do that for you!"
'Twas Christmas eve, and in the night             But then he looked again and said,
   Three happy men were singing.                       "I'll see what I can do."

In coming home from Prairie Town,                 "Maria," said the Mexican,            
  They'd seen the Christmas fair,                         "Have courage dear, and pray."
And luckily, these cowboys three                     Maria smiled, then bowed her head
  Had won some prized there.                              And answered, "Yes, Jose'."

The first one had a cuckoo clock,                    Then back came the proprietor,     
   With features quite bizarre;                               And slowly shook his head.
The second had a kewpie doll,                        "The only place to stay," said he,   
   The third, a green guitar.                                   "Is outside, in the shed."

Between their carols, as they rode,                   "God bless you," said the Mexican.   
   They spoke of the delight                                   And then the lonely pair 
The prizes that they each had won                    Withdrew to find their resting place
   Would bring their folks that night.                       Out in the desert air.

Then, in the sky they saw a star,                        Now by this time, the cowboys three
   It's brightness rose and fell;                                Were nearing the motel;
'Twas the electric emblem                                  Their caroling still rent the air,
   Of the Texas Star Motel.                                     And all was going well.

"Let's stop a while," one cowboy said,                And as they passed the little shed,
   "We've time and home in near.                            That stood down by a hill,
Let's join the travelers at the inn                          They saw a light and turned to look,
   And drink the season's cheer."                             The sight there stopped them still.

The other two, they quick agreed,                       A man was kneeling down in prayer,
   The inn was not too far;                                        A woman knelt close by;
And so each turned his sturdy steed                   And from some hay between the two,
   And started for the star.                                        There came a baby's cry!

Now at the inn the atmosphere                            The cowboys three, they went to see
   Was extra warm and bright,                                    This fascinating sight;
For many people traveling home                          And they remembered vividly
   Had stopped there for the night.                              That other Holy Night,   

The overjoyed proprietor                                      When Wise Men three came bearing gifts
   Was counting each receipt;                                   Across a desert far;   
His inn was full; his wine, well stocked;                And how they found the Holy Child, 
    His happiness, complete.                                      By following a star.

When through the din a quiet knock                     Now they too, wished to give some gift
   Was heard upon the door.                                      To this poor couple's son;
"Too bad," thought the proprietor,                        They wondered what, and then
   "I haven't room for more."                                        They spied the prizes they had won. 
The door came slowly open,                                The first one gave his cuckoo clock, 
   A Mexican stepped in;                                              With features quite bizarre;
Behind him slowly came his wife,                         The second gave his kewpie doll;
   Her face was dark and thin.                                      The third, his green guitar.

"Please, Mister," said the Mexican,                       Across the moonlit desert sands    
   "My wife, she very sick!                                            The mission bells were ringing;
Please give her some warm place to stay,           'Twas Christmas Eve, and in the night
   And get a doctor, quick!"                                           Three happy men were singing.

                                                Merry Christmas