Autumn 1997
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Devotional Verse

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Babies are stuffed full of God
Each a little incarnation
Recollecting our own call to grace

Annunciations now are given voice
By angels in white coats, with chemicals
And ultrasound. But still the Spirit presides.

When the longing waiting term recedes
He's here at last: this ikon of creation'
A shocking, bloody call to mind

That God, too, let himself be joined
Umbilically to a mum:
The Life that gave her life given life.

Each cry is an echo of the grief
God feels in suffering innocence
Pinned, by who won't love, to the cross

Each keenly eyed move, each cuddle, each kiss
Smothered on this wonder speaks of the fun
God has, helping creation unfold.

Babies are stuffed full of love untold.


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I wonder if when Christ was two,
And his dad was sawing in the shed,
And his mum was trying to make the bed,
He found a box, and wondered who

Had left it there, and wondered why,
And couldn't resist a peek inside,
Then threw the box quite open wide
And, hearing Mary, swallowed a cry

Of holy-ish glee. Amidst the straw
That packed the box, he saw a lid,
And then two more, that holy kid,
And in two shakes, across the floor

A jar of pricey myrrh was spilled,
And bits of gold were thrown like dice,
And frankincense fed to the mice.
I wonder if Jesus was really thrilled

To see the mess that he'd created,
Or if he turned and said, "Uh-oh."
As Mary sighed a fraught "Oh no!"
And Joseph hurried back - belated.

I wonder if our house is like theirs
When Christ was two, with a little boy
Who brings his mum and dad such joy
That chaos is lost in love and prayers.


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How did he get by without one, Jesus;
Without a wife? I know I couldn't
Have done it; have put up with the twelve

Disciples getting me all wrong,
Mistaking what I came to do,
Clearing off when things got fraught.

I'd need my wife to put them straight
To blame them when they didn't hear.
But he did not. He didn't need a wife

To tell him that his sermon on the mount
Would go just fine. To calm him down
When in the temple, overturning tables.

I would need her to keep me stable,
To stop me going over the edge,
But he did not. He didn't need a wife

To comfort him when his cousin John
Died. To shake from his sandals the dust
To suffer little children unto him.

I'd need my wife to dull that grief,
To share in all life's grit and grandeur.
But he did not. He didn't need a wife

To watch in the garden while he wept,
To wipe from his brow the blood and sweat,
To take, if only she could, from him the cup.

Only because he was love himself
Could he live without such love.
My wife, she takes the cup from him

And puts it to my lips.


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He cannot have God for his father
Who has not the Church for his mother
He would not have the church for his mother
Who had not first his mother for the church.

From the font of her womb new birth came again,
And again and again and again;
Now although the font's dry the baptism remains,
And retains, and sustains, and maintains.

Feel first, the fold of her transept arms,
In a cot, hear her compline in choir.
Feel the unction of healing in her soothing palms,
See the light of her bright Easter fire.

Touch the walls of her nave: the serene enclave
Of the home that she makes so secure.
At the western porch she holds up a torch
That will light the way back to her door.

Now from the sweet pulpit of her sacred song
Hear words which have grace to impart.
Feel the warmth of her candle of love burning long
By the sacrament of her heart.

Upon the high altar of her faithful life
One sacrifice yet stands tall:
Not flesh given up to the surgeon's knife,
Not cancerous cells which are feared to be rife,
But a soul spilling God's love to all.


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The family is a school of prayer
In which we learn to live.
This school is a family of prayer
In which we live to learn.

For those without children to bring them joy
Mother Mary we ask your prayers.
For children without any joy to bring
Father God, may your joy be theirs.

For children, when father's a fearful word
Brother Jesus, be by their side.
For fathers who fear for a precious child
Holy Spirit, be their guide.

For those with no partner to share in their love
Virgin Mary we ask your prayers.
For partners who no longer have love to share
Father God, may your love be theirs.

For mothers who mourn for a child that's lost
Son of God, be by their side.
For children who cry for a mother's care
Holy Spirit, be their guide.

For the school of our families we bless you, Lord,
Keep us strong in your love, we pray.
For the family of our school we thank you, Lord,
Bless us all in our work today.


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