Monday, February 3, 2014

Sanctuary and Sustenance

He buried his face 
in the baptismal font
slurping the holy water like a dog,
shouting incomprehensibly about
the Infant's swaddling clothes,
and when he approached the altar
the fear in our hearts
swelled at this bizarre behavior.
He was asked to leave
 the sanctuary of
church and went out
into the bitter cold.

But me, I sit
for hours upon hours
gaze shifting from
tabernacle to crucifix, 
to saintly statues and stained glass,
silently relishing
the sustenance of
the Bread of Angels
and the Cup of Salvation
before going out
on my own accord
into the bitter cold.


  1. Beautiful poem and very sad as well, Anne. The two stanzas paint such an opposing picture, one bleak and dark, the other full of warmth and light. Yet, both of you go out into the bitter cold. This was brilliant :)

    I was so glad to see that you posted! I was wondering where you were!

    1. Dear Mary, thank you so much! My parish is in a busy downtown neighborhood and there are often homeless people who come in from the cold, usually sleeping peacefully in the back row. But sometimes their presence isn't quite so peaceful. I can't imagine what it must be like not to have a warm and comfortable home in which to rest.

      Our pastor gave a fabulous homily yesterday using the words sanctuary and sustenance to describe what's found inside the walls of the church, and for the first time in a month I was inspired to write. It's been a long dry spell for me!

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Anne. Sanctuary and sustenance really do describe the riches we find inside a church and in our faith,
    I also wanted tell you I read Mary Magdalene: Her Life and Times while I was on retreat. It is one of the best books I've read on this great saint; it really filled in a lot and made her a little more tangible. Thanks for mentioning the book in one of your posts. She was a wonderful companion to have on retreat.

    1. Karin, I'm so glad that you enjoyed Mary Magdalene! There is a St. Mary Magdalene Society that was founded by Edith Filiette, the author of Her Life and Times. Here's a link if you care to learn more: