“No insurmountable solitude”

“I render my thanks and return to my work, to the blank page which every day awaits us poets so that we shall fill it with our blood and our darkness, for with blood and darkness poetry is written, poetry should be written.”

Imagine hearing those words at the conclusion of a brief speech by a laureate of the Nobel Prize in Literature at an extravagant banquet.

Pablo Neruda, who died on September 23, 1973, was a poet and diplomat from Chile who, in 1971, received this prize.

Here is an excerpt from his acceptance speech:

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The Sweetness of a Short Life

Today my friend Max told me the story of a turning point in his life.

It was summer vacation and he was a seventeen-year-old teaching English in Spain at a camp for boys.

During the camp, he came across this prayer card with a short description of Venerable Montse Grases, a young woman who “knew how to find God in the loving fulfillment of her work and study duties, in the small things of each day.”

Montse had been diagnosed with bone cancer as a teenager and, “throughout her illness, she never lost her infectious cheerfulness or her capacity for friendship.”

Max was totally struck by the fact that Montse died when she was 17 – the same age he was then.

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Is your work to die for?

Today is the feast of St. Joseph the Worker and this post examines Pope Francis’ beautiful Apostolic Letter “With A Father’s Heart” to explore the practical ways in which we can see work as a context for self-gift through which we fulfill the meaning of our lives.

I have organized the themes of the letter into the following eight categories. Each category begins with a excerpt from the letter and then includes a question or two for our contemplation of some possible practical applications.

1. Names and Relationships:

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