In a very generous gift of original work, my friend Joseph Madonna sent me three poems he had written for the occasion of my profession of Solemn Vows in the Franciscan Order, each poem a reflection on each of the three vows. With his permission, I will publish them here on the three days preceding the date of profession — this Saturday morning. Here is the second, this one on the vow of chastity.



Only way to begin.
Break free from the old mindsets, the labels,
the conditions in which society expects us to operate.
Be open to the renewing of your mind, the
possibility of new and richer understanding
as the years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds
pass on into eternity.

Not a denial, but an acceptance
of your truest self and your purpose, mission,
vocation on your pilgrimage.

The greatest of these things is love.
Not the love of parent and child, or of friends, or of spouses,
but the love of Fourth and Walnut…
the love that in an instant can change a life, can change the world.
The love that brings with it the realization that
we truly are one body in Christ.

The love that sees each and every being as who and what
God sees it, as it was meant to be on that seventh day in Eden.

A love that embraces this world in all its broken beauty
and refuses to live in silence. A heart afire with zeal
burning brightly on the hilltop, witnessing to the Christ
enthroned within.

– Joseph Madonna (2011)

Photo: Linda Davidson, The Washington Post 


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