Tuesday, June 21, 2011

One beautiful brown loaf...




Forty years ago when I was in the seminary, a good friend asked me if I believed in the Eucharist. I knew he wasn't looking for text book answers but rather for what was in my heart. I wrote the following in response to his question. I know that writing this helped me and I believe it helped my friend, too.

As we celebrate the
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ this weekend, perhaps you'll find these words helpful for your prayer. 



Bread

Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...

You have to listen with all of you

to hear the white-green shoot

pushing, rubbing, scraping up through

cool, moist earth: wheat being born.

It's a comforting sound when, finally,
you hear it
and you know the growing sound
isn't in the field
but in your fragile frailty,
in you...

Then fear comes over you:
you will be torn inside, again,
until it hurts
and this may be the time

when growing leaves behind
the one you think you are,
harvesting the one you were made to be...


Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...

You don't have to listen so closely
to hear the wind
shuffle its way
through fields of wheat
so
you have to look very carefully
to see it's not the wind after all, but simply

wheat brushing against wheat,

wheat supporting wheat,

wheat enjoying wheat,

wheat embracing wheat.


The rustling becomes a symphony

of meeting, knowing, touching, growing:

wheat reaching out to wheat
not with fear,
not with flushed face,

but only with the need to touch

and the sound of reaching
is strong,
enveloping, alive!



Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...


Grinding grains of wheat: harsh,
breaking, crushing sounds,
a not soft noise - hard.
And now you don't want to hear

wheat
being crushed:
it just doesn't look like wheat anymore

and maybe the explosion in you

wasn't a mater of life
but...

water is cool
and now it is all around you:

bubbling and swirling
in flour
ground of wheat
and now you're not surprised
to know
you're listening
to blood filling your veins,
flowing all through you: life.


And just before the fire consumed us, too,

we found bread:
one beautiful brown loaf
of wheat, wind, water
all rising
to life in bread.

Then came One

who broke himself like a loaf
and we heard

in the cracking and tearing of the crust

the Word of life
grown, ground and given

for those who share
in the breaking
of the bread.


Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies,
it remains just a grain of wheat,
but if it dies, it bears much fruit...



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4 comments:

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Beautiful!

Joanna said...

Yes, beautiful. And thank you.

Anonymous said...

Amazing!! How can I begin to thank you for your words that touch the heart of me. Blessings.

Philomena Ewing said...

Wow- this bears reading several times.It is wonderfully rich. Touched me deeply too especially this part :
"The rustling becomes a symphony
of meeting, knowing, touching, growing:"
That's what we all need don't ya think ?!
Blessings