July 13, 2011

The Flower of Love

One of my favorite poets is Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit also known as Jessica Powers.  She lived from 1905 to 1988.  She became a Carmelite in her thirties.  In her poem Flower of Love she reflects on St. John of the Cross's saying, "Where there is no love, put love and you will find love."

The difficult labor of putting love where there is no love is described in terms of a planting a flower.  This flower has the potential of recreating Paradise in our hearts.   These last strophes seem to offer particular encouragement to those who struggle to plant such a flower in their own lives:

Blessed are they who stand upon their vow
and are insistent
that love in this bleak here, this barren now
become existent.

Blessed are they who battle jest and scorn
to keep love growing
from embryo immaculately born 
to blossom showing.

Primarily for them will petals part
to draw and win them,
It, when the pollen finds their opened hearts,
will bloom within them.
(1948) 

Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, Ed. Regina Siegfried, ASC and Robert F. Morneau, Washington D.C.: ICS Publications (1999), 41.