The flickering flame was the only light in the darkened church,
When I arrived to take a seat in a choir pew,
Away from the spiritual amnesia that comes from daily life.
In this holy place the soul can hear God speak anew.
The hours fled swiftly, as I fell more deeply into my thoughts.
Aware of my troubled spirit and where to find relief,
And in mind of the multitude of things that distract my heart,
I asked the Holy Spirit to bring me to stronger belief.
As I looked up from my prayers, the muted flame turned bright,
Uncanny and mysterious in its ardor and serene in its glow.
What kind of ghostlike visitor at this hour might I expect?
I waited in silence with ears to hear in order to know.
But, only silence ensued as I gazed at that steady lamp.
The holy Lord speaks not in this secular age of the trite;
The gate is shut against Him by the inmates of the keep.
No longer does the Lord of hosts appear in might.
Not so–these thoughts became so obnoxious to my mind.
How do I get around myself to see and hear,
When the Lord draws nigh and with compassion speaks to me?
He said to them, “It is I. Take heart and have no fear.”
It was then that from the rack I took up the Holy Writ
And read and re-read a text mundane wisdom cannot transcend.
God planted eternity in our hearts, but we can’t know,
So says the Preacher, what God has done from beginning to end.
Not all is said by the words of the Jerusalem king and sage.
Again I read in the holy Apostle: God’s light has shone
That gives knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
In His life and death and rising the Son made the Father known.
I realized once again God has revealed Himself in His strength
Through His authoritative Word that appears in the sacred text.
It is not that God is silent but that we are adverse to hear.
Christ Jesus has come to bring understanding to us, the perplexed.
In the early hours of morning flickers the light in the dark.
I sit in the stillness of the place where I in joy abide,
With thanks to God that He is present to give us new life.
We can hear Him if we but listen with ears and eyes open wide.
Michael Tavella, Day of Saint James and Saint Philip, 2023