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Because the excesses of activism and civic involvement are a tendency to lose our perspective on the spiritual truths behind our reality. We may forget in the midst of struggle that everything that exists is created and maintained in existence by God. What do victory and defeat mean for us when God is the one in control of all existence? How does a postal vote on same-sex marriage relate to the will of God in the universe? What do we fear will be wrested from providence with the now inevitable legalisation of same-sex marriage?

Before joining the Carmelites, Lawrence fought and was injured in the Thirty Years War — a devastating religious, territorial, and political conflict that fractured Europe, caused widespread looting, famine, and disease, and cost eight million lives. His approach to prayer was likewise difficult and full of hardship. But he persevered through the struggle to find a deep and incomparable experience of divine love. It is the way we look at them - through faith or unbelief - that makes them seem so. We must be convinced that our Father is full of love for us and that He only permits trials to come our way for our own good.

His approach to prayer is not for everyone. The blood Burned out of the stable floor.

God Writes Straight with Crooked Lines

Outside, the oxen and the ass Crunch their corn. But the man! The man! Drunk with vision, Rain stringing the ragged beards, When a beast lamed they caught up another And goaded west. For the time was on them. And their years of pursuit, Raw-eyed reading the wrong texts, Charting the doubtful calculations; Those nights knotted with thought, When dawn held off, and the rooster Rattled the leaves with his blind assertion — All that, they regarded, under the Sign, No longer as search but as preparation.

For when the mark was made they saw it. Nor stopped to reckon the fallible years, But rejoiced and followed, And are called wise, who learned that Truth, When sought and at last seen, Is never found. It is given. And flung themselves down in the dung and dirt of that place, And kissed that ground, and the tears Ran on the face where the rain had.

Field of Vision - Crooked Lines

They crossed coyote country: Mesquite, sage, the bunchgrass knotted in patches; And there the prairie dog yapped in the valley; And on the high plateau the short-armed badger Delved his clay. But beyond that the desert, Raw, unslakable, its perjured dominion wholly contained In the sun's remorseless mandate, where the dim trail Died ahead in the watery horizon: God knows where.

And there the failures: skull of the ox, Where the animal terror trembled on in the hollowed eyes; TO The catastrophic wheel, split, sandbedded; And the sad jawbone of a horse. Only the burro took no notice: the forefoot Placed with the nice particularity of one To whom the evil of the day is wholly sufficient. Even the jocular ears marked time.

Crooked Lines of God

But they, the man and the anxious woman, Who stared pinch-eyed into the settling sun, They went forward into its denseness All apprehensive, and would many a time have turned But for what they carried. That brought them on. This was the first of his goings forth into the wilderness of the world. There was much to follow: much of portent, much of dread.

But what was so meek then and so mere, so slight and strengthless, Too tender, almost, to be touched — what they nervously guarded Guarded them. As we, each day, from the lifted chalice, That fragile Bread the mildest tongue subsumes, To be taken out in the blatant kingdom, Where Herod sweats, and his deft henchmen Riffle the tabloids — that keeps us.

Over the campfire the desert moon Slivers the west, too chaste and cleanly To mean hard luck. The man rattles the skillet To take the raw edge off the silence; The woman lifts up her heart; the Infant Knuckles the generous breast, and feeds. And the tree it had been, Lithe-limbed, wherein the wren had nested, Whereon the red hawk and the grey Rested from flight, and the raw-head vulture Shouldered to his feed — that tree went over Bladed down with a double-bitted axe; I was snaked with winches; The wedge split it; hewn with the adze It lay to season toward its use. So too with the nails: milleniums under the earth, Pure ore; chunked out with picks; the nail-shape Struck in the pelt-lunged forge; tonged to a cask And the wait against that work.

Just as in life the good things of the earth Are patiently assembled: some from here, some from there; Wine from the hill and wheat from the valley; Rain that comes blue-bellied out of the sopping sea; Snow that keeps its drift on the gooseberry ridge, Will melt with May, go down, take the egg of the salmon, Serve the traffic of otters and fishes, Be ditched to orchards.

Grace and Lawlessness

So too are gathered up the possibles of evil. The evil and the wastage and the woe, As if the earth's old cyst, back down the slough To Adam's sin-burnt calcinated bones Rushed out of time and clotted on the Cross. Off there the cougar Coughed in passion when the sun went out; the rattler Filmed his glinty eye, and found his hole. The broken harrow rusts by the barn, Where the hireling Turned his indifferent hand. All, all in the souse of the paschal moon. How soft, how still, Lambent, the outlying fields, How open, under this little height, Rife with the surcharge of spring, gefhseraani How rich — and the raw Smell of the plough.

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These are the nights a man and a woman Wander the orchard, Drunk with the odor of plum-flower. Far off, a new lamb, restive, Bleats in the hush; Dark in their hutch The barnfowl shift and jostle. The big rooster, whose fate it is To try this night the thin Fidelity of man, Sleeps on, his harsh cry Kept near his craw. Out there, as ever, Night upon night, The city, sleeved in the haze of fires, Stains the sky. After the feast's exultance The Master, made pensive, To the deserted grove Withdraws.

The Chosen, who keep Every anxiety, about Him move, Questioning. He turns aside; The brow clouds over; the eyes Even more gentle now As pain proves in them. They see him kneel; the festive joy Freezes in their bones. They see him shudder, raise The outlifted arms, cry up, Pitch forward, Fall. Is this the Savior of the World Who, on His knees, 2. Flesh can fear, Soul can fear affliction, And Christ feared both.

Power had proved His Godhead: Miracles, a fast Lightning track of divinization gefbseraani 2 5 gethsemani Blazed across Palestine. But that the God was man, That the man could faint, This the world must know. And the knees give; Time's enormous woe Settles and spills, As in the fire-tempering night The mountain shakes on an ancient suture, Sinks its stone. Somewhere the nails Sift rustflakes in their hoop-bound keg. The cat-o'-nine-tails Droops on the bailiff's wall. But now the sullener burden Settles on that brow. The greater scourge, Grasped already in the future's Thong-wrapped hand, Will fall, will fall forever On the flesh of man.

The great ominous Flogger, Off in time, Hunches his hairy shoulder, Waits. The loaded whipbutt Taps on the knobbed hand. Whatever the world will suffer Is here foresuffered now, Facedown on the plough-tossed earth. The heart, pregnant with man's eventual woe Unpents its groan.

Here Stephen turns the innocent Unquestioning face Into the outflung stone. Already here the packed arena fills; Its martyrs mount their yardarms. The starveling lion Snuffs the blood-stung air, And the maiden's coif Mats the tiger's jaw. All, all are here. The uncheckable sinners, Who never will be warned, Falter, look back, Step out the determining step, Stumble and go down.

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So do the damned, those Light-deniers, Indriven on their choice, gefbseraani Wheel raggedly, Caught in the terrible downdraft, Flutter in panic, Are sucked in. Here at the instant of decision His scopeless love enfolds, Wraps them in tenderness, Pleads. They break away. The vast Heart bleeds.

Hell's orifice eats them all. Miserable generations! When will they have a stay? Time, the durance of finite being, Darkens their passion-shrivelled hearts, Breaks their knees. They go.

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All the devices of sin's deforming hand Heap on His flat-pressed flesh. He takes them. Each century Explores its own avenue To degradation. Each century Fondles its own indulgence In the lassitude of self.

Nor ever has a stay. The Mystical Body, Slit with each instant sin, Suffers their comprehensive loss, Bleeds forever on the man-constructed, Man-supported Cross. The Godly grandeur Webbed of the human mien. The city simmers its fires, Stains the sky. The sleep-filled faces, The thousand-thickened dreams? Slack mouths slobber the pillow, The tilting heads Nod together; Light hands that loosely curl, Light arms that cross.

Careless the updrawn knee, The cotton-swaddled loin; Careless the man Near to the woman lain, The dreaming child beside.