from Lenten meditations
Oh you who live the religious life,
if you persevere a time may come
when you finally realize
that all your performance of ritual,
all your prayer and meditation,
all your sacrifices and alms,
all your fasting and service,
have not of themselves
washed away your sinfulness,
made you a better person,
or endeared you more to God.
You will see that none of it
has brought more healing
to your wounded heart
or light to your searching mind,
let alone to the world around you.
If you do not fight or flee this realization,
you may yet come to see
why it is that others before you
have continued in these ways,
as if poets writing poems soon forgotten,
dancers dancing when no one else watches,
or whistlers whistling without thought.
Perhaps then will you begin to know
the true depths of cleansing,
virtue, endearment, healing, and illumination
that were there all along,
already flowing in and through you
and all the world.