"We can make a ladder of our vices if we tread them underfoot." --St. Augustine

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fr. José Herrero Hijosa, OSA

You speak of civil war
that spread its infamy
among monastic pre-teeners.
You were then a child
who lost his toys forever,
doomed to spend winter
without heater, to wake up
too early and too soon,
shivering under the aegis
of stentorian pharisaism,
gothic and frightening
as in a horror story.
Then you made your vows to God
only to have your life mangled
by dysfunctional mortals whose parents
you never had the chance to know.
Your religious martyrdom took shape
in Colombia, in Venezuela,
at that parish in the Big Apple
where one winter, for a couple of weeks,
you were delirious with fever
when the boiler broke down.
You must have to suffer your fate alone
because the one supposed to wield authority
was elsewhere basking in the sun.
At eighty, you look weary
but as sober as truth. You say it's your duty
To die. You chaff at pious predicates
who reshuffle the lives of their subjects
like a deck of cards. In the name of God,
in the name of God. In the name of God.
It's all in the name of dominion.
Their gilded cages are empty.
There are no birds for them to prey on.
No boy soprano is ever willing
to knock on their door and ask to live with them
like the way you did one summer
when you strayed from your parents' house
and walked in and never returned.