Child, have none told you? God is in your soul!

God is in your soul
God is in your soul

Child, have none told you? God is in your soul.

That line, that stunning, arresting line is from a poem by Jessica Powers.

Remember the Hallmark cards of a couple of decades ago? That is how I remembered Jessica Powers until today.  August 18, the anniversary of her death in 1988. When I learned that Powers spent most of her life as a Carmelite nun, Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, dying at the age of eighty-three having written over three hundred poems. Most of them deeply spiritual, evoking holiness from the ordinary, the mundane.

A wow moment. Jaw dropping in fact. One of the signs that when He sends them, make me cry. As if shouting, See? Even when you did not believe in me, I believed in you!

I loved those cards with her poems. But since I had stopped believing in God long before, read the verses superficially. They were lovely, tender but were merely sentiments. Like this one:

God is today

He is not yesterday

He is not tomorrow

He is never night.

Or her lovely verses about birds. This one about a chickadee I even think I remember:

Look at the Chickadee

I take my lesson from the chickadee
who in the storm
receives a special fire to keep him warm,
who in the dearth of a December day
can make the seed of a dead weed his stay,
so simple and so small,
and yet the hardiest hunter of them all.

The world is winter now and I who go
loving no venture half so much as snow,
in this white blinding desert have been sent
a most concise and charming argument.
To those who seek to flout austerity,
who have a doubt of God’s solicitude
for even the most trivial of His brood,
to those whose minds are chilled with misery
I have this brief audacious word to say:
look at the chickadee,
that small perennial singer of the earth,
who makes the week of a December day
the pivot of his mirth.

But hearing her mystical poems from the lips of the monk during his homily this morning evoked a visceral reaction. Like POW. Remembering my blindness and ignorance to Him, His works, and me.

Child, have none told you? God is in your soul.

Here is one of the poems from which Father Stephen read this morning on the anniversary of Jessica Powers’ death.

The Garments of God:

God sits on a chair of darkness in my soul.
He is God alone, supreme in His majesty.
I sit at his feet, a child in the dark beside Him;
my joy is aware of His glance and my sorrow is tempted
to nest on the thought that His face is turned from me.


He is clothed in the robes of His mercy, voluminous garments
not velvet or silk and affable to the touch,
but fabric strong for a frantic hand to clutch,
and I hold to it fast with the fingers of my will.
Here is my cry of faith, my deep avowal
to the Divinity that I am dust.
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Here is the loud profession of my trust.
I will not go abroad
to the hills of speech or the hinterlands of music
a crier to walk in my soul where all is still.
I have this potent prayer through good or ill:
here in the dark I clutch the garments of God

Another potent phrase worthy of repeat now and time and time again.

                                      here in the dark I clutch the garments of God

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