Burning for Spirit


It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock

in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;

I am such a long way in I see no way through,

and no space: everything is close to my face

and everything close to my face is stone.


I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief

So this massive darkness makes me small.


 You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in:

then your great transforming will happen to me,

and my great grief cry will happen to you.         


 ~Rainer Maria Rilke, “Pushing Through” in Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Robert Bly 


We go from “empty” to burning, or at least we should. Empty can be left alone for a very long time, but burning usually gets some attention. Many people are empty, but then the next step is to be “burning” for the Spirit.

The joy of Palm Sunday is not the joy of Easter. It is a childlike joy. People do not yet know what is to come. But we do know. 

And yet, with all that we have endured thus far and all that we will face in the future, there are few among us who would choose to remain children.

The working of Christ in us is the resurrection of love within us.  We have to become the “masters” of ourselves; we are the ones who have to “break in” and make ourselves fierce. We are the ones who can ignite the great transforming by really becoming the human beings that we aspire to be. We are the ones who have to act in the world and make our faith real. We are the ones who unite with the world’s evolving.

We have already gained so much through our trials, failures, and successes.

We don’t want to lose that now. So we have to keep going, taking our praying and our intentions seriously. May we walk through Holy Week as close to Him as possible and not run away. May we burn away our darkness and make ourselves ready to receive the true Easter joy, hard-won, pure and eternal.

by Carol Kelly