Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Tamara Nicholl-SmithFebruary 16, 2023

Now is the lilac hour, the deep
bruise of the afternoon, when the
sun shuddered, turned its lengthening
face from the blotted sky, from the

impending sacrifice at the day’s
ninth hour, and closed its bright eye, closed
the sky’s lid, plunged noon’s peak into
eclipse, into the plum-dark night.

This happened. This is happening.
Then and now merge. It’s time to exit
the forty days. It’s time to strip
the altar. Time to hollow, time

the crocus purples morning, time
the hellebore, the Lenten rose,
bloods its pale petals. Time to yield.
Please, empty me, of everything

and burn this yoke of days, this shade
of living until I become a
clean crucible, a burning bowl
a hallowed column of fire. I give

all I said no to, all I did
not drink, or eat, or keep.
I give my emptiness and pour cold ashes
on fields of violet-bright sadness.

The latest from america

Children cheer as they celebrate the first World Children's Day at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Italy, May 25, 2024. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)
Pope Francis decided to hold a World Children’s Day to draw global attention to the plight and suffering of so many of the world’s 2.3 billion children from poverty, war and the effects of climate change.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 26, 2024
This week on “Jesuitical,” Zac and Ashley are live at Xavier University in Cincinnati with their spiritual director, Eric Sundrup, S.J., sharing their own experiences discerning their paths as young adults and offering insights from Jesuit spirituality to young people navigating big life questions.
JesuiticalMay 24, 2024
China's flag is seen as Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican
Marking the centenary of the first plenary council of the Catholic Church in China, the Vatican hosted a conference earlier this week on challenges and opportunities for Chinese Catholics.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 24, 2024
Jesuit Jacques Monet sitting at a table in a restaurant, smiling and toasting with a glass of white wine. He is wearing a dark suit and a tie with a pin on his lapel.
Jacques Monet, S.J., passed away peacefully on May 14 at the age of 94, leaving behind a great legacy to his church and nation.
John Meehan, S.J.May 24, 2024