The Immaculate Conception: (after a painting by Bartoleme Esteban Murillo)

Like a recurring dream,
you imagine the woman
clothed in white, wrapped in deep blue.
This woman balances on the crescent moon,
on the backs of cherubs and their clouds.
Her eyes are not interested in you,
not concerned with the growing mystery
you assign her: the irony of God
growing in a virgin. For now,
she needs the open space of heaven
and your intermittent vision
that will make her materialize again
and again until you get it right:
her flowing hair, her folded hands,
that hint of gold behind her back,
enveloping her like mist from God’s mouth.
Enveloping you as completely as dogma,
the genuflected knee, the thin voice
that repeats the same prayer
and gives it solid blue breath.

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

I thought I had the perfect Catholic fairy tale: Meet and a date a former seminarian. Seven months after I got married, my world was utterly shattered.
July 27, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington in January 2017. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Controversial decisions, such as Brown v. Board of Education (school desegregation), Roe v. Wade (abortion) and, most recently, Obergefell v. Hodges (same-sex marriage), often are challenged for decades by opponents seeking their reversal or limitation.
Ellen K. BoegelJuly 27, 2017
Oscar Isaacs as Hamlet (photo: The Public Theatre)
In a bewildering new staging at The Public Theater, Oscar Isaac is giving a rich, riveting lead turn as the dubious Danish prince.
Rob Weinert-KendtJuly 27, 2017
Usain Bolt has become a living legend in a track event that is known for creating superstars. His pre- and post-race rituals are purely Catholic, and yet the faith of one of the world’s most talked-about athletes is an open secret.
Nick Ripatrazone July 27, 2017