caught by christ

By Carrie Bucalo

Wednesday of Holy Week


         As Lent draws to a close, I feel completely unprepared for Easter. I've fallen short of my Ash Wednesday aspirations and desires. My morning prayers were more like a soldier's call in a war zone than the peaceful chants I once sang in the monastery; I relied on chocolate and soda to survive in the afternoons; and I missed Friday Stations of the Cross because I was too exhausted to wrangle my five small children into the church at the ungodly hour of five o' clock. I draw close to Christ today, only to discover a terrifying Gospel: Judas is caught by Christ in his betrayal, and dealt the harshest words I can imagine: Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.

​         These words are sharp and piercing, like a hook in my broken human condition. With sins, like Judas, I pull against the love of Christ, creating great divine tension. I question Christ's words. I fight my own doubts about him. But in the end, unlike Judas in this one way, I hold the tension of Christ's line. What happens next is mot unexpected indeed! I'm caught by Christ, the extraordinary fisherman, who spoke piercing words to fish for my faith: "Jesus, I trust in you."

Reflection based on Matthew 26:14-25

(THE MAGNIFICAT LENTEN COMPANION 2017, Published with Permission)



THE JOURNEY

by Rita A. Simmonds

(from her book Greeting the Seasons​, based onThe Nativity watercolor painting by Carrie Bucalo)


A sky so filled with constellations

at last displays the essential star.

We need decode no more

but simply follow what is most pronounced-

what we cannot help but heed.


We discerned a cross on the mountain top

still a long way off,

and thought that would be our aim

until we caught sight of a warm light

at the foot of the hill

seeming to rise to meet us

as we moved quickly toward


nothing but a family

huddled in a cove---

but we were explorers

and had to know

yet somehow couldn't ask.


The baby slept

the mother smiled

the father watched,

and held his staff.


No one said a word.


From science we learned to observe.

In silence we learned to adore.

We gave our gifts with trembling hands.

Our velvet knelt in straw.

The truth that ruled was plain to see---

we couldn't see it all.


The cross was still a long way off.

The star had led to light.

The journey to the mountain top---

An hour, not this night.


We headed back a different route.

The hour not this night.


-- Rita A. Simmonds



Mexican poppies at sunset

Watercolor by Carrie Bucalo

a thank you note to god

by Dolores Cameron


A dear friend of mine gave me a book of letters that his mother wrote, called A Thank You Note To God.​  In her letters, Dolores  wrote with beautiful words to illustrate how much she loved God:


"Dear Lord, thank you for the beautiful sunrays shining and glimmering through the trees last night. They were so beautiful... I have not forgotten you, I think of you constantly every day of my life. You are the most important person in the whole world to me. Thank you for everything--- just as it is my sweet Jesus"

​(Letters from June 29, and July 15, 1994).


Dolores constantly thanked God for her family and children, which encourages me to be a thankful mother too:


"​Thank you dear Jesus for everything--- just as it is. The way things are is the way You want them to be, whether they are bad or good in our eyes. I know You are always taking care of me and all my children and whatever happens is because You are allowing it to happen for our good. Thank you my dear sweet Lord. I trust you completely, always and forever"

​(June 8, 1994).


Thank you for your beautiful words, Dolores. I hope many people find a way to be as thankful and as beautiful as you.

(You can buy her book on amazon.com)

 





From Mountain Madness to Mountain Grandeur

by Rita Simmonds,

based on the Mexican Poppy painting by Carrie Bucalo


I left the violet mount “in secret, on a cold, dark night,”

I hoped to find my blissful side, the child I never met.

I fled for days of frolic; but skips were weighed with stone.

I could not leave the mountain; it caved inside my soul

majestic, proud and threatening—a bruised and throbbing mass,

an anchor and a sickness I could not heave or man.

I knelt from imposition. I begged beyond the clouds

defeated by injustice—the crime that kept me bowed.

“My Father, do you hate me?“ I screeched, and tore my clothes.

The mountain echoed, “Hate me!” A darkness pierced my own.

“Finished…It is finished.” I heard but couldn’t see.

A white and blinding brightness infused new sight in me.

An earthquake cracked the boulder that kept my heart entombed.

Strengthened like a soldier, I faced the twisted truth:

Like tumbleweed entangled, the lies rolled rootless on.

I walked the sandy desert; my steps made poppies bloom.

They waved their yellow petals in victory over thirst.

The sun set on the mountain; it’s purple turned to grace.

The sky takes from its grandeur and sweetens cotton clouds.

The child in me can wander in lavender and gold.

May 17, 2016

Rita A. Simmonds

My friend, Deb, has gone through her own journey of faith-wounds, yet has found incredible peace and beauty in her home and faith life. Here is one of her first paintings. (A marvelous first painting)And here are her words about it:


"A writer by trade, I also love to craft. I am always dabbling in this or that; pouring myself out and receiving joy in return. Though I am not normally a painter, I have lately been learning to paint. With this Fall came a new year of nature study in our homeschool adventures. It lends itself perfectly to this venture. And I've been enjoying it immensely.


Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Something about the harvest invokes a deep sense of awe for life and its seasons. Life is so often a frantic, messy business. Yet in the midst
of all the stress and worry, fall is an invitation to a deeper connection with the world around me. My children and I head outside to enjoy the cooler weather. There I'm immersed in God’s heart. I see Him in the wisps of clouds; and the brilliant
color of our mountain; in the trees shrouding themselves in beauty before their long sleep; and in the providence of the harvest. I see Him in the curve of a pumpkin, the orange skin shining radiantly in the sun. There, is an invitation to rest. To take in the moment and capture, in my own way, the peace which is all around us."

~ Deborah Brenna, October 31, 2016




Wife, mother, artist, writer

Radiant Meadow

Watercolor and pressed flowers

by Carrie Bucalo

​beneath the cross

Watercolor by Carrie Bucalo


My sister, Christina, and I battle through our faith-wounds together. We've been through a lot, but God has captivated our hearts through the beauty of art. Christina loves to draw, and I was so happy when she agreed to draw this piece for my website. Her cross, covered with roses and thorns is a great reflection of the journey we walk together, and I'm so proud to have her for a sister. Here are her words about this piece:

"A cross of roses, from the bottom of thorns, there is beauty which unfolds, into the light we hold."

~Christina

The Nativity

Watercolor by Carrie Bucalo

​would you like to share your art, poetry, writing, photography, or video?

I'd love to hear from you.


40 Days in the desert

Watercolor by Carrie Bucalo

I painted this piece when I was a Carmelite nun. When I couldn't turn to God in prayer because of my faith-wounds, I found help in Our Blessed Mother. I wrote about my journey of faith in The Spiritual Journey of Healing,​ which you can download by clicking on the link below.

​When life gives you pumpkins

Watercolor and reflection by Deborah Brenna

I am so happy to be a part of Rita Simmonds's new book of Christmas poems: "​Greeting the Seasons."​  My Nativity painting is featured on the front cover, and her poem: ​"The Journey" ​is based off it. Rita and I have been friends for several years now, and I'm thrilled that we're starting this new adventure together. You can buy the book on amazon.com. 



a cross of roses

Pencil drawing by my sister, Christina


​​Greeting the seasons

POEMS FOR THE HOLIDAYS

by Rita A. Simmonds