I ask Father Joe what grace means

This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Cassidy Jensen.                                                                                                        

I ask Father Joe what grace means

He tells me it radiates, over time.
A stone dropped in still water.

There are as many types of love
As trees I don’t know the names of,
But I can tell you the shapes of the leaves.

This year I am learning how to be.

I count my blessings –
the flowering trees,
the long leaf pine,
tea with honey for my throat.

Sanctified: new soap, a floor mopped with bleach.
Consecrated: haircuts and the intimacy of it, the trust of it all.
Sacred: family not of blood, who let me run my mouth.

I begin, slowly, slowly to let go of perfection.
To be, with help, more open, lighter.
I am ready to spill over with hot water love.

But now the rain trembles the leaves,
The sky beats with more urgency.

You can’t hide out here –
not how my legs ache, not how my
heart strums in my throat in the same painful way
my clumsy fingers make guitar strings vibrate, late at night,
too loud in a sleeping house. All burning.

Grace is a rippling,
More significant with every splash.

Each gift, including pain,
reaches out again and again
until it touches shore.


Cassidy Jensen is a Jesuit Volunteer in Raleigh, N.C., where she is serving as a paralegal at the Farmworker Unit of Legal Aid of North Carolina. Her writing has appeared in the Georgetown Voice, Washington City Paper, TalkPoverty and Street Sense. She graduated in 2018 from Georgetown University. More of her writing can be found here.

Print this entry

About the Author

Tim Bete, ICL Poetry Curator To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit our submission guidelines page.

Tim Bete is Poetry Editor for IntegratedCatholicLife.org and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Tim's poetry has appeared in Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, The Asketerion, and the Poet and Contemplative Blog of the Discalced Carmelite Friars (Province of St. Therese). His first book of poetry is The Raw Stillness of Heaven, of which one reviewer wrote, “If you are Catholic and think that you do not like poetry, this book will change your mind.”

Tim is former director of the national writers' workshop at the University of Dayton—a Catholic, Marianist university. He's a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS) and often trades poems with his oldest daughter, who is a Dominican Sister. He says she's the best writer in the family.

Tim's writing has also appeared in several editions of the Amazing Grace anthology series (Ascension Press), theChristian Science Monitor, Writer's Digest magazine, and numerous parenting magazines. His latest book is Wanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim

Connect with Tim on:

Author Archive Page