This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Sr. Mary Grace Melcher, OCD.                                                                    


When I am the rubbish and You are the flame
I really have nowhere to turn.
My choice? To escape and remain what I am,
Or stay in You, and burn.

When I am the wet log and You are the fire
My options are much the same.
I will sputter and sweat and turn black and stink
But I’ll stay there, in Your flame.

O Christ! I believe that one day I shall be
Made pure in your cleansing blaze,
By Your grace I am chosen for transforming love!
I must burn, with thanksgiving and praise.

Getting out of Love’s fire is not my desire
For in fire all must perish at last.
Through death will I come to be risen from death
And the feast only follows the fast.

So throw it all in, the offense and the sin
The weeping and wailing and woe!
All the hidden resistance, the shortage of trust
In the flame of Your love let it go!

In the end when the caverns are all emptied out
And I am unfettered and free,
Your flame will then dance in the joy of romance
And its enkindled air – will be me!

Sr. Mary Grace Melcher, OCD, is a cloistered Carmelite nun at the Carmelite Monastery of Terre Haute, Indiana. She has been a member there since 1981. In addition to writing icons, she is also author of Intercessions for Mass. The book, inspired by her daily contemplation and meditation on the Scriptures, offers deeply meaningful prayers of the faithful for every day of the year. Please visit her monastery Website and gift shop.

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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

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