About Peggy Rosenthal

Peggy Rosenthal is director of Poetry Retreats and writes widely on poetry as a spiritual resource. Her books include Praying through Poetry: Hope for Violent Times (Franciscan Media), and The Poets’ Jesus (Oxford). See Amazon for full list. She also teaches an online course, “Poetry as a Spiritual Practice,” through Image’s Glen Online program.

Saying the Name of God

morning-window1Recently, I spent a good part of three weeks promoting an event that my parish was sponsoring: sending out email blasts, networking, posting the event on Facebook. I’m on the committee that arranged the event, and I volunteered to do the advertising. As I did this tedious task, I tried to remind myself: Every moment is lived in God’s love. Somehow these moments are God’s moments.

“I keep sensing…that the whole world is every moment saying the name of God,” said poet Li-Young Lee, interviewed in the current Image, #86.

Once a week, my husband and I spend an afternoon helping a young friend care for her newborn twins. We treasure these privileged moments, having the health to help her a bit, enjoying the developmental changes in the babies each week. It’s easy to feel that these afternoons are lived in God’s love.

“I keep sensing…that the whole world is every moment saying the name of God.”

On Friday mornings, my husband and I head out for our knitting group. It’s run by my friend Tina, who has created a small business offering knitting lessons, help clinics, sit-and-knits.

We hadn’t known any of the other members of the group before we joined, but by now we’ve all become good friends. There’s something about chatting while doing creative work with your hands: There’s a camaraderie, lots of laughter, teasing; and Tina is always there if we drop a stitch or can’t figure out a pattern instruction. Though I don’t consciously think about God during these mornings, it’s easy to feel that they’re lived in God’s love.

“I keep sensing…that the whole world is every moment saying the name of God.” [Read more...]

The Man Living Under the Overpass

HomelessMy daily bike-ride near downtown Tucson is not picturesque. It’s along a bike trail that’s squeezed between a highway and a tattered string of small factories and beaten down neighborhoods.

The bike trail is usually fairly abandoned when I ride it. Occasionally I’ll pass another biker or someone walking.

But I can always count on passing the man who lives under the overpass that’s an exit ramp from the highway. [Read more...]

The Odyssey: Homer’s Retort to Current U.S. Policy

Rubens_The_Feast_of_Achelous_1615Are you as numb to news of war as I am?

We the American public are so used to hearing that our country is acting militarily in yet another place on the globe that we don’t even question whether we should be arming the Saudi Arabian forces in Yemen or “supporting” Syrian so-called moderate rebels.

We’re still fighting (and killing civilians in wedding parties and now even a hospital) in Afghanistan. And, incredibly, we’re back in Iraq: “training” (yet again) government forces. Aren’t they trained by now?

At least there’s a bit of public outrage over the recent disclosures about our drone “kill lists” in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan… [Read more...]

Here at Last is Love: The Poems of Dunstan Thompson

Dunston_ThomasI get tingly with anticipation when I’m about to meet a new poet. I don’t mean the poet in person; I mean meeting the poems of someone whose work had been unknown to me.

And so it was when I opened the new selection of poems by Dunstan Thompson, Here at Last is Love, just published by Slant. But this wasn’t to be my usual sort of first meeting, because first in the book comes Greg Wolfe’s rich biographical introduction. With gratitude, I was truly “introduced” to Thompson: to a man whose life was shaped by opposing desires—for the Catholic faith of his childhood in the 1920s-1930s and for homosexual love.

Around age twenty, Thompson left the Catholic Church and began a series of tormented love affairs with various men. To be gay in the 1940s was to be doubly cursed: by society and by the Church. Thompson felt himself doubly sinful. At the same time, experiencing World War II in London, he was horrified by war’s brutality. [Read more...]

Save the Economy: Read the Classics

booksI was reading Pope Francis’s encyclical Laudato Si when I began an article called “What is Wrong with the West’s Economies?” Published in the August 13, 2015 issue of The New York Review of Books, the article is by Edmund Phelps, 2006 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Director of Columbia’s Center on Capitalism and Society, and author of Mass Flourishing.

What surprised me was that sometimes I couldn’t tell which work I was reading.

“Many people have long felt the desire to do something with their lives besides consuming goods and having leisure. They desire to participate in a community in which they can interact and develop.”

“We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfillment.” [Read more...]