Praying with Poetry, Redux

Mathew Fournier, City in Snow
Leadership Foundations

Leadership Foundations

G.K. Chesterton once wrote, “The reason we fly from the city is not in reality that it is not poetical; it is that its poetry is too fierce, too fascinating and too practical in its demands.”*

In this 2021 finale podcast episode, we welcome back Fr. Steve Lantry, SJ for a special Advent/Christmas “Praying with Poetry” episode. Fr. Lantry explores with us how we can use poetry as a tool to enrich and deepen our prayer life. He guides us through three groups of poems (listed below) on the themes of Relationality, Paradox, and Challenge & Hope.


Poems cited:

  • The Hidden Singer by Wendell Berry from A Part, 1980, or, Collected Poems, pp.207-8
  • Love is the way messengers… by Rumi 1207-1273, from The Soul of Rumi, p. 33, translated by Coleman Barks & John Moyne
  • When school and mosque and minaret… by Rumi, 1207-1273, from A Year with Rumi, p.233
  • Those who think the heart is only in the chest… by Rumi, 1207-1274, from Rumi: Hidden Music, p. 54, translated by Azima Melita Kolin & Maryam Mafi
  • everywhere, everywhere by Charles Bukowski, from What Matters Most Is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, p. 94
  • One song by Rumi, 1207-1273,from A Year with Rumi, p. 214,rendered by Coleman Barks
  • When We See God by Edward Hirsch
  • Hope by Lisel Mueller, from Good Poems, p. 224, ed. by Garrison Keillor      
  • Sometimes  by Sheenagh Pugh, from Good Poems, p. 215, ed. by Garrison Keillor
  • We have fished all night… by Sr. Annette Moran, CSJ, from A Woman at the Well, p. 55, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet, St. Louis Province, 2009


*Lunacy and Letters by G.K. Chesterton, p. 60



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Celia Vigil

Communications Associate

What book, movie, quote, or tv show has most shaped your understanding of leadership or the city?   

A quote that has shaped my understanding of leadership and the city is, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

While the amount of work there is to do to transform cities is great, this quote reminds me that we are freed from having to complete it all, though our obligation to continue remains. We may never see a huge transformation in our lifetime. The work stretches far beyond us. However, this does not make our acts of faithfulness in the day to day less significant, no matter how small they may seem.