The Very Mystery of Life

When I look into
the sad face
of a starving child
living on the margins
of a slum
I find myself
looking into
the very mystery of life.
Chronic poverty
with its desperate and endless
struggle for survival
fills me with grief.

Yet these dreadful and hopeless
slums are sacraments
of transcendence
that can unlock
our unconciousness
and lead us to a place
of solidarity
with the poor.
The mystery
of poverty and pain,
the very mystery
of life and death,
is too deep,
too sensitive,
too fragile
to be understood or solved
by one story,
one person,
one church,
one religion,
one system of thought.
But in these
places of desperation
I often catch
glimpses of hope
and the feeling
that life is truly
magnificent and precious.
The cross is clearly visible
in these nightmarish slums,
but so is the joy of Easter.

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