Swift, Lord, You Are Not
Swift, Lord, You Are Not
Kilian McDonnell, OSB
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Some poets begin very early to write great poetry. Arthur Rimbaud wrote one of his best poems at 15, Percy Shelley published his first book of poetry at 18. But Kilian McDonnell, O.S.B., did not start until he was 75, after decades of writing as a professional theologian. Now 82 he gives us Swift, Lord, You Are Not, poems of the struggle to find God—waiting for the silence of God to break. He does not write pious verse, or inspirational poetry, but of wrestling with the illusive God. His themes are mostly biblical and monastic. He closes with an essay "Poet: Can You Start at Seventy-Five?" in which he describes the literary decisions he makes within the monastic context—decisions he needs to make with some dispatch. At 75 he does not have decades to mature. He writes with a new language.

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Kilian McDonnell, OSB, STD, is a priest and monk of St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. He is author of John Calvin, The Church, and the Eucharist (Princeton and Oxford University Presses) and The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, and the forthcoming The Other Hand of God: The Holy Spirit as the Universal Touch and Goal, published by Liturgical Press. He served as the Consultor to the Vatican Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and is the founder and president of the Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research in Collegeville, Minnesota. He is the recipient of the John Courtney Murray Award for Significant Contributions to Theology, given by the Catholic Theological Society of America, the James Fitzgerald Award for Ecumenism, and was the recipient of the papal award for ecumenism from Pope John Paul II: Pro Pontifice et Eccelesia.

His is a voice worth listening to. I want to hear more.
American Benedictine Review

[M]asterfully crafted, and totally engaging. . . . McDonnell is a genius at inserting some of the latest contemporary idioms and realities into biblical scenes-a maneuver that brings the reader's attention to `an upright position,' squashing any patronizing attitude one may be harboring with regard to the poet's age and environment. . . . [H]e retains his tremendously refreshing sense of humor, his ability to poke fun at himself, the twinkle in his eye, and his delightful obstreperous verve.
Corpus Reports

McDonnell has started late at poetry, but he should keep going. Why stop now?
American Benedictine Review

Swift Lord, You Are Not provides us with meaning and inspiration, enjoyment and refinement of the heart. It deserves at least two if not three readings.
Deacon Digest

Product number: 9920
ISBN: 978-0-9740-9920-0
Pages: 128
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Publication Date: 07/01/2003

Aggressive Mercy

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The Bible contains vast and varied portraits of God's multifaceted mercy. In his typical style Kilian McDonnell's latest collection of poems reveals a lifetime of contemplating biblical characters and their experience of the tenacious mercy of the So...

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The Other Hand of God

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If the Spirit is not equal to the Father and the Son, can the Trinity survive? Is the role of the Spirit in salvation as important as that of the Son? Why was the divinity of the Spirit problematic in the early Church? If the Son, Jesus Christ, is "t...

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The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan

The Trinitarian and Cosmic Order of Salvation

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Wrestling with God

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Then the man said, You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed. (Gen 32:28) The Bible is full of persons who wrestle with God. As they stumble in their lives, they love and adore ...

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Christian Initiation and Baptism in the Holy Spirit

Second Revised Edition

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Up to now the teaching on baptism in the Holy Spirit has been based on a few scriptural texts, whose interpretation was disputed. This doubt cast its shadow on those who promote baptism in the Holy Spirit. Now new evidence has been found in early pos...

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Fanning the Flame

What Does Baptism in the Holy Spirit Have to Do with Christian Initiation?

Heart of the Church Consultation; Kilian McDonnell, OSB, and George Montague, SM, Editors

The authors of this document supply much-needed clarification of baptism in the Holy Spirit. They also provide evidence that baptism in the Spirit belongs not to the personal experience of the few, not at all to private piety, but to the public offic...

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