EvOLve Ministry Giving Voice To the Spirit Through Poetry
Giving Voice To the Spirit Through Poetry
by Jerrol Leitner
Sat., Nov. 16, 9:30-11:15 a.m. in McDonnell Hall
As Catholic Christians, we view the world as sacramental. All creation has the potential to reveal the Divine. For those poets who were raised in a different tradition, Protestant or non-Christian they might not use the word sacramental and yet they respond to this transcendent, mystical quality. Their sensitivity to these qualities helps us to awaken to the interdependent and interconnected reality of the world. They help give voice to the Spirit in order to raise our consciousness above mundane concerns and acknowledge who we are and to what purpose we should direct the energies of our lives. Poets may not see themselves in this way but they can be instruments of the Spirit tapping into the creative energy that flows from the original source of all Creativity and all Creation.
Poetry uses the language of symbol and metaphor and thus begins where ordinary words fail. For example, when Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” he obviously doesn’t mean he is a large candle. Instead, he is speaking poetically, deeply and spiritually-and the image of light intrigues and instructs.
This presentation explores two poets separated by eight centuries. Jalal al-din Rumi was a 13th century Sufi poet. The American Mary Oliver died in January of 2019. They have long been the two most popular poets in America, and through their lives and their writings they offer deeply spiritual lessons into the human condition and the divine that undergirds it.
Jerrol Leitner holds an M.A. in Theology and an M.A. in English. He is retired from 40 years of high school teaching, many of those years at St. Viator’s in Arlington Heights. He has been on the faculty of Common Ground and is a frequent speaker on spirituality, world religions and literary topics at churches, senior centers and libraries.