The Mystical Monastery in the Desert / by Joseph Castorino


The long, arduous journey

  was finally over,

More challenging than going

  from London to Dover;

Clarissa Candela opened

  her deep, dark eyes,

She got out of bed not

  expecting any surprise;

For the last 33 days it’s been

  a time for new prayers,

Almost like climbing a beautiful

  resort’s elegant stairs;

Going upward towards God

  in an imperceptible way,

She didn’t notice any spiritual growth

  when she knelt down to pray.


As the beacon of dawn

  gradually conquered the night,

The sinful, fearful darkness

  was very quickly put to flight;

The angels unfurled the banner

  of God’s light across the sky,

As on the freeway Clarissa

  calmly drove in the desert so dry;

Her pilgrimage was to the beauteous

  chapel of Our Lady of Solitude,

And since she could see the cupola,

  her arrival was a certitude;

With holy sunbeams striking a

  stained glass window from afar,

The chapel looked like a lighthouse

  reflecting Bethlehem’s star.


Clarissa got out of her car, and a

  sweet smile danced across her lips,

Her long, dark hair through the comforting

  breeze ever so gently whips;

Looking at the chapel, she saw arches

  and columns in a style European,

The dappled desert stone, rustically

  elegant, made it look Galilean;

The cupola, topped with a simple cross,

  was Our Lady’s jeweled crown,

And the t-shaped tau on the gable

  declared good St. Francis’ renown;

Clarissa looked up, twirled around,

  and saw an immense sky so blue,

She had never seen such beauty clothed

  in such peace, ‘tis so very true.


Then she entered the chapel

  experiencing a spiritual thirst,

Truly there were not many people

  at mass on this January First;

Their few voices were humbly and

  quietly raised almost inaudibly aloft,

And the Franciscan priest said mass

  in a voice that was very, very soft;

The devout Poor Clare nuns were

  all engaged in the deepest prayer,

And, honestly, the mass was so silent

  that it was exceedingly rare;

When Clarissa’s 33-day prayers of

  consecration were finally done,

Might she be in danger of ending

  as uneventfully as she had begun?


But St. Louis de Montfort’s

  Consecration to Jesus through Mary,

Was recommended by her wise old

  Irish pastor Monsignor O’Clary;

He had preached quite a fine homily

  about this special devotion,

Saying, “It can really change your life,

  if you have the notion”;

But now let me share with you

  one rather noteworthy fact,

St. Louis’ closing prayer is

  really a form of holy contract;

She knelt before Our Lord’s

  beautiful crucifix near the altar,

And she dearly hoped that her

  heart would not ever falter.


Midway through this closing prayer,

  Clarissa’s heart was passionately,

Preciously pierced by the sweet sword

  of the Spirit; her soul, suddenly

Brimming with God’s majestic mercy,

  soared in a spiraling celestial

Crescendo of God’s love for her;

  fearing that her heart, like a fiery

Supernova, might explode with emotion,

  she silently slipped out

And sat quietly, alone, on the sofa

  in the pilgrims' guest room;

Here she serenely surrendered all

  to the Spirit, like a noble

Knight of Christ, Through Our Lady,

  Queen of All Hearts.


Then like a giddy geyser she gushed

  torrents of light-hearted laughter

And happy, heavenly tears; this golden

  cascade of pure love poured

Over her soul like a warm, wonderful

  waterfall of holy honey; deep down

Inside, the Spirit was strumming on

  the harmonic harp of her heart, and

She was deliciously, delightfully deluged

  by this overwhelming ocean of God’s love for her.


Afterwards, Clarissa softly strolled

  back into the chapel to finish her

Closing prayer; approaching the altar,

  with awe, she beheld the crucifix

Where Christ the Courageous heroically

  hangs; from the back of the church

She felt his love as a light, blissful,

  balmy breeze; but as she

Drew closer to that crucifix, she felt

  His love magnificently magnified as it

Ignited into an intense, surging storm

  of explosive, electric joy;

Kneeling before that same crucifix,

  as a bold, brave warrior, she battled

Through her emotions until

   word by word, slowly,

Meaningfully, she finished

   her prayer of consecration.


Every year for the rest of her life

  this holy devotion she would pray,

She would always return to Our Lady

  of Solitude on the very same day;

Just as Our Lady had very few truly

  remarkable days in her saintly life,

Clarissa had few days in which intense

  joy pierced her soul like a knife;

Although she never again experienced

  a cascading heavenly waterfall,

Every so often a raindrop of pure,

  holy love her heart would enthrall;

In the twinkling of an eye the sword

  of the Spirit would pierce her soul,

As if to remind her that perfect love

  in Heaven must always be her goal.