The Mission of Charlie Candlestick / by Joseph Castorino


Charlie’s childhood dream

   was about to come true

As he bravely awaited

   his blast-off into space,

But at T minus 31 seconds,

   things started to turn tense

When the countdown

   suddenly stopped;

Fortunately, after many anxious

   hours, all systems were go,

And the rocket boosters

   powerfully ignited,

The stately spacecraft

   lethargically lifted off,

As if it had been awakened

   from a somber slumber.


The spacecraft thunderously

   roared and rumbled upwards,

With red fiery flames

   dancing behind,

And black billows of

   smoke quickly clouded the

Launching pad like a dark,

   gaseous galactic nebula;

Charlie shook in his seat

   as if he were riding on a

Rough road in a rickety,

   rollicking stagecoach,

And in two minutes of breathtaking

   acceleration, he was

Traveling over three

   thousand miles per hour.


He was now thirty miles up

   and halfway to space,

When the rocket boosters

   abruptly disengaged,

The two of them toppled

   and fell downward towards

The bright blue ocean like

   giant worn-out pencils;

Still accelerating, the

   orbiter speared upwards

At the scintillating speed

   of one mile per second,

Charlie’s orbiter now flew

   like lightning, and in a

Mere thirty seconds

   he was soaring in space.


Charlie was then surrounded

   by stars in the black sea

Of space, and he felt

   wondrously weightless,

Now gently gliding around

   Earth, he was fascinated

As he watched the sensational

   brilliance of the sun;

There was an orbital sunrise,

   and the placid rays of

Light gradually approached

   as if in slow motion,

Below, he saw the beautiful

   blissful blue globe and

Was awed by its peacefulness

   and by its grandeur.


Interestingly enough,

   Charlie’s spiritual life

Has followed a very

   similar flight path,

Years ago, his petitions

   and other prayers seemed

To vanish into the vast void

   of a bleak black hole;

This was because his pitiful

   prayers were mumbled

Meaninglessly in the last

   few minutes of the day,

His rockets had little spiritual

   fuel for a journey to Heaven,

So his life’s countdown

   suddenly stopped.


Without enough spiritual fuel,

   Charlie knew that he

Risked crashing and burning

   in the fearful fires of hell,

An open-throated grave

   that savagely swallows

Sinners and belches forth

   filthy fumes of smoky sulphur;

He knew he needed to

   double down on his prayer

 Life to give greater thrust

   to his mission,

So he went to mass more,

   and delighted in the

Divine Office a little at a time

   throughout each day.


Because of Charlie’s awakening,

   he made the decision

To make persistent prayer

   the top priority of his life,

At first he didn’t notice a

   change, but with patience,

His spiritual life lifted off

   and safely reached orbit;

Soon his spirit was freed

   from the burdensome bonds

Of serious sin, and he felt

   wondrously weightless,

He gracefully glided towards

   the flaming monstrance

Of the Son, and His

   rays of divine mercy.


From the happy heights

   of the heavens, his

Panoramic perspective

   really changed,

Life appeared so much

   simpler through the

Detachment of prayer in front

   of the Blessed Sacrament;

The petty possessions,

   the worries of the world,

The fettering fears,

   the doomsday deadlines:

They were all so surprisingly

   insignificant compared

To a fabulous future

   filled with perfect peace.