A remorseful day wrought in hope


[written in the summer of 2015, but never posted. In the absence of a fresh post, here you go!]

Every weekday evening I take a walk along the levee after work, resolving as I begin never to allow myself to take for granted what I see, smell, touch and hear. Every evening offers a new gift, a fresh and surprising arrangement of the same elements. The other night, I snapped the photo above. I sat on those rocks until the very highest clouds bid farewell to the sun. Some seagulls were sounding, and the water was gently, rhythmically lapping against the rocks. (Listen below!)

I sometimes bring with me something to read, often a collection of poems. This habit serves to clear my mind and re-organize my day’s jumble around beauty and meaning. Afterward, I am mostly fresher and ready to return to my family and attempt a night’s sleep free from the clamoring of work angst.

In the dwindling twilight this particular evening, I re-read a poem I love and an article by Dr. Peter Kreeft on surfing. I’ll share the whole poem, by English author Alfred Edward Housman, and a snippet of the Kreeft article.

+ + + +

How clear, how lovely bright,
How beautiful to sight
Those beams of morning play;
How heaven laughs out with glee
Where, like a bird set free,
Up from the eastern sea
Soars the delightful day.

To-day I shall be strong,
No more shall yield to wrong,
Shall squander life no more;
Days lost, I know not how,
I shall retrieve them now;
Now I shall keep the vow
I never kept before.

Ensanguining the skies
How heavily it dies
Into the west away;
Past touch and sight and sound
Not further to be found,
How hopeless under ground
Falls the remorseful day.”

When I was a small child I often felt the hopeless remorse of day’s end, as it signaled the time for play had come to an end. Once I recall feeling a strange despair that the delightful things of each day, again and again lost to time’s passing, were irretrievable.


What indescribable joy I experienced when I found in my faith that no day consecrated to Him is lost, and all days that fade into night are sacraments containing, pointing beyond to and contained by the New Creation. Penetrated by God in Christ, death contains in itself the seeds of resurrection, and nighttime holds in itself the dawning Eighth Day of creation when all things consigned to the tomb of time’s passing will be (are being!) re-created new.

And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:5)

+ + + +


The surf can make us all children again in five seconds if only we let it. Think a truly radical thought: think what a revolution it would be if everyone on earth played in the surf once a week. How much depression and suicide and hatred and violence and resentment and anger and envy and boredom and addiction and wars and murders and plots and tyrannies would just go out like a candle in the water?

The sea is a peacemaker. How can surfers be warmongers? How could anyone drenched with the wisdom of playwater ever come up with this brilliant idea, the idea that has moved so much of our history?—”Hey, it seems we’ve got problems. Let’s deal with them this way: let’s dress up in funny uniforms and go out and kill each other.”..

Deep down, we know our souls need something wild, something dangerous, something that makes us feel alive. The sea does that. It’s the last untamed place on earth.

I had breakfast alone with Dr. Kreeft back in 2011 in Des Moines. I’ll never forget it. There are two things I remember most clearly about him.

First, his childlike, almost giddy way of speaking about anything. He is a man in love with existence, perpetually astonished over not only what exists, but the fact that anything exists at all.

Second, he-who-is-brilliant asked me my opinion on two matters. I was flabbergasted. But it was the way he listened to me as I answered, and then commented on my answers, that struck me most. You can feel the difference between someone who listens to your response as a formality, or for information, or as a springboard for their next point, and someone who listens to your response in love, because they desire not simply communication but communion.

Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you (1 Pet. 5:7).

Listen. Be still. Don’t you sense, He is listening? And with such love.

6 comments on “A remorseful day wrought in hope

  1. AMDG says:

    Reading your reflections is like playing in the surf… a little dangerous, exhilarating, liberating, and Life-giving.

    Thank you.

  2. tmm says:

    Again coming bogged down with thanks. Your post shaped my day. Thanks for the exposure to the beautiful work by Alfred Edward Housman. Read it several times and it is was fresh and crisp at each reading. It pulled the trigger for a poetic creation, what a fun playground for the mind, the great and small alike. Next you provided today’s text mess for that leg of the GIG’s Apostolate:

    Dr. Thomas J Neal”What indescribable joy I experienced when I found in my faith dat no day consecrated 2Him is lost, & all days dat fade in2 night R sacraments containin, pointin beyond & contained by da New Creation. Penetrated by God in Christ, death contains in itself da seeds of resurrection, & nite time holds in itself da dawnin 8th Day of creation when all things consigned 2da tomb of time’s passin will B, R being,& re-created nu)
    MC=Our future is great, as ever present moment is pavin da way 4a better day, so rejoice & B glad people.Christ writes straight wit crooked lines,so don’t let UR joy wax &wane just because u can’t now C da invisible ink)

    Moving right along to your mention of the 8th day in your post, that triggered memories of “The 4th Day” in Cursillo. It had slipped my memory that today is the day for me to do some Palanca for the team and those making their Cursillo this weekend. Requesting prayers for this from your readers, if it so pleases anyone to help us out.

    Alfred Edward Housman’s poem is so beautiful as a stand alone, but this collaboration is a twist towards a generic fun facet creation:
    ~How Clear, How Lovely Bright~ When The Holy Spirit Helps Us Live Life Right~

    AEH 🌛How clear, how lovely bright,
    AEH 🌛How beautiful to one’s sight
    tmm= When the stark of night
    tmm=Before our very eyes take flight

    AEH 🌛Those beams of morning play;
    tmm=Delights the heart, making it ever so gay

    AEH 🌛How heaven laughs out with glee
    AEH 🌛Where, like a bird set free,
    tmm=Noticeable right before us, by you and by me
    tmm=But there stands a caveat: for the spiritually blind, God’s grandeur one will never be able to comprehend or see

    AEH 🌛Up from the eastern sea
    tmm=Rising ever so exquisitely

    AEH 🌛Soars the delightful day.
    tmm=Making it’s appearance in a grand and glorious way

    AEH 🌛To-day I shall be strong,
    AEH 🌛No more shall yield to wrong,
    tmm=I vow to let the Holy Spirit in my heart sing truth in a heavenly song

    AEH 🌛Shall squander life no more;
    tmm=Packing up all negativity, it’s time for that to hit the door

    AEH 🌛Days lost, I know not how,
    AEH 🌛I shall retrieve them now;
    tmm=Strengthened in resolve by prayer, as before God humbly, I do bend and bow
    tmm=Abundant graces will make the impossible possible, them to me, He will indeed graciously endow

    AEH 🌛Now I shall keep the vow
    tmm=Knowing only if it’s a part of God’s will, then this He’ll positively for sure allow

    AEH 🌛I never kept before.
    tmm=But today so encouraged, cause in an twinkling of an eye God makes all things new, who can know what good things He hides away in store

    AEH 🌛Ensanguining the skies
    AEH 🌛How heavily it dies
    tmm=A sign to those who are wise
    tmm=It represents mysteries in disguise

    AEH 🌛Into the west away;
    tmm=It’s parting brings a good by to our lips, a coin deposited for another bright day

    AEH 🌛Past touch and sight and sound
    AEH 🌛Not further to be found,
    tmm=Hidden, but yet still around
    tmm=Rising in another part of the world, lighting up hearts in another distant town

    AEH 🌛How hopeless under ground
    tmm=The losses accrued by a darkened self will causing one to overstep God’s bound

    AEH 🌛Falls the remorseful day.”
    tmm=But hope floats for a transformation in Christ that renews the mind to never keep a good day at bay

    image1.GIFWhen @ Eucharist we drink da Precious Blood & on body of Jesus feed
    We have spiritual food dat strengthens & helps us meet our every need
    Without da Lord God on our side we’ll never B able 2 succeed
    He alone helps us climb perilous mountains in our way dat can impede
    \ 😇/
    / \ http://gigapostolate.weebly.com tmm/PTL

  3. Nos says:

    I will have to respectfully disagree with the good dochtah…. the sea is not the last untamed place on earth, my flower or rather a better description
    Weed garden is… and like you thomas as u walk along the levee,or dr. Kreft frolicking in the surf I find such wonder even in the weeds? ? ? some of the most beautiful flowers are considered weeds go figure…and Thomas you have that same gift as Herr Kreft you listen to me with an attentiveness that warms me so …of course your no Patti , but then again who is but princess Patti…thank you for reminding me to listen to the weeds grow as listening to the whispers of all the angels and saints singing the praises of our HOLY TRINITY… P.B.W.Y.A.A.

  4. Nos says:

    TMM, May the talks at the Castillo weekend be filled with wisdom + understanding+ council+fortitude+knowledge+piety+fear of our LORD and may the BLESSED MOTHER watch over and help guide them to a closer relationship with her awesome SON. + + + + + + +.P.B.W.Y.A.A.

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