April 10 – Passover week

Friday April 10 – “ . . . only the terrible blessing of the journey.”

Catherine McAuley and Ignatius Loyola both took the journey seriously.  Perhaps more than seriously, . . .  as sacred and central.   “The journey makes the world our house,” wrote Ieronimo Nadal, sj, sent by Ignatius to mentor just-born little communities of the just-born Jesuit order.  Catherine trekked the wretched roads of Ireland finding, and founding, houses of Mercy.

Lynn Ungar writes about an older, deep understanding.  The journey of Passover, like that of UDM’s two founding spirits, trumps the safe and static.  At our best, we teach our students to love risks, to imagine the dangers of surprises, to exult in challenges.   This is the end of Passover Week and we are rounding the last bend into final exams at the university.  Both make a good time to remember the deep human longing to be disturbed by grace.

Have a good weekend.


john sj

Lynn Ungar: “Passover”

Posted by Phyllis Cole-Dai on Apr 03, 2015 12:00 am


Then you shall take some of the blood, and put it on the door posts and the lintels of the houses . . . and when I see the blood, I shall pass over you, and no plague shall fall upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

—Exodus 12:7 & 13

They thought they were safe
that spring night, when they daubed
the doorways with sacrificial blood.
To be sure, the angel of death
passed them over, but for what?
Forty years in the desert
without a home, without a bed,
following new laws to an unknown land.
Easier to have died in Egypt
or stayed there a slave, pretending
there was safety in the old familiar.

But the promise, from those first
naked days outside the garden,
is that there is no safety,
only the terrible blessing
of the journey. You were born
through a doorway marked in blood.
We are, all of us, passed over,
brushed in the night by terrible wings.

Ask that fierce presence,
whose imagination you hold.
God did not promise that we shall live,
but that we might, at last, glimpse the stars,
brilliant in the desert sky.


“Passover” by Lynn Ungar. Text as published in What We Share: Collected Meditations, Volume Two, edited by Patricia Frevert (Skinner House, 2001).

Art credit: “Stars over the Negev Desert,” photograph taken on June 7, 2007, by Matt O. From the caption: “much better in person.”

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