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Spiritual Reflections by Fr Roderick Salazar SVD (Philippines)

No, I have not gotten a vaccine that makes me suddenly
speak Spanish. But the lines from Persian poet Hafiz Shirazi,
who lived in 1315-1390, read and sound lovely in that tongue:

“Hasta incluso despues de todo este tiempo
el Sol nunca le dice a la Tierra,

Mira lo que pasa con un amor como este
Lumina todo el cielo.”

It has its own flavor in English, this quote:
The Sun never says to the Earth,

Look what happens with a love like this:
It lights the whole sky.”

It is my second midnight in my quarantined quarters,
now thankfully no longer in hospital isolation.
I had gone to bed earlier than usual and somehow,
something or someone nudged me up, recalling Hafiz.

Not too long ago I shared another poem of his
though the time setting differed just a bit.
His translator titled it KEEPING WATCH:

“In the morning, when I began to wake,
it happened again: that feeling that
You, Beloved, had stood over me all night
that feeling that as soon as I began to stir,
You put your lips on my forehead
and lit a holy lamp inside my heart”.

This past month, indeed since last year,
I have been in and out of sick bay
Sometimes for a month and a half,
Sometimes for just a week or some days.

This March and April, it has been more frequent:
Two weeks in isolation, a week allowed out,
Sixteen days back to look at this and that
And then another two-weeks quarantine at home.
You have kept watch over me and with me,
in silence and in prayer, in phone texts and
facebook smiles, in gifts you sent me,
in many more ways of support you gave me,
even in gestures unknown to me.

I have felt you.
I have felt the warmth of your love and your concern.
They kept me comforted in my pain, gave me light
in the darkest of my nights, strengthened me to resolve,
that with God’s grace and your never-ending prayer,
I shall rise and live again, and love again.

You have been with me, and yet, like what Hafiz says,
-the Sun never telling the Earth, “You owe me” –
You, too, do not and I know you never will.

Borrowing Hafiz once more:
“ I once asked a bird,
“How do you fly in this gravity of darkness?
And she replied: LOVE LIFTS ME UP”.

So do you. So has your love given me wings.

Thus, I ask Him who keeps watch over each and all of us,
to please take care of you and reward you as only He can,
the essence, indeed, of how we say THANKS in Bicol:
God will repay everyone of you
for all the good you have shared with me.

In the meantime, midnight has inched slowly dawn-wards.
I must return to bed and get some energy
into my wobbly legs.

We began with Hafiz.
We might as well continue on and end
with his poetic wisdom.

“Now is the time for all the world to know
that every thought and every action
That this is the time for you
to compute the impossibility that
there is anything but GRACE.
Now is the season to know that
Everything you do

Even this waking up at midnight
and rising at dawn to go through what we must.

“Every child has known God.
Not the God of names,
Not the God of don’ts,
Not the God who ever does
anything weird,

But the God who knows only 4 words
and keeps repeating them, saying:


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