Posted by: Peadar Ban | June 15, 2016

I Saw Christ Walking By


A tree on the Serengeti in the afternoon.


This is s little poem I wrote after leaving Mass, and on the short walk back to our hotel in Amsterdam, last Sunday.  We were staying over a day or so after our trip t0 Kenya for a safari in several national parks, and among the people there; great crowds of people in the cities and towns, vast empty spaces and herds of animals in the other places; mountains and valleys and the places where we began to be whom we have become; so it is said.

Later in the afternoon on Sunday we went canoeing among the canals in the quiet waters and farm lands outside Amsterdam; and only wind and lowing cows and moving clouds and wings of birds and notes of bird’s songs, and our own voices over the rippling waters did we have for company.

We had been to Amsterdam before, and been to Mass in the same church.  I am not the first, I think, and far from the best, I know, to have noticed that it is all Mass in a very real sense.

At Mass in the Basilica of Sint Nikolas, Amsterdam, on Sunday June 12, 2016

I saw Christ walking by.

He smiled as He caught my eye

And, I returned the smile.

Then He’d gone!  But no, Christ came on.

The little one held by her father’s hand

Had His smile; so her father.  And

The age bent man staggering

Even with his wooden cane

Under his load of years, carrying

The harmony of tears, behind

Them came slowly, shining joy.


Another and another, fathers

Sisters, mothers, brothers, all

Came; smiling at me.

The columned stones, the patient light,

The soughing notes of prayer in song

Formed for Love’s eternal generosity,

Love’s so simple complexity, a single thing,

In still yet changing solidity, river of sound,

Light and form each as they were meant and made

For joy, and every world so made; for joy in process came.


They bent and bowed and danced religiously.

For I saw the Christ of God come walking by

And all the worlds caught, smiling, in His eye.

peg/ 06/15/2016

Basilica of Sint Nikolas



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