Walking into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels with JoAnn Taylor: An 80th Birthday Poem
Stanford J. Searl, Jr.
“I am the door: by me if any man enters in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9).
Dreaming a little, touched by an harmonious gift of grace,
an odd yet powerful charisma entered the imagination
to bring us – now hand and hand together –
through the bronzed doors of our Lady of the Angels Cathedral.
The young, lovely statue of Mary over the decorative doors
sang to us, really a cooing,
her halo evoking the sun itself,
summoning a light from her bronzed body.
We nodded and thanked her,
praying as we walked into the main nave,
celebrating the communion of the Saints
arrayed within the fresco-like tapestries
gazing up at these ordinary saints —
it struck in my heart
how some of these mestizo women
reminded me of this companion in Christ at my side.
Standing at the back of the enormous nave next to the baptismal font,
those tapestries filled-up our bodies,
walking with you and the other sisters of social service
bound together in contemplative prayer and thanksgiving.
We walked towards the organ and the crucified Christ on the floor,
sitting together in back of the wooden Christ,
almost touching its well-worn golden wood,
waiting for the noon organ recital to begin.
It was cool, quiet and lovely sitting in this expanding silence,
waiting and listening like we had done for years
at Saint Monica’s Quaker worship, open to silence,
its penetrating music filling us.
We listened in a contemplative coolness,
chanting a mumbling growl
like falling together,
descending into a revolving circle,
transported back to the beginnings,
sounding out a new rhythm,
the organ pipes vibrating the wooden benches
now entering into our entire bodies
singing together in a circle of organ sounds.