Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ, founder and editor of Ignatius Press, has started a blog.
However, he describes it as a kind of “anti-blog”, or
even an “anti-Tweet” site. The blog is not about him, but about a 17th
century priest-mystic-poet whom the great Catholic theologian and
humanist Hans Urs von Balthasar has called “one of the greatest poets of
the west”, ranking him with Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Shakespeare. His
name was Johann Scheffler, but he went by the name of Angelus Silesius.
The blog is AngelicPilgrim.com,
after Angelus Silesius’ great work “The Angelic Pilgrim”, and is solely
focused on the nearly 1700 two-line poems composed by the German.
In the "About" section of the blog, Fr. Fessio explains the motivation for creating the site:
have found these poems so rich, so deeply theological, and so
inspiring, that I decided to create a blog as a kind of “anti-blog”, and
even more as an “anti-Tweet” site. Cyberspace overflows with
trivialities. And they are often “pushed” onto our smartphones or
computers. (Often enough people seek this.) These poems take you into
the depths and up to the heights. They are solid and nourishing. But
they won’t come to you. You have to come to them.
will post poems frequently. And when all the poems from Fr. von
Balthasar’s little book have been posted, Ignatius Press will publish
The beautiful, concise, German poetry cannot be
reproduced in English without more losses than any possible gains. So I
have posted the German original with a very literal English, word for
word, translation. This translation is meant to help the reader read and
understand the poems in German, enjoying the sonority, rhythm, and
rhyme of the original.
Some of the words are archaic. And there
are poetic contractions. But the German is quite simple. It is the
content which is profound.
Fr. Fessio also provides a sound clip
for each poem, writing that he makes "no pretense of having a perfect
German accent. But you will be able to experience the poetry of the
The blog also contains an "Epilogue" by von Balthasar, who wrote of Angelus Silesius:
selection from Scheffler’s almost 1700 two-line poems is meant first of
all as a gift and a help for prayerful reflection and contemplation.
Certainly Scheffler is in this work one of the greatest poets of the
West; but he writes poetry because he loves God and is enthralled and
enraptured by God. Thinking about God and the divine takes him out of
himself. God is for him the eternally new wonder. Every grain of divine
truth blossoms for him and becomes a tree that reaches to heaven and
grows into a magic garden in whose beauty he wanders like a child in a
He is not a melancholic but a troubadour consumed by
love. This love is the spark that ignites his art that is all the more
amazing in that it doesn’t portray the song of the heart in its endless
outpouring, but only again and again in sudden flashes. The beloved
truth overwhelms anew as if for the first time. The heart stops and is
exposed to love that is stronger than death.
Visit AngelicPilgrim.com to learn more about Angelus Silesius and to read his poems.