The Chalice of Our Being

“Each morning we must hold out the chalice of our being to receive, to carry, and give back.”—Dag Hammarskjold

Each morning we hold out our chalice of being
To be filled with the graces of life that abound—
Air to breathe, food to eat, companions to love,
Beauty to behold, art to cherish, causes to serve.

They come in ritual procession, these gifts of life.
Whether we deserve them we cannot know or say,
For they are poured out for us.
Our task is to hold steady the chalice of our being.

We carry the chalice with us as we go,
Either meandering aimlessly,
Or with destination in our eye.

We share its abundance if we have any sense,
Reminding others as we remind ourselves
Of the contents of the chalice we don’t deserve.
Water from living streams fills it
If only we hold it out faithfully.

We give back, if we can, something of ourselves—
Somelove, some beauty, some grace, some gift.
We give back in gratitude if we can
Somethinglike what is poured into our chalice of being—
For those who abide with us and will follow.

Each morning we hold out the chalice of our being,
To receive, to carry, to give back.

An unlit chalice on a church altar