Out of a lifetime of familiarity with the great biblical narratives, Kilian McDonnell draws a portrait of the biblical God charged with vitality, at once prodigal in mercy and ruthless, thunderous, and painfully silent. It is dangerous to love this God, who exacts of "the God-mad Abraham" a faithfulness beyond sanity: "If God makes a covenant in blood with you, why are you surprised to see your flesh upon the altar?" Despite our longing, such apparent capriciousness can be reconciled only in the mysterium tremendum invisible to human eyes; for Father Kilian, such is "fire’s absolute autonomy that scolds me / for putting dirty sandals on glowing cinders, / but invites me to approach barefoot." Equally compelling is the character of Jesus Christ as a true son of God hungry for human contact, who likes hanging out with a fallible humankind and often happens to drop by at mealtime. The children of God who people these poems have God's own murderous prodigality in their genes. They are jealous, weak, and proud. They compete, lie, steal, cheat, betray, repent, and despair; and God loves them. Conscious of their dignity as children of God, they are quick to take exception. Father Kilian says of the poems themselves, "I am contending with God." In God Drops and Loses Things, his third collection, the poems are by turns edgy, affectionate, gentle, deeply moving, and always compassionate.
Kilian McDonnell, OSB, is a monk/theologian of Saint John’s Abbey. He is author of Swift, Lord, You Are Not and Yahweh’s Other Shoe (Saint John’s University Press).