At the Cross thy station keeping
With the mournful mother weeping,
Thou, unto the sinless Son,
Weepest for thy sinful one.
Blood and water from His side
Gush; in thee the streams divide:
From thine eyes the one doth start,
But the other from thy heart.
Mary, for thy sinner, see,
To her Sinless mourns with thee:
Could that Son the son not heed,
For whom two such mothers plead?
So thy child had baptism twice,
And the whitest from thine eyes.
The floods lift up, lift up their voice,
With a many-watered noise!
Down the centuries fall those sweet
Sobbing waters to our feet,
And our laden air still keeps
Murmur of a Saint that weeps.
Teach us but, to grace our prayers,
Such divinity of tears,—
Earth should be lustrate again
With contrition of that rain:
Till celestial floods o’er rise
The high tops of Paradise.
- Lustrate – to cleanse ritually.
Selected Poems of Francis Thompson, Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1908; p127.
FT invite us to savour the likenesses and contrasts between Mary and Monica, the mother of Augustine, whose feast is tomorrow. Each woman mourns her son: Mary for Jesus dead, Monica for Augustine in the death of sin. Monica’s tears were like a second baptism for her son, Augustine, and since they led to his conversion, FT calls them the whitest baptism – a white garment is given to a newly baptised Christian to signify new life.
Monica’s tears should inspire our own – tears for our own sins, tears of contrition that may float our own ark since they are tears of grace, divine tears indeed that will cleanse our hearts and our world of sin.