“The skies that turned to darkness with thy pain
Make now a summer’s day;
And on my changèd ear that sabbath bell
Records how Christ is risen.”
Tag Archives: resurrection
VERSES IN PASSION-TIDE
O LADY Mary, thy bright crown
Is no mere crown of majesty;
For with the reflex of His own
Resplendent thorns Christ circled thee.
The red rose of this Passion-tide
Doth take a deeper hue from thee,
In the five wounds of Jesus dyed,
And in thy bleeding thoughts, Mary!
The soldier struck a triple stroke,
That smote thy Jesus on the tree:
He broke the Heart of Hearts, and broke
The Saint’s and Mother’s hearts in thee.
Thy Son went up the angels’ ways,
His passion ended; but, ah me!
Thou found’st the road of further days
A longer way of Calvary:
On the hard cross of hope deferred
Thou hung’st in loving agony,
Until the mortal-dreaded word
Which chills our mirth, spake mirth to thee.
The angel Death from this cold tomb
Of life did roll the stone away;
And He thou barest in thy womb
Caught thee at last into the day,
Before the living throne of Whom
The Lights of Heaven burning pray.
O thou who dwellest in the day!
Behold, I pace amidst the gloom:
Darkness is ever round my way
With little space for sunbeam-room.
Yet Christian sadness is divine
Even as thy patient sadness was:
The salt tears in our life’s dark wine
Fell in it from the saving cross.
Bitter the bread of our repast;
Yet doth a sweet the bitter leaven:
Our sorrow is the shadow cast
Around it by the light of Heaven.
O light in Light, shine down from Heaven!
Francis Thompson knew the bitterness of life; it was difficult, at times, for his friends to help him out of the shadows into the light in which he believed. Hoping against hope. he paced amid the gloom of 19th Century London streets, yet looking for mirth beyond death.
If you can ask a friend to pray for you, then in the communion of saints and life everlasting, you can ask Mary to pray for you too. If you are a poet, you can address her in poetry.
Much of the imagery of Thomson’s poem can be seen in the Rood from Our Lady and the English Martyrs, Cambridge; but this is a Risen Jesus, wearing a truly royal crown, not the resplendent thorns. Let us pray that Francis Thompson may be forever surrounded by the light of Heaven, and that we too may join him.
This figure of Christ, rising from the dead, taking his first, painful breath, is on the tomb of Saint Dominic in Bologna. The tomb was carved by many of the great and the good of Italian art of the time.
On the tomb there are many busy figures, but Jesus is rising all but unseen; a reminder that he was deserted by almost all his followers on Thursday night, and now here, on Sunday morning, he is alone. Perhaps he would rather take those first breaths alone? As a real man he must have been confused, as Mary Magdalene will be shortly when they meet in the garden.
By the time John and Peter get to the tomb, Jesus is long gone. It will take him an eternity to get used to being alive. He needs to touch his hands, to remove the thorns, and to keep on breathing: oh joy! A ghost does not have flesh and blood as I do.
But where are his friends? Confused, just a bit late, not quite up to speed. As we are. Were it not for the nail marks we would think he was standing on Pilate’s balcony. He is not dead though, nor marching unto his death. He is about to march away from death, and calls us to follow him, even through death’s dark veil.
Let us live this Holy Week in the light of Easter. Ecce Homo: Behold the Man: Christ is risen!
Pope Francis continues his thoughts on relationships as the vital centre of Christian and human life.
The dialogue that God wishes to establish with each of us through the paschal mystery of his Son has nothing to do with empty chatter, like that attributed to the ancient inhabitants of Athens, who “spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new” (Acts 17:21). Such chatter, determined by an empty and superficial curiosity, characterizes worldliness in every age; in our own day, it can also result in improper use of the media.
Putting the paschal mystery at the centre of our lives means feeling compassion towards the wounds of the crucified Christ present in the many innocent victims of wars, in attacks on life, from that of the unborn to that of the elderly, and various forms of violence. They are likewise present in environmental disasters, the unequal distribution of the earth’s goods, human trafficking in all its forms, and the unbridled thirst for profit, which is a form of idolatry.
Today too, there is a need to appeal to men and women of good will to share, by almsgiving, their goods with those most in need, as a means of personally participating in the building of a better world. Charitable giving makes us more human, whereas hoarding risks making us less human, imprisoned by our own selfishness. We can and must go even further, and consider the structural aspects of our economic life. As the Church’s magisterium has often repeated, political life represents an eminent form of charity (cf. Pius XI, Address to the Italian Federation of Catholic University Students, 18 December 1927). The same holds true for economic life, which can be approached in the same evangelical spirit, the spirit of the Beatitudes.
Today we read from Pope Francis’ 2020 Lenten letter; the crucifix is by Constantina.
I would like to share with every Christian what I wrote to young people in the Exhortation Christus Vivit: “Keep your eyes fixed on the outstretched arms of Christ crucified, let yourself be saved over and over again. And when you go to confess your sins, believe firmly in his mercy which frees you of your guilt. Contemplate his blood poured out with such great love, and let yourself be cleansed by it. In this way, you can be reborn ever anew” (No. 123). Jesus’ Pasch is not a past event; rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit it is ever present, enabling us to see and touch with faith the flesh of Christ in those who suffer.
The experience of mercy is only possible in a “face to face” relationship with the crucified and risen Lord “who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20), in a heartfelt dialogue between friends. That is why prayer is so important in Lent. Even more than a duty, prayer is an expression of our need to respond to God’s love which always precedes and sustains us. Christians pray in the knowledge that, although unworthy, we are still loved. Prayer can take any number of different forms, but what truly matters in God’s eyes is that it penetrates deep within us and chips away at our hardness of heart, in order to convert us ever more fully to God and to his will.
In this favourable season, then, may we allow ourselves to be led like Israel into the desert (cf. Hosea 2:14), so that we can at last hear our Spouse’s voice and allow it to resound ever more deeply within us. The more fully we are engaged with his word, the more we will experience the mercy he freely gives us. May we not let this time of grace pass in vain, in the foolish illusion that we can control the times and means of our conversion to him.
We reflected on the passion flower story back in June and in November last year, after we’d spotted gravestones in Chartham with carvings of them, and again on the capital of a column at a doorway in St Thomas’ church, Canterbury. This one, well, let’s say it’s very close to home, but I only found it thanks to Chartham.
A few weeks ago the L’Arche Kent community, with friends and relations on weekend vacations, did a 3 mile sponsored walk – we sponsored ourselves – from Chartham to Canterbury, in particular from Saint Mary’s church, Chartham to Saint Dunstan’s church in Canterbury. My companion and I had time for a coffee on arrival before joining the others, so I had my eyes open walking through the graveyard. And:
Here’s a passion flower, flanked by a daffodil and a rose, with blooms above that I’ve not yet identified. The rose for Saint George and England, the daffodil for Saint David and Wales, and the passion flower? This is how we concluded last year’s post:
When you see a passionflower let it remind you that Jesus is real, his death was real, as indeed will ours be – but so, too, will our rising. And when you see a passionflower on a gravestone, send us a picture to put in the blog!
The rest of that post, describing the story told by the passion flower, can be found here.
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Will Turnstone and Co.
Bishop Gabriel Piroird, Bishop Emeritus of Oran and Hippo in Algeria, died on April 3, his family at his side, and following a long visit from his friend and fellow Bishop in Algeria, Henri Teissier. Here we publish an extract from an article (written in French) on the Church in Algeria, at the time of the deaths of the martyrs of the 1990s. A new view of Saint Peter at the time of the Passion.
Luke mentions the eleven’s initial incredulity, but he also underlines Peter’s perplexity: But Peter rising up, ran to the sepulchre, and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths laid by themselves; and went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. Luke 24:12.
In order to understand Peter’s journey, we must go back a little way. His triple denial during the passion forced him to measure the strength of the link which united him to Jesus. To deny Jesus was to deny himself. The regard which Jesus cast over him at that moment brought about his rebirth to himself: the journey through the night was already accomplished for Peter. He was ready to receive the light of Easter.
+ Gabriel Piroird.
The Apostles went back to Galilee. St David’s Cathedral. MMB.
As she was going out to choir practice one evening in February, Mrs T said, ‘While I’m out you can play any music you like.’ Temptation: I can’t usually get away with Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast, for example. Mrs T says that’s fine for the Cathedral, but not for the kitchen or living room. But I was baking and did not want to be changing discs with floury hands, so opted for Through the Night on BBC Sounds.
Brahms was giving me music while I worked when I stopped and listened and paused the music. ‘Our’ blackbird – the one we had last year, with the white chevron on his head – was singing in a neighbour’s fir tree. I left the door open and enjoyed his repertoire until another blackbird’s alarm call silenced him.
I was reminded of my distracted thought at Mass. The image of starlings murmurating, flying in ever changing formation, merged into ‘O filii et filiae’ of Eastertime. Here are the words. As for musical fireworks, I found the recordings below – no need to choose between the blackbird and the choir, enjoy them both! And Happy Easter: Christ is risen, Alleluia!
1. O filii et filiae,
Rex caelestis, Rex gloriae, morte surrexit hodie, alleluia.
2. Et mane prima sabbati,
3. Et Maria Magdalene,
4. In albis sedens Angelus,
5. Et Joannes Apostolus
6. Discipu lis adstantibus,
7. Ut intellexit Didymus,
8. Vide, Thoma, vide latus,
9. Quando Thomas Christi latus,
10. Beati qui non viderunt,
11. In hoc festo sanctissimo
12. De quibus nos humillimas
|1. O sons and daughters of the King, Whom heavenly hosts in glory sing, Today the grave has lost its sting! Alleluia!
2. That Easter morn, at break of day,
The faithful women went their way
To seek the tomb where Jesus lay. Alleluia!
3. And Mary Magdalene,
4. An angel clad in white they see,
5. And the Apostle John
6. That night the apostles met in fear;
7. When Thomas first the tidings heard
8. “My pierced side, O Thomas, see,
9. No longer Thomas then denied;
10. How blest are they who have not seen
11. On this most holy day of days
12. For which we humbly
RSPB recording of blackbird’s song
Choir of Notre Dame de Paris O filii et filiae
Picture from SJC
When morning gilds the skies,
My heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
This short verse from a hymn translated by Edward Caswall is a good morning offering in Easter Week, when hearts are awaking as morning gilds the skies.
Christ is risen, Alleluia! May Jesus Christ be praised!
Picture from SJC. The full hymn can be found here.