The Sarabite: Towards an Aesthetic Christianity

There is a continuous attraction, beginning with God, going to the world, and ending at last with God, an attraction which returns to the same place where it began as though in a kind of circle. -Marsilio Ficino

Sunday, March 25, 2007

For AG

God making His rounds one day
Upon the hills of Heaven’s way,
Noticed that unworthy people were walking around
In whose souls great purity was not found.
In this He almost felt ashamed
That He found in them an impurity unnamed.

“St Peter!” He said, “why does he close his eyes
And out of Heaven these souls does not keep?
Now his resolve is found to be weak
And it is necessary to upbraid the guardian who sleeps.
Let him be summoned!” So an angel went
And found the wide-eyed Peter sitting upright,
His gaze ever on the door bent
With an ever sharp eye and keen sight.

“I’ve come to replace you
Just for a moment
For God Almighty wants to ask you something.”

So St. Peter ran, and the Lord with severity
Chastised the saint without soft charity,
Saying, “No, this cannot be,
Look over there, you see,
You are letting people in who are without purity,
Thus soiling this pure celestial house.”

“Lord,” Peter said, “You are confusing me,
For I live at the gates ever vigilantly
Like a loyal guardian ever seeing
In spite of old age on me weighing-
Nothing gets by me, no, not a thing.
Believe me, Lord, the fault is not mine,
For I am at my post all of the time
And not one soul gets into your home
Without the proper papers having shown.”

“Be still,” said God, “we are probably being fooled.
Look down there anew.
Are those people known to you?”

“O Good Lord, to speak honestly,
Never such a people have I seen.
On my list they do not appear,
Nor do I think they belong here.
No doubt someone is smuggling them in.
But I promise to get to the bottom of this sin,
And if I do not triumphantly win
I will renounce forever being Heaven’s doorman!”

St. Peter then went with great care
To the entrances to see if there were any breeches there,
And when he made sure none were present
And a soul could not unfairly Heaven win
He sat once more at the gate ever vigilant
The night already having entered in.

But, what a sight, suddenly he beheld
Uninvited folk, without knowing from where they came,
Walking about Heaven’s gentle fields
Without panic nor fear, neither guilt nor shame.

St. Peter then went with haste
To call upon God to come and see
That which was occurring marvelously.
And when He came the good doorman
Made signs to God to hide Himself
And keep ears attentive and eyes open.

And what an admirable sight they saw!

Outside the walls were standing sadly
Many souls that Peter out of duty
Had rejected at the door,
Because they did not have the papers of authority
To land peacefully on Heaven’s gentle shore.

And those souls with much distress sighed
Such cries that one should never hear,
And complaints of such despair and melancholy
That they reached the Virgin Mary’s ear.
She pitied them, and not bearing
That their cries should be in vain,
She climbed onto the walls of Heaven
And believing she was hidden by the darkness of night,
She lifted up each soul with her gentle might
And with joy’s loving and serene strand,
She defied St. Peter with contraband.

As St. Peter felt triumphantly vindicated,
His innocence having thus been shown,
He made his thoughts to the Lord known:
“Aren’t You going to at least give her a warning?”

But God, having lovingly gazed upon His mother
At Heaven’s walls on that luminous night,
So sweet and gentle, so tender and meek,
Said, “For what? You know how SHE’S like”.

-based on a poem by Eusebio Robledo Correa, “Contrabando en el Cielo”


At 8:45 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

The Spanish original can be found on this sight.

At 8:57 PM, Blogger Arturo Vasquez said...

I mean, "site". I'm so smart.

At 5:01 AM, Blogger Warren said...

I can just see what my evangelical friends would say to this one... What, Jesus the merciful is less merciful than his human mother? Divinity is found wanting? Christ is imperfect in mercy, in charity, in ability to forgive?

I appreciate the piety. I also like a good joke. The woman caught in adultery reminds me of a joke.

"Whoever is without sin, may cast the first stone", says Jesus.

A stone whizzes by his ear.

"Hey mom, cut it out!"

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of jokes (and St. Peter), there was one going around shortly after the election of B16:

Somehow, I guess given differences in time flow between heaven and earth, Paul VI, John Paul II, and B16 all arrive at the Pearly Gates at the same time. "Welcome, my sons," says St. Peter. "Before you enter heaven, however, I need to have a chat with each of you, alone in my office." So off go St. Peter and Paul VI. After a very long conversation, hours and hours in length, St. Peter and Paul VI emerge, with the latter weeping over his many mistakes and failures, which St. Peter had been duty-bound to point out to him.

The scene is repeated with John Paul II. Finally, it is Papa Ratzi's turn. At the end of HIS conversation with St. Peter, however, it is St. Peter who emerges in tears.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger AG said...

A.V., you are psychic! A copy of Murillo's Assumption was on the wall of my childhood bedroom. I think all those saccharine-sweet cute cherub babies helped turn me off on motherhood.

Thank you for the translated and re-worked poem.


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