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

Friday, March 30, 2007

For the Virgin of Sorrows

From some old journals:

See what only Mary saw:
Not a man about to fall,
But the birth again of a rebel pardoned,
In a world of corruption,
Unforgiving and raw.

See what only Mary saw:
The division of garments,
The tearing of the Law,
What nakedness speaks cannot defeat
The Lord’s faint but loving call.

See what only Mary saw:
The sky a crimson parasol,
After a week of triumph is
Unleashed now death,
Blossoming outside
The city walls.

See what only Mary saw:
Mourning’s eyes under a mother shawl,
Vision of peace under a funeral pall,
Chalice spilt but not wasted,
Poured forth for the life of all.

See what only Mary saw:
A tomb cold but imposingly tall,
A radiant tear flows down her cheek,
Delicately formed without a flaw.

Mother whose sorrow is
Not yet spent,
To you my sinful knee is bent,
Grant me now to see
What you saw.

-Newberry Springs, CA
June 29th, 2004

I remember. Life is a string of events that do not make much sense, that are highly illogical, that put us in a frenzy of confusion when we try to sort things out. Take a nineteen year old atheist, apostate, Communist, ex-Catholic, and prostrate him on the floor before a statue of the Mother of God. To this day, it makes no sense. But then again, a leap in the dark is a leap in the dark, and to understand it would mean that is was no longer so.

“How much we hurt the ones we love!” How much have I thought about that phrase! It is the clearest and most powerful summary of our human weakness. We want to be good, we want to treat our loved ones right, but we end up being the worst savages, worse than wild beasts, for at least in them there is no calculated vengeance, no doubleness, no cold and pre-meditated slaughter. How much we hurt the ones we love!

My two mothers…. how often have they been awake at night, worrying about me. The vigil is the office of the mother; if a heart could have the power to move the world with a single sigh, it would be the heart of this sleepless mother, who feels and moans, sheds a tear and paces, wondering and worrying, loving and lamenting the object of her love now so far away. If any eye of the heart could pierce that darkness and that distance, it should be this heart, that runs ever forward but encounters a wall, and a chain that holds her back. But she still stays awake, watching and praying.

We cannot help being a cross to others. No matter what we do, it will always hurt inside. If only we could enter the labyrinth that is the other’s soul, perhaps we could find a way to wipe away her tear and embrace her, telling her that it will be alright, that we will stop hurting her, that we didn’t mean to hurt her in the first place. We are, however, always walking on egg shells, and sometimes one cracks, and we keep walking without turning back.

Mother, help me not to hurt you anymore. And if I hurt you, please forgive me. All that I want to tell you is that I am alright, that you can go to sleep now, because now I am back with you, and I want to make things up to you. But it’s all so hard, I always end up walking away again, and then you begin worrying again, and I feel bad that I have hurt you once more. Help me only to stay near to you, only if it’s for a little while, and maybe then I will one day change and never hurt you again.

-La Reja, Argentina
December 12th, 2002


At 1:04 PM, Blogger AG said...

I think we often forget the suffering of Mother Mary, the Blessed Virgin who had to endure the torture and execution of her son as a criminal. Clearly, to be Christian is not all sweetness and light. It is also the endurance and acceptance of suffering. And although I'm not a mother myself, I can imagine there are few things more difficult than knowing that others will hurt your child and cause him or her pain. It's also so difficult to forgive ourselves for the pain we have caused our mothers, those persons in Christ who are usually our first experience of God's love.


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