November 21, 2008

Embroidered in Red

Powerfully moving analogy of Christ's nuptial love for us: do we believe it? From Cardinal Stafford:
Over the next few years, Gethsemane will not be a marginal garden to us. A model, I suggest, is medieval. With an anonymous author, our restless minds search in a dark valley during this exhausting year. With him as our guide, we find a bleeding man on a hill sitting under a tree “in huge sorrow”. It is Christ, the Bridegroom of the Church and of mankind.

Thirdly, we listen to the words of Christ as narrated by our mediaeval ancestor. Jesus pointing to his gloved hands says that these gloves were given him when he sought his Bride. They are not white but red, embroidered with blood. He says that his spouse brought them and they will not come off. Fourthly, we focus our attention on the constantly repeated refrain of the Bridegroom and the reason for his “huge sorrow”, “Quia amore langueo - Because I am sick for love”. And finally, we find that before this vision of the wounded young man, our frustration and tears become one with his “huge sorrow” and we make his love for the unfaithful Bride whom he seeks and never fails, our own. I will close with a citation of this spousal model. It serves as a measure of what we need to recapture for the whole Church in 2008:

Upon this hil Y fond a tree,
Undir the tree a man sittynge,
From heed to foot woundid was he,
His herte blood Y sigh bledinge:
A semeli man to ben a king, (handsome enough to be a king)
A graciouse face to loken unto;
I askide whi he had peynynge, (suffering)
He seide, “Quia amore langueo. (Because I am sick for love).

I am Truelove that fals was nevere.
My sistyr, Mannis Soule, Y loved hir thus.
Bicause we wolde in no wise discevere, (because in no way would we part company)
I lefte my kyngdom glorious.
I purveide for hir a paleis precious; (prepared, a palace)
Sche fleyth; Y folowe. Y soughte hir so,
I suffride this peyne piteuous,
Quia amore langueo.
In the autumn of 2008 we must begin anew with that sentiment of our medieval brother. Quia amore langueo. With Jesus we are sick because of love toward those with whom we are so tragically and unavoidably at variance. The reader has now become one with the narrator who is addressed in line one as “Dear Soul”. As Humanae Vitae with the whole Catholic tradition teaches, we are to “be true with body and soul”.

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