February 01, 2010

The Dawning

by George Herbert (1593-1633)

Awake sad heart, whom sorrow ever drowns;
     Take up thine eyes, which feed on earth;
Unfold thy forehead gather’d into frowns:
     Thy Saviour comes, and with him mirth:
          Awake, awake;
And with a thankfull heart his comforts take.
     But thou dost still lament, and pine, and crie;
     And feel his death, but not his victorie.

Arise sad heart; if thou dost not withstand,
     Christ's resurrection thine may be:
Do not by hanging down break from the hand,
     Which as it riseth, raiseth thee:
          Arise, Arise;
And with his buriall-linen drie thine eyes:
     Christ left his grave-clothes, that we might, when grief
     Draws tears, or bloud, not want an handkerchief.


Moments of light seem fragile, perishable, like Jesus in the manger or the Host that dies in my mouth that I might live. Experience, or God, teaches me to write them down, to savor them, regardless of their seeming perishability...

I usually don't say the rosary on Sunday, since there's Mass or Divine Liturgy to attend but for some reason I did yesterday, and during the first Glorious Mystery it was as if He were saying, "you only think of suffering. You never think of the reward, of Resurrection and eternal bliss."

It occurred to me that I'd missed two "flip sides" recently: one is that if Christ would die for me alone, that means I must've killed him with my sins. If He would've died for me alone, then that means there is no one else I can point to and blame. The second is that the Cross is not a cross for cross's sake, but that it is followed by Resurrection. Oh what a difficult balance to achieve! (Or is it?) Not to think "Resurrection only" or "Cross only" but to keep both in mind and heart.

And so I must change, and hold onto the hope of Resurrection in my heart too. My focus is relentlessly logical and rational: "the Resurrection is in the distant future, our exile now, so why think about the Resurrection?" Similar is to slough off mercy, thinking in a poor analogy, "mercy, like Social Security, may be granted to me, but best not to rely on it at this point." God - that is reality - doesn't work quite that way. God is poetry, not prose.

And then, out of the blue, Dylan posted the gem at top.

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