Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday — Part III

This part always reminds me of the scene in The Passion of the Christ when Mary is on the ground grabbing and squeezing the rocks, and then, as they raise the cross, she squeezes them again hard and then lets them fall.

Her palms curved inward seeking for the nails
that might not be in them, and asking pain
she might not hold, and on her feet, a plea
for thrusted iron ached and spread within
a wholeness that was yearning unrelieved.
Her arms cried out for bracketing along
the wood that strained Him. She would take this pain,
this brace, this agony, she'd be His heart.
There was not ever sadness in His eyes,
or lonely striving; never hunger, thirst,
or any tear that she would not accept
and bear for Him in all the ended days,
nor any need. And could there now be run,
or race, or fired forking pain along
His flesh she'd not have taken eagerly
in full surrender, finding it a gladness
and relief? Oh, that had been to easy
joy, too generous and rich exchange
to wear the wounds for Him. She'd be His head
to bleed beneath the thorns and ask aloud
for longer moments she might keep them hers...
Except that in her heart she would not choose
this lesser gift of love, and found again
it was her chosen part to only stand
in silence, seeing Him, to be so strong
she could endure, not her wounds, but His own,
that she could bear His cross that was not hers.

And in another side of mystery
—made one in her— the exquisite and endless
knowing held: that He was God! She saw
the spittle wet upon His face, the bruise
still dark where they had struck Him; she could find
his tattered knees, and marked the soil and streak
of dirt upon Him, left there from the reeling
moment when He'd sprawled along the road.
She saw the scorn, the slime of all degrading,
the contempt, the loathsomeness of Him.
She heard them laughing at His twisted feet,
and quarreling about a robe they'd stripped
from Him, since they had dug Him past the use
or need of it. And calmly, certainly,
in simple knowledge as a mind might see
its thought: she knew that He was very God*.

(* This seems a strange phrase to us to today, but when Lynch wrote in 1941, his audience have been used to translations of the Creed saying: "God from God, light from light, very God from very God", using "very" in the meaning of "verily" or "truly".)

John W. Lynch, A Woman Wrapped in Silence, p. 231f.

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