a Poor Clare Colettine Nun)
OF THE SERVANT
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asked me, Lord,
if ever I had seen you ... your broken body, draped, as it were,
over the Altar; the hands that healed, open and still, the strong
arms that lifted up, limply hanging down. Oh, yes, Lord ... I have
seen you thus! Did not Mary gently, tenderly, sorrowfully, lay you
there ... even as she placed you in the arms of Simeon, who dimly
saw this Altar first? Was she not the first Altar upon which
you were placed as she sat weeping in the torrent of your Father's
tears, holding you, lifeless, to the breasts that once nursed you
... to the heart that never ceased loving you, and never abandoned
you? Oh, yes, Lord, my Beloved ... I have seen you so, and how often
my anguish has been salted with my tears! Must not ever the chants
of men, the songs of women, the lispering of children, anoint your
broken Body with myhrr ... that bitter balm of sorrow, impassioned
with love? Must it not be endless, perpetual, until it bursts the
chrysalis of pain in Paradise? Can it be less?
... but, behold,
my Lord ... the Vestibule is empty! How can this be?
Who am I but
dust and ashes, sin and sorrow ... and yet I ... even I
... see Thee here. Marred with sin and disfigured through dissolution,
threadbare and poor ... yet I see. If I, conceived in sin
from my mother's womb, can see ... what of those anointed with grace,
who ever walk the way of the just and do not stumble as I do? How
is it that they do not, cannot see? Could they see, would they not
be here, the many? Even the few? Their raiment, not like mine, is
unsoiled, and their way, surely is pleasing to You. But if they
saw, if they truly understood, if they grasped ... if they but
verged on conceiving – would they not be here, too? Tell
me, Lord ... have they not held thy hand as I have held thy hand
lifeless to my face, laving it in my tears? My tears are sorrow
and born of love. Theirs, born also of love are surely of joy and
endless gratitude? But where are they? Look about, Lord
... the Vestibule ... the Vestibule to Paradise ... it is is empty.
There are none."
I not heal ten? Where are the other nine? Does only this foreigner
the seal you have put upon our lips, the seal of this holy profession,
that You are really and truly present in the Most Blessed
Sacrament of the Altar ... surely we are Centurions, one and all?
We need not see. We believe. But if we believe,
Lord ... if truly we hold that You are here ...
for many, has long since passed."
There are many
who come, but few who see. As with my words, so with my body. Hearing,
they hear, but do not understand. Seeing, they see, but do not discern.
For this reason I had told your fathers long ago, even as I tell
you now, that I am come into this world; that they who see not,
may see; and they who see, may become blind.
Bear with your
servant, Lord, and tell me: who are the blind that have come to
see, and who the seeing, who have become blind? You know that I
am a stupid man; tell me clearly, so that if I am blind I may come
to see, or if I see, the perils I must avoid so that I may not become
blind. I know that to behold you is the happiness of man, and that
to be deprived of seeing you is man's greatest evil, and in the
end, his greatest torment. Who, Lord, are the seeing, and who the
Return to The Song of the
Servant Part I