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Archives for March 2018

I.N.R.I.

INRI

A rough quiet was universal in the grain,
The world was sunk with a thud in its post-hole,
The land planed smooth with a dead calm
On a length of rude wood. This somber season
          Lends itself to bare scenes
          Seen in bone white of moon.
Sorrow’s sisters, the winter constellations
Sink below spring’s crowned horizons
To lend the cruel thorn of remembrance to time
As old cares cease with cold easterlies
          Like history’s cessation itself.
Seasons hewn down and lumbered out,
          These ordinary passages
          Are timbered to mean less with knowledge.
          And so, drawing us close to a return
          From exile, our souls, sand blasted
          In desert treks, are polished like bone
To dry exultations. Cuttings and witherings
Are tossed to burn, texts of ash on our tongues.
          —It is the loneliest madness to know.
          And yet, even as the moon rises,
          Dividing the sea up in a surge,
          So, too, the huge will of the eternal
          Will interpolate exalted
Histories, bitterly salted, old and new,
With nature dethroned, denuded as never before
And man besieged, bereft as never again.
          So, our wills now testify to deserts
          Our minds return to wilderness
Our hearts hold crossed-lengths of wood
Blood-soaked in a single word saying,
          “All time is made minion of
          The rising horror of love, love
          Risen once in a creak of wood
          Rising ever in a darkened sky
          Risen again, in the closing book,
          Rising ever in the suffering eye.”
So we give up the world’s passions
For one passion. And naked thus we pray:
                We will drink not now to drink no more
                We will eat not now to eat no more
                We will feast not now to eat and drink forever.

‘… He Brought Them Out of Darkness …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘And he brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death; and broke their bonds in sunder.’

Psalm 107: 14

‘… His Sepulchre Shall Be Glorious.’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

In that day the root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.’

Isaiah 11: 10

‘Let Him Not Lose What He So Dear Hath Bought.’

From Cell 25 of the Convent of San Marco, by Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), 15th Century

Think on the very làmentable pain,

Think on the piteous cross of woeful Christ,

Think on His blood beat out at every vein,

Think on His precious heart carvèd in twain,

Think how for thy redemption all was wrought:

Let Him not lose what He so dear hath bought.

–Pico della Mirandola (translated by St Thomas More)

‘… Wounded for Our Iniquities …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘… he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins….

Isaiah 53: 5

‘They Parted My Garments Amongst Them….’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘They parted my garments amongst them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.’

Psalm 22: 19

‘… He Shall Be Led as a Sheep to the Slaughter …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.’

Isaiah 53: 7

‘I am ready for scourges….’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘For I am ready for scourges: and my sorrow is continually before me.

Psalm 38: 18

‘I have not turned away my face …’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.

Isaiah 50:6

‘… They Strike the Cheek of the Judge of Israel.’

From the Armadio degli Argenti of Blessed John of Fiesole, OP (Fra Angelico), c. 1450

‘ Now shall you be laid waste, O daughter of the robber: they have laid siege against us, with a rod shall they strike the cheek of the judge of Israel.’

Micah 4:14