Rise and Live

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Frère Jean, ermite.jpg

So wearied with long journeying,
and never didst thou cry, Enough;
still obstinate, confess thy need thou wouldst not.

Alas, what anxious fears were these,
that to my service made thee false,
of me no memory left thee,
no thought?

And all because I nothing said,
made as if I nothing saw,
till at last thou hast forgotten me!

Yet, thou wouldst have right,
it is I that must declare it;
thy own striving is all in vain . . . .
His the prize, that in me has confidence;
on my holy mountain he shall find a resting place. . . .

A message from the high God, the great God,
whose habitation is eternity, whose name is hallowed!
He, dwelling in that high and holy place,
dwells also amidst chastened and humbled souls,
bidding the humble spirit, the chastened soul, rise and live!

(Isaiah 57, 10-15, translated by Monsignor Knox)


What an exquisite translation!
As "holiness becomes God's house", so too does beauty. Through the extreme vicissitudes of life, I am so grateful that my first impression of religion/church was one of sublime beauty. In the basilica near my family's old house in Boston, my childish heart felt that the statues and windows, the candles in golden stands, the solemn tones of the men's choir - if these were heaven, it would be enough.
Almost everything in Vultus Christi resonates with beauty. Without raising the subject of discernment, I express my gratitude for this window from a dark, grim world through the parting clouds of eternity.

Looking out this window
from the seemingly darkness inside,
I can see the light
(even if no shadow were cast to hint at something bright).
Is this what it means
to live in one's own cell
in solitude and silence...
contemplating the Lord's goodness within
(and without)?

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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