Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Reflection for Good Friday Evening and Holy Saturday

The pain is ended now.
The sharp anguish of each strangled breath,
the nails that stab like knives through mangled flesh
as he shifts, now up to breathe, now down
to ease the torment of his poor, pierced feet,
and up again to slake the burning
in his hands, and all the while his back,
torn flesh aflame from recent flogging,
rubs along coarse wood, each grate and splinter
but a minor hurt within the greater,
yet each contributing its little share
to an all-encompassing agony
which fills his senses, fills the world – 
all these are ended now
in death – 
in gentle, kindly, peaceful death.

The pain is ended now.
The bitter loss of friend turned hateward
betraying with malicious kiss;
betrayal too by loving men who,
weak in body, sleep, unwitting of a
brutal fight:  to keep the faith brings painful
death; to turn and run is death in life;
more bitter still to heart that’s breaking,
after bloodshed, panicked flight;
those who boasted love undying
turn to deny him in the night,
the wounds of treachery unintended, that
sting no less than those of measured wrong –
all these are ended now
in death – 
in gentle, kindly, faithful death

The pain is ended now.
Gashes sliced into a spirit come
to bring good news of freshened faith,
by righteous folk who blind their eyes
and deafen ears, blockade their hearts and
minds and souls against the Word of God
out-poured from loving lips; a soul
new-minted, shining in the light, is bruised
and cut and wounded near to death by
fickle crowds who once cried out “Hosanna!”
but now shout “Death!  Death!  Crucify him!”
The jeers, the taunting mockery that bite
into his soul as if a crown of thorns –
all these are ended now
in death – 
in gentle, kindly, loving death.

The pain is ended now.
The first to go, the cuts and scrapes of
stubborn words from hardened hearts,
subsumed within the bone-deep bruises
of love gone wrong, of trust betrayed;
and piercing sharp to break his heart,
sword-strike of purpose seeming unfulfilled;
yet even these are lost within his body’s
pain – the soldiers’ lash, the nails struck true,
the stabbing pain of tortured breath, until –
the deepest hurt of all – he calls aloud
“Why, God, have you forsaken me?” but
following swiftly then, that saving grace –
all these are ended now
in death – 
in gentle, kindly, Godly death.

Sr. Sue Elwyn, SSJD
Guelph, ON
June, 2006

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