Thursday, September 18, 2014

the gentleman whose name I forget

"The rejection and crucifixion of Jesus means at the same time the end of this Temple. The era of the Temple is over. A new worship is being introduced, in a Temple not built by human hands. This Temple is his body, the Risen One, who gathers the peoples and unites them in the sacrament of his body and blood. He himself is the new Temple of humanity."
--Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, Part II: Holy Week

I offered all my masses up for you,
feverishly, throwing them your way,
plundering my jealous hoard,
saved up for spiritual rainy days.

I offered all my Eucharists for you,
a conscientious, tender offering
you were my child, stricken ill,
I nursed you with the shelter of my wings.

Novenas of novenas just for you--
eighty one times eighty one is wearying--
lame syllables hung limp upon my tongue,
the words were always dry and tiring.

I went to church so faithfully each day,
lit candles, bootless red and steady flames,
reminders of my rattling, useless words
burning before your stone portrait's face.

Perhaps the prayers of pagans had more weight,
with burning meat and bloodied altar cloths,
They knelt on flagstones stained with coarse libations--
Kneeling on altar marble: cool, unblemished,
My ghostly words produce just pale vibrations

My cracked petitionary sighs
erode my straining vocal cords,
the rosaries played upon each finger
fold, as mountains do, to dust.

I offered all my masses up for you,
but better still than these, my goings-forth.
Remaining in the church was sweet repose,
her blue lights harbinger of our True North.

Lights in cryptic sanctuary windows
crystallized a thousand iridescent prayers,
I wondered at the many thousand years
of voices crying out in night,
but in that window, their request was granted
their colored voices echoing sunlight tears.

As I stamped your name into my Eucharist,
My eyes rose to the crucifix, and
looked upon the crucified, my look returned--
that look was love.
Love that faced the bitter blasts
of cold-hearted winds that shook the church
and pounded at the stones that still held fast.

Yearning for Tepeyac and winter roses,
we faced the bitter wind and dry.
The vast cavern that cathedraled us
echoed, like the Eucharists, your name.
I saw him cry
in that vault of obsolescent awe
and voices of the past.

In that cave of history,
our pasts and futures
faded into present mystery.
Shades that haunt our minds
were, in that dark church,
dismissed, dispersed, and ended:
for here, we've only light to find.

A thousand masses and a thousand being-sents,
I offered these because you needed them;
Yet as I longed to stay I understood--
the best gift I could give was going home.

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