.....is the title of our parish's Friday night program during Lent. We start with Stations of the Cross at 6:30, followed by a meatless potluck supper at 7:00 and a speaker at 8:00. Benediction follows at 8:30 or so. The speakers are asked to speak on something that speaks to their hearts--not a technical presentation. We've had some really great speakers (and some not so great) over the past 3 or 4 years.
Tonight's speaker was Dr. Thomas Howard, who is in town doing a stint as a visiting fellow at the College of St. Thomas More. Dr. Howard is one of my heroes. One of the real reasons I am Catholic today. Starting with his book Evangelical is Not Enough and then moving on to his other works (all recommended by THIS summa mama), he convinced me of the truth of the faith. And more than that, he convinced me of the sheer BEAUTY of the faith.
Tonight he spoke on the following poem. Enjoy!
GOOD-FRIDAY, 1613, RIDING WESTWARD.
by John Donne
LET man's soul be a sphere, and then, in this,
Th' intelligence that moves, devotion is ;
And as the other spheres, by being grown
Subject to foreign motion, lose their own,
And being by others hurried every day,
Scarce in a year their natural form obey ;
Pleasure or business, so, our souls admit
For their first mover, and are whirl'd by it.
Hence is't, that I am carried towards the west,
This day, when my soul's form bends to the East.
There I should see a Sun by rising set,
And by that setting endless day beget.
But that Christ on His cross did rise and fall,
Sin had eternally benighted all.
Yet dare I almost be glad, I do not see
That spectacle of too much weight for me.
Who sees Gods face, that is self-life, must die ;
What a death were it then to see God die ?
It made His own lieutenant, Nature, shrink,
It made His footstool crack, and the sun wink.
Could I behold those hands, which span the poles
And tune all spheres at once, pierced with those holes ?
Could I behold that endless height, which is
Zenith to us and our antipodes,
Humbled below us ? or that blood, which is
The seat of all our soul's, if not of His,
Made dirt of dust, or that flesh which was worn
By God for His apparel, ragg'd and torn ?
If on these things I durst not look, durst I
On His distressed Mother cast mine eye,
Who was God's partner here, and furnish'd thus
Half of that sacrifice which ransom'd us ?
Though these things as I ride be from mine eye,
They're present yet unto my memory,
For that looks towards them ; and Thou look'st towards me,
O Saviour, as Thou hang'st upon the tree.
I turn my back to thee but to receive
Corrections till Thy mercies bid Thee leave.
O think me worth Thine anger, punish me,
Burn off my rust, and my deformity ;
Restore Thine image, so much, by Thy grace,
That Thou mayst know me, and I'll turn my face.